Go Ando

UX Designer

Produce: Yoshinao Yamada, Photo: Hiroshi Iwasaki, Video: DRAWING AND MANUAL
*English subtitle is available on this video.


“Photographs and videos are
very powerful tools
for sharing one’s experiences”

“I’m a UX designer”

Hi, my name is Go Ando. I’m a UX designer. UX is short for user experience, and my work involves thinking about how users get to know a product or a service and how it will feel like to actually use it, for example. The project I am currently putting most of my time into is a digital outdoor service called YAMAP, where I am responsible for the user experience. In short, in my position I direct many aspects of YAMAP’s design, how current users interact with the service, and how future users will interact with it.

“I realized for myself how great it feels to be in nature”

I loved being outdoors when I was younger. I often went into the mountains to snowboard or to the beach to surf. Five years ago, when I visited Iceland, I found myself stopping and traveling along the countless trekking routes found on the island. I didn’t bring any gear with me at all, so I was limited to normal, hour-long walks – but I realized for myself how great it feels to be in nature. When I returned to Japan, I became interested in mountain climbing and began traveling into many mountains and researching all kinds of information on my own. That’s how it began for me.

“Photographs can be a great tool to select and preserve what you want to remember”

I have been using many different cameras, one after the other, since I was 20 years old. I got into photography when I went to America for a month, following my university graduation. I traveled from Los Angeles all the way to New York. Near the Grand Canyon, someone broke into my car and stole all my belongings – everything. Even the photographs I had taken the previous two days were gone. When I looked back on the trip a few months later, I noticed that I had no memories of those lost two days. I realized that without photography, your memories will slowly fade away. I think photographs can be a great tool to select and preserve what you want to remember. I began to understand the true value of cameras and capturing things in images through that experience.

“I’m someone who stops in place whenever I see something I want to photograph”

These days, I take the SIGMA fp and a DJI Osmo Pocket with me into the mountains. I mostly record my life in photographs at the moment, so the fp is usually all I need. But every now and then, I want to shoot video as well, and then the DJI Osmo Pocket is a great tool thanks to its amazing stabilizer. I’m someone who stops in place whenever I see something I want to photograph. Because of that, my journeys usually take a lot longer than planned. This isn’t a problem though, unless I am climbing with people who don’t photograph at all and I get left behind… (laughs)

“I was torn between these APS-C and full-size sensor cameras when SIGMA announced the fp”

I began using mirror-reflex cameras about ten years ago, and since then I have mostly been switching between small, portable cameras and large, high-spec cameras. I noticed that I enjoy the small, mobile cameras more. Before I got the SIGMA fp, I was shooting with a SONY α6500, an extremely portable camera that was easy to take into the mountains. Before that, I owned a SONY α7III, but I stopped using it after about three months. It is a very powerful camera, but simply too large to take with me, so in the end I stopped using it and switched to the α6500 with its APS-C sensor instead.
Even though I prefer its compactness and lightness, I also want to take photos at high resolutions… I was torn between these APS-C and full-size sensor cameras, and then SIGMA announced the fp. I was instantly interested.

“What surprised me most is – in a good way – its almost nonexistent sense of presence”

Of course, the camera allows you to take beautiful pictures, but what surprised me most is – and this is a good thing – its almost nonexistent sense of presence. Most other full-size sensor cameras on the market are large and bulky objects. When you point them at a person, they possess are intimidating. In comparison, given its high-end specs, the fp is actually quite unimposing. When I tried to take portraits with the fp, I noticed that its unassuming sense of presence influences how you communicate with the person you’re photographing.

“Photographs and videos are very powerful tools for sharing one’s experiences”

As a UX designer, my work is not limited to designing digital interfaces. I have to think how people move in the real world, and decide what kind of experience we want to offer people through the design. That’s why I usually have a camera with me when I’m outside, in order to capture everyday life whenever possible. I share my photos with the team, as part of our resource materials. I’m also quite active on social media and put a lot of energy into YAMAP’s social media accounts – in this regard, photographs are an indispensable tool. Thanks to the development of social media, it has become easier to share experiences than ever before. And photographs and videos are very powerful tools for sharing one’s experiences.
I want those kind of people who already share their lives on social media to use fp. I want them to go through their day with the fp and express their everyday lives in beautiful pictures that are not possible to make with a smartphone.

“I usually try to include people in my composition”

I don’t believe I’m good at photography at all. Because of my close involvement in an online outdoor service, I try to go out into nature and record what I see in photographs. I’m aware that I usually try to include people in my composition, to give an idea of the true scale of the place. Mountain photographers rarely show people in their photos. They usually prefer to use each single photo to record nature as it is, I think. If I had to describe my own photographic style, I’d say I take photos in order to share my experiences.

“Regardless of its usage, ‘Whether I want to put it around’ is what I value on choosing things”

There is not much of a boundary between work and private life for me. When I choose my gear, I don’t have work or private use in mind. However, regardless of how I’ll eventually use my tools, it is very important for me whether I want to put is around me or not. I place my camera right next to me even when I’m doing desk work – in this case it is very important to me that the camera is beautiful as a product and possesses a certain charisma of its own.
I use a 3D printer to create things now and then, and I’ve decided I want to make my own camera grip for the SIGMA fp. The fp’s camera body is very simple, so the grip I’ll create should be minimal and fit my hands well. I’m currently doing the 3D modeling. SIGMA actually published the 3D model data of the camera online, so I’m looking forward to what people will create for the camera in the future.

“A tool with a strong sense of transparency”

I bought a Travel Tripod by peak design recently. Many of the camera accessories have been using are made by peak design. I feel that they pay a lot of attention to the practical usefulness of their products. I really like that. I wasn’t aware of this until recently, but it seems I’m becoming some sort of “product ambassador”, first with the fp and now with peak design as well. (laughs)
I prefer things that have no “noise” to them. That means huge brand logos or ornamental designs that add nothing to a product’s usefulness, for example. I try my best to avoid stuff like that. Outdoor wear, for example, often features large logos on the breast or on the back of the clothes. I can’t stand that. You may know that many photographers tape over the brand logos of their cameras when they take portrait photos, because the logo just becomes unnecessary noise in the portrait-taking process. In that regard, what impressed me immensely about the fp’s design was the decision to have no SIGMA logo on the front of the camera at all. Even the small fp logo is in a location that will be fully covered by your palm as soon as you pick up the camera. The fp is a tool with a strong sense of transparency.

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