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gibsooon's blog

Houston, Business, Health, Travel, Yoga, Events





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Gibson Hall listed as Finalist for GHP HYPE Impact Awards
HYPE Awards.png


About HYPE Impact Awards Series

The annual HYPE Impact Awards recognizes Houston young professionals and entrepreneurs for their contributions to our community.

Event Details

The Greater Houston Partnership, through its Houston Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE) program, is pleased to announce that the HYPE Impact Awards will be on Thursday, November 8, 2018. Join us to recognize and reward young professionals and entrepreneurs for their contributions to our community. The HYPE Impact Awards are presented to outstanding young leaders who strive for excellence and have achieved innovative, business-savvy and ground-breaking ideas.

Houston businessman, talent manager and record label owner Mathew Knowles will provide the keynote address for this year's event. 


Emerging Leader Finalists
Naomi Bhappu Irani, Accenture
Lawson Gow, The Cannon
Gibson Hall, Home Depot

Business Leader Finalists
Pierce Bush, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Micah Guynes, i45 Signs, Inc.
Ashley Small, Medley, Inc.

Startup Superstar Finalists
Andria Balough, STEM-E Youth Career Development Program
Brittany Barreto, Pheramor Inc. 
Victoria Chen, Bridge-Year

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Gibson Hall joins The Home Depot as Senior Manager of UX

This is my obligatory post talking about how excited I am to join The Home Depot, especially their UX Department. I’m joining as Senior Manager of UX, leading a team of UX Designers and Researchers to improve the shopping experience for Home Depot customers.


Some recent highlights by Home Depot’s UX:

L2 cites as the 3rd best experience out of all retailers

Baymard ranks as the 2nd best experience

I’m looking forward from leading from the best and inspiring the UX team to continue pushing the limits of what’s possible to give our users the best experience possible.

#MFAHAfterHours #BigBambuMFAH

I walked through the #bigbambumfah last night thanks for Museum of Fine Arts Houston and their Social Media Ambassadorship program. The event is up for a few months and the museum is free on Thursdays. 

Snapseed 3.jpg
Instagram Features

I often get asked how I accumulated so many Instagram followers, which has been a lot thanks to these powerful accounts sharing my photography. Also, if you want some followers, try to get better at photography and post quality content! It can’t hurt your chances. 

Decode Digital wins 10 Crystal Awards at AMA

This post is a shout out to the creative team at Decode Digital, for producing work that has resulted in 10 Crystal Awards, recognized by American Marketing Association (AMA). The Crystals are the ONLY marketing awards show in Houston that gives awards based on DATA, which is huge at Decode. This work wasn't only pretty, it was effective at reaching our clients goals. 

Under this past year of my Creative Direction, Decode was able to win 10 Crystal Awards for: 

  • Email Communications: Single - Decode's Holiday Card

  • SEM - CHI St. Luke's Health Emergency Services

  • Shoestring Marketing ($7,500 or less) - CHI St. Luke's Health Veteran's Choice Campaign

  • Event Promotion: 2 or More Events - January Career Events at CHI St. Luke's Health

  • Advertising: Online Video - Magical Winter Lights Online Video

  • Advertising: Paid Display - Jerry Built Rich Media Display

  • Advertising: Paid Social Media - Magical Winter Lights - Paid Social Media Campaign

  • Advertising: TV Campaign (Two or more) - Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group - We Know Better Campaign

  • Elements of Advertising: Copywriting - Jerry Built Copywriting

  • Website: TEAM Industrial Services, Griffin Creative, InkSpot Communications & Decode Digital TEAM Industrial Services - Website

It's been a joy getting to work with such a young and creative bunch at Decode. I love seeing what happens when you bring brilliant minds together for collaboration. Cheers to the awards, Decode!

#HOUSxSW 2018

2018 was my 6th annual trip to Austin for #SxSW. There's quite a few things I've learned in past years that made this year a success. Here is a round up of advice I've heard in the past, and how it helped me this year.

1. Bring an Extra Pair of Shoes because you do a LOT of walking. Very true! The first year of SXSW involved so much walking that I actually wore through the soles of my sneakers. This year, I averaged 12,043 steps/day. 

2. Bring / Rent a Bike. If you checked out the #SxSW map, you noticed that many of the events are downtown, but separated by a few blocks. Bringing a bike has been extremely valuable during my trips. Not only does it make commuting to/from home base a breeze, but also helps you with Tip #1 because you don't have to walk so dang much. If you can't bring a bike to Austin, rent a bCycle for the week!

3. Prepare for ALL Weather. During my short week at #SxSW, I experienced a freeze (literally wore gloves 1 day), followed by beaming heat the next day. I caught a pretty nice farmer's tan from waiting in line so long. Bring a spray bottle, umbrella, and sunscreen for when it's way too hot. Bring an extra sweater, gloves, and scarf for when it gets too cold. Be prepared for just about anything: rain, snow, sleet, sun, etc. 

4. Go analog as much as possible. SXSW was filled with technology and made for tech nerds like you and me. However, spending all day and all week in a digital world is exhausting. Instead of spending your time waiting in line staring at your phone, start up a conversation. If you visit talks and get distracted on your laptop, put it away and take analog notes. SXSW is so much about networking and making connections. Don't miss the opportunity because you're staring at your phone!

5. Stock up on FREE things! It's easy to find free things at SXSW including Tshirts, Koozies, Hankerchiefs, Protein Bars, Energy Drinks, and much more. Whenever you find something free that you might like, grab it. Vendors give away so much free stuff and want people to actually use it. Think about your friends, coworkers, family back home that don't get to go to SXSW. Bring them back a little something, especially if there's no cost to you. 

6. Be prepared to abort. Is the line way too long and you don't think you can get in? Abort. Is the speaker or talk less exciting than you thought it would be? Abort. Are you hungry and can't pay attention to the talk? Abort. Are you just following friends and not making your own plan? Abort. There's too much going on at SXSW to just sit around and wait. Create your own destiny, and don't be afraid to get up during a talk. 

7. Find a place to relax. Mental breaks are a great way to charge during the day. Find some place where you can take some time to review your notes, drop your new friends a message, or do some yoga. SXSW moves pretty fast, but it's great to find time to take care of yourself amongst the mayhem. 

8. Monitor your drinking. Every event at SXSW seems to give away free booze. There were talks in the morning that included beer with breakfast. This always seems great at the time, but remember a lot of the great connections happen early in the morning. Having a wild night on Saturday usually leads to a very slow Sunday. It's ok to have fun, but don't have so much fun that you ruin the rest of your trip!

9. Bring a Portable Phone Charger. Even though I mentioned going analog as much as possible, there will be opportunities where you'd like to use your phone. Some days at SXSW are very long and you don't have enough time to run home for a quick nap. For those days, make sure you have a spare phone charger. Even if you don't use it, a friend of yours might seriously thank you for thinking ahead! 

10. Bring business cards and make connections. Austin is full of out of towners during SXSW, looking to make genuine connections. Be better prepared by having a 10 second elevator pitch and updated business cards ready for whenever you meet someone who's first question is always, "so, what do you do?". Make it interesting so they remember you!


#HOUSxSW Ambassador's Preview to #SxSW2018

What's it mean to be a #HOUSxSW Ambassador? 

This year, I'm teaming up with Houston Exponential and Station Houston to represent Houston in Austin during SxSW 2018. A group of entrepreneurs are getting together for the week of SxSW Interactive (the time devoted to tech, apps, nerds, etc). 

I'm really looking forward to hearing from leaders from some amazing brands like Pinterest, Gatorade, Etsy, Bumble, DropBox, Kendra Scott, Instagram, and many more. The sessions I'm looking forward to the most are around Branding, Marketing, Design, and Innovation. 


What is Houston Exponential and Station Houston?

Both organizations are helping propel Houston forward through innovation and entrepreneurship, which is something I am 100% behind. Station Houston is Houston's hub for innovation, located in downtown, and was founded by my former co-Pilot & Ukulele jam-mate @GraceRodriguez


Where I'm headed in Austin

The Map Above has places available to Interactive Badge holders and are deemed "Highly Likely to Give Out Free Swag like Tshirts". 

SxSW Pro Tip: Bring a Bike or At Least 2 Pairs of Shoes. There's a LOT of Walking. 


About #HOUSxSW

The #HOUSxSW campaign aims to position Houston as a leader in creativity and innovation, building recognition and relationships with technology founders, investors, experts, influences and startups that may not have previously considered working with Houston startups, doing business in Houston, or taking advantage of all the talent and resources Houston has to offer.


About Houston

Houston is the most welcoming and diverse city in America: nearly 1 in 4 residents are foreign-born, and over 145 languages are spoken here.  

Houston is the #1 City for minority entrepreneurs: They can leverage our diverse workforce, and their dollars go farther with our lower cost of living!

From space travel to healthcare to energy to enterprise, Houston is where the world convenes to solve the problems that matter!


March 10

Mar 10, 2018
9:30am – 10:30am
JW Marriott
Salon D
110 E 2nd St.

Mar 10, 2018
9:30am – 10:30am

Mar 10, 2018
3:30pm – 4:30pm
JW Marriott
Salon D
110 E 2nd St.

Mar 10, 2018
5:00pm – 6:00pm

Mar 10, 2018
7:00pm – 8:30pm
The Hideout
617 Congress Ave.

March 11

Mar 11, 2018
11:00am – 12:00pm
Four Seasons
98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Mar 11, 2018
11:00am – 12:00pm

Mar 11, 2018
11:00am – 12:00pm

Learning UX from Board Games

presented by Capital One
Mar 11, 2018
12:30pm – 1:30pm

Mar 11, 2018
2:00pm – 3:00pm
JW Marriott
Salon D
110 E 2nd St.

Mar 11, 2018
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Four Seasons
Ballroom AB
98 San Jacinto Blvd.


#HOUSxSW #TeamHouston

Winner of TIP Awards: UP Art Studio
Mini Mural Project Team: Gibson Hall with Co Founders of UP Art Studio, Noah & Elia Quiles.

Mini Mural Project Team: Gibson Hall with Co Founders of UP Art Studio, Noah & Elia Quiles.

2018 TIP Awards - Group Photo.jpg

Last week was the 3rd annual Tourism Incentive Program (TIP) Awards and awarded 21 Houston-based organizations with a total of $275,000 to help make Houston a better destination for tourists. 

This past year was HUGE for travel and visitors coming to Houston. Between the Superbowl, World Series, and several international festivals, over 20 million people visited Houston. 

Each organization was eligible to win money from Houstonfirst and Visit Houston if they could create a compelling program involving at least 1 nonprofit and 1 hotel in order to market Houston as a destination worth visiting. 

UP Art Studio won $10,000 from Houstonfirst and Visit Houston, and is partnering with Hotel Ylem, Omni Hotel Houston, and Houston Bike Share (BCycle).

Since starting the Mini Mural Project a little more than 2 years ago, UP Art Studio has helped over 40 artists paint more than 185 electrical control cabinets in Houston. We've had several requests for maps in order to help people go on Mini Mural tours. We're working with our partners to create Bike Tours, Walking Tours, and packages for visitors staying at Hotel Ylem and Omni Hotel. Be on the lookout for Mini Mural Tours happening soon!

Visit for an interactive map of the boxes. 

View from The Downtown Aquarium


David Mincberg, Chairman of Houston First and Jorge Franz, Sr. VP Tourism at Visit Houston presented the organizations with oversized checks. 

Other winning organizations include: Alley Theater, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Escuderia Charities, Freneticore, Fresh Arts / Spacetaker, Houston Bike Share, Houston International Dance Coalition, Houston Marathon, Lyc Concours, Mercury Baroque Ensemble, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston AfriFEST, Magical Winter Lights, San Jacinto Museum of History, Sea Star Base, Theater Under The Stars, UP Art Studio, Voila Lab, and Washington on the Brazos. 

TIP Awards - UP Art.jpg
Map of Mini Murals

Map of Mini Murals


New Mini Murals Painted in 2018

UP Art Studio, winner of Tourism Incentive Program for Mini Murals Tour

UP Art Studio, winner of Tourism Incentive Program for Mini Murals Tour

Mini Murals Website Launch 2018!

MiniMurals Houston

Project ideation, Marketing, Web Design, Social Media Strategy, Digital Strategy

  • Client: UP Art Studio

  • Timeline: June 2015 — current

  • Services: Web Design, Project Management, Social Media Strategy

I walked into a big board room in Spring 2015 with a map of the City of Houston. The map included green, yellow, and red pens throughout Houston, with a green one down the street from my childhood home. I was immediately confused why MY neighborhood and street was highlighted on this map, and what it was symbolizing. It was the start to a city-wide art transformation, which I couldn’t be more proud of to create and support.

Website Designed by Gibson Hall.

Website Designed by Gibson Hall.

MiniMurals started in 2015, when Noah and Elia Quiles of UP Art Studio approached me about helping with this project. We already worked together on several other large mural projects, and I played the role of the digital marketing strategist.


Project Info

Art curators, Noah & Elia Quilies, were starting a project to paint traffic control boxes in the city of Houston, but needed marketing support to work with the right organizations to help fund this massive project (there’s over 700 boxes in Houston). 


Painting these boxes is going against the City of Houston, so we needed special permission from the Mayor’s office and Public Works Department to even consider this project a reality. To our amazement, both organizations were in full support of the project. We had enough support to have 1 artist paint 1 box, and the kickoff to the MiniMurals project was highlighted by the Chronicle.

Work Involved

In 2015, I created the original website, including description of the project and galleries of the painted boxes. Since then, there have been over 180 boxes painted and have scaled the website to include an interactive map, allowing users to find boxes near their neighborhood and throughout hours.

N Main @ Brooks  by W3R3ON3

N Main @ Brooks by W3R3ON3

Kirby Icehouse's Website is Now Live! Go check it out!

Kirby Ice House is one of Houston's largest bars (over 1 acre) and has a huge selection of top quality beers, wines, and liquors, but in 2017 was lacking a website. Their Instagram account had over 1,000 followers and their bar was PACKED during the World Series and just about every other day of the week. 

Not having a website didn't prevent patrons from visiting their establishment, but created a big bottleneck when it came to running the business. Kirby Icehouse's owners were constantly being asked for party reservations for small groups of people that would have plenty of options once arriving to the bar with more than 1 acre of seating space. 

Gibson designed and created to help patrons and future visitors know bar specials, special event information, make reservations online, and view the environment through virtual tours and drone videography. 

The result is a beautiful website, friendly for customers, and easy for the business to update. 

PortfolioGibson HallFeatured
Oscar de la Renta Exhibit MFA Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts invited me and other Digital Ambassadors to preview the new Oscar de la Renta Exhibit. It was filled with beautiful dresses worn by (ladies of Houston) Lynn Wyatt, Carolyn Farb, and Barbara Bush. Each dress was paired with a painting from the country that inspired Oscar de la Renta. 

Video captured at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston during #MFAHafterhours, part of the museum's Digital Ambassador series.

The exhibit goes through January 28, 2018 and you can learn more here.

Tony's Blogger Dinner

I was invited to a private dinner with other Instagram Digital Influencers to Tony's, Houston's oldest fine dining restaurant. Tony Vallone started Tony's more than 50 years ago and has hosted the last 8 Presidents for dinner. 

This intimate evening was spent enjoying lots of amazing food, beautiful dishes, delicious wine, and tons of laughs with new friends. 


Gibson joins Decode Digital as Creative Director

Gibson Hall is introduced as Creative Director for Decode Digital, an interactive advertising agency based in Houston, TX. Gibson will oversee the entire Design and Development team, and lead the company based on creative direction. 

Decode specialities in digital marketing (search ads, social media marketing), traditional advertising (TV, billboards, magazine ads), and website design & development. Decode has worked in the Virtual Reality space, organized events, and has a team of heavy-hitting app developers. 

Gibson will work on the CHI St. Luke's Health account, as well as work with local restaurant groups, B2B ventures, local realtors, and family owned businesses. Gibson works with a team of hungry entrepreneurs, including CEO, Kathleen Perley. 

New Art Exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts: Kusama: At the End of the Universe

I visited the new art exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts: Kusama: At the End of the Universe. The museum gets Digital Ambassadors together for a sneak peak of the exhibit so we can blog about it and share it. If you can't tell from these photos, it's definitely worth checking out. 

Featured speaker at Greater Houston Partnership luncheon series

The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) helps build Houston's economy by joining like-minded business owners for fundraising, city planning, and ongoing development. The GHP hosts monthly luncheons, inviting Houstonians to share their stories about how they are helping shape Houston. 

Gibson was the featured speaker in June 2017, sharing what it was like growing up an entrepreneur in Houston, helping one of Houston's billion-dollar companies find success through Customer Experience, and how a city art program is transforming neighborhoods throughout Houston. 


Academy Sports + Outdoors
Responsive Product Details Pag

Responsive Product Details Pag


Website Design, User Experience, Cross-Channel Marketing

I served as the lead Senior User Experience Analyst for Academy Sports + Outdoors 2015-17. The User Experience (UX) team led product design for, mobile applications, and Omnichannel experiences, blending digital shopping with in-store shopping.



  • timeline - 2015 - CURRENT
  • Skills/Tools Used - Ecommerce, Merchandising, Usability Testing, A/B Testing, Foresee Customer Feedback, Remote Testing, Google Analytics, IBM WCS



As the Senior UX Analyst, I lead UX research and testing of designs and experiences. Through direct feedback, prototype testing, website analytics, and moderated usability testing, I have a deep understanding of the Academy customer and create projects and share reports throughout the organization to create a better Customer Experience.



Our UX team includes UX Researchers and UX Designers. Our process is agile, and incorporates SPRINT design methodologies. Our work begins with a strong understanding of the business goals, and create and test experiences with customers to make their shopping efforts easy, enjoyable, and without friction. Academy customer’s expect an easy shopping experience in-store, and our team tries to match the same expectation online.



2016 was a year of foundation building for Focusing on the Academy customer meant taking into consideration ALL of Academy’s customers, and there are a whole lot of different segments. One of the segments businesses and web designers often neglect are users with disabilities like poor or no vision. Luckily, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is helping organizations understand the importance of designing for this segment of users.

In 2017, the only organizations in the United States required to have fully compliant websites (WCAG 2.0) are airlines and banking. In Ireland and several other countries, all websites are required to follow similar guidelines, allowing users to always be able to listen to text on websites. Smart businesses and leaders in the US are learning to stay ahead of the trend, and get their websites to be WCAG 2.0 compliant, and share the same experience with everybody, regardless of limitations one might face.

Academy set out to recreate the foundation of in order to follow these guidelines, which meant the team redesigned, recoded, and launched a new website over the course of 12 months, to be fully compliant in 2017.

Undergoing a full website redesign for an Ecommerce website with more than 60,000 products taught me a lot about how to test websites for Accessibility defects, work with customers with disabilities to ask questions and get user feedback, and approach website design from a more targeted view.

Part of the overall accessibility redesign project involved updates to the Global Navigation on The navigation lives at the top of every page on Academy’s website, and provides users a quick way to find different categories and products on the website.



  • Reached goal of WCAG 2.0 compliant navigation
  • Increase in Customer Satisfaction on Foresee
  • Increase in Browsing Score on Foresee




While I don't believe there is 1 standard testing approach for every project, these are some of the most common UX methods I practice at Academy.

Customer Journey Maps
Starting new projects, I create user diagrams which outline different steps of the experience for the customer. Sometimes these are based on multiple personas. This diagram allows our team to understand friction points in the experience and how to make it better.

There are 5 different types of primary customers that shop at Academy. We use personas to understand their shopping motivations so we can empathize with our customers.

Competitive Audit
We test our website against competitors with real customers, asking what they like about each website and benchmarking us against other websites.

User Interviews
I have spent more than 500 hours interviewing customers shopping on to collect user feedback about scenarios, flows, and features of the website. I compile actionable findings and share with the team.