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AAF District 10 Advention 2017 (Part 2)

Erin Smith

As we continued into the breakouts on Friday, we heard from Doug Renfro with Renfro Foods. (BTW, we all get jars of salsa in our swag bags to take home!) Doug explained that Renfro's has been able to stay relevant in a very saturated market by staying on top of trends and utilizing strategies to help their small company excel. He suggested using social media because "it's practically free," monitoring and watching your media channels closely and using what you have and making it work for you. Perseverance, tenacity and stubbornness can be good things!

During lunch, we heard from Jason Dailey of Facebook as he discussed the future of mobile video. He stated that on average people check Facebook 14 times a day, and they consume media faster on mobile. And despite what you may think, people are less distracted by their surroundings when they are viewing on mobile, versus viewing on a larger screen. He gave 4 "musts" for mobile video on Facebook. 

1. You have to capture people's attention quickly. Use the most captivating elements first, like people and faces. Put the hero of the video or ad front and center. Incorporate your brand identity early and use engaging post copy!

2. People want to be able to view it with the sound off, so tell your story visually. Use text and graphics to deliver the message. Use captions. 

3. Frame your visual story. (Most people don't rotate their phones to watch the video!) Explore different frames (square or viewed vertically). Highlight key elements and create visual surprises.

4. Play more! Experiment to learn. Make it as short as it can be but as long as it NEEDS to be. Push the boundaries. Break up the visual space. 

If you'd like to see how your video will look on mobile, visit Facebook's Creative Hub to test them out! Check to see if it captures your attention in the first few seconds. Can you watch with the sound off and still understand it? Is it framed for mobile? Does it contain thumb-stopping creative?

After lunch, our breakouts included Haidy Francis, Alex Pierce and Laura Smith. Haidy Francis is a product designer at IBM working in the cyber security division. Although she started as a successful graphic designer, her focus at IBM is to lead a team of 30 designers and make sure that the user experience is the most efficient it can be, while still being visually appealing. She challenged us to constantly ask "why" and decide if we are really solving the right problem for our clients. We need to reflect often. Observe. Take notes. She also suggested some UI podcasts like Hacking UI and the Breakfast User Experience

Alex Pierce is a user interface designer and WEBBYs judge. He gave us the 6 principals to follow for user experience (which are also the 6 categories that WEBBYs judges use). 

1. Content is king! It needs to engaging, relevant, concise and leave them wanting more. Content should always come first! Your design should work around and compliment your content. 

2. Structure and Navigation. It needs to be consistent from page to page and intuitive. Users should be able to get anywhere with ease!

3. Visual Design. Looks matter. Pay attention to detail and aesthetics. It needs to be relevant to your audience and content. And if it's more aesthetically pleasing, it gives off the impression that it's easier to use. 

4. Functionality. It needs to be fast, browser independent, device agnostic and accessible. Basically, it needs to WORK! Make sure it's easily accessible and legible. Remember to design for your audience. 

5. Interactivity. UI allows your user to engage with the content in a meaningful way. They're participants, not spectators. 

6. Innovation. Push the boundaries. If your idea is strong and the technology supports it, go for it! 

Then Alex gave us some bonus tips. 

  1. Provide value (Design with no content is just decoration!)
  2. Do your homework (user research)
  3. Execution>idea
  4. Sweat the details
  5. Be realistic (budget, scope)
  6. Eat. Your dog food (use your own product, empathy thinking)

Next week's post will include Michael Doret and Landon Ledford! Stay tuned!