Kurt Vander Wiel
From where do you receive your creative inspiration?
Direct inspiration for my work comes from other UX practitioners and what is on display on the web every day. I read blogs and try to keep up with how interaction patterns are changing, what is catching people's attention, and what is failing to thrive. Indirect inspiration comes mostly from reading and listening to music. I love jazz and classical but swear that any live music performance inspires creativity. Except 5th grade orchestras. I read a mixture of business, science, and religious books and find inspiration in big ideas.
The best thing about working for a small company?
The culture. We get to have passion and see the results of our effort. We get to have balance between laughter and work. We get to be idealistic and still think our dreams can be made real.
An average day:
I am not a morning person so I'm not exactly sure what goes on at the beginning of my day. I know it involves using my commercial espresso machine at my house. 15 grams of grounds, 30 pounds of tamping pressure, 2 ounces of 200 degree water at 9 bar pressure, 4 ounces of milk at 155 degrees with micro-foam, and a Rosetta pour. Next thing I know I'm at work. I start my day reading industry news and glancing at emails. After that, the meetings start rolling, some foosball in the breaks, and before I know it the day has flown by.
My degree was from the University of Northern Iowa and was called Individual Studies: Communication Media. It was a program at UNI that allowed a person to essentially design their own major out of disciplines from multiple colleges. So, I had some business courses, some industrial technology, some communication and fine arts, and a lot of courses from a master's degree program in the department of education. Next, I went straight into that master's program which was called Communication and Training Technologies. I ended up ABT (all but thesis) plus a couple of readings classes because my newly formed company, Visual Logic, was getting in the way.
One thing you cannot live without:
Dogs or cats?
Neither. No living creature should be in my house. Having said that, we've owned cats, dogs, salamanders, a gecko, and hamsters.
"Free" by Ginny Owens
Zoo giraffe or wild giraffe? Why?
Wild giraffe. The only sane answer. I love freedom and hate to feel pinned down. I like to take risks and feel ok about uncertainty.
Burbonzola burger at Rock Bottom and fries. Oh so unhealthy. Oh so good.
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten:
I don't eat weird things.
You can’t get enough:
Chocolate covered nuts.
Just say no to:
Something that makes you unique:
I didn't own a pair of jeans until last month. I've now worn them three times. I'm still not a fan.
Oddly, you love:
Vocal Jazz, including singing loudly in the car.
Wet paper. There, it's out there, now everyone can laugh.
Most useless skill?
I can still play the euphonium. Sometimes, when I'm all alone, I'll take out a hymn book and my son's euphonium and play 'till my lips hurt. Which isn't very long now.
Commonly heard listening to:
Jazz and classical
Caffeine Intake: 4 out of 5
Typically seen in:
- Andy Van FleetPartner
- Nick BraySenior UX Generator
- Kayla GrunderSenior UX Synthesizer
- Amye ValantUsability Analyst
- Jason ThompsonUX Designer & Illustrator
- Josh PeterInteraction Designer
- Mark IehlOperations Manager
- Matt JohnsonUX Designer & Developer
- Mitch SplinterUX Developer
- Greg JanesUX Strategist