Native Design is a leading integrated experience design company that delivers both industrial and interaction design solutions to many of the worlds’ leading brands including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, HP, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley and the BBC. They are based in London, San Francisco and Amsterdam.
I was employed as their lead creative technologist, helping them create the cutting edge, intelligent products of tomorrow that help disrupt key industries and markets. The majority of my client-based work for is still under very strict NDAs but involved working on key Hewlett Packard, Pernod Ricard, Bowers and Wilkins and SFR products.
In addition to the client-centric creative technology i was also responsible for more Technical Direction-orientated roles like sourcing, recruiting and managing their Windows, Android, IOS and Arduino developers, establishing a secure, scalable developer environment (GitHub Enterprise Edition, Jira, HipChat), setting up a Dev, Staging and Production (EC2) server and the associated work flows to support it. I also technically vetted all their internal Labs projects, installed a company-wide knowledge sharing platform and assisted the directors, both technically and creatively, on many successful pitches too.
Whilst lead Creative Technologist at Native Design, the integrated design agency, I was required to oversee the technical and development aspects of three new Nexus devices for HP – a 7, 8 and 10 inch tablet.
The majority of the project was the modification of the Android platform to make it more aligned with the HP brand and improve certain core experiences through its customisation. This fascinating, yet uncommon area of Android, included rewriting and redesigning core aspects of the Andrid core including First Boot, Standard Boot, Lock Screen, Home Screen, Widget, App Drawer and System Fonts, Colours and Effects. Many interactions had to be done as the fine tuning of aspects like animations were critical to the products performance with the aim of producing the best android experience without impacting the quality of the HP brand at any stage, especially on a new product range.
These Android powered devices had a range of hardware specifications and each experience had to be tailored and optimised accordingly. HP had a global team working on the hardware and compliance aspects so we had almost daily contact and numerous face to face meetings with HP’s senior management throughout the project. The project was run in an agile, sprint-based environment that utilised both GitHub and HipChat.
Bowers and Wilkins :: UI, UX & Mobile Applications
Whilst working as the lead Creative Technologists at Native Design I was involved in numerous projects for and client meetings with their client Bowers and Wilkins (B&W) the leading speaker and headphone manufacturer. My work is under a very strict NDA and the products will not be out for another year or so. I am permitted to say that the products both involved JukeBlox and BluetoothLE and services such as Spotify, one of B&W’s lead partners, AirPlay by Apple and both Android and IOS Mobile applications.
Whilst Natives Lead Creative Technologist I worked for SFR, Frances leading telephone, mobile and broadband provider (part of Vivendi the group). The projects I was involved in ranged from the research, design and build of their next generation set-top box featuring plenty of ground-breaking entertainment and home-orientated technologies accessed via an advanced HTML5 UI. The majority of my work was based on the User Interface and User Experience side and involved numerous tasks including Prototyping UIs, investigating technologies, recruiting the necessary IOS, Android and HTML5 developers and regularly visiting France to discuss and present the progress with the client SFR. In addition i was also responsible for evaluating and improving their range of cloud based business SAS services.
Please note the images displayed are not the products created as they are under strict NDA and will not be released until 2016.
HP Sprout :: Lead Creative Technologist
One of the most interesting projects i worked on whilst at Native Design, the leading Integrated Product designs, was to completely redesign and attempt to reinvent the concept of a traditional home-based pc for their client, HP. The work done was under strict NDA but the product is due to be released at CES 2015. The platform was Windows 8 but the majority of features required constant communication with Microsoft in order to enquire whether certain features and settings could be modified or enhanced. The project included the research and implementation of an extra ordinary array of technology, and with it challenges, including dual Windows 8 touch screens, object recognition and gesture and voice control, Bluetooth LE etc. The project also included the creation of a modified Windows 8 experience so I also was responsible for recruiting the necessary XAML developers. The project was run in an agile, sprint-based environment that utilised both GitHub and HipChat.
In addition i was also involved in the creation of concepts for the HP 2015 Laptop range.
It also was considered one of the top 10 items launched at CES 2015:
Philips :: Remote Training Platform Prototype
Whilst Technical Director at Closer, the experiential marketing arm of the Billington Cartmell Group, I was required to prototype a Remote Training Platform for their lead client, the Electronics giant, Philips. The web-based application enabled Philips marketeers to login and create content in the form of video sales promotion training tutorials and related questionnaires in order to access the quality of the users understanding of the training video. The marketeers could then simply select the people form their employee database that they wished to train and send them a secure link to log in and be tracked, SCORM and other related eLearning tools were not required.
Panasonic :: European Roll-out for Community Platform
Whilst at Brave, part of the Billington Cartmell group of companies, I was involved with a few significant projects for their lead client, Panasonic. The Panasonic Lumix G is their top selling prosumer camera and Brave had been running there very successful ‘Lumix Lifestyle’ UK community site based in WordPress that enabled professionals and amateurs alike to share images, techniques and complete in competitions all in a helpful, non sales orientated environment. Due to the success of the community the client decided to roll out a similar platform across all their European territories. My involvement was to do a technical and code analysis on the existing platform that had evolved over time with numerous developers and make recommendations as to how the sites look and feel could be transported whilst completely overhauling the back-end to make more flexible, secure and future proof.
The clients main requirement was to be easily able to manage the communities from within their local territories and seamlessly turn on or off localised content, assets and functionality within the shared platform. My recommendation was to use BuddyPress combined with a host of other bespoke and premium plugins on a multisite installation of WordPress.
Dyson :: AirBlade Facebook Campaign
Whilst Technical Director at Brave (part of the Billington Cartmell Group of companies) I oversaw their client, Dyson’s Facebook Campaign to nominate public restrooms in America for an AirBlade sponsored makeover! Users could self nominate a restroom by adding it to a searchable database then leave comments and votes on it. The leader-board mechanic dictate which restrooms needed making over and the winners received a full refurb including Dysons revolutionary AirBlade hand driers. My role as Technical Director meant i had visibility of the concept pre-client allowing me to rework some of the mechanics due to challenges such as pre-moderation, data integrity through spelling mistakes etc and UX considerations.
Sennheiser :: Labyrinth Collaboration Event and Facebook App
Billington Cartmell had a very successful music and performance arm, developed to marry brands and celebrities in a complementary marketing synergy. Artists like Plan B, Kylie Minogue and Dynamo teamed up with brands like Lucozade and Lexus for some award winning collaborative campaigns. One of these collaborations involved Sennheiser, a client, and Labyrinth teaming up to target the booming teenage headphone market that was increasingly dominated by brands like Beats Audio. I oversaw the Facebook competition from a technical perspective in which winners could spend time in the studio with Labyrinth and then assisted in the R&D on the event side which involved professional photographers compiling branded adverts emulating the campaign with pictures of attendees in the place of Labyrinth.
Panasonic :: 'Flag Tags' Facebook and Mobile App
Panasonic is the official worldwide Olympic partner in the Audio Video Equipment Category, and whilst working as Technical Director of Brave I was responsible for technically overseeing their 2012 Olympics campaign, Flag Tags.
Flag Tags allowed people around the world to show support for their country in the London 2012 Games by projecting a map onto the users face, applying a displacement filter and allowing it to be creatively edited to produce unique and personal effects. These could then be shared (‘Share the Passion’ was the strap line) and / or submitted to your nations gallery for a Flag Tag country leader board. The campaign started within Facebook as a Flash / Php App and due to its unprecedented success it was then ported to mobile for both iOS and Android. Over 50,000 people globally took part with no additional supportive advertising proving the viral success of a succinct idea.
As Technical Director my input included working out the back-end, CDN and server infrastructure, researching and experimenting with the flash developer the best way to achieve the displaced flag effect without it looking ‘stuck on’, selecting the appropriate third party for the mobile build and assisting with QA throughout.