“The Vault,” one of our newly renovated editing suites, got its name from its previous managers who used it as a vault for campus maps. And boy, was it a sight in those days… I don’t have any photos of the room at its earliest stage, but here’s how the space looked back when we initially prepped the space for painting.

Since we regularly record narration for university videos, Dave gave me some wherewithal to give the studio an edge towards being recording-friendly.

Conventional options for sound treatment were out of the budget, so we had to think beyond a quick $1k investment in Owens-Corning foam. Turns out the old mattress that had been sitting in my garage had a use after all, along with the room’s old carpeting, and a lot of basic black felt from JoAnn’s that came at about $3/yard. Fortunately for us, OSU surplus is right around the corner and they were more than happy to pawn off some old cubicle walls they had lying around. With a little help from a stud finder and a staple gun, we had a really inexpensive (and effective!) alternative for absorption panels.

I somehow managed to sell Justin and Darryl on the idea of suspending the two largest panels from the ceiling, so they helped me devise a plan to mount them up and wire a lighting system to go on top of them. Lucky for us that Darryl’s pretty handy with a soldering iron, so we cut up some cheap plastic molding from the hardware store and stuck on the most inexpensive LED strips we could find.

The cubicle panels weren’t quite enough to curb the reflective nature of the rest of the ceiling. I wanted to preserve the reflectiveness of the floor to satisfy a few recording nerdisms, but there was just too much metallic “bounce” lingering for me to be happy. Another thing I had lying around was a memory-foam mattress topper, so I cut the pieces down into uniform squares, which then needed some frames.

Another point for the scavengers. University facilities buildings have an excess of old palettes that they’re more than happy to part with. Throw in some elbow grease, repurposed hardware from the cubicle panel extras, and more felt and we had enough DIY absorption panels and bass traps to get the room’s frequency response more than flat enough to record in.

So there you have it. A fully kitted-out and record-ready editing suite for a hundred bucks or so. Doubles as a futuristic lunchtime chill space. #score

lab0

So you’ve got yourself a Drupal site, and it’s feeling a little neglected. Maybe it doesn’t have any friends and nobody plays with it anymore. Why not bring it to one the Drupal Open Labs? Or maybe you don’t have a website yet but you’ve always been thinking about getting one. Why not stop by and try one out? At the Open Labs, someone might let you play with theirs.

Think of the Open Labs as a sort of 4-H club for website owners. The free program has been around for a while as part of CWS’s suite of web training and support services, but this quarter we’re giving the sessions an adrenaline injection in the spirit of experimentation. We’re planning to hold extended sessions weekly through March, and we’ll not only have our Drupal trainer-in-residence, Sher Fenn, on hand, but we’ll also bring developers, site builders, graphic artists and writers.

We’re looking for web property owners who want to improve their sites. Bring your projects to the lab and we’ll assemble a team on the fly to either workshop solutions right on the spot or set you on a course to continue to work on your own with confidence. Are you lacking a robust web support team? Well now for two hours per week you’ve got one. Oh, and the program isn’t restricted to just Drupal. We welcome other web species as well, from WordPress to garden variety HTML.

So bring your neglected pet projects or even your major initiatives to the lab and let’s poke ’em with a stick and watch what happens.

Here are the dates for the upcoming labs. And you can sign up here. We hope to see you there this winter.

  • January 22, Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • January 29, Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • February 5 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 12 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 19 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • February 26 -Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 4 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 11 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • March 25 – Autzen Classroom, Rm 2082, 2nd Floor, Valley Library, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
(Photo: Oregon Digital Collections)

 

Getting Started

My internship at Interactive Communications has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The journey here was quite random, after being rejected for a graphic design internship I was encouraged to apply for an internship with Web Communications (the department’s previous name). I kindly thanked the referrer, wallowed in self-pity and didn’t apply due to having no experience with web design or motion graphics.

Weeks later Santiago, the Assistant Director, contacted me and asked if I’d like to interview for the position, I thanked him for the opportunity and pointed out my lack of knowledge in their field. He explained that a few of their previous interns started off with a print background and transitioned into motion graphics, and that the important part was having a strong sense of design. The interview went smoothly, Santiago and Dave liked my portfolio, so I tried out After Effects and joined the team.

The Office, the Team and What I’ve Learned

A little while after I became a member of the group, the office moved downstairs to the basement of Adams Hall to an open floor plan with everyone in the department in one room. I understand this setup isn’t for everyone, but I honestly think it’s facilitated growth in our relationships and brainstorming. There are many moments when the office is so dead silent that visitors feel awkward entering the room and other times when it’s in an uproar either due to Kegan having an epiphany of what the next world changing app, sitcom or invention should be or Justin sharing a random video that’s on the borderline of morbid but you can’t help but laugh because of how hilarious it is. This place isn’t just a workplace; it’s a space for discovery, storytelling, laughter, and working hard.

Through these last two and a half years I’ve learned what it’s like to be a part of a true team. Each person brings a readiness to work with others, explore, stay focused and have fun. One of the projects that really brought us all together was the creation of the Beaver Nation Web Campaign. Every individual was involved in the gathering and creation of stories, videos, web design and photos. I narrated for the Beaver Nation Trailer, created a few animations and designed the Beaver Nation History Site.

Home page screenshot of the Beaver Nation history site with an archival photo of the Oregon State Campus in the background.
Home page of the Beaver Nation history site.
An image still from the animation  of Brian Wall.
Brian Wall Animation Still

When I started this internship I had no idea I would get to use and develop such a diverse amount of skills. I’ve explored narration, web design, motion graphics, puppet design, photography, project management, archival research and more through this position. I also didn’t realize I would meet such cool people, each person is witty, hilarious and fun to be around.

A screenshot from the animation Metabolic Melodies: Hemoglobin's Movin' Around, a light hearted animation that describes Hemoglobin in the body.
Here is a still from the animation I directed called Metabolic Melodies: Hemoglobin’s Movin’ Around.

Now It’s Your Turn (possibly)

My time here at Interactive Communications is coming to a close as I graduated with my degree from Oregon State University in June. Their internship will become available in the Fall. If you are a current student at Oregon State with a passion for graphic design, web design, motion graphics, animation and/or video editing then reach out to the team. If you want a creative internship that pushes your skills to the next level in an unpredictable and fun environment then this is the place for you. Email Interactive Communications at: web.communications@oregonstate.edu.

downloadIf you’d like to follow my journey you can find me at www.taylor-howard.com.

– Taylor

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 1.53.54 PMI recently got a tour of the new online catalog that our Extension office built. Essentially it houses all of their publications in one easy to navigate Drupal site. For anyone with Drupal or database experience you know that alone is a heroic task. The site is full of features and cool modules. It is a shining example of quality content, great architecture and strong development. A big congrats to everyone in Extension and Experiment Station Communications who knocked this one out of the park.

-Kegan

-Kegan

Screen shot of Kel Wer website

I’m very lucky to be able to work with an absurdly talented team. This year their work was recognized for excellence by CASE, our professional organization, for three different projects.

The  silver award for “Floralia,” an interactive storytelling site that features rich content and immersive design, is especially rewarding because that project was conceived and executed by the staff on their own initiative. They took a standard request for a video and turned it into a passion project filled with amazing images, a sleek design and creative use of prose and embedded video. It pioneered techniques and an approach to storytelling that they hadn’t taken before and that we’ve used several times since. It was a launch-and-learn project that paid dividends.

Congratulations to our team for another year of incredible collaboration and effort. Here are the awards:

Beaver Nation website
Award: Bronze
Category: Websites, Sub-site or Section

Floralia
Award: Silver
Category: Websites, Sub-site or Section

Kel Wer
Award: Gold
Category: Video & Multimedia, Multimedia for Special Events

 

– David

Floralia website screenshot showing model at the fashion show

Our team came up with a great microsite recently. It was one of those projects that grew organically out of collaboration and experimentation…nothing about it was planned in advance.

Darryl was working on a video for the Spring Fashion Show put on by the School of Design and Human Environment. One of our best kept secrets is that OSU has one of the nation’s top fashion design programs, so it made sense to give this video more of a platform to raise its profile.

Continue reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just got back from Austin. Here are my notes from some fantastic panels and keynote speeches. There is a lot to get through, but hey, stick with me.

The Real Responsive Process

These guys talked about the theory behind it, why we should be doing it, and most importantly admitting that it’s okay to not completely understand it. It’s new, give yourselves a break.

Here are the speakers, you can follow them on Twitter and check out what they do in the responsive world.

 

Steve Fisher @hellofisher

 

http://hellofisher.com/secret.php

http://republicofquality.com/projects/interactive-style-tiles/

 

Samantha Toy @SamanthaToy

 

http://styletil.es/

http://www.samanthatoy.com/

 

Yesenia Perez-Cruz @yeseniaa

 

http://happycog.com/  

http://www.cognition.happycog.com/article/one-size-fits-none

 

Aaron Gustafson @AaronGustafson

 

http://easy-readers.net/books/adaptive-web-design/

 

 

He mentioned this site as an alternative to Bootstrap http://foundation.zurb.com/

 

“Still discovering, still don’t totally know what we are doing, if I’m honest.”

“Knowing that you don’t know everything is key.”

 

Tina Roth Eisenberg

@swissmiss

 

 

http://www.swiss-miss.com/

Scroll down a while on that site and you can watch her keynote, I like having it on in the background while I’m working. She founded and runs these businesses:

http://www.creativemornings.com/

http://teuxdeux.com/

http://tattly.com/

http://www.studiomates.com/

She’s a pretty cool lady, it’s a Swiss thing I guess. I like how a company she founded goes on to produce more great companies, must be a pretty great feeling. E.g. Studiomates are responsible for:

http://symbolset.com/

http://editorially.com/

She said something that really stuck with me… “Stay away from people that are fond of disliking things.” I like that.

 

Dennis Crowley – Foursquare CEO – The Future Of Location

@dens

 

https://foursquare.com/

He talked about something that I have never really thought about, location visualisation. The shape of a place can be defined by check-ins. E.g. JFK airport isn’t just a dot on a map, it is a space defined by the location of people within it. Areas defined by density of people.

This is a video he showed, it illustrates the point well. https://vimeo.com/52883962

 

Let Conscience Be Your Guide, Moral Design.

@rjowen

 

http://www.convercent.com/

The things we use change us. 6 principles of moral design.

 

 1. Moral design is restrained.

– “Good design should be as little design as possible.” Dieter Rams.

– Respect restraint and constraints.

 

2. Moral design improves harmony.

– Sustain and improve balance and order.

– Never solve one problem by creating others.

 

3. Moral design is dynamic.

– Value the imperfection that comes from crafting real things.

– We should have a healthy fear of perfection. If it is perfect, it is static.

 

4. Moral design requires craftsmanship.

– Good things come from good craftsmanship.

– Think about people when you are creating things for people.

– This was made for me.

 

5. Moral design is honest.

– Does not pretend to be something other than what it is.

– Design is a promise.

– Is it achievable?

– Will it make people better people?

 

6. Moral design is organic.

– Treat the user, design, brand, environment as one organism.

– What is healthy for one thing has to be healthy for all other parts.

– Nothing good can come to the brand at the expense of users.

 

If your values are not being practiced in tangible ways, then they are bad for you. They are meaningless.

“Do the right thing, it will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Mark Twain

 

Here is what I got out of this crazy week. People always say things like, “music was better in the 60’s”, “this restaurant used to be good, then it got popular”, “SXSW was better before the corporations arrived.” Yeah well thats great, personally I think it’s lazy. Here are some reasons to be cheerful about where we are, right now.

– crowd-funding, see this

– collaborative workspaces

– CEO’s admitting they are still learning, and that being okay

– definitely this

One thing though, sitting in a room with 3000 people all looking at their smartphones / tablets / laptops is scary. The bright glow and glazed eyes. Hug a tree once in a while.

 

– Oliver

Maybe it’s a coincidence that we completed a re-branding effort with eleven of our twelve college websites around the same time that the new Beaver Athletics brand was launched. Like that effort, this project was a long time in the making. Three years, in our case.

Three screen grabs depicting the Forestry, Public Heath and Honors College websitesThe colleges that opted to work with us, beginning with Forestry, partnered to build custom templates and move their sites into Drupal (if they weren’t already). It was a long project that involved graphic design, development, content reorganization, video production, feature story creation, user testing and more. Central Web Services was a big part of the effort. In the middle, it felt like we weren’t ever going to get there. But with the launch of the University Honors College a few weeks ago, we’ve checked our final participating college off of the list.

Why it matters

Having our colleges in a similar template and technology has a host of benefits. The sites can talk to one another (and our home page and top-tier sites) on a technological level. Drupal features can be shared and integrated. The user experience is similar, and students, faculty and the public can navigate each site in similar ways, speeding up their visit as they don’t need to learn a new navigation system or structure on each site. The consistent branding and identity usage reaffirms their connection to each other and to the main campus. Advertising and marketing centrally and at each individual college will lift all ships with the tide. Each college now as more opportunities to collaborate with other colleges: the architecture being the same means they can share staff, stories, RSS feeds and more.

What’s next

Even though these eleven colleges are on a similar platform, there’s still work to do.  We need to help make the sites responsive in order to prepare them for the coming mobile majority. We need to work with them to create more effective practices and content to help turn their sites into better communications tools. There are still loose ends to tie up and more to accomplish.

But we’ve reached a great milestone, and congrats to all of our college partners, our team members and the CWS folks for an incredible, long-term collaboration.

– David

We recently partnered with the Admissions Office at OSU to update some Web materials for state-by-state recruiting efforts. By building a custom experience for prospective students from individual states, we hope to personalize the digital admissions process, showing what it’s like to come to campus and give them state-specific information.

The sites are simple, small and feature a responsive layout. They also feature an updated video tour of campus, as well as a new photo tour experience.

If we can make the transition process a little more smooth to those new to Oregon, then I’d say that’s a success. Now it’s time to watch how it works, gather feedback, test, refine and repeat.

Here are a few of the state-specific sites:

– David