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Hot Studio founder Maria Giudice and her exceptional multi-disciplinary design team "make the complex beautifully clear" for web clients like eBay, Gap, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Maria focuses the studio's work on people-centered design to create amazing user experiences on the web and in print. See how they apply "collective intelligence" through the phases of discovery, strategy, design, and building. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside one of the coolest design firms around.
Katrina Atcorn: When it comes to really creative work, software often gets in the way. So when we are in the strategy phase, the tools that we use are often a whiteboard and a marker or conversation, or sketches on the notebook. One thing that's nice about card sorting is it's tactile and you can move stuff around and it's just names of content written on a index card, so it doesn't feel too permanent so it's easy to kind of get in there and mess it up.
Those kinds of things I find really help people think creatively and free their minds a little bit. And then once we have a sense of where we are going, that's when the ideas get drawn up in InDesign, or in OmniGraphal or in Visio or whatever tool we need to be using. Renee Anderson: In discovery, it's mostly about having conversations. So the tools that we use in discovery are ourselves and it's just mostly about having a good conversation with people to draw out the information that we need to answer the questions.
Michael Polivka: The main thing that we are trying to really have consistency on is the visual design review. We give a lot of consistent tool for the visual designers to do their QA. On the other side of working with the developers, some of them have built their own QA tools, some have worked a lot in some things that are off-the-shelf and others may be a little more loose, like they're little scrappier, and we've got a week. Henrik Olsen: We primarily as visual designers, we will work on Macintosh, using a lot of Adobe's products. Using Photoshop is a big one. A lot of our work happens in Photoshop and then some of the work to compliment that is in Illustrator as well and so designers are working with those two applications a lot.
We also do a bit of Flash work here in terms of getting the behaviors worked out for how we want. If there is an interaction that's going to be going on, we may mock it up in Flash just to see how something will animate on and on roll over, what's the behavior, what's the-- if there is a sort of a gravity to it or not, we will mock that up. Some people are using the Wacom tablet because they like to use that way and some people are working with mouse and so forth.
But you know, other than that I think it's just kind of the standard set of tools that a Web designer should know.
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