Thank you, UX Cambridge!

Thank you so much for having me, UX Cambridge!

Links:

You can connect with me on:

Also check out my talk last year, There and Back Again: The Journey of Product Discovery


Thank you, Swift Conf!

Thank you so much SwiftConf and 7Principles for having me! Slides can be found here.

I also have a GitHub project that I'm going to update. Please feel free to submit content via PR or Issues. https://github.com/davidhoang/design-engineering-with-swift

If you have feedback on how the talk could be improved, I would love it if you would submit a GitHub Issue.


Unknown Mentors

Like most Saturday nights, I was sitting at home and contemplating if I should watch The Abyss. I decided not to (again) and opted to watch a documentary about the making of it while re-factoring and cleaning some files up on my iMac. One of the rituals is going through my Photos app to organize it. This time I decided to start from the beginning. One of the photos that came up was a photo of an old local newspaper where I grew up. It was an article about a mural I painted during my senior year in high school. The theme of it was "Pathways to the Future". It triggered not just the memory of painting the mural, but what I call an unknown mentor.

I created a lot in high school. I admired the work of such people like Boris Vallejo and Brom. My goal in high school was to become an illustrator and make great work like them. I ended up studying visual arts in college, but my career definitely went a different direction in product design. I still draw a lot. However, it was one interaction that I will never forget in my life, and that is an artist by the name of Maria William. You may not be familiar with her as you might with Vallejo and Brom, but I admired her work so much. However, I must confess I cannot remember how I found her. This was a very long time ago...when you still had to call the internet. Whatever happened, I stumbled upon her website and was so inspired by her. When it was time for me to paint the mural, I remember a painting that I loved so much called "Who We Are". I sent her an email (I tried to find the original message but it's probably an old Hotmail (or Excite!) email. I asked her for permission to use the piece as an inspiration for mine (I hope she remembers).

http://www.mariawilliam.net/who.html
http://www.mariawilliam.net/who.html

Now, I must confess to you that I was not the most motivated person in high school. This was the first time I felt a drive and motivation to try to do something great. A lot of it was because I was doing something that I hoped to honor someone I really respected. I didn't want to let William down, but for the first time, didn't want to let myself down.

The mural is long gone now, but that one interaction was such an important part of my life. The internet felt so much smaller then than it does now. In the world of social media, cyberbullying, and trolling, I will always remember an act of kindness from a person who didn't even know me. I don't know if she knew at the time, responding to some random kid on the internet, but her response really sparked a drive in my life.

My passion and focus in digital product design is now still often focused on product vision and following the north star...finding the pathway to the future. I never stayed in touch with Maria, but if I met her, I would say "Thank you for your kindness and sparking something in my life so many years ago."

"Between the worlds of men and make believe I can be found." —Dan Fogelberg

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Supporting Manton Reece's Micro.blog

I recently backed Manton Reece's project Micro.blog. This time of platform needs to be supported more than ever. In the era of fake news and content being infused in centralized social networks, self-hosted content seems lost these days. I would often spend hours reminiscing with friends about what it was like about having micro-communities where people would visit your website to read what you've been up to. Life-long relationships formed from these interactions I had almost two decades ago.

It would be foolish to expect we would all go back to the days where social media and social networking is not a part of the web, but we certainly can take some of the great elements of it and put focus back on it. I still use Twitter, and like from my website years ago, met some great friends and life-long relationships through it. However, Twitter has been a bit polarizing and overwhelming for me recently. I want to focus in and visit sites, take the time to read and go deep on the content...giving it the attention it deserves.

Certainly, micro.blog is not the first of its kind. You might remember app.net having a similar mission, which ultimately didn't make it. It's not just micro-blogging, but micro-communities. We yearn for those close relationships again. You see it with Slack communities forming and iMessage groups. As they say, when a new iMessage group forms, a squad gets its wings.

 

Thank you, Manton, and I am wishing you the best of luck. You can follow my Micro.blog or my self-hosted site at micro.davidhoang.com.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/manton/indie-microblogging-owning-your-short-form-writing

Manton's words on why he created Micro.blog: http://help.micro.blog/2015/why-i-created-this/


I'll be speaking at SwiftConf

I'm excited to share that I'll be speaking at SwiftConf this September! This will be my first time in Germany and I'm so thrilled to visit. I will be speaking about infusing the collaboration between engineering and design. My hope is to work on a side demo project that will hopefully share some cool concepts.


HTC One M8 Campaign

Role: Lead UX Designer
Creative Director: Marie Thacker
Photography: Engle Photo
UX Researcher: Ken Ohnemus

The HTC One M8 was the flagship mobile device and our team work on the launch of the campaign. Though we partnered with third party agencies, the Global Digital Marketing team was the in-house resource to deliver.

The Narrative

 

We recruited models and worked with Tim Engle for the photoshoot. Before that, their personas were created to give us guidance throughout the creative process.

 

Storyboards by Suzanne Ryckman

Photo Shoot

Wireframe Concepts

Interace Concepts

User Research and Testing

Our team would conduct usability testing every week as we iterated on the designs to answer open questions we had during the week: What are the features that potential consumers cared about the most? How do they research what phone to get?

 


The vastness of curiosity

I have been thinking deeply about this quote from the author of one of my favorite books, The Little Prince.

"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

— Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Though this also applies to my personal life, I often reflect on this in the work setting and with design teams. This quote always finds me looking back at Kimber Lockhart's post about fostering a sense of purpose. Everyone has a different drive and motivation, and when you can find people who are purpose-driven, there is an infinite amount of energy because it is their human need to explore and be curious.

If you can find people who are in love with the process and are curious, they will lead you all over the ends of the earth.