Sandra Davila

Product strategist and user experience designer. I work at Code and Theory and Queens Museum of Art.

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  • Different kind of Research

    Yesterday I attended the seminar, “A Different Kind of Research: Gaining Strategic Insights Through Listening Labs" by Mark Hurst organized by the Usability Professionals’ Association. The seminar consisted of two live demonstrations of his research methodology, where the audience contributed to analyze the facts, then the speaker shared the secret of his technique.

    What is a listening labs? Nothing new, it consist of doing informal interviews allowing the user to elaborate and lead on what their needs are to exhibit the usability problems of a product. We all heard of this, we read on Cooper’s book, but what makes Hurst technique unique? That he encourages researchers to have VP’s and management present during the process. This makes UX issues and overall problems evident to management.

    He argues that the labs help user experience designers make stronger cases about improvements to products. I’m planning to do one soon, maybe instead of using usertesting.com we can have some in-house people use a product we want to implement and we can  have the Sales team as an audience.

  • We are only ants

    I’ve being able to squish some art visits in a hectic schedule. First I went to the Armory Show in NYC. Then I went to Tino Seghal’s piece at the Guggenheim. Even tough not directly comparable, I will like to share my departure reaction for both events.

    After the Armory show I felt exhausted, dirty, I felt I had being strapped to the clockwork orange chair and my eyes were kept open to appreciate an excessive amount of extravagant work. My pupils were dilated/tired. I felt alienated, excluded from the “art world”. But you realize that this show is not prepared for you, all of it is mounted for potential art buyers. Is all about the art market.

    Opposite feeling was my exit from From Tino Seghal piece. I left Guggenheim relaxed, noticing the hidden composition of random things. Accomplice of bigger things, small questions that make you realize how small we are.

    I remember once my sister told me a metaphor, comparing humans with ants. Humans as part of colonies that operate as a unified entity, collectively working together. But then there are some ants that seem not to fit, that raise their antennas to realize that there is something else out there in the world. My sister was trying to motivate me to be different. But when I heard this metaphor all I could think off is the analogy that I’m like an ant. Is so comforting. I’m as irrelevant as an ant. Kind of a nothing matters feeling. This is what the Tino Seghal piece made me feel. I’m only an ant, and all it matters is love. Progress comes little by little but only if there is love. There are many other details I enjoyed of the piece but this was my favorite, looking down the spiral to find that beautiful couple making out. From top they seemed so small: like two ants. After that I sat with my partner and continued the conversation initiated by the performance piece. We walked through central park and enjoyed the first strong and warm sunlight.

  • From Web Design to Web 2.0

    My first Web Design class is done. Beware designers two of my students are now offering their professional web design services :). There is still much to learn, and tough I made my best to try to give them a solid base is never enough.

    The websites of my students are here:
    http://newnewyorkers.org

    I’m now teaching Web Design 2.0. We all hate the acronym but can’t help to use it. Well my students made great progress, and are now using thumblr as a blog platform. Is working pretty well.

    [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”432” caption=”web 1. “][/caption]
    [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”432” caption=”web 2.0. “][/caption]

  • Personas, Name and Identity.
    The issues of having only a first name and last name to identify us seems absurd. Many Americans mock of non-US names which often include your mother surname a second name (and not only the initial) to identify a person. The article "Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List" reminded me of a project I did called Modular Identity. It was a magnetized card id which allow you to easily interchange all it’s elements.

    Identity Module from Irma Davila on Vimeo.

    Identity Module. Project for class.

  • I'm seriously considering buying this font.

    Yes I fall. After completing the What type are you, this font was suggested. And to be sincere I love it.

    Maybe, maybe maybe

  • 2009 in Projects.

    Tisch Salute 2009

    As the Graphic Designer for two years in the Tisch Student Affairs Office, I worked creating print material: programs, booklets, brochures, postcards, email templates. I design all the printed and graphic material for the Tisch Salute 2008 and 2009, the graduation event of the Arts School at New York University. The design for this event was inspired by this wheal of “hope” but still uncertainty. Graduating from an arts program in 2009 is a challenge. And this challenge is portrayed by this interconnected circle, that is represented by chaos but still clean and beautiful.
    Entrance Ticket
    Program
    Podium (yeah that’s Whoopi Goldberg)
    Elim at NYU Commencement

    ITP Spring Show

    I showed my thesis Impreso at the ITP Spring Show.
    Explaining to Ari how impreso works.
    Screenshot of the PDF of my Facebook Wall

    Panama Videos

    Finishing what we started… In March 2008 me and other 10 ITP students went to Panama to an “Listening and Observation Tour”. After getting back many project proposals arise from the trip but we couldn’t find a way to bring it together. So this summer me and Christian Cerrito, Matt Young, Amanda Bernsohn and Eduardo Lytton, got together and created 3 short documentary-style videos about findings of our trip. You can see them here:
    Biological Corridors
    Reforestation and Rural Development
    Sustainable Building Practices

    Registory and Trip to Guatemala

    http://blog.registory.org/ See our blog From the Designing for Unicef Registory was developed focusing on improving Maternal Health. Using mobile technology, Registory’s central goal is to design and develop a data collection system for birth registrations in rural and remote areas where oral tradition prevail. Sandra Davila, Ari Joseph, Michelle Mayer, Andrea Dulko and Jonathan Ystad conceived RegiStory. The innovation team and ITP interest on the projects that emerged on the Designing for Unicef class, allowed us to work with the Guatemalan UNICEF Office. The main purpose of the collaboration was to gain real experience by working on the field offices and develop further the projects that we prototyped in class. The Guatemalan field office is looking for innovative and useful ways to use technology, mainly SMS in projects. They are currently working on two projects: a data collection for children nutrition; and a storytelling project: Mensajes para la Vida for adolescents. With the help of ITP and the Innovation team we were contacted with the field office and planed a visit to Guatemala.

    Computer Literacy and Web Design Class

    As you may have read in the blog I thought a course on computer literacy for Spanish speaking immigrants. I had a lot of insight in this class of the process in which we learn how to interact with computers and this class has inspired a lot of what I do. I stop giving the class because of my busy schedule and when intended to come back I was offered to give a class at the Queens Museum of Art. Even tough the class is still in spanish my groups and my class is really different. While at the computer literacy class I was focusing in basic interactions, at the Web Design class we are trying to learn how to write html. Is really gratifying process and I’ve being offered to give another section of the WEb Design class next year :).

    Max & Helena

    This year I designed the logo, dvd cover and poster of the short film Max & Helena. The film centers around food, and I wanted to emphasize that by creating a patter of a tablecloth. Also, the film stands out for the use of blue and red. The logo idea comes from the restaurant metaphor of the love of a waitress, playing with the H making it look like a tray.
    Logo:
    Dvd Cover:

    BeSeen

    Even though this project is still in development, I worked together with Eduardo Lyton, Amanda Bernshon and Steven Litt to create a prototype for the BESEEN project. Which is a non traditional interactive documentary. BESEEN aims to partner with innovative non-profit organizations to build their media capacity and facilitate the effective use of visual imagery. The first prototype we are working on is for the Ashoka Foundation. This project is still in development so I can share that much. But I can tell you is being a challenging project. The launch page looks so far like this:

    CIAIP. Visual Design.

    In collaboration with Alison Cornyn (Picture Projects and Thesis Advisor) and Amanda Bernshon (Project Manager) I have being working on the design of a collaborative site for the Community of Innovations for Aging in Place. Hopefully this project will be release next year. Here is a screenshot of a proposal I have done for them.

    Interactive Designer

    The most important of all work is the one I have done at Interactive One. My job is more conceptual that visual. I work closely with product managers, visual designers, engineers, member services, marketing and sales to develop design solutions that meet the goals of the business and the needs of the user. My responsibility is to conceptualize and develop user-centered design solutions that meet the user’s needs and goals of the business and organize site content to increase functionality (similar to Information Architectures). I create diagrams, wireframes, storyboards and sitemaps.
  • Update!

    I will like to officially announce another Blog I’m creating for the class Introduction to Web Design.

    lejos.us/qma

    I’m teaching this class at the Queens Museum of Art. The most rewarding moment was this weekend when a group of my students email me really happy that they finish the assignment: This is the picture: [caption id=”attachment_552” align=”alignnone” width=”300” caption=”Group of Students after finishing homework”][/caption]

    In other things I’m currently working as an Interactive Designer at Interactive One. I’ve being here for 3 months so far. One of the main websites that we work for is http://blackplanet.com a social network.

  • Cencom Conference. Advertising: Branded Content
    The conference Advertising: Branded Content focused on strategies and trends that advertisers use to keep the audiences involved. It made emphasis mainly in the need for branded content and entertainment from advertisers. It was an informal moderated conversation about marketing.

    The speakers:

    Kurt Brokaw , Professor of Advertising, The New School Jack Myers , Media Economist, Investment Advisor, M.E.D.I.Advisory Group LLC Aimee Duell , Director of Activation, PHD (Omnicom) Christopher Vollmer , author, Always On: Advertising, Marketing, and Media in an Era of Consumer Control It started with a short film of Scorcese. The short film is Hitchcock-inspired cinema advertisement made for Catalan winemakers Freixenet. JWT the marketing agency behind this project is known for “creating ideas for clients that people want to spend time with”. Some of the strategies and highlights of the conference were:
  • Online video is where the money is going. It has had a 20% growth and is mainly where the money from migrating advertisers is coming from.
  • Reaching Bloggers to push branded content.
  • Convince advertisers not only to create branded entertainment but utilitarian and educational content.
  • Use interactivity and social media to offer discounts and coupons.
  • Advertisers should also use online platforms to target smaller audiences who are passionate for their brand.
  • Invest on mobile advertising. Kurt Brokaw mentioned that the future of advertising is on mobile media. Foursquare the iphone application was mentioned as an interested platform for advertisers.


  • Tips
  • Each client has different success metrics…
  • Advertisers see social media as “free media”
  • The brand has to bring something to the table for consumers on online advertising. Advertising need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.
  • In my opinion the conference lacked of structure or even a vision of online advertising. The speakers mentioned that agencies are anxious about the future of adverting in general. Even so I will like to share some insights and statements.

    Resources and Examples

    Quaker campaign and alliance with Top Chef Mofilm pioneer of user generated video competitions for major brands, P&G to pay publishers based on online engagement Discovery Shark Week experience exploiting the sentiment of fear integrating Facebook Connect. Examples of Entertainment that work as brands: Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Top Chef.
  • Play

    [caption id=”attachment_543” align=”alignnone” width=”403” caption=”Go to webpage with pictures :)”][/caption]

  • ITP Talk

    I will be presenting today the outcomes of my trip in Guatemala in the Friday Special Event Talks at ITP.

    Special Event

    Friday, September 25.
    Designing for UNICEF
    6:30pm - 8pm
    ITP room 447

    Designing for UNICEF is an ITP class taught by ITP faculty member Clay Shirky in collaboration with the innovations lab at UNICEF (Christopher Fabian, Erica Kochi, and Seth Herr). This past summer, 4 teams of ITP students traveled around the world extending their work in ‘Designing for UNICEF’ to research in the field.

    Sonaar Luthra (ITP ‘10) and Zoe Fraade Blanar (ITP ‘10) will talk about Addis Ababa and the Water Canary John Dimatos (ITP ‘09) will talk about Cairo and the Water Canary Ari Joseph (ITP ‘10) and Sandra Dávila (ITP ‘09) will talk about Guatemala and mobile tech in the field Diego Rioja (ITP ‘10) will talk about Kampala and radio based mobile tech

    This Friday, find out what it was like talking to NGOs, working with UNICEF field offices, and extending the ITP class experience into a research project tested and vetted by the very agents and environments that are commonly used as design parameters in the class setting.

    Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) Tisch School of the Arts New York University 721 Broadway, 4th Floor New York NY 10003

  • Cut/Paste

    Exercise of Copy/Paste I designed this excersise to practice cut and paste. The students will have to organized by number the steps of cut and paste.

    Today I’m explaining copy and paste to my students. They are having a hard time understanding the arrow for select and just the clicks in the mouse.

    In other classes I used to teach my students the double click, but some had a really hard time doing the double click. I took a suggestion from another professor, to use the right click of the mouse. But right click is also difficult, because there is a delay time until you process that you need to do it, but is less frustrating. So instead of calling it right click I’m going to call it ¡Clock!. I want to try to ad sounds to the interactions my students have with the computer. So in this images you will find three conventions of sounds.
    1. ¡Click! that stands for left click
    2. ¡Clock! that stands for right click
    3. ¡Shhhh! that stands for holding the left click of the mousse in order to select.

    [caption id=”attachment_529” align=”alignnone” width=”300”][/caption]
    1. Posicionar su cursor.
    Posicioné su cursor llevando el ratón hacia el inicio del texto que desea seleccionar. Dé un ¡CLICK!
    2. Seleccionar el texto deseado.
    Sin soltar el click izquierdo (¡SHHH!), deslizé su ratón hasta llegar al final del texto que desea seleccionar.

    [caption id=”attachment_530” align=”alignnone” width=”300”][/caption]
    3. ¡Clock!
    Haga !CLOCK¡ (presione el botón derecho del ratón).
    4. ¡Click! en Cut.
    Aparecé un menú, seleccioné presionando el botón izquierdo del ratón, la opción Cut (Cortar).


    5. Posicionar su cursor en lugar de destino.
    Posicioné su cursor llevando el ratón hacia el lugar dónde desea pegar el texto. Dé un ¡CLICK!
    6. ¡Clock!
    Haga !CLOCK¡ (presione el botón derecho del ratón).

    [caption id=”attachment_532” align=”alignnone” width=”300”][/caption]
    7. ¡Click! en Paste
    Aparecé un menú, seleccioné presionando el botón izquierdo del ratón, la opción Paste (Pegar). 8. ¡Listo!
    Debe de haber pegado el texto que corto anteriormente.

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