Our visit to Habanero

(guest post by Karam Mahmood)

As design students, we value the time we can meet and be inspired by industry professionals. Vancouver Film School provided us the opportunity to visit an industry leader of user experience and interactive design. This was an opportunity to get hear stories and get advice from the interactive team of Habanero.

Studio visits are a part of our Industry IQ course, and it was great to see VFS alumni during our tours of Motion and Interactive Design studios. At Habanero, we were warmly welcomed by Bradley Smith, a Senior Interactive Designer, who can trace his roots from the first intake of the Digital Design program. Accompanying him were Christopher Parsons, Senior Front End Developer aka “The Coding Wizard”, Zak Woytowich, Interactive Designer and a Digital Design alumnus, and Senior Interactive Designer Kurtis Beard.

After we had all settled down, we were given insight into the process of a how a project develops from the initial client meetings to the final delivery. It was great to see how well the VFS Digital Design curriculum is devised to cater to the industry standards as we followed similar steps. Habanero has very strong views in building authentic relationships with clients. Getting to see inspiring projects that they worked on gave us a really positive vibe from them towards their clients in building a long-term relationship.

We took a tour of their office and got to see the rest of the team, all fully focused and involved in their tasks. We also learned about Habanero’s approach in occasionally shuffling seating arrangements so employees can collaborate and be inspired working with different minds.

Thanks to Louise Lee for arranging our visit, and many thanks to Habanero for hosting us!

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Studio Tour: Habanero

(guest post by Yoojung Lee)

We were excited to visit the Vancouver office of Habanero for our second studio tour of the year. It was located only a fourteen-minute walk away from the Digital Design campus. Greeting us upon our arrival was Bradley Smith, a Senior Interaction Designer at Habanero and also a VFS alumnus from the very first class of the DD program.

After Bradley guided us into the large main meeting room, we were introduced to some of the other members of the team, including Christopher Parsons, a Senior Front End Developer, and Zak Woytowich, another graduate of the DD program and now an Interaction Designer. It was very interesting to see a number of our alumni actively working in the digital design industry throughout the city, giving us inspirational and realistic advice that we can truly make use of. As we were introduced to the different designers in the group, Steven Fitzgerald, the President of Habanero, walked into the room to give us a brief talk about Habanero and their vision. Steven greatly emphasized how they always work as a team with their clients, endlessly communicating and collaborating upon every step of their work process, in order to bring about the most effective and suitable digital solutions as possible. Likewise, the work culture at Habanero seemed to be strongly based upon supporting and respecting each individual members’ perspectives upon their own career phases. At Habanero, they all worked as a team in a flat hierarchy, where all employees were consulted regularly for custom-career options that would best suit the members’ interests in terms of their skills, preferences, and aspirations. This meant that not only each employee would be able to build upon their own individual career pathways, but also that they would have the passion and openness required to generate the best outcomes together as a company. Building upon their amazing people-centered work culture, another very interesting aspect of Habanero was their long and thorough hiring process. It was clear that Habanero is more interested in establishing a strong team of warm and trusting minds, rather than merely recruiting any skilled body who can finish the given tasks.

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Agency visit: Habanero

(guest post by Kelsey Hemphill)

Employee portals. Customer portals. Extranet. Intranet. Science fiction, or Interactive Design?

After visiting Habanero‘s Vancouver offices, I can tell you that the aspiring Interactive designers of DD30 are as excited about the kind of work done at Habanero as people get about science fiction.

Bradley Smith, Habanero’s senior interaction designer (and a DD alumnus from the first cohort of Digital Design students ever!) greeted us at the door, taking us past the bright red entryway into a large meeting room, where we met Steven Fitzgerald, the former mechanical engineer and self-professed “type nerd” who founded Habanero in 1996.

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Designing for the eHealth and Wearable Technology Revolution!

Here is our brand new collection of connected and wearable devices, which we will be experimenting and playing with as part of the newest VFS Digital Design course – “Wearable Technology and eHealth” – which will be taught by Karen Whistler. We have JawBone and the UP band, the latest Fuelband, Hue and Sphero!

However, this course is about more than play—we will be using the devices for hands-on experience with emerging technology. Students will be using them to unpack and validate thinking behind the underlying tech and how systems like these will integrate into all aspects of our lifestyle in the near future. In this course, the final deliverable will be to prototype an eHealth solution.  This will be shown through a Case Study video that communicates the Big Idea, initial prototype and pitches where the project would head next if given adequate funding.

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Behind The Process: How’d They Do It?

Behind The Process is a great resource that I stumbled upon recently. The blog gives us insight into the creative process behind some of the best work in design, photography, and technology. They are a relatively new website, so they don’t have a large archive yet, but the content that they have released so far is definitely worth checking out. Add them to your RSS reader to stay in touch with some of the best from behind the scenes!