UX Design and Filmmaking

Is UX Design and Filmmaking similar?

Is the UX design similar to filmmaking?

Traditionally film has always been from a director point of view of a subject matter.

When crafting user stories for UX, I often wondered where terms like persona, customer journey maps, it sounds like they were taking a page off from storytelling in filmmaking? When trying to present the problem in UX, I see a use of storyboards in to describe user problems or solutions in the customer journey map as a form of visual storytelling describing key events.

There may be some overlaps with UX and filmmaking in these areas.

  1. Both Films and UX Design are trying to tell the user a story, through the product.
  2. Both need to have an audience to showcase your final solution.
  3. You gather user requirement and stakeholders requirements and figure out a solution.
  4. There is an iteration and design phase for each medium
  5. Both Processes are trying to communicate to the user

The only place where film and UX Design differ is that once a film is out it is hard to change after the audience reacts to it. Unless you re-shoot a whole scene again.

But with UX there is an chance to iterate based on user findings and feedback.





I am tired of being a graphic designer.

Are you tired of doing design work for clients?? I goolgle how to stop being a graphic designer and found out some interesting results.

Or being a creative? Maybe you want out maybe you have an itch to make your own thing.

Note: this is just an observation not the rule. It does not reflect the profession of design.

Tired to being an order taker? Doing Freelance? Some see working as a designer, as a Job subservant to a mean boss or client.

I recently was googling about “How to stop being a Graphic Designer” and I found on the top of the search results just that by a designer name James Greig.

I was intrigued that I read on about his complaints and his dealings with depression as he worked as a graphic designer. The post was meant for those that do no want to work serving clients. Nothing wrong with working and helping clients solve their own problems. But some want to scratch their own itch or do something for themselves.

3 Things he writes about: 

Fuck clients, do it for yourself. 

We only have so much time why not use our design skills for our own projects?

Repeat after me: it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

No it does not have to be pixel perfect it can be shoddy. But the catch is to iterate fast not slow. think MVP.

Get your priorities straight. Content is king. Not design.


Some suggestions to do other than Graphic Design:

  • Work at a startup
  • Travel
  • Read about starting a business.

He has an upcoming book about how to stop being a graphic designer and a great newsletter.


However if you still want to be a graphic designer and are 50% happy only read these books.

Apple Rebooting the Mac Pro

Maybe Microsoft Scared them. Apple wants to reboot back its Pro Line.

Not a real prototype from Cult of mac.
Not a real prototype from Cult of mac.

Looks like Apple realised that Innovation for Innovation sake is not a good thing. I wrote before that Apple Lost the Magic with the release of the new Macbook Pro Touch Pad. It seemed like design for design sake when they relased the MacBook Pro Touch and it seem an after though of what Pro Customers needs, those in Video, Graphics and Design. Who use these machines to get the job done.

And when Apple launched the first redesign of the Mac Pro, it was a start of Apple doing something to prove it can do it rather than see what its users need.

Here is the clip of Apple Introducing its Mac Pro. Can’t innovate my Ass.


But a recent article on TechCruch reports that Apple may have boxed themselves into the Cylinder format.

Apple pushes the reset button on the Mac Pro
” If we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates, we’re sorry for that – what happened with the Mac Pro – and we’re going…techcrunch.com

Says Ternus:

I think one of the foundations of that system was the dual GPU architecture… and for certain workflows, certain classes of pro customers, that’s a great solution. But… to Phil’s point, “Pro” is so broad that it doesn’t necessarily fit all the needs of all the pros.

The way the system is architected, it just doesn’t lend itself to significant reconfiguration for somebody who might want a different combination of GPUs… That’s when we realized we had to take a step back and completely re-architect what we’re doing and build something that enables us to do these quick, regular updates and keep it current and keep it state of the art, and also allow a little more in terms of adaptability to the different needs of the different pro customers.

Federighi elaborates:

I think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner, if you will. We designed a system that we thought with the kind of GPUs that at the time we thought we needed, and that we thought we could well serve with a two GPU architecture… that that was the thermal limit we needed, or the thermal capacity we needed. But workloads didn’t materialize to fit that as broadly as we hoped.

Being able to put larger single GPUs required a different system architecture and more thermal capacity than that system was designed to accommodate. And so it became fairly difficult to adjust. At the same time, so many of our customers were moving to iMac that we saw a path to address many, many more of those that were finding themselves limited by Mac Pro through a next generation iMac… And really put a lot of our energy behind that. [But,] while that [upgraded iMac] system is going to be fantastic for a huge number of customers — we want to do more.

The new Mac Pro (According to Phil Schiller)

Introduced in 2013, alongside the catchphrase (delivered by Schiller) “Can’t innovate my ass,” the Mac Pro’s current incarnation is an extremely identifiable cylinder, housing a three-sided chassis to which are mounted dual GPUs, processors and memory chips. The design was bold, fresh and clever — but even at the outset it raised questions about its configurability and the longevity of the design. And here we are four years later without a significant update to its capabilities.

“We’re working on it,” says Schiller. “We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we’re committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers.

“As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a Pro display as well. Now you won’t see any of those products this year; we’re in the process of that. We think it’s really important to create something great for our pro customers who want a Mac Pro modular system, and that’ll take longer than this year to do.”

Yes, that’s right, a new Mac Pro and new external Pro display are both on the way. But they won’t be coming this year.

It’s worth noting that, when asked about a touch display here, in the context of efforts like Microsoft’s Surface Studio, Schiller replies “No.”

What to do Now?

Switch to Windows

Its not that bad I have used both Mac and PC windows 10 is really mature right now.

Or try out a Ryzen and Radeon. Seems AMD is back in the game with new chip designs for gamers and 3D Graphics.

If you need new 3D Graphics and a tower module that allows expansion for things like video editing or other graphic intense work like CAD, PC may be the way to go.

Suck it UP for now.

If you use mac only apps like Sketch or other Graphic Tools.

Right now if you are a Mac User is to Suck it UP till the refresh comes. We do not know what they have planned but I hope since Apple has been using AMD Radeons. I hope they consider AMD for their future Chips.

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The Pivot Method – How to find the Next Big Thing.

We sometimes hear a lot about pivoting, a term used in Silicon Valley Startups. But sometimes do we know what it means and more importantly how to do it and implement it in our lives and careers.

We sometimes hear a lot about pivoting, a term used in Silicon Valley Startups. But sometimes do we know what it means and more importantly how to do it and implement it in our lives and careers.

I recently heard and interview with Jenny Blake, hosted by Brian Clark on his umemployable podcast. I can identify with this. Some times we are just stuck in a place and want to move on to bigger and better things but maybe its just the next thing that we do is just enough, we need to worry less about Pivoting to the NEXT BIG THING. 

We need to find our first footing and then we can move on.

The method Jenny used to describe the pivot, sounds a lot like UX Process or prototyping methods, such as the one listed below. We dream ideate and prototype to get feedback. This can be done for our careers too.

  1. Dream and align on the desired future and the specific challenge you might want to tackle
  2. Discover underlying needs and insights for the users / future employers.
  3. Ideate and build “prototypes” the kind of jobs we might be skilled to do.
  4. Prototype / Pilot solutions with real users to get feedback
  5. Launch lessons learnt and decide on next steps

Take a go at looking at your pivot Profile on her website (http://www.pivotmethod.com/profile/) to see what kind of Pivot Person you are. I scored as a Measured Pivoter.

Other good resource to read that impacted me in the way I look at careers. (Amazon Associates Link)

The Startup of You by Reid Hoffmann


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It’s all about the content? But Content is hard.

Creating content is hard.  But yet content is still important. Just like filling up a glass.

“Making films is easy what to make films about is hard” – George Lucas

“Its more important to learn what to make movies about than how to make movies” – J.J. Abrams

Content is Hard

The two quotes were from filmmakers that made successful films, what does it have to do with content or writing or making visuals? Content is more so important than the visuals.

I remembered a time when I was researching about making movies, I have had made a couple of short movies or motion videos, and I was so focused on Techniques, Camera moves, Color-Correction software, Graphics creation that I forgot that its the “Content” or message that was going to be transmitted should take more importance than Design or Interaction or Moving Images.

Water in a Jug

A Framework for thinking about a Content Framework is “Water” that goes into the “Jug” (Think of it as a vessel where our content gets distributed). The “Water” or Content is what you put into the “Vessel”. But if the water does not taste good it does not matter if it came presented in the most expensive case.

In the CUBI UX Model, content is just as important or more so than just interaction, design or business models. We can have the best looking site, but if the content does not resonate with the audience they might not stay or click on the sign up button.

This is a lesson that took me a long time (like 2 years) to learn. It was not apparent at first but I am beginning to see it now, that the development of content if done well the rest of the other parts can flow easily.

Create for Humans

So back to making films, a badly shot movie with good Content has a higher change to resonate with an audience than a perfectly technical executed one. Thus like the quotes the filmmakers said, Creating content is hard. It is easier to write or make for a machine, harder to communicate to another human being. Even I am still learning that, at the end of the day it needs to resonate with your audience.

So when making content for humans, some clues are already left behind by others. If we look at those famous blogs or YouTube videos the creator is always speaking in His “Own Voice” trying to make connection. It takes a while, but in a longer run when we discover our own voice and become ourselves we can make a better connection through our content.

Reading Links:





What’s the fastest way to get better at drawing?

Image source: http://karryho.deviantart.com/art/Dave-Franco-Pencil-Sketch-342037383
Image source: http://karryho.deviantart.com/art/Dave-Franco-Pencil-Sketch-342037383

Saw a question online about and artist trying to look for tips to get better at drawing and art.

Set your expectation and goals first.

It depends on what you mean better.

Do you want to be better than High school art or you want to be better so that you can work as a professional illustrator?

Deciding 1st what you want out of being better will help you set you on a path to draw better. And find the right help.

You won’t go from 0 to pro in a period but setting on the right path is more important with the right goal and destination in mind.

Remember your mileage vary. Everyone is starting at a different place, and have different life situations.

Can anyone without a talent in Art Draw?

I used to think that drawing was a spiritual thing, and only a select few are good at it but until I went to the FZD School of design, I saw myself and some peers go from 0-5 in the year program we were there.

There needs to be proper instruction for myself and some we needed a classroom structured environment to be guided along a path to get to where we needed to go.

It takes many hours to be good at a craft and as long you are drawing everyday, you will cross over the minimum viable visual standard of Good Enough. Even if you can only dedicate a short time a day you will improve by a bit, always remember to check your goals and what you want out of being better at drawing.

Lets start drawing

The best way is to start. Don’t be intimidated with photoshop. Star with a sketchbook and pen. I have written a post about the Benefits of Analog Sketching.

I like Pilot HiTec C4.

P.S Don’t compare with others progress everyone is different and starting at a different place. I have included a short progress of my art over the years.

UX and Career Switch. Should I switch careers into UX?

Are you thinking of doing UX as a Career? Want to make a switch but are unsure if the course is right for you? Someone emailed me to find out. Here is my reply.

Want to do UX? Career Switching?

Should I go to school like General Assembly, to learn UX?

Is it time for a Career Change?

Are you thinking of doing UX as a Career? Want to make a switch but are unsure if the course is right for you? 

Recently I was contacted by someone interested to do General Assembly UX Course in his city, he email me asking what I felt about General Assembly UXDI course which I have completed last year (2016). 

For this person, it was career switching from Marketing to UX, and he had quite a few questions regarding the course and job prospects as a UX Designer.

Hope the information compiled below can be of use if you are thinking of making a career switch.

Some points to Note: 

My experience is from the SG Campus so it might defer but some general questions can still apply if you are considering a UX School. I am also relatively new to the UX field having come from a background in Visual / Graphics Design and some software engineering.

Questions Asked:

I studied studio art but not have a strong portfolio, but am still interested in studying UX, to become a “UX Designer”. What challenges will I face if I do not have formal design training?

Art or Design is not a requirement to do the course but it is helpful to know some basic Visual or Graphic Design, since it is part of UX. You will have to eventually be dealing with how humans interact with Graphical Interfaces so a basic knowledge of color theory or layouts and pattersn would be useful. The course covers basics of Graphics design and it is good enough to make designs for UX/UI.

Some classmates were programmers or financial consultants that do not have training in Design but were able to make recommendations, UX/UI prototypes with the limited design knowledge once they were through with the lesson.

What is the overall Course and Experience like for the GA UX Immersive Course?

If you want a review about a detail General Assembly Immersive Course review here is a great write-up: https://medium.com/@elfox/should-i-take-general-assembly-s-user-experience-design-immersive-course-3a1a033e16f9#.1yfc5vxee

But generally the courses are structured similarly around the globe. Instructors are picked from the local industry so that the teach would be able to align with what the industry needs.

At the end of the course you only get a certificate, is it enough to get a job? It depends on how much you can network and meet people in your area needing UX Design and sending out your resumes into the Job Market.

Personally I loved the teamwork and skills you learn working on projects with a deadline. You really have to learn to have empathy for the user and ask good questions to find the real problem. 

We were tasked to write a blog for each project and document our process, which made me want to learn more about writing and communication skills which can be more important than just having Photoshop or Sketch skills.

Is the GA UXDI course a reliable method of entry into the UX field?

There is no sure path to be a UX Designer. Most courses only teaches the bare minimum on a subject. There is a need for continual learning and picking up projects or self-starting your own UX projects.

GA UXDI program is very fast paced they load a lot of information that is useful, but it is still surface level.

One plus side in getting into the industry, there was a job fair at the end of the course where each student will get to showcase their project to prospective employees. It was a good introduction to various startups or agencies looking to hire UX Designers.

How difficult is it to find an entry-level position or internship in UX/UI design? 

The field is still relatively new here where I live, depending on the city where GA resides it can be very mature. But based on my observations most Starting-Out UX jobs involve some UI work or Graphics Design of web interfaces.

Mostly it depends on your portfolio to get the job. You have to keep searching for an employer to hire you, and a bit of luck in the job market.

How I ended up at General Assembly.

I was actually exploring doing a year long master program at Hyper Island, but felt that it was a bit too long as I was out of work in early 2016. I heard about UX from various websites and decided to check out an introduction workshop at General Assembly. I was intrigued and decided that a 3 month course was just about enough time to see if UX was a field I would continue to venture on forward.

The school is what you make of it, it is a good introduction to UX and digital. But it is not exhaustive enough to give you the skills you need to be an advance practitioner.

Closing Thoughts:

Some things you may want to think about before signing up for a course. 

Why do you Want to Do UX? Do ask yourself, are you bored at work? Need a pay raise? Everyone has different goals coming into school.

What is your own End Goal? Is it graduate school? More in-depth design theory? Being a UX Practitioner?

What else can I learn besides UX? General Assembly made me write a medium blog and its one other key skill that I learned to brush up communication writing, and it made me better as a designer, which i am still going to improve it.

Most advice will get old, things change the course is being tweaked for every batch and like most school things upgrade Instructors come and go and life situation changes. What worked for me may not work for you.

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Using Trello as an Idea Board

Trello may be know for its project management and task list management tools. But its User Interface seem to be based off an actual Post-It metaphor, which is good to generate or organise ideas.

A Digital Post-It note realised.

Recently Trello got accquired by Atlassian software. Good for them.

One tip I would share using trello is how you can use Trello as an idea board. Even if it is just for yourself.

I used to write in Evernote and prior to that in my notebooks. But I find that as things grow a single page document is not enough.

Even with endless pages I find that I cannot make comparisons or link them visually ideas and concepts.

see all ideas in one place.

Trello seems to use the Post-It metaphor in a digital space. Which is good if you do things like affinity mapping or want a broad overview of all the ideas in one place. Try doing that on a physical wall and you run out space.

How I use it?

I usually start off using Trello to collect links articles into various cards or writing into the comments section of each card. I create new boards for a new topic such as Working Ideas or Wishlists.

Use Checklist to quickly write ideas in the card as bullet points of things you want to see in each card.

I will then close Trello after collecting some notes, and re-look at it another day and seeing all the cards in the dashboard and continue to edit or change things around.

A Trello Card in Detail.
A Trello Card in Detail.

One thing not Replicated

The only thing lacking is the ability to scribble on mutiple noter bookmark a card or link cards together by tags.

But overall its a good system to bring your Post-It Notes thinking into a digital realm.

Do Check out the Trello Inspiration board for some cool ideas to kickstart your personal idea brainstorm.

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New year Resolutions 2017? Think in Themes Instead.

Why setting goals may not work out and try thinking in themes instead for this year.

Thinking in themes instead of Goals.

Something I have been thinking for a while, I want to try this year instead of setting goals it to go with themes based on the goals. 

Why Themes instead of goals?

On Soctt Adams blog, he has written about goals being useless. I myself have experienced this, setting a weight loss goal to lose 10 KG might not be practical. After a first month of trying it does not sustain. The article continues to setup a system instead which substitute your willpower with knowledge.

Themes are Open ended.

Back to themes, why it may be better to start thinking that way for your goals. Setting a theme maybe more effective. Themes allows open ended paths you can take. It allows course redirection if things don’t work out. Yet overall you know you are still heading in the direction. As long as we are moving in the direction we will meet with that big audacious goal at the end.

But Goals are still good

It’s a result that you want to achieve, it is a target that is measurable.

Goals give us the the end result we want to achieve. So by paring a Theme with a goal you can see if the path you are taking will reach eventually.

Lets set some themes

January is almost over. Lets make it a good year by thinking about themes and goals together and finding the right path for yourself. Allow course redirection when needed if it does not work out.

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Creativity Needs Focus

How does one get the ideas, the spark the inspiration? I believe good ideas come from some Quite time alone to pause think and reflect. But it gets increasingly difficult in our distracted culture.

I find that personally it is better to carve some protected time to work on those ideas even if it is just for about an hour.