To send off 2014 in style, we bring you these special-edition stories and insights from our two big trips in Australia and the US.

Yump’s Technical Director Simon came up-close-and-personal with youth and crocodiles in the Northern Territory bush in April and Creative Director Yuan explored hipster and technology in California, USA in June.

SIMON: Northern Territory

Simon East Northern Territory

What did you do?

I visited 16 high schools across the outback between Darwin and Brisbane, hoping to motivate and inspire the students with a film about young people who’ve made a significant difference with their lives.

Highlights?

  • Hearing the stories of students, their battles, challenges, fears and dreams.
  • Getting a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle of teenagers in Northern Territory and outback towns.
  • Fishing for Barramundi with a local indigenous student who was a traditional owner of land around Kakadu.
  • Swimming in picturesque rock pools, getting drenched underneath waterfalls.

Most Inspiring moment!

Having two year 9 girls come up after our presentation, sharing how much they loved it, and how they also wanted to visit schools to inspire and encourage other students. They particularly wanted to speak to young girls about their self-image, their dreams and career options for them (many of which, in mining towns, are pushed to conform to traditional female roles instead of taking a career they are passionate about).

What did you learn?

I gained a unique perspective on the predominant attitudes and challenges facing indigenous youth, and witnessed both the successful and unsuccessful ways that authorities have attempted to deal with their issues.

As user experience designers, we predominantly cater for urban users based in major cities. It is easy to forget that suburban Melbourne is a vastly different place to outback Northern Territory. Thus it is crucial that organisations with a national presence, a regional audience or target users consisting of minority groups clearly understand their unique environments, circumstances and needs.

YUAN: California

Yuan Wang San Francisco

What did you do?

I flew into San Francisco, the famed city, home of Twitter and gateway to Silicon Valley. I spent three days exploring the city, and the last day connecting with local businesses in the greater bay area to the south.

Highlights?

  • Zipping around the streets of San Francisco on a bike tour.
  • Sipping cappuccino while working on the laptop, a popular activity by locals, at Four Barrels.
  • Interacting with science exhibits like a kid all over again at the Exploratorium.
  • Talking about design and community with the Zurb team at their office in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Most Inspiring moment!

Touring Zurb’s office in Campbell. Working there was an experience and every team member knew their purpose and exuded the company’s philosophies. Zurbians are creative, collaborative and community-driven. Their environment and internal activities are set up to encourage those qualities.

What did you learn?

Experience. All the must-see shops and brands I visited in San Francisco invested in creating unique, heart-felt experiences for their customers and staff. Four Barrels had great coffee, high ceiling and creative wall art to make their customers relaxed and inspired while they work. My guide at SOSF, the highest-rated bike tour provider on TripAdvisor, knew the city’s history like the back of his palm and showed us the city’s secrets only like a local could.

Successful brands invest in creating a better experience for their most important customers. Answer their needs, solve their frustrations, empathise with their situations, and businesses will be rewarded with strong customer relationships that are not dependent on discounts or advertisements.


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