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2014 Year in Review: Gene

Proudest moment: The work we’ve done with crown prosecutors (service design and interface design) this year has been really fun because they’re articulate, engaged and passionate about what they do. Overall though, what I’m most proud of is having a great team that’s capable of tackling ambitious research and design projects. I guess that’s the kind of thing the boss should say, but it’s also true. Favourite book of 2014: Flash Boys, Michael Lewis. Runners up: The Martian, Andy Weir and The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt Favourite Album that came out in 2014: Meghan Trainor’s Title wins by default because it’s the only album I listened to this year that was released this year. (And it’s really good too.) Enjoyed this year but released in 2013: Arctic Monkeys AM, Chvrches The Bones of What You Believe, Volcano Choir Repave. Something I tried in 2014: I buy magazines when I travel–it’s kind of a pre-flight ritual–and they usually end up stacked in my recycling bin. But this year I started cutting them up and making collages. I haven’t made art intentionally since high school, so the whole process was new and surprising. Favourite app that you started using in 2014: Moves, the… Read More


Proudest project moment: The Better Intranets Conference was one of my favourite projects to work on this year. I love organizing events and this was the first major event I did with nForm. It was also our first time holding this conference, so there was a certain amount of risk involved in whether or not it would be successful. And thankfully it was a success! It was a great opportunity for us to bring people together and have them talk about their experience with intranets. Favourite album that came out in 2014: One of the great things about this city is that we have so many talented artists who live here and create their work here. F&M is definitely one of my favourite local bands. They put out a new album this fall called At Sunset We Sing. They have sort of a folk noir sound that I like to describe as hauntingly beautiful. Favourite Edmonton Event: My favourite Edmonton event is probably the Taste of Edmonton. It’s right in the middle of July so the weather is usually great and who doesn’t love an excuse to go out and try some new dishes from our local restaurants! Favourite Edmonton Hotspot:… Read More


Proudest project moment: I would have to say working with the team at Alberta Education. It’s a fun environment, they have a great team in place, and we are working on projects that will have a really positive impact in the day-to-day lives of teachers. To me, that’s really important work. New app/tool that you’ve started using in 2014: I’m not huge into apps, in fact, I’ve made a deliberate effort to work more with just paper and a pencil. I think the free flowing nature of working that way helps me think clearer, faster, and focus more on what I’m doing instead of the tool itself. It also makes for an interesting dynamic during meetings to not use a projector all the time. Favourite work-related book in 2014: Really enjoying About Face 3 by Alan Cooper. It’s an encyclopedic reference for Interaction Design, just full of little tidbits and helpful advice. I’m a big fan of back-to-basics type approaches and I find Alan’s book to be a good overview of those basics. Funniest moment that happened at nForm HQ: I once briskly walked out of our boardroom due to a 12 foot 300 pound hulking wasp that occupied the window during a meeting.… Read More


(One of my) Favourite book(s) of 2014: Intertwingled, by Peter Morville Part philosophy, part cultural study, part exploration of the future of Information Architecture, this is one strange book. In it, Morville examines the nature of information and the deeply interconnected spaces in which it resides. Along the way he shows how culture, though seldom discussed, affects everything we do. He looks at the limits of what we’re able to understand, notes the rarely exposed assumptions that underpin our ideas, and reminds us that certainty is the enemy of creativity. This is a book filled with wisdom not only for IA practice, but for life. It’s short, but I could it read many times before absorbing its lessons.   Personal highlight of 2014:  In October I was lucky enough to spend six solo days in New York City, one of my favourite places to visit. Before travelling I decided that I would not spend my entire time rushing madly about trying to do all the things. Instead, I promised myself I would spend part of every day just sitting and looking and sketching what I saw. No screen between me and the world. Just paper and pen and eyes. On a rainy Saturday… Read More

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