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Hello and welcome to this web designers Web Designer Stoughton video tutorial.

I’m Owen Corso from Google.

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And today, we’re going to build a rich media expandable creative with video.

Let’s start by selecting file, New File.

This opens a dialog box where we will set up our ad.

First, let’s make out high of project.

We have four options– The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.

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OWEN CORSO: Hello and welcometo this Google Web Designer video tutorial.

I'm Owen Corso from Google.

And today, we're goingto build a rich media expandable creative with video.

Let's start by selectingFile, New File.

This opens a dialog boxwhere we will set up our ad.

First, let's chooseour environment.

We have four options-- The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.

Next, we can selectthe type of ad.

We want to make anexpandable, so we select Expandable on the left.

Next, we can set upour ad's dimensions.

We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.

So I will make those changes.

We then assign thecreative a name.

I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the animationmode set to Quick.

Once I'm happy with mysettings, I click OK.

Google Web Designer creates theinitial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.

The collapsed page alreadycontains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expandedpage with a close tap area to collapse back down.

It also has added all theinitial code needed for the ad to talk to the ad server andcollect tracking metrics.

Those metrics are builtinto the components, and we can assign uniqueidentifiers to each component as we go.

So now I can start adding thegraphic elements I've already prepared.

I drag a backgroundimage or initial ad state and drop it onto the stage,then align it to the stage, and layer it behind the taparea by sending to back.

Now, let's switch toour expanded page.

Let's add a background imageby dragging my image file to the stage.

I can also add abutton to the stage by dragging theTap Area component.

Let's make a backgroundexit tap area.

I will size, align it, and thenI will give it a unique name.

To add functionalityto the button, I will add an event using theplus button in the event's toolbar.

This brings me tomy Actions panel, where we assignall of the metrics to our ad instead ofcoding them manually.

I'm going to selectthe tap area I just named BackgroundExit from the list.

Choose Tap Area, Touch/Click as the event.

Google Ad, Exit ad.

On the Receiver panel,I select gwd-ad.

Lastly, I give it an exitidentifier and a destination URL.

For more in-depth detailson the event model, check out the Eventsand Metrics video.

Next, let's add avideo component.

You drag it to the stage,then give it a name and size it properly.

Tell it how to behave.

I want it to autoplay and start muted.

And you target thevideo file here.

This component has allof the metrics built in, so you can avoid handcoding them in the ad.

OK.

Let's preview our ad.

On page load, we seeour collapsed state.

When we click, the adexpands to our expanded page.

Our video behavesas we told it to, and clicking on the backgroundexits to our landing page.

Once the ad is built andfunctioning as you want, it is ready to publish.

Go to File, Publish.

And you're presentedwith a few options-- Publish Locally,to Google Drive, and, finally, toStudio.

Let's choose Publish Locally.

This is where you cancontrol how the ad is output.

For instance, youcan add polite load to the ad, which delays thead load until after the page content loads.

You can also set itto minify the code and add browserprefixes automatically.

We'll leave all thesesettings as to the default.

Click Publish, and Web Designerwill wrap up all of your files in a nice little zipfor uploading to Studio.

Now, let's testit out in Studio.

Let's make a newcreative of expanding type.

Drag the zip file to uploadour creative to Studio.

Now, let's preview our creative.

As you can see, I can expandthe unit, play the video, and trigger thebackground exit we added.

You can see these eventslogging to the output console.

And that's an overviewof Studio integration features in Google Web Designer.

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Next, we can select the type of ad.

We want to make an expandable, so we select Expandable on the left.

Next, we can set again ad’s dimensions.

We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.

So I will make those changes.

We then assign the Stoughton creative a name.

I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the talk about set to Quick.

Once I’m happy with my settings, I click OK.

Google Web Designer creates the initial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.

 

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The collapsed page already contains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expanded pageStoughton with a close tap area to collapse back down.

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When I joined Google a little more than 2 years ago, I was asked by a few people to tell the story of how I got there and what my experience was.
I promised I would but I never actually did. Maybe I was shy, maybe I didn’t have the time or maybe I simply thought, probably wrongly, that it wasn’t interesting enough.

I decided to finally honor that promise and write about it.
I hope this is not too late and that it will be useful to some people.
I will try my best to sum up my experience and stories and provide a few advices from them.

Oh, one more thing. This is not a guide on how to get a job at Google. Based on my experience, I do not think such a thing exists. It will not describe the interview process in detail (such as the questions asked) nor disclose any confidential information.

The sole purpose of this article is to talk about my pre-Google personal experiences. I hope this will be useful for you, at least a little.

Baguettes and berets

If you don’t know me, I’m a 27 years old Frenchman born in a small city in Paris suburban area called Lagny. I spent the first 6 years of my life there and then moved to the south of France where I lived and studied in various cities such as Toulon, Hyères, Arles and Marseille.

Today, I’m a visual designer for Google Chrome and Chrome OS, living in San Francisco.

The studies

I got a High school diploma in what was called “social and economics”, then I studied 2 years in a general technology school and 3 additional years in a multimedia project management school.

What these schools and courses had in common is that they taught you a general approach on various subjects. It didn’t specialize you. Thinking back, I think I was taught how to become an effective swiss army knife.

I started by learning the basics of social science and economics mixed with history and philosophy. Add a bit of math to that and you get my High school diploma.
The following two years were all about introducing you to everything you can do with a computer, a screen and a camera. From code to design to filming and photography. Very broad subjects.

The last three years that led to my masters degree were multimedia management. It was all about managing people, project, public speaking and… wearing a suit.

Looking back at it, the more I was going through these school courses, the less I was learning the skills I use in my current everyday job.

I learned at school what I didn’t want to do.

School is not about teaching, not really. It’s about opening your mind. I forgot most of what I learned at school but it helped me visualize and understand the things that I wanted to do and the things that I wanted to avoid.

It’s by learning a subject that you realize it’s not for you.

I had to learn math to discover that I hated it, I had to learn to code to discover that my appeal to it wasn’t as strong as my appeal to align pixels.
I had to wear a suit to realize that this is not something that I would want to wear everyday. I learned how to manage projects and people to understand that what I really wanted to do is to spend my entire day in Photoshop, listening to Hans Zimmer and Amon Tobin.

Maybe it’s not the best path to follow to learn things, but it was mine. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot of useful things in these schools but somehow, it’s the things I hated to learn that gave me the most beneficial lessons and drove me to my key skills.

In any given project, I always volunteered for the design part, it was my refuge. In response to possibilities of acquiring more knowledge, I specialized in one thing.

In the 5 years following my High school diploma, I dismissed a lot of potential knowledge to obsess over details in interfaces.

Is it a good thing ? I do not know. I’m not a fast learner. I found what I was good at and instead of searching to acquire a broader range of skills, I maximized the strong ones.

Let’s summarize who I was after my studies:
An obsessed interface designer focused on web and mobile design. I was comfortable and self-confident enough to present my ideas in front of people.

I had a daily schedule made of an hour and a half of web browsing to discover, save and categorize inspiration across the web followed by 8 hours of visual design in Photoshop and Illustrator. Also, I was fluent in English, and this was key.

The work

My work history is tightly linked to my school history. My 3 years of multimedia management were alternate. I had to spend a month at school and the other in any company nice enough to welcome and form a newbie.

I was lucky enough to work for companies who made me do some actual work besides bringing coffee and I will always be grateful for that. Here is the biggest thing I learned and that I have absolutely no doubt about whatsoever:

The best way to learn is to work for real people, in real companies.

The benefit from working and learning at the same time with people who actually make a living out of what you want to do is by orders of magnitude more beneficial than school. Any internship will teach you more about real life work than any class.

Now I’m not saying that you don’t learn anything at school. You need it to give you the basics, the by-the-book approach of design and tech but being able to apply learned principles and confront them to real situations and projects is priceless. Combining school and in-situ internship is for me the best pedagogical approach to learning a subject, at least in our field.

The first Year

During the first year of alternation, I learned print, logo and identity design. From an intern perspective, I did a decent job. From a professional designer standard, I was terrible. My work was messy and full of mistakes. Thankfully, it was ok, because I was with the right people.

During your life, if you’re lucky enough, you will meet people who will help you grow. People who will help you reach what you think was too far, by standing on their shoulders.

This was the kind of person my boss was during this first year. We were a two people company, he had a ton of experience and was eager to share it. He was patient and when he detected the smallest amount of talent in me, he helped me expand it.

I wasn’t expecting that, it think it’s rare to meet somebody who needs to make a living and is still available to help you grow professionally and personally. I’m trying to carry on this lesson, but I’m not there yet.
It takes a lot of selflessness.

The second and third year

I spent the second and third year of my alternation in another company. I left my first year one because I needed to make a little bit more money, he couldn’t assume an intern anymore and I was ready to move on.

The company was a small web agency created by one person who was sick of being given orders and wanted to make cool things by and for himself.

Now let’s take a break here for a quick advice to any aspiring designer who wants to land any job/internship:

Smile and engage.

As simple as that. At the time I was a shy guy with a bit of confidence issues when it came to selling myself. Saying that my presentation was underwhelming is an understatement. If I wasn’t supported by an employee of this same company, I think I would still be searching an internship right now. Hurray for networking and string pulling.

Ok, back on the subject. You remember what I wrote earlier about my first boss ? Well you can re-apply this here. Two in a row can be considered lucky, and it is. Luck is an important factor in your career but I will get back to that.

These two years improved my visual design skills at an incredibly fast rate.
I was working on a large range of projects from complex web-design to phone applications. It was a balance of internal and client projects. A good way to keep some freedom in your work while making a living. I even did a few email design for mass mailing which I’m not very proud of but teach you the realities of the field. This is also important:

You will not always be working on something that makes you proud, but you will always learn something out of it.

Following the same logic as for school, doing something you do not like builds you and defines you as a designer.

This work was thankfully secondary. A large majority was incredibly interesting projects with a lot of challenges for a young designer. I grew exponentially with every work because I had freedom and responsibility. My boss was a safety net, a knowledgable guide that was there when I needed him. But he trusted me from the start, giving me enough responsibility to feel involved in everything I was doing.

Be a safety net for the person you want to see evolve. Make him feel impactful and in control of his decisions and projects.

I finished my studies and was hired full time in this company. I stayed another year before being hired by Google and I loved every second of it.

Self teaching

In addition to school courses and learning with pros, learning by yourself will be a great asset in your career. Some may say that it is all you need, especially in our line of work.

If you have the passion about something, self teaching should come naturally. If you have fun learning stuff, you are where you’re supposed to be.

My favorite way of learning was by looking at other people’s work and learn from the .psds they were sharing, that’s why I’m still doing that to this day. A way to return the favor.

There will always be more talented people than you.
Look up to them and try to catch up.

Networking and design communities

Something you need to know: I hate networking. Actually I used to. I’m getting a little bit better at it but even today, I’m awkward. I have this weird expression on my face that makes people think I’m obnoxious sometimes. I don’t know, maybe I am a little bit. But I think it’s mostly shyness.

Anyway, I learned very early that networking is important to develop your career, especially in our field. Dennis Covent will probably explain why better than me in his blog post so I will not spend too much time on it.
That’s the beauty of internet, you can network without engaging anybody in the real world. You can build yourself as a designer and build your web presence simply by participating in communities. If you are alone on an island, you have virtually the same chance of being recognized for your work as anybody else.

Of course this is not entirely true, an outgoing person living in San Francisco will probably network easier than a brown bear living in a south France cave with poor internet connection but you know what I mean.

Thankfully, I wasn’t a bear, I had a decent internet connection and a need to share things. So I started a little blog using Tumblr.
It was simply about sharing things about design and writing various notes about it. Some sort of personal Pinterest. Very few readers but that was fine. I enjoyed it. Heres an important note about that:

If you enjoy sharing things, even to an extremely small audience, keep it up as long as you like doing it.

So I continued writing my little blog and I was eventually contacted by a bigger french site focused on web-design and various source of inspiration for designers. My audience suddenly exploded, of course. This blog had way more visibility. I started shifting from sharing inspiration to creating my own design resources, or “freebies”, after discovering the work of Orman Clark and his work on Premium pixel. I was and still am a huge fan.
It was a great way for me to improve, satisfy my compulsion for pixels and gave me things to share. I also learned a lot from reverse engineering other designers freebies, it was my way to give back. I even started writing tutorials.

And then the owner of the blog asked me this question:
“Do you need an invite to Dribbble?”

Dribbble

This deserves a section of his own simply to make a point. Dribbble played a huge part in my career and I think this is the case for a lot of people.
I joined it the 6th of March 2011 and published this shot:

My first Dribbble shot, a pricing table.

My first shot made me rapidly get followers. At the time I was publishing a freebie per week. It took a lot of time, I was pretty much doing nothing else during the week besides working and creating photoshop goodies to share and updating my blog. Doing this created a lot more opportunities than I ever thought it would. Suddenly, people contacted me for work, outside of France.

Oh and also, it’s where Google found me.

A little bit of freelance

Remember that at the time, I was working in the web agency. That’s during my full time year that I started receiving work inquiries from companies outside of France via Dribbble. The first one I received was from a print company based in Sweden. That was a big deal for me. I was speaking enough English to understand them, but we were talking about business here. I was fresh out of school and not that confident about handling my own projects.

So I proposed to my boss to make this request a company project. He would teach me the business part of it and I would handle the rest.
This is how I started my first “sort of freelance project”.

Based on my experience, if you ever get the chance to do side projects for real people as a young designer, take the opportunity. It will teach you a lot.

It went smoothly, they were satisfied by the result, I delivered in time and we built a pretty good relationship. This project added to my portfolio, I was more confident because I went out of my comfort zone and did it.

Going out of your comfort zone will greatly improve your confidence.

I was continuing my constant flow of freebies on Dribbble and spending half of my day in photoshop, designing mock-ups after mock-ups for sites, mail, iPhone apps and iPad apps. I was designing everything I could from video players to upload panels (why?! I’m not sure). I was getting more followers and more work inquiries.

I accepted projects from France, Denmark, and the United states. Each one opening new design horizons. From social platform to DJ-ing software.

As the inquiries got more numerous, I learned to choose the projects I wanted to work on, taking them both for the companies and starting a few projects on my own. Usually, everything went well for a simple reason: I got all my inquiries via Dribbble from clients who knew what they wanted and knew what to expect from me based on my previous work. Being able to choose your client is a luxury. I was able to do that because I had a full time job.

If you have the time and if your situation allows it, taking side projects as a freelancer while you have a full time job is a good way to try it out and see if it’s something for you. Be careful though because you will not see the sunlight a lot.

Getting all these clients also helped me to do one important thing, build up a portfolio. Which brings me to this.

Working for free

Before anything else I suggest you read this article by Dann Petty.

I know this is a delicate subject. Every work deserves payment. There are a lot of people that will take this opportunity to exploit young designers and I received my share of “I need a design for a youtube-like site, $200 should be enough.” or “there is 5 other designers working on this, I will pay the one I pick”.

Working for free is all about building your portfolio.

Now, you will only be able to do that if you actually manage to pay for your internet bill first of course. One benefit to it is that you will choose the project you want. You will work on what makes you happy and what you will be happy to show as a work reference. If you work with the right persons, it will open doors for you.

That’s why I accepted a lot of requests with no money involved, any student party that needed a poster, every little website design with very low budget because I knew the guy, this kind of thing.

Do it when you are a student, when you’re eager to do over hours and work on various stuff. Yes they will get something for really cheap or even nothing, but as a young designer you will get invaluable experience, you just need to be careful.

As for being able to pick your clients, working for free is a luxury, it is not for everybody. I was able to do it because I had a supporting boss, family and a full time job. If you can to, consider it but do it for the right people.

“Want to chat ?”

The year went by and I received my first recruitment email from a company in Spain. That was weird. For the first time somebody wanted me to work for him, in a big structure, out of my country. He wanted to know if I would consider “a chat”, and they would bring me to their headquarters for it.

I actually told my boss about it what he told me was: “go for it!”. Remember what I wrote earlier about the kind of people that will help you grow?

So I went for it and accepted to go there just to chat. Why not after all? I wasn’t that in love with the city I was living in, I loved my job for sure but I saw an opportunity to grow.

If you see an opportunity, if you have the slightest doubt or “what if” in your mind, just go for it.

They paid for the plane ticket and the hotel just to talk to me. I know, now it sounds completely normal to some people but that was crazy for me in a world where I heard clients not willing to pay more than a few hundred bucks for a website design… when they were actually willing to pay anything.

So I did the interviews and got to know them a little better. Things were clicking and I was starting to consider the fact that I could move from France to Spain. It wasn’t that far after all and these people were pretty awesome. But a week after being back home I received another email.

I think this is spam

This email was from Google as you probably guessed. I really thought it was spam. It was completely out of the blue.
I answered… you know… just in case.

At the time it was during a US holiday so it took five days to receive an answer, reinforcing my spam theory in the meantime.
Turned out it was real and I couldn’t wait to know more.

After checking a few things like my willingness to move to the US in case this ever works, the recruiter told me that I was going to enter the process, starting with a call from a Googler.

At this moment I thanked the thousand of hours spent listening to various American TV series while working at home. Otherwise I would have struggled to understand anything during our conversation. It was still hard though, it is way different to passively learn a language than it is to have an actual human interaction, and my brief 2 weeks school trip in the US when I was fourteen didn’t really help.

I thought I did terribly on the phone but apparently not as they were willing to continue the process. The next step was a design exercise.

This part was very stimulating for me. I had the opportunity to demonstrate how I think and deliver polished visuals. It really wasn’t that different from what I experienced several times with clients, maybe the result was a bit more life changing…

So I sent the finalized exercise crossing my fingers hoping to get a positive answer and avoiding imagining them laughing at my work.

Around two weeks later, they told me they wanted to see me in person, in Mountain View.

What am I doing here ?

At the time I had a two weeks trip in New York with a friend planned 4 month earlier. Some sort of “we’re done with school” trip because we wanted to discover New York and the US.

The confirmation email came during this time. I was stopping twice a day at a Starbuck to get some Wifi and check emails. I mentioned I was in New York and that it would be a good idea to meet during these two weeks, you know, to avoid crossing the atlantic and come back again.

They agreed, set up my flight, two days later I was flying somewhere I’ve never been before, California.

I landed in San Francisco and before realizing what was happening I was driving a rental car on a highway that was going to become the one of my daily commute. The “What am I doing here” moment was when I realized I was driving for the first time on a Californian road, passing signs with cities like San Francisco, Palo Alto and Cupertino written on them. Big deal for me.

The next day were the on-site interviews. It went really fast and was over before I could realize it. One thing I do remember is that, between two interviews, I was asked when I considered joining Google. I answered that I never considered it and that I never imagined being here, it was just not a realistic possibility for me.
Retrospectively, this was a probably a weird if not bad answer but it was the simple truth. I was too tired and disoriented to start thinking about what could be a good answer.

Be true.

Thinking about it, maybe it was what to do. It sounds cheesy but I think this applies to a lot of situations and to any job applications. You may talk your way into landing a job by finding the right answer at the right moment but you would be at risk of not finding the right thing in the end, something that is neither for you or your employer.

This time I didn’t forget to smile though.

And that was the end of it, I just had to wait for the final decision. I jumped in the plane back to New York, looking to San Francisco by the window, a city I would never enter until I discovered it for the first time, searching for a place to live.

If you want more information about the Google hiring process,
head this way. You will find some useful details on that.

Luck

I received the call on a Friday. I was asked if I was interested in joining Chrome. This couldn’t have been better. I didn’t hesitate a second and gave a positive answer. The web made me and now I was going to help make it better.

My Dribbble announcement post.

One thing you may say if entering Google is one of your objectives is that I got really lucky. I was lucky to have the studies that helped me figure out what I wanted to do, lucky that I got two great bosses in a row, lucky that I got a Dribbble invite at the right time with a Googler looking at my work at the right moment, lucky that I was already in the US when they wanted to see me, lucky that there was still some visas available when I applied, and you would be completely right.

Luck played a huge part in this and I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for it. One addendum though:

Be prepared for luck, if it ever happens, make sure you can take your chances.

Closing notes

Reading this article myself, it sounds like I described some sort of magical story made of rainbows and ponies and that I am a huge fanboy writing an advertisement. You may also not agree with what Google is doing, although reading this to the end would seem like a huge waste of your time. This is only my view of it.

I tried to stay true to what I felt at the time and how things worked out.
I feel grateful to be where I am surrounded by people way more clever than me. Is it awesome every day ? No. It can be frustrating and you may not agree with everything. You are part of a gigantic machine that makes things at an unimaginable scale. That’s also part of the thrill.

Will I be there forever ? I do not know, I had my ups and downs but I do love Chrome, Chrome OS, my team and Google.
For now, I’m not going anywhere.

I think it’s an extraordinary experience simply to be here, not just at Google but in the bay area. I’m trying to remind myself that when I tend to act like a spoiled kid. Deep-down, I’m still waiting for them to realize that I’m a fraud and put me on the first plane back to France.

Get in touch

I didn’t cover everything, it was a long story.
If you have any questions or just want to chat or connect, here is some shameless social network self-advertisement:

Twitter
Dribbble
Portfolio
Work Showcase
Google+
Facebook

💸 How to budget for your web design project 💸 - Web Design is Broken e05

Backstory

I am a product designer at Google, and I joined the company through Sparrow, a French startup that got acquired on July 20, 2012. Since then, I worked with the Gmail team to build from scratch a flagship product that became Inbox by Gmail. It shipped on October 22, 2014.

I designed productive applications for a few years, and I felt like I reached a tipping point. I wanted to expand my skill set, learn new things every day and get better at something I’ve never touched. I needed new challenges to reboot myself by leaving my comfort zone.

I got interested in virtual reality around the Oculus Kickstarter period because of the immersiveness and endless possibilities that came with it. There is nothing more exciting than building for a new medium and exploring an uncharted territory.

I joined the Google Cardboard and Virtual Reality team on April 17, 2015. Thanks to Clay Bavor and Jon Wiley for this great opportunity.

Another dimension

My first weeks in the team were as scary as it can get. People used words I had no idea of and asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer.

I am not going to lie, ramping up on the jargon was not easy but I was expecting that. Virtual reality is a deep field (pun intended) grouping together a variety of job titles each requiring a very specialized skill set. The first weeks were intense and day after day I had a better vision of the big picture. Slowly, the pieces came together. I found out which roles would be the best fit, what I wanted to do and what was required to get there. Regardless of the mission, I knew I would have to learn a lot, but I was prepared for this challenge. My feelings varied from one day to another. From super excited to create and learn something new, to super scared because of the colossal knowledge I still had to learn. Working with smart and knowledgeable people around me reinforced these mixed feelings.

Everything is going to be alright

I told myself and firmly believed that the dots would connect eventually. I am a passionate person, and I knew that I didn’t mind spending hours learning and experimenting.

During my product designer career, I got better at understanding, identifying and resolving user problems. Making things easy to use and delight users is not that different, no matter the medium.

The core of the mission is the same, but to get you from point A to B there are some interesting things to know.

  • Sketching, is, again, at the core of everything. During any brain dump or design phase, sketching is as fast as it can get. I’ve sketched more in the time I’ve joined this team than I have in my entire career.
  • Any design skills as diverse as they are will be a huge benefit.
  • Photography knowledge will help you because you will interact with concepts such as field of view, depth of field, caustics, exposure and so on. Being able to use light to your advantage has been much valuable to me already.
  • The more you know 3D and tools, the less you will have to learn. It’s pretty obvious but be aware that at some point, you might do architecture, character, props modeling, rigging, UV mapping, texturing, dynamics, particles and so on.
  • Motion design is important. As designers, we know how to work with devices with physical boundaries. VR has none, so it’s a different way of thinking. “How does this element appear and disappear?” will be a redundant question.
  • Python, C#, C++ or any previous coding skills will help you ramp up faster. Prototyping has a big place because of the fundamental need of iterating. This area is so new that you might be one of the first to design a unique kind of interaction. Any recent game engine such as Unity or Unreal engine largely integrates code. There is a large active community in game and VR development with a huge amount of training and resources already.
  • Be prepared to be scared and get ready to embrace the unknown. It’s a new world that evolves every day. Even the biggest industry-leading companies are still trying to figure things out. That’s how it is.

Roles

Design teams will evolve because this new medium opens a lot of possibilities for creation. Think about the video game or the film industry for instance.

I think there will be two big design buckets.

The first one will be about the core user experience, interface, and interaction design. This is very close to how product design team are structured today (Visual, UI, UX, motion designers, researchers, and prototypers).

Each role will have to adapt to the rules of this new medium and keep a tight relationship with engineers. The goal will always remain the same; create a fast iteration cycle to explore a wide range of interactive designs.

On the other hand, content teams will replicate indie and game design studio structure to create everything from unique experiences to AAA games. The entertainment industry as we know it in other mediums will likely be very similar in VR.

Ultimately, both will have a close relationship to create a premium end to end experience. Both industries have a great opportunity to learn from each other.

To wrap up on my personal experience, I think being a product designer in VR is not that different but requires a lot of dedication to understand and learn a vast field of knowledge.

First step and fundamentals of VR design

First step

In this second part of the article, I will try to cover the basics you need to know regarding this medium. It’s meant to be designer oriented and simplified as much as possible.

Let’s get (a little bit) technical

The new dimension and immersiveness is a game changer. There is a set of intrinsic rules you need to know to be able to respect physiologically and treat your users carefully. We regrouped some of these principles in an app so you can learn through this great immersive experience.

Download Cardboard Design Lab

You can watch Alex’s presentation at I/O this year which goes more in-depth. The following is a small summary.

If you have to remember just two rules:

  • Do not drop frames.
  • Maintain head tracking.

People instinctively react to external events you might not be aware of, and you should be designing accordingly.

Physiological comfort. It regroups notions like motion sickness. Be careful when using acceleration and deceleration. Maintain a stable horizon line to avoid the “sea sickness” effect.

Environment comfort. People can experience various discomforts in certain situation like heights, small spaces (claustrophobia), big spaces (agoraphobia) and so on. Be careful with the scale and colliding objects. For example, if someone throws an object at you, you will instinctively try to grab it, dodge or protect yourself. Use it to your advantage and not to user’s disadvantage.

You can also use user senses to help you create more immersive products and cues. You can find inspiration in the game industry. They use all sorts of tricks to guide users during their journey. Here’s a couple:

  • Audio for spatial positioning.
  • Light to show a path and help the player.

Do not hurt or over-fatigue your users. It’s a classic mistake when you start to design for this medium. As cool as it looks, Hollywood sci-fi movies fed us with interactions that goes against simple ergonomic rules and can create major discomfort over time. Minority Report gestures are not suitable for a long period of activity.

I made a very simplified illustration of XY head movement safe zones. Green is good, yellow is ok and avoid red. There are a some user studies made public (links at the bottom of the page) that will give you more in-depth information about that topic.

A simplified illustration of XY head movement safe zones.

Bad design can lead to more serious conditions.

As an example, have you heard about Text Neck? A study, published in Neuro and Spine Surgery measured varying pressures in our neck as our head moves to different positions. Moving from a neutral head position looking straight ahead to looking down increase the pressure by 440%. The muscles and ligaments get tired and sore; the nerves are stretched, and discs get compressed. All of this misbehavior can lead to serious long-term issues such as permanent nerves damages.

TLDR; Avoid extended look down interactions.

Degrees of freedom

The body has six different ways of moving in space. It can rotate and translate in XYZ.

3 Degrees of freedom (Orientation tracking)

Phone based head mounted device such as Cardboard, Gear VR are tracking the orientation via an embedded gyroscope (3DOF). Rotations on all three axes are tracked.

6 Degrees of freedom (Orientation + Position tracking)

To achieve six degrees of freedom, the sensor(s) will track positions in space (+X, -X, +Y, -Y, +Z, -Z). High-end devices like HTC Vive or Oculus Rift are 6DOF.

Tracking
Making 6DOF possible frequently involves optical tracking of infrared emitters by one or more sensors. In Oculus’s case, the tracking sensor is on a stationary camera, while in Vive’s case the tracking sensors are on the actual HMD.

Oculus and Vive lighthouses position tracking

Inputs

Depending on the system you are designing for, the input method will vary and affect your decisions. For example Google Cardboard has a single button, that’s why the interaction model is a simple gaze and tap. HTC Vive uses two, six degrees of freedom controllers and Oculus will ship with an Xbox One controller but will eventually use a 6DOF dual controller “Oculus Touch”. All of them allow you to use more advanced and immersive interaction patterns.

The good old Xbox OneOculus Touch

There are also other kinds of inputs such as hand tracking. The most famous being Leap Motion. You can mount it to your Head Mounted Display (HMD).

Leap Motion on top of a DK2

This area constantly evolves as technology catches up but as of today, hand tracking is not reliable enough to be used as the main input. The principal issues are related to hands and fingers, collisions, and subtle movements tracking.

Even though it’s very familiar, using a game controller is a disappointing experience. It physically removes some of the freedom VR is creating. In FPS, strafing and moving might usually cause some discomfort because of the accelerations.

On the other hand, the HTC Vive controllers reinforce the VR experience thanks to the 6 degrees of freedom, and Tilt Brush is a really good example. As I am writing theses lines, I haven't tried the Oculus touch but every demo I have seen looks very promising. Check out Oculus Toybox demo.

While designing user interfaces and interactions, inputs are the keystone that will drive some decisions differently depending on which method you are using. You should be familiar with all of them and aware of their limitations.

Tools

This is a big piece and might require a more in-depth article. I will focus on the most popular tools used in this industry.

Pen and paper

You just can’t beat them. It’s the first tool we use because it’s always around and does not require too many skills. It’s a proven way to express your ideas and iterate at a fast and cheap pace. Theses factors are important because, in VR, the cost of moving from wireframes to hi-fi is higher than 2D.

Sketch

I still use it every day. Because of its ease of use, it’s the perfect tool that allows me to create a lot of explorations before moving to a VR prototype. It’s also handy for its export tools and plugins that are a huge time saver. If you are not familiar with that program, I wrote articles here and there.

Cinema 4D

I don’t see C4D as a competitor of Maya. Both are great tools, and each excels in its own way. When you don’t have a 3D background, the learning curve can be very steep. I like C4D because the interface, the parametric and non-destructive approach make sense for me. It helps me create more iterations quickly. I love the MoGraph modules, and a lot of great plugins are available. The community is very active, and you can find a lot of high-quality learning materials.

Cinema 4D motion explorations

Maya

Maya is colossal in a good and a bad way. It does anything and everything a 3D artist needs. Most of the games and movies are designed with it. It’s a robust piece of software which can handle massive simulations and very heavy scenes with ease. From rendering, modeling, animation, rigging, it’s simply the best tool out there. Maya is highly customizable, and that is one reason why it’s the industry standard. Studios need to create their own set of tools, and Maya is the perfect candidate to integrate any pipeline.

On the other hand, learning all the tools will require your full and unconditional dedication for quite some time. I mean weeks of explorations, months of learning and years of practice on a daily basis.

Unity

It’s most certainly THE prototyping tool where everything will happen. You can easily create and move things around with a direct VR preview of your project. It’s a powerful game engine with a great community and a ton of resources available in their store (the asset author determines the pricing). In the assets library, you can find simple 3D models, complete projects, audio, analytics tools, shaders, scripts, materials, textures and so on.

Their documentation and learning platform are stellar. They have a wide range of high-quality tutorials.

Unity3d uses mainly C# or JavaScript and comes with Microsoft Visual Studio but doesn't come with a built-in visual editor even though, you can find good ones in the assets store.

It support all major HMD and is the best to build for cross-platform: Windows PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Web Player, WebGL, VR(including Hololens), SteamOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Tizen, Android TV and Samsung SMART TV, as well as Xbox One & 360, PS4, Playstation Vita, and Wii U

It supports all major 3D formats and has the best in 2D game creation. The in-app 3D editor is weak, but people have built great plugins to correct that. The software is licensed based, but you can also use the free version to a certain extent. You can check the details on their pricing page. It’s the most popular game engine out there with ~47% of market share.

Unreal Engine

The direct competitor of Unity3D. Unreal also has great documentation and videos tutorials. Their store is smaller because it’s much newer.

One of the big advantages over the competition are the graphic capabilities; Unreal is one step ahead in nearly every area: terrain, particles, post processing effects, shadows & lighting, and shaders. Everything looks amazing.

Unreal Engine 4 uses C++ and comes with Blueprint, a visual script editor.

I haven’t worked with it too much yet, so I can’t elaborate more.

Less cross-platform compatibility: Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, VR, Linux, SteamOS, HTML5, Xbox One, and PS4.

Closing notes

Virtual reality is a very young medium. As pioneers, we still have a lot to learn and discover. That’s why I am very excited about it and why I joined this team. We have the opportunity to explore and we should, as much as we can. Understand, identify, build and iterate. Over and over.
And over again…

Resources

Community

  • Immersive design Facebook group

Videos

  • Google I/O 2015 — Designing for Virtual Reality
  • Oculus Connect keynotes
  • VR Design: Transitioning from a 2D to 3D Design Paradigm
  • VR Interface Design Pre-Visualisation Methods
  • 2014 Oculus Connect — Introduction to Audio in VR

Tutorials

  • Cinema 4D tutorials
  • Unity 3D tutorials
  • Maya and 3D tools tutorials

Articles

  • LeapMotion — VR Best Practices Guidelines
  • The fundamentals of user experience in virtual reality
  • Ready for UX in 3D?

Thanks everyone who helped me with the rereading and improvements 💖

web design kalispell

WEB DESIGN IS BROKEN but it's okay weare fixing it.

Today we are gonna follow on from the last video and we're gonnatake you further along down that path to that magical place called budget.

Yeswe're helping you to create a budget, an appropriate budget for your web designproject.

I'm still not gonna give you some magical figure because it doesn'texist; it's all relative.

So I'm not gonna talkin terms of X pounds or Y dollars but I will be talking in terms of high mediumlow investment what that means only you can really know because a largeinvestment for you might be a small investment for the next business: a smallinvestment for coca-cola it's probably gonna be most people's annual turnovers!So only you will know what a large versus a small investment actually is.

Soin the last video we laid down some key things that you really need to be awareof when you're thinking about a budget not just for a web design project butactually for anything and these are these are things, biases that that we allhave as people that can really affect how we determine what to invest inthings.

By understanding these biases we actually reduce the chance of over orunder investing in a project just simply by being aware of them.

So in this videowe're gonna look at two more very key things that are going to give you quitea reliable shortcut to determining whether the investment you make islarger or smaller.

These two things are risk and complexity.

What do we mean byrisk and what do we mean by complexity? When we're talking about risk we'retalking about the impact that it could have on your business.

Something that ishigh risk could have a significant impact on your business.

The way I like to think about risk is that it's whether it goes right orwhether it goes wrong, so it's not just down side there's also upside as well.

If there's significant upside then it's still gonna be high risk.

Low risk meansthat it's not gonna make a huge impact on your business,it's not gonna move the needle as they say.

Complexity is really just about howtechnically difficult it is to actually deliver this piece of functionality soif you look at, I don't know, take bridge making as an example: if you're buildinga small bridge across a little stream then that's probably going to be lesstechnically difficult then if you're trying to bridge the River Thames.

So it'show technically difficult it is to deliver and again it goes on a scale oflow to high complexity so why risk and complexity well if we plot them on agraph like so, we can see that they create four quadrants.

Now each of thesefour quadrants represents a different type of project: a high risk, highcomplexity project; a high risk, low complexity project; a low risk, highcomplexity project and a low risk, low complexity project.

Now just by exploringthese four different types of projects, these four project characteristics wecan actually start to make assumptions about what that project is going to belike and give you some shortcuts as to how much you invest in that type ofproject.

Let's jump into it: let's start off with the easy one low risk lowcomplexity.

So this is what I call the 'tick box' this is a website project thatis effectively just a tick box exercise maybe as a part of your business there'sa requirement that you have a web-based resource which goes over a whole bunchof really interesting things.

Maybe it'sjust a regulatory requirement, maybe you've gone for some funding and awebsite has to be a part of what you deliver.

It really doesn't make a hugeimpact on your business if it's just informational as these things typicallytend to be, then it doesn't really require groundbreaking programmingskills and cutting-edge design to actually fulfill its need.

So in thistype of project you really want to be investing as little as you possibly canjust as much as you need to to get a reasonable job done.

It's not gonna makea huge impact on your business; it's not technically difficult to deliver youjust want something that works and that ticks that box.

So if your project is lowrisk low complexity don't bet the farm on it there's no point it's not gonnabring you the return that you need pay as little as you can to get a goodprofessional job done but don't go crazy over it.

So now we've got low risk highcomplexity.

This is an interesting space and I like to call this quadrant in thistype of project the 'moderniser'.

With something that's low risk and highcomplexity typically we're looking at improving existing systems and processesusing newly available modern technologies.

With this type of projectwhat you really want to be doing is looking at a provider that hasthoroughly solved this problem so I'm thinking online payments companies likePayPal, like Stripe have thoroughly solved this technical challenge.

It's notnecessarily the type of project that you think is going to completelyrevolutionize your business; it might make things a lot more efficient andyou'll probably see some uptick in sales, engagement things like that, but ultimatelyit's not the big game changer for your business.

So you should be lookingto invest a reasonable amount to get some off-the-shelf solutions that canactually bridge this gap and help you modernize.

Let's jump into my favoritequadrant: low complexity high risk this is what I call the 'punt'.

So this is myfavorite sector because this is typically where a business has spotted anew opportunity maybe a new part of the market maybe they want to spin off anexisting product or service and they just want to test it out.

They want tosee whether their offering or messaging works.

Why this is high risk is that ifit works well then there could be significant upside.

It might be a wholenew part of their business it might be a new standalone business if it goes badlythen they lose their initial investment.

Now what you want to do when you'reworking in this quadrant you what you want to be doing is thinking aboutmultiple small investments and testing religiously.

Test absolutely everythingbecause what you're trying to do is figure out if this thing, if this ideahas got the legs to warrant a proper investment.

You want to be thinkinglanding pages; very simple to produce very easy to iterate.

You also want to bethinking about investing in things like pay-per-click advertising as well -literally buying the traffic to test against your multiple service offeringvariations.

Don't bet the farm on this it's all about controlling risk at everysingle point every single iteration so be very purposeful be very deliberateabout how you execute when you're dealing with low complexity high riskprojects.

So the final quadrant is what I call the 'moonshot'.

This is the stuff ofstartup legend.

This is that entrepreneur space where we are launching newproducts into unknown markets.

This is an area that is very similar to high risklow complexity in its approach but you should really be making significantinvestments in this area: you still need to control the risk andyou still need to test fastidiously but you might be needing to actually investheavier and produce some custom functionality.

You might need to actuallybe producing working prototypes of your product or service offering.

You can't cut corners when you're in this quadrant the risk is too high.

Because the complexity is high you're probably going to be building thingsthat have never been built before; you're needing to create technical capabilitywithin your business and understand how that impacts the delivery of yourproduct and/or service.

So absolutely never cut corners here.

The key wordsthat you should be listening out to when you're talking about the project is 'noone else is doing this', 'this has never been done before', 'this is brand new',''here's why it's different to the competitors'.

All of these things shouldbe getting you thinking high risk high complexity.

Invest well, don't cut cornersand test and iterate and measure absolutely everything you can.

So thoseare the four quadrants and hopefully this gets you a little bit closer tounderstanding where your project sits in those quadrants and the amount that youshould invest relative to, well whatever that means to you as a business.

Thus farwe've understood things about the biases and the psychology that can affect howwe make investment decisions, we've been able to identify where our project sitsalong an axis of risk versus complexity in the next video we're going to belooking at some pounds and pence examples for how you can start to createthat budget or a range of that budget based on the perceived upside or theperceived savings that you're gonna make or thatyou're hoping to make in your web design project.

That was heavy!My name is Aaron Taylor, I'm helping you to make better decisions and have betterconversations when you're buying a website.

Till next time!.