Our design team has the unique opportunity to learn about User Experience with Akendi, a UX design, research & product strategy firm in Toronto. The first session provided an in-depth look at the theory, process, tools and techniques of UX design, and mixed it with practical application. Tedde Van Gelderen, President of Akendi, led the first session, introducing us to the human factors that influence usability, and gave us a thorough overview of UX and user-centered design and its applications. Without giving too much away, I’d like to hit on the most important bits of information I’ve taken away from this session that helped me better understand the importance of UX Design.
No one’s ever too old for a field trip, and our class did just that when we visited The Weather Network‘s headquarters in Oakville. We were blown away by the hospitality and kindness of all the employees who work there. The Vice President of Design & UX, John Gallant, welcomed us with open arms and gave us a thorough presentation about the company’s work. We were even treated to a pizza lunch, tour and gifts. We couldn’t ask for more, and we certainly got more than we expected! The trip opened my eyes to the hard work involved in delivering the weather every day.
Craig Hodges and Adele Wootton came to visit us from Creative Niche, a recruitment management company that helps connect employers with the top talent in the creative industry. Adele is the Director of Client Services, and Craig is the Relationship Manager. They both have many years of experience working in creative recruiting, and shared valuable tips regarding resumes and online portfolios. They covered how to conduct yourself in an interview, soft skills and hard skills, and the difference between working for agencies versus client-side. If you’re looking for a job in the near future (like me), you might want to read this!
This week we had the ever dapper Genco Cebecioglu, CEO and Creative Director of Junction Design, speak to us about UX design for startups. Junction Design is a Toronto based visual identity, UI/UX design studio. Their clients include Mobilicity, Virgin Gaming, and Metrix Group, to name a few. Genco had a lot to say about the successes and pitfalls of starting your own business, so if you’re ever planning to do that, you might want to read this.
John Alabaszowski stopped by our Professional Topics class to talk about his career as a creative director at MacLaren McCann. MacLaren is a multi-disciplined advertising agency that has over 450 employees spread across three offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. They were ranked as one of the top three agencies in Canada since 1922, and their clients include General Motors, GoodWrench, WIND Mobile, RBC, MasterCard, Halo, and more. John stressed the importance of conveying a memorable brand experience through story telling in terms of design and content. It’s not just about building sites anymore!
Steve Coomber and Courtney Verk came by to visit from Mosaic, an agency that specializes in helping brands connect with consumers. Mosaic is a leader in experiential marketing and retail services; in short, they help brands come to life. Steve and Courtney shared their experiences with different clients as well as practical tips and advice regarding how to handle tough situations in the workplace. They held an open Q&A that allowed us to probe into their professional life and ask the tough questions like “what is the creative process like at Mosaic?” and “what is Gillian Chubb‘s middle name?” (now I know that the answer is Sarah–just like my middle name). Most importantly, they shared the scoop on ~The Destiny Philosophy~, wolf moon pics and all.
…Yes, I said WOLF MOON pics. If that isn’t a strong enough hook, I don’t know what is.
This week, through the wonders of Skype video chat, we had a special guest speaker from sunny California. Shernaz Pavri is a former grad of the Sheridan web design program (woot, represent!). She is currently a User Experience Designer at LinkedIn, and previously worked for a variety of companies including the big boys like American Express and Apple. In her talk she covered a lot of ground. Everything from her typical work day, to the importance of networking was discussed. Above all, she definitely practiced what she preached and is a good role model for aspiring designers.