Adobe Creative Jam: Q&A with Two Premier San Diego Designers

Adobe Creative Jam San Diego: An Interview with Two of San Diego's Premier Designers, Katie Kindness and Yuya Oda

Miva designers Katie Kindness and Yuya Oda speak to being selected for Adobe Creative Jam San Diego, Adobe’s newest design tool, and the importance of experience design in ecommerce.

Last Thursday, two Miva designers sat in the light of their Macbook screens as crowds streamed into the dim downtown warehouse for Adobe Creative Jam San Diego. Miva Web Designers Katie Kindness and Yuya Oda had been hand-selected from hundreds to showcase their skills in the San Diego leg of Adobe’s worldwide design competition.

For three hours, ten teams of two were charged with designing a web application on the newest tool from Adobe: Experience Design. Read on to see how Katie Kindness (KK) and Yuya Oda (YO) translated a surprise theme into an engaging application, and why experience design is integral to your ecommerce business.

How was your experience competing in Adobe Creative Jam San Diego?

KK: Adobe Creative Jam San Diego was, all around, a really great experience. We arrived, were introduced, and then found out the surprise theme: “Poke the Bear”. The theme was abstract, but it turned out in our favor as [the designers] could interpret it to our own strengths. So we decided to create an ecommerce experience, which is where we excel.

Katie Kindness and Yuya Oda, two of San Diego's premier designers, compete in Adobe Creative Jam San Diego on June 22, 2017

Explain how you translated the surprise theme into a cross-platform application.

KK: Yuya and I chose a literal translation of the “Poke the Bear” theme. We created an ecommerce application for animal conservation, which spoke to us as it was for a good cause.

The application functioned in the following way:

  1. The user lands on a splash screen log-in.
  2. Logging in navigates to a sliding image view of different animals on the endangered species list.
  3. Using a cursor shaped like a hand, the user can “poke” any of the animals.
  4. “Poking” an animal navigates to the next page with images and facts about this endangered species.
  5. The “Donate” button at the bottom takes the user to the backend page, where he or she can enter account and payment information, then click to donate.
  6. An ending screen with a checkmark to confirm donation.
What is the role of experience design in ecommerce?

YO: The ecommerce market is overly saturated with companies competing for consumer attention. Designing a web application focused on the user experience is crucial to elevate a brand above all the noise.

“Effective experience design is about the emotional connections you create, the interactions you trigger, and in guiding actions in line with the goals of the brand, and its users. It’s a crucial element to any company’s success.” -Yuya Oda, Lead Designer, Miva, Inc.

I’m proud to be part of Miva’s Professional Services team which has built beautiful, effective omnichannel experiences for our ecommerce enterprise clients and their users. While UX is key to any digital product, it’s arguably more important in ecommerce, converting “window shoppers” into repeat purchasers.

Adobe Experience Design is still in beta and has yet to release to the public. What was your experience with the tool?

KK: Adobe Experience Design is the first cross-platform tool for designing and prototyping websites and mobile apps. Creative Jam recruits designers from around the world to use the tool and provide feedback for future iterations.

Yuya and I got to test drive Adobe Experience Design in the weeks prior [to Creative Jam], picking up the necessary skills as we went.

YO: I was excited to learn Adobe Experience Design, and will be moreso when they release the improved product. Although not as robust as PhotoShop, this tool allows for a more streamlined process.

For instance, in PhotoShop—what we’re using today—you have to duplicate each page layout. Then, if you want to change just one part of that page in one column, you have to apply that change to every column. XD allows for a more efficient process, automating duplication and saving time.

How do you imagine Adobe Experience Design will help the design process?

KK: I believe Experience Design will serve as a great communication tool, helping us collaborate more effectively both in-house and with clients. Using XD, we can show the developers, and clients, how each action should play out rather than just describing it.

What did it mean to be chosen among all of the designers in San Diego to represent Miva?

YO: Traditional agencies tend to get the recognition for their creative work. I come from creative agencies, myself, but am confident in the work our design team has and will produce. Adobe is a huge company that supports the creative industry, so it’s great to be recognized from all the designers in San Diego.

“The fact that Miva was the only ecommerce company represented at the Creative Jam speaks to the skill level of our team.” -Yuya Oda

KK: We’re really close as a team, so getting the chance to represent the design team and the company as a whole was an honor. As part of a select few, being able to get our voice out there was exciting, especially with so many traditional creative agencies in attendance.

What did it mean to you to get to compete as a team in Adobe Creative Jam?

KK: I’m quite competitive, so it was a fun challenge to participate in Adobe Creative Jam. This competition started in Europe and has only occurred over the past 5–6 years in America.

A live design competition is not very common; designing a full application in just three hours is a sizeable task. So we organized our approach ahead of time, with Yuya centered on the UX and functionality of each action—the back-end—while I focused on the visuals.

“Our team at Miva is very close. I’m privileged to collaborate with colleagues and friends I admire, both at Adobe Creative Jam and in the everyday.” -Katie Kindness, Web Designer, Miva, Inc.

YO: Although we didn’t place this year (the judges and crowd only chose two teams), it was a great experience competing alongside Katie. Now that we have a “lay of the land”, we’re ready for the next competition!

KK: Yes, and we did get third place! Now that we know how Creative Jam is run, we’re even better prepared for the future. Round two will be even better.

Check out Katie and Yuya’s finished product, here


Adobe Creative Jams are an international event series where teams put their creative skills to the test using Adobe Creative Cloud. In San Diego, the Creative Jam took place as part of San Diego Startup Week. Startup Week gathers entrepreneurs for a week of sharing progress, exchanging resources, and to celebrate this thriving community of innovators.

 

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