Posts tagged “la”

Out and About: Steve in LA

Recently I was in LA to speak at IxDA Los Angeles/LA UX Meetup (see more here). Here’s some of the photos from my time in Southern California.

The Wall Project is made from the largest section of the Berlin Wall outside of Germany, with original and added imagery.

In a dystopian-LA moment, I filled my rental car with gas only to find the pump had some ridiculous software error and wouldn’t generate a receipt, giving me a message to see the cashier. There was no cashier as the “store” part of the station was gutted and loosely under construction. The unhelpful signage gave a non-working phone number – no matter what variation of the scrawl I tried. And what good would it do to call for a receipt? I was on my way to the car rental place and I needed a receipt in my hand.

The holes where monitors used to be.


Excitement over a mail chute denied; it definitely does not work.

Exterior, Beverly Hills.

This Week @ Portigal

Together again…

We are all back in the office this week (starting tomorrow).

  • Steve returns today from an enlightening and exhausting experience at Interaction 12 in Dublin. I can’t wait to hear about the Student Design challenge results and every other amazing detail. In the meantime, I am happily consuming the pictures he took in Dublin.
  • Julie and Tamara are back from an inspiring week of fieldwork in LA. We will be busy downloading, uploading, unpacking, repacking, refreshing, etc. as we prepare for round two of fieldwork in NYC next week.
  • Steve is meeting with another studio this week to explore combining forces for a new client opportunity.
  • Tamara continues to search for visual thinking tools and inspiration- focusing this week on reviewing a presentation from Interaction 12 by Jason Mesut and Sam ‘Pub’ Smith about sketching interfaces.
  • Julie is rocking her project management super heroine powers on another project we have kicked off and will be working on this month.
  • Tamara was lamenting the lack of actual dance moves by Madonna during yesterday’s Super Bowl half time show until I revisited her first music video for the song Everybody. Now I’m just thinking the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s to the future. And the past.

Have a great week!



This week @ Portigal

It’s a crazy busy week for us, focusing on just a couple of big things

  • Julie and Tamara are in LA with our client team for the rest of the week, interviewing consumers and professionals (we can’t say what type of professionals they are but from what we’ve learned about them in setting up the interviews, they are highly accomplished) – no doubt all the interviews will be utterly fascinating
  • Steve is in Dublin, co-leading a two-day masterclass for the IxDA Student Design Challenge – we’ve got a really great agenda for the class with some special guests – and some really wonderful prizes (thank you generous sponsors!)

This week @ Portigal

Sometimes I get a good feeling… that it’s gonna be a great week here at Portigal.

Here’s what we are looking forward to…

  • After bidding a fond farewell to Etta James last week, this week we will lovingly remember two completed projects with a team debrief + reflection.
  • Tamara and Julie are preparing for fieldwork next week in LA (woot! woot!). Let us know if there is anything particularly fantastic we should try to squeeze in, though we will of course be pretty darn busy.
  • Steve is in the final week of preparation for Interaction 12 in Dublin (another woot! woot!) and getting everything in order for the Student Design Challenge.
  • Steve is writing his book about the Art and Craft of User Research Interviewing and Tamara will be interviewing him about writing. Stay tuned for highlights…
  • Steve continues some interviews for the Omni project. Did you see the recent interview with Molly Wright Steenson?
  • Julie and Tamara will be out and about learning from fellow practitioners this week at a number of sweet gigs around the city including SF Service Design Drinks at Adaptive Path, Creative Mornings at Typekit, and theWhiteboard at SonicRim. Will you be at any of these? If so, please do say “Hi!” We would so love to meet you!
  • Julie is nose deep in details and planning for some fieldwork for the Omni project. More to come on this.
  • Steve is exploring an exciting project opportunity in partnership with another studio. Viva collaboration!
  • Tamara is ready for a creative fuel injection when she chaperones her son’s school field trip to the Children’s Creativity Museum tomorrow. Fun for all ages!

Hope to see you out and about.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • LA Gang Tours: An opportunity to save a life, create jobs and rebuild communities – The mission of LA GANG TOURS is to provide an unforgettable historical experience for our customers with a customized high-end specialty tour. We will provide customers with a true first-hand encounter of the history and origin of high profile gang areas and the top crime scene locations in South Central, Los Angeles. Each tour bus for LA GANG TOURS will have a guide from the South Central areas who has gained hands-on knowledge and experience of the inner city lifestyle. The objective is to create jobs for the residents of South Central, Los Angeles; to give profits from the tours back to these areas for economic growth and development, provide job/entrepreneur training, micro-financing opportunities and to specialize in educating people from around the world about the Los Angeles inner city lifestyle, gang involvement and solutions. Your participation allows the success of a cease-fire agreement between three of the largest and most notorious gangs in L.A. history.

What’s In A Business Name?

Lunchroom Hannibal, Amsterdam, May 2009
Don’t order the fava beans with the chianti.

Challenger Copyprint, Amsterdam, May 2009
Not the most encouraging association.

Synergy Project Management, San Francisco, July 2009
Needs a better illustration of the concept of synergy besides a plain ol’ pipe!

we bring you a pizza, Amsterdam, May 2009
U-Wash Doggie, Los Angeles, February 2009

Some names tell you what the business does.

Hand Car Wash, Los Angeles, February 2009
Trashy Lingerie, Los Angeles, February 2009
Ethical Drugs, Los Angeles, February 2009

Some names tell you something about how they do it.

See more pictures from Amsterdam here and Los Angeles here.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • A "Geography of Buzz" – Research presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers locates "cultural hot spots" by looking at frequency and spatial mapping of geo-tagged photographs. The exclusive use of for-sale Getty images to make up the research sample (as opposed to a diverse sample including photo Tweets, etc. that might have been more underground-inclusive) raises interesting questions about the definition of "buzz." What's buzz to one person–a Broadway opening, for example–may well be noise to another.
  • My photos from Los Angeles, Feb 2009 – I spent a week in L.A. doing some work, some cupcake shopping, and some vacationing. Here's the photos from that trip.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • On the Trail of an Annoying Announcement – Travel writer Joe Sharkey on the irritation and ineffectiveness of repeated airport announcements
  • Advertising in context – HBO is putting audio-enabled billboards in NY and LA to promote the season premier of "Big Love." I liked this localization detail: "HBO representatives at the sites will answer questions and, in Los Angeles, offer disposable headphones. The company assumed that New York commuters would bring their own."
  • Curious study on persuasion in cautioning teens about their online profies – "Many teenagers cleaned up their MySpace profiles, deleting mentions of sex and booze and boosting privacy settings, if they got a single cautionary e-mail from a busybody named "Dr. Meg." The e-mail was sent by Dr. Megan Moreno, lead researcher of a study of lower-income kids that she says shows how parents and other adults can encourage safer Internet use."

The Donut World Tour, in progress

Without donuts being part of the plan when I travel, they seem to show up with some regularity. While Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts seek to provide a consistent experience across geographies, there are also very unique experiences available in the very same category. The notion of donut is rather broad and is reinterpreted in some engaging ways. There’s something about the pure pleasure of a donut that also invites a fun approach to all aspects of the experience: the flavors, the environment, the presentation, the messaging.

Here’s a few I’ve documented. Please leave recommendations for other donuts-shops-to-experience in the comments.

Randy’s Donuts, LA (Amazing site, donuts are pretty good)

Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, OR: Rex Diablo and Ol’ Dirty Bastard (fun to choose, less to eat)

Murciano in The Marais, Paris (the best thing I’ve ever eaten)

Fractured Prune, Washington D.C. (didn’t get to try it)

Roti Donat, Bali, Indonesia (definitely not good)

Mister Donut sign and exterior, Taipei, Taiwan

Mister Donut Simpsons promotion, Kyoto, Japan (I don’t remember what I got but it was good!)

Fading Kitsch

A few months ago we saw a very cool Hollywood used car lot, Kay Kars, featuring rather poorly executed (and dated) film icons as enthusiastic decoration.

A mural along one wall featured Brando, Marilyn, Clint, and Arnold.

A banner along the street showed some of the same classic stars, as well as Bugs and the Three Stooges.

Meanwhile, an otherwise non-famous bunny encouraged potential shoppers to “Come On In”

A few months along, Kay Kars has either moved or closed down (the website describes their luxury car inventory; not likely the same business) and the empty lot is nothing but sad.

Update: Here’s the scene in February 2009:


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