Akwete in play

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Hi everyone, as you would know from my blog, I began a project years ago to bring Nigerian textile design patterns into the digital world. Recently I was contacted about the usage of one of the patterns, an akwete pattern, for Nigerian playing cards and was delighted! This is the intent, let’s make use of what is ours. I think the patterns are great and look forward to exploring and illustrating more.

For now, enjoy the playing cards and back the Kickstarter project here

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Coping with Misophonia at Home

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Home. That place where the heart is, that place meant to be a safe haven from the world, oh how torturous it could be. Even with the loveliest people around, for those of us with misophonia, home can still be a battleground for our health.

One of the popular posts on my blog is Coping with Misophonia at work. Now that I no longer work full time and in an office, I thought to write about what is common to most people.

In the past year I moved 3 times, the plan was to move once, then marriage happened, but noise happened first and I ended up moving 2 additional times. It was such a difficult period.

The Challenge

We finally settled in a place we both like very much only to find we are directly under two flight paths to the busiest airports in London, ouch. I did check but the flights didnt appear regular or low enough for concern, I thought! Not only that, the street was busier than it seemed when we viewed. I am grateful that my husband hardly has any bodily noise that gets to me, but he has a tendency to sibilate, emphazing Cs, S, Zs,T s which threaten to burst my ear drum. The other major noise disturbance is handling crockery.

How have I coped so far?

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 (Bible)

So I’m faced with planes flying over my head at 4:30 am at about 5,000ft, children screaming their heads off from the nearby school (why do they have to scream to play?)

What do I do, how do I find rest?

Pray –

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:6-7 (Bible)

The first and foremost thing I found was to cultivate a quiet spirit within. Prayer helps, it reminds me that I don’t live for myself, it reminds me that I am dependent on the Almighty for everything including the ear (grateful!) I have to hear all these sounds. I’m reminded to pray for others. The brilliant thing as well, it tempers my response to noises I don’t like, rather than having an anxiety induced response, I have a solution finding attitude.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (Bible)

Play Music / Ambient sounds –

“Rejoice always!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16

This helps me block out noise in the day time, especially when the children are on lunch break. The best thing about it is I absolutely love music, and armed with loads and loads of good music from Spotify, it is a delight. Please don’t become the noisy neigbour by playing sounds so loud, lol.

Focus on the Positives / Gratitude-thinking –

What you focus on makes a big difference. I have to intentionally remind myself that I love my partner, I love my house, I love children and I love airplanes above all the noise. When I am occupied, especially with those I love being with/doing – writing, reading, designing a thing, all the noise in the backgound fades away.

Don’t bottle feelings, explain, suggest-

I’m so thankful that I’ve been gifted with an understanding life partner so I am frequently (if you ask him maybe he’d say once a week) talking about how the noise affects me and what we can do to reduce or minimize it.

If he is washing dishes, he tries to do it when I’m awake and active so it doesn’t throw me out of sleep. When eating he is careful but ofcourse makes mistakes which I need to be forgiving about. I’m looking at buying more wooden crockery so that there isn’t so much noise. His sibilation mostly occurs when he is explaining something on the phone so when he works from home, we do it in seperate rooms!

Support Others

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important we don’t then become the ones creating noise for others. When someone speaks up about something I’m doing that is noisy, I have to listen seriously and change, including my husband ( kakaka!).

When we first moved and I was stressing about the airplane noise, I found there was a body of people who are fighting against the expansion of the airports which means more planes at more hours. I joined to sign the petition and support in the work. I might be able to up and leave the area but many can’t. So we need not just focus on how noise affects us alone but also look to see how we can support the community at large.

 

All in all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to self-reflect, to be grateful for what I do have. These are a few things that have helped tremendously. I hardly hear the planes cruising by these days unless it is really quiet and I think about it! funny how that works.

I know we are all different but I’m keen on learning from others, feel free to share any tips in comments.

Much love!

Sky Ladder

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“Fireworks?” I thought “What does that have to do with me” as my mind prepared to dismiss watching the recently recommended program. “Ah well, I’ll watch it because…”, I like to take people seriously.

From the start, I knew I would finish it, my heart was gripped. I’ve never been so inspired by anything this otherworldly. I have so much emotion thinking about it, this documentary has sparked something deep inside, I’ve recommended it to all those I believed would care and now to all of you, watch it on Netflix!

It has it all; passion, vision, bureaucracy, family, love, humanity. It touched me on a deep deep level, words cannot even express. Some of the works made me think of heaven. of Jesus coming on the clouds, the beauty of God’s work in the world and so many other themes.

Tears, it would be hard to watch it again without tears but I will, I have to. I know there will be something else to unwrap and marvel in. I would like to meet Cai Guo-Qiang one day. For now, I find comfort in viewing his works. “Fireworks?” “Yes!” hahaha “Oh yes”

Enjoy xx.

Designer, Design Thyself

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This was a completely different post when I started writing a week ago. I wanted to critique the Design and Exclusion conference that I attended. Talking about inclusion, exclusion, diversity etc is tough because the attempt to include every single point of view in every single space is futile. However a discussion was started which should be commended. Even though I felt excluded in some areas of the conversation, I trust that design doesn’t give up, (I discovered someone also!), so I look forward to a better conference next time.

As the ideas and words for the critique percolated in my head, I came across Ayse Birsel’s book, Design the Life You Love and it was exactly what I’d been thinking, but now on an individual level. We have with us a powerful tool, design, that can bring about positive change even in our own lives and that’s what this book seeks to help us to do.

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Basically, while we attempt to design the world around us, we should not neglect ourselves and our lives. Being able to stop and assess what is, ‘deconstruction’, as Ayse calls it, is the important first phase of the process. This also fits well with the Appraisal theory and to an extent, mindfulness, but it also provides the tools to help in the ‘reconstruction’ process.

“Deconstructing and breaking current reality is necessary to enable us to shift our perspective to see the same things differently in order to reconstruct a new reality that is more than the sum of it’s parts “

I got my copy a few days ago, and I’m excited about going over it. I need it so much in my life right now as I deal with so many moving parts, and I don’t want to lose the ability to see myself in relation with others (partly why I decided not to go ahead with the critique, I needed to take care of the plank in my own eyes).

This is not just for professional designers, it’s for anyone ready to take a step to becoming a better person and having a life where you love and love.

user you

Enjoy.

 

Emotional Sensitivity is a business asset

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Every business wants to achieve flow. A state of high quality productivity that is effective and efficient. However, every business is made up of people, who get things done, this is where emotional sensitivity comes in. Continue reading

Gratitude-Thinking: A business approach?

Thanks-Thinking, that’s what I was going to call it, that’s how it was told to me in my dream and then I read the etymology of ‘Thanks’ On second thoughts, maybe that’s not too bad. Think-Thinking Continue reading

The Stuff of Designers: Resilience

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The Apprentice is one of my favourite things to watch. I was a latecomer to the series, so I binge watched the previous 7 and was hooked. Although I think the current season (12) has some of the poorest candidates, I am still fascinated by watching different types of people come together to create things.

The last episode (7) ‘Boat Show’ was especially great because while I watch these things for entertainment my mind constantly searches for something to learn from it. Resilience means 3 main things and I think this episode illustrated it well.

Grow and thrive in the face of challenges

The task was to sell some luxury and cheap items, both teams wanted to sell Jet-Skis not Speedboats. So when one team, Nebula, lost out on the opportunity to sell the Jet-Ski, it was a big challenge. They also had to battle the weather which is the worst I’ve seen on this show.

Bounce back from adversity

So Nebula weren’t given the opportunity to sell the Jet-skis, and it seemed like a big setback. One of the team members was sullen and took it personally. The project manager made sure to communicate to the team that this situation should not affect the way they sold the other items. Her positive attitude motivated the team.

Bounce forward when there’s opportunity

When they got to the boardroom, I was whooping like I’d never done before, this was an amazing show of resilience because the team that suffered the setback went on to win by an immense margin. They decided to look at the opportunity that lay in the speedboats, and sold it like it was always their number one choice.

Life will not always give us what we want, but with an attitude that says, “I will look for and appreciate the opportunity that’s right in front of me” you can be sure to get very far.

Designers especially need to have this attitude, because design itself is a challenge. The first iteration might fail, it’s resilience that allows one to step forward again for another iteration, which makes design what it is.

My favorite movie about Resilience remains Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happyness. The first time I watched it, I cried for maybe 30mins afterward. You have to love the human spirit, and it’s one each and everyone of us has.

Resilience is a skill that anyone can learn, so lets all remember to have a positive, grateful attitude towards life.

Empathy Building: Mental Health Cafe

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A thing I created while swapping feelings & stories on my first day. Guess what it is 😀

“These are the final 12” She said to me pointing at her phone. I was eating lunch and I couldn’t even imagine what she meant. “Final 12 of?” I continued “Xfactor!”, she exclaimed, “final 12 on Xfactor” Oh, I went, it was only my first day at the mental health cafe. She went on to describe the contestants in detail while I asked for pictures. In the cafe, she was just another person with a particular way of communicating and the added skill of describing things in great detail, straight from memory, in the outside world she would be labelled as “handicapped”

This year has been the toughest year of my life and with suffering, it’s easy for us to disappear into ourselves. Imagine how many other people are going through the same or much worse, we end up with a society where hearts are blocked off from each other.

When I got back to London, after many days of rolling in the dark, I resolved that one of the best ways to get myself out of darkness was to reach out to others. Luckily at the same time I had been introduced to a project by a man whom I’d met and helped earlier in the year.

This project is helping people cope with some mental health challenges. While I was researching around how to connect with more people with these difficulties, I met another man who introduced me to the Dragon Cafe, a pop up mental health cafe, that opens up every Monday in Borough. I was so happy.

“The whole point, is to be a complete antithesis to your average mental health service. People like it, because there’s no pressure to do anything at all. They can sing, if they want to. They can write. They can paint. But they can also just collapse on a bean bag and snore”.

The first day was amazing. Over the course of my volunteering I came to see how many were regulars, why they come to the cafe, how it relaxes them and the friends they make. Every single person in the cafe both volunteers and guests have/had mental health challenges so it makes it easier to talk to people. I work at the art table and I get to see how much being able to ‘play’ makes people happy, free and connected.

As a UX practitioner, it was a no brainer to be amongst those I would be designing for, even though I face mental health challenges myself. As a human, I knew it made sense to be able to connect with others, to come out of oneself. For me, going there helps to build my empathy for others, to understand other perspectives like the lady I had an interesting conversation with about Xfactor,  not to be too hard on myself, to accept orders from others, to co operate with people (we pack up the cafe at night)

A wonderful announcement was made yesterday, some people from PWC will be creating a similar pop up in the City. The cafe makes so much sense and my hope is many more such cafes are created, if you aren’t too busy why not pay a visit or donate to the cause.

Cheerios xo

Talk, but I’ll need pen and paper.

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We used chalkboards when I was in primary school and it was fun. Our teacher would ask someone to write his notes on the board so that the rest of the class could copy. Though it wasn’t the prettiest thing to do, chalk on my head, chalk on my school uniform, I would volunteer. I not only wanted to show off my handwriting but genuinely enjoyed the process of putting down and together, words.

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So You Want To Innovate

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“Only 1 in 500 patents makes its inventor money, and businesses are awash in great ideas of dubious market value (only about 4% make money)”

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Omnigraffle Vs Adobe Illustrator

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Spot the difference (click for bigger view)

When Veerle Duoh tweeted about her Cityscape tutorial done in Adobe Illustrator, I just knew I had to try it, in Omnigraffle.

I began using Omnigraffle in a UX role for wireframing. After getting comfortable with it, I started to see the potential and decided to give illustrating a go. I did try to learn Adobe illustrator every now and then, but I kept going back to ‘Graffle.

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A Design Conversation with John Maeda

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John Maeda is a design partner at KPCB, a VC firm in Silicon Valley with Google and Amazon in their portfolio. It was an honor to hear him speak live about design and hybrids. Big thanks to Poptech for organizing for free and Patrizia of Legoviews for sharing the event.

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Storymaking For a Better User Experience

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Stories are great, we all love a good one. Storytelling is useful in helping us connect with others, companies and brands. We can enhance this by co-creating stories using StoryMaking methods.

“StoryMaking is the engagement in creation of a story with one or more people”

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Support a Woman in Tech platform today.

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Platforms for Women

I know too well the challenges that arise in being a minority in a minority in a minority, and I only started to experience this a couple of years ago. It is one of the reasons I try to support organizations that cater to marginalized groups.

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8 Things to do after celebrating International Woman’s Day

I celebrate International Women’s Day, (official day was yesterday) When I think of the day, I think of my mum, motherhood, the uniqueness of being woman. Anyone can be a scientist, designer, football player, but that unique ability to be bearer of the world, life, should be most celebrated!

With that in mind, I’ll share some things that have made my celebration much more significant. Things I’ve learned from women who have inspired me like my mother. Things I share with friends, things that any woman should try to incorporate in her daily life, things that take you from merely existing to living a life that’s truly yours.

8 ways to spruce up your life!

Learn from smarter peopleGo after people who are in the place you want to get to, find a way, send them a mail, or read more about them. Find mentors who will not only guide you, but also sponsor you and blow your trumpet.

Practice kindness everyday – It’s a daily struggle, I get, but the more you do something the more it starts to become who you are. Practice kindness by forgiving yourself first for not being  the epitome of perfection. Look to others with eyes of grace, the more you do it, the better you become. I have failed so many times, but today and tomorrow hold opportunities to try again. Make a conscious effort, plan to be kind to everyone you meet.

“Funny thing about change, though. It works a lot better if it comes from a place of kindness than from judgement”

Read smart and Read wide – I just received 14 books at a go from a friend, it made me really happy because the books were some of what I wouldn’t have picked up myself. Try to go beyond what you’d pick up by default, there’s something to be learned in most things. Now if you aren’t connecting with a book, best to drop it and find something else, life is too short to stay reading a book without joy.

Cultivate strong friendships – Think of those you have around you, can you really call them friends? how do you affect their lives, how do they affect yours? make a decision to care a bit more, ask a bit more, share a bit more and grow this garden of love.

Stay curious and Take risks – Wonder, Wander, ask questions, talk to yourself, think by yourself, let your brain work, try to really see things and don’t loose the ability to get excited by life. That business you always wanted to run? That crowd you’ve always wanted to speak to, that job you want to leave? That house you want to build? That career? Do it.

Keep an Idea Bank – I have so many books because I have to grab the nearest thing to write down what I’m thinking but I do have some challenge with it as I described in wearable tech for introverted intuitives Having the bank shows me where my passions lie and also helps keep my brain fresh as I put down ideas, more come to the fore.

Share Your Knowledge – It’s never enough to just keep learning, you must process and give back, thats how any healthy ecosystem works. In teaching or sharing, you will gain even more, just imagine the cogs of your brain turning, care enough to share.

Write! – The reason I write is myriad but one thing it helps me do at the same time is think, organize my thoughts, share knowledge and teach myself. You can do it too.

Design Management Lessons from Carlo’s Bakery

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Cakes and Design, a winning combo? Yes! I found out recently that my favorite TV shows are reality shows where there’s some form of creation and/or competition like Cake Boss and Next Great Baker. At first it was all about passing time, entertainment and cakes, then I noticed the design process was similar to what we do on projects in the digital space.

There were a few points I picked up in the process which will be helpful on any design project. Enjoy.

Have Client Conversations

You will get all kinds of clients, aim to have a relaxed friendly conversation no matter how ‘corporate’ they seem. Very often this turns into some sort of battle where you have to get on the defensive but clients go to you because they trust your abilities or want to trust you, show them they are before the right person.

Meet in a comfortable place, ask about their vision, feedback on the spot with ideas. Your expertise should be what takes the conversation forward.

Share the Vision

For leaders, be honest. If it’s going to be a gigantic cake, if it’s something you have never handled before, tell them. Let your people buy into it and push themselves to achieve it.

For those who are led, if you still don’t get it, ask questions.

Sketch or Prototype the Ideas

When I saw the lo-fi sketches and 3D animations, I smiled because this is a no brainer. A good designer thinks visually and a part of that is being able to communicate the ideas in mind. It also enhances collaboration and helps one figure out what could or isn’t working. Paper and pen is all you need.

Building the Idea starts with Building the right team

After the high level vision and ideas have been shared, it is important to break up the goal in chunks that can be handled by every member of team, depending on the scale of the project. In the Bakery, everyone is known to be excellent in particular areas, and they are called to handle that area especially where there’s a large piece of work to be done.

Again, it is very important that everyone sticks to their strengths – a live client project with constraints is not the place to start learning, let the tasks be assigned according to what the individuals are good at.

Call in the Experts

“Sometimes you have to go outside your field of study to find the right people.” – Temple Grandin

You might be a design or baking expert, but it’s important to acknowledge you don’t know all things. The bakery has a number of relationships with experts in other fields outside bakery that help them achieve their goals. One time they even had to bake the cake in the FX expert’s workshop! Designers must form such relationships with others. Collaboration outside of the team is very important for excellent work.

Have Some Fun

“No matter what the recipe, any baker can do wonders in the kitchen with some good ingredients and an upbeat attitude!” – Buddy Valastro

Yes it’s work, but like Temple Grandin said, “my work is fun”. Remember to remember that design is fun, you are creating things into the world that never existed before, c’mon, have a laugh! 😀

Panic be Gone!

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Ewww. Every now and then, there’s a disaster at the bakery. Someone might have done some shoddy work or the cake melts faster than they can deliver. The number one thing they do is curb panic. The leader, Buddy makes them understand it’s not about ‘you’ Think of the work, think of what can be done to rectify the situation. No time for blame games or hysterics.

It’s a bad thing to do work that is below par, it becomes disastrous when you can’t see what is wrong. Leave ego at home.

Details & Delivery

Details in design cannot be overemphasised, it is what separates brands, products and services, though they might be offering the same things. Everyone on the team needs to know how important this is. Sloppy fondant work for example, can destroy a well baked cake.

Delivery is very important, what happens if attention is not paid to this and the beautiful cake is damaged right before the client’s eyes? Let the details in your work be end to end. Have no rest until the cake is firmly lodged in your client’s stomach.

Leaders Lead by Example

Buddy is the clear leader of Carlo’s Bakery, but he is the type of leader who is hands-on which I like. Because design is a practical thing, It’s great to know you have a leader who can fold up their sleeve and get to work.

Stay Challenged

Carlo’s Bakery constantly tries to push the boundaries, baking bigger and more complex cakes. They take on these challenges from clients because it is important for imagination, to build skill and the team. It also exposes the cracks and helps you make provision for training etc.

Eat Cake.

Everyone I know likes cake, so why not get some to celebrate the end of project. Your team will like you, I promise.

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”

– Buddy Valastro

How to Create an Owl in Omnigraffle

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Omnigraffle is a tool used by designers and UX professionals primarily for wireframing. The tool also allows one to make the wireframes interactive. Now, Omnigraffle can be utilized for much more than that. I was inspired to explore this when a conversation on tools came up in Spring UX Camp People wanted to know if tools made the designer.

My argument continues to be that tools should be employed depending on what’s available, necessary for the time, audience and purpose. If all you have at a point is Microsoft Word, you should be able to create a useful wireframe in it. That’s a major attribute of a real designer.


A good article on Omnigraffle by UX Matters


Why I like Omnigraffle

Omnigraffle has been a steady tool of mine for the past 3 years. I started using it because it was the main tool at work and I found it comfortable. I like the stencil system which makes one create things faster. Most of what I do begins on paper, while Omnigraffle helps me bring it to life in a myriad of ways.

How You can Illustrate in Omnigraffle

The Basics

It is important to know shapes, and most people who know how to draw naturally know this.

Every object is based on these; The Circle, Triangle and Square.

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Any tool that gives you the ability to create these or by way of stencils can be stretched to far much more, it just depends on your time, level of comfort and imagination.

Understanding the Simple-Complex relationship

When I look at an object I almost instantaneously break it down into pieces, I’m sure it holds true for a lot of designers. This translates into other areas, where you look at a complex problem or argument and you’re able to quickly see the pieces. The most interesting part is that these pieces can be put together in many more ways. This is one reason I like voltron projects.

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Limitations

Omnigraffle is not Adobe Illustrator, so don’t expect advanced work here but you will be able to draw objects, add color to them, modify objects (subtract, union, intersect etc). I haven’t been able to warm to Illustrator, so I can’t tell you what the main differences are, only that there is certainly an advantage to using Illustrator (professionals use it!). But if you are ok with the simple things, Omnigraffle (if you already own it) will work out just fine.

So, I decided to try my hand at a bit of illustration and I’ve enjoyed the whole process immensely. A few things below I’ve created recently, used them in my portfolio, created logos for people, and basically just had fun!

Above all…

It really does start in the mind, don’t ever neglect your pen and paper.

If you cannot see, you cannot do.

Stay Bright.

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Connected Brains: The Internet of Thoughts

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Recap

After writing about wearable technology for introverted intuitives, a lot of interesting discussions came out of that, so in a way this is a part two of that post. The initial idea stems from the experiences and the challenges of the INFJ. This is what it feels like for INFJs I discussed with.

“It happens so many times having valuable insights in my thoughts, and as they usually appear in the middle of a daily task, I don’t always have the time or mood to take notes, and because of this, in the moment I finally write down on paper, those insights will not be the same anymore, it happens the same when verbally communicating those insights to other people”


“I have often thought there should be a device that can capture my thoughts in real time, so I don’t have to write down the jumble of thoughts that go around in my head. I often have creative ideas I would like to store, but when I try to write them down even a few minutes after I have thought them, I cannot seem to recreate the exact same thought. The ‘magic’ is gone”

So that’s what it is about, Braintext will capture thoughts in real time and send them to your designated device, converting it to readable modifiable text.


This is a good post to read when thinking of wearables

Wearable Technology Design Principles


Going further, the discussions morphed into actually connecting brains to each other, of course there is the danger of brain hacking but I’ll focus on the benefits of this.

Connect Our Brains, really?

When I told a friend about this (He is ISTJ) he said that the internet as we know it could be seen as an internet of thoughts, because it is the products of our brains and thoughts that are connected. Fair enough I thought, with a smile, if I didn’t know personality types I may have gone into an argument with him. It is a valid thought, however IOT is specific to situations where the thoughts are connected ‘raw’. Thoughts will connect with thoughts directly.

What I imagine is being able to limit your thought transmission to certain people i.e the device you have (Braintext 2.o) will have to pair with mine, like how Bluetooth technology works. Will it still be hackable? as with all technology there is that possibility, but the mind is more powerful than we give it credit for. I think this might enhance our natural ways of communicating.

Possible Applications: Ability Bridge and Empathy Transfer

This is one of the thoughts that came from the original idea.

“When I initially saw the two persons facing each other wearing the devices, I imagined that the device could be both emitter and receiver, it would be like mind reading, which could be so useful for example in a situation where a person is unable to talk, imagine the benefits for disabled people. Second idea is related with empathy and mirror neurons, imagine if your device could “capture” or “process” somehow the information from those neurons and transmit them to someone who lacks them, for example, autistics.”

The Future

I do think the brain is the final frontier, once we get to understand the workings of it, this world will be something else entirely. For now, as my friend said, “IOT is a nice slogan, I’m waiting for a product that deserves it” We will wait with hope.

Wearable Technology For Introverted Intuitives

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“Sitting in a pool as all the words float by, perfectly, but it’s time to get up and I do. The words, they immediately disperse. I hastily grasp some, hoping they make sense while the others, they float away, never to be seen again. On my feet, I close my eyes and mourn the loss of words”

The statement above will be familiar to people termed as ‘intuitives’ everyone has a degree of intuition but for introverted intuitives (see MBTI), this is their preferred way of perceiving, gathering information from/about the world, and for many, the only way. MBTI identifies it as Ni, ‘Introverted Intuition’ which shows up in the following types INFJ, INTJ, ENTJ and ENFJ but is the dominant function of the INTJ and INFJ. Even if you haven’t been professionally typed, the following description would be familiar to anyone high on the introverted intuitive spectrum.

What does Introverted Intuition feel like?

Introverted iNtuiting  focuses on the contents of the unconscious, it involves a psychic awareness of the intangible. Ni searches for grand patterns, themes, systems in order to understand the meaning and significance of everything. It operates unpredictably, often through flashes of insight. It seeks to understand an abstract sense of the essential nature of all things and their complex interrelationships. It attaches meaning and symbolism to the concrete world of the senses. This process is independent of the conscious mind, and doesn’t need external stimuli however, INTJ and INFJ can intentionally access the process by creating certain conditions and letting it happen.

“It views everything on the broadest level and asks, what else is going on here?”

Ni quickly grasps the meaning behind words. Unconscious images are as real as anything tangible. It seeks to understand complexity through the simple underlying essence of everything. Visions and insights are trusted and valued. This process can involve working out complex concepts or systems of thinking or conceiving of symbolic or novel ways to understand things that are universal. It can lead to creating transcendent experiences or solutions. Ultimately Ni tries to understand life [Reference: Building Blocks of Personality by Leona Haas and Mark Hunziker]

The Challenge

One big challenge for the Ni is having to communicate outwardly, How can I communicate my well formed thoughts without distortion. It’s almost as if you put pen to paper or open your mouth to talk and the carefully arranged words, systems and patterns you see in your mind just start to tumble haphazardly out. There is a high tendency to ramble because as you talk you find new connections that beg to be communicated.

 So how do we minimize distortion as our thoughts pass the barrier between the mind and the ‘seen’ world.

A Solution

The Device: BrainText

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Given that this process of thought occurs at any time, from waking up to falling asleep, we need this device to be highly flexible. We want to wear it to sleep, while showering, running etc. it would be Lightweight, Sensitive, Waterproof, Durable (last 3 years min), Flexible, Powered by motion, solar.

The device will be sensitive enough to notify you via device beep and phone notifications when it is a certain distance from your head, you will be able to control via the mobile phone etc

How will it work?

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BrainText will come with a software/app that can be installed on a suitable device. When Braintext is set up, simply place it near your head (you can even wear it as a hair clip) and press the start button on your app or BrainText, and transmission will begin. BrainText picks up the signals from your brain and transmits it to your mobile phone for example, where the software is installed. The software does the hard work of converting brain signals into text, which you can later edit yourself.

I really think something like this will be useful for a lot of people and perhaps not just introverted intuitives. This is the kind of device I will gladly buy, not a wristwatch, until then, I will have to make do with my paper and pen.

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Last Week’s Thoughts (2)

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Hello, I’m enjoying writing this because I never know what the week will bring. It gives me one more thing to look forward to. Happy New Month! I am biased but August really is the best of all 🙂

Ebola

It seems otherworldly, like Sci-fi, the speed at which it kills and the fact Ebola has no cure is frightening. Ebola finally got to my country. Knowing that all my family is there, makes it realer than real. I have friends in the North of Nigeria who said they heard Ebola was killing people in Lagos. This drove home the importance of knowing and sharing accurate information, Social Media doesn’t reach everywhere so be responsible as you become ‘Personal Media’ 

But what is Ebola? Forbes tries to sum it up here, What You Need to Know about Ebola. A couple of Nigerian devs put this up EbolaFacts. However there is hope, some people have survived the viral infection, I caught Ebola in Guinea and Survived and I think those who work as doctors, nurses in theses places are heroes, Saving lives on the Ebola frontline in Guinea

Hopefully a cure will come soon in the mean time share the word

 Crazy Love

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Sites I like

There are a few sites that struck me this week, I have to highlight some.

>> Wahanda, For all your spa and relaxation needs. I think it’s well ‘engineered’ things work as expected, do I have negatives?, sure, but the positive experience outweighs the negative that it beomes negligible.

>> FirstThings, When I first opened this site, the first thing that hit me was how readable it was. For those wondering, the font is Sorts Mill Goudy. It’s not just the font though, it’s everything working together for good.

>> ManServant, We are still not sure if this is a joke, but it’s hard to fault the execution of this site.

Christmas & Music

I never really thought about it before, who my favorite European ‘Classic’ composers are. It came upon my thoughts via a book and the sound of a traditional Christmas hymn composed by Vivaldi. Suddenly, I wanted it to be December.

At the moment my favorites would be Mozart, Chopin and Strauss. Their life stories are equally fascinating. Chopin is reported to have said “Play Mozart in memory of me…”

Being Mum

It was my mother’s birthday, one of my closest friend and my niece’s birthday last week but I’ll talk of my mum. She was pregnant with me at my current age, I was going to be her 4th child then she had 3 more. I was about 10 when she got her MBA, she already had a degree in Maths.

I grew up in an environment where my mum stood for father and mother, in fact I didn’t realise ‘inequalities’ existed and for that I’m grateful.  It gladdens me that she has seen half of us get married with grandkids to boot, I know that makes her very happy.

Nigerian Weddings

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It’s hard to beat the grandeur of an above average Nigerian wedding. The outfits alone are intimidating. Check these sites for more

Barbie & Ken’s Big Nigerian Wedding

Love Nigerian Weddings

Classism

I love airplanes but I’m not really fond of spending 6+ hours in them, so when Etihad introduced it’s new A380 Residence suites, it made me balk. Though I feel flying first class is now worth the money, leather seats and ensuite shower in the air, I couldn’t help think about the widened gap between the Moneyed and the Non.

Why are people not railing against the blatant classism?  I ask myself. Money happens to be the biggest discriminator yet the most tolerated, why is this? I asked my Uncle who is a philosopher and he said it was because the Nons are greedy and want to get to the Moneyed’s position, they surely don’t want to get there and find everyone on the same level, figures.

Sharing’  is not Caring

When Airbnb introduced their new brand and stories, I was taken aback. I didn’t expect to dislike it so much, so much that I can’t book anything on the site. It says something about belonging anywhere, a reality I do not share amongst other things.

It made me think a bit more about this whole ‘Sharing’ business. It’s not really sharing, if I have to pay you for something, that’s a business transaction. Sharing is a gift. A HuffPo blogger wrote this recently, Sharing is Caring. But not in the Sharing Economy

Our Callings

It was fascinating to hear someone talk with so much passion and excitement about working in hospital, delivering babies, A&E runs. You certainly want that person attending to you when you have to be in hospital.

Curiosity drives passion and passion gives you energy to fulfil your duties in the best way possible. I can’t imagine being excited about being anywhere near a hospital, but talk about design and watch me go. You see, that’s the interesting thing about life! We all have our callings, and we need each other. There’s no ‘na my own better pass’ find your calling and work it.

Quotes of the Week

“Boredom is like pain, a signal to attend to something in you, crucial” Antonia A.

“Evil people make alliances, not friendships, and then they break them when they are of no more use.” Anthony Esolen

“I’m not creative” is a self-fulfilling prophecy – Author Unknown

“There is no art in the possible, there is art in making the impossible possible” Karl Smith

“One of the things I found beautiful when I got introduced to computing was the key combination ALT-F4. You can ALWAYS start again” Victor Asemota

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Health Advice

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Till next week, Be wonderful.

Last Week’s Thoughts (1)

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I want to start a series where I do a summary of my main thoughts in the past week. I realize that twitter is fast becoming my sounding board and idea bank (drafted tweets), so I want to bring it all the way back here, mostly because there is space to expand without the distraction. M.  Gelb in his  book on Leonardo Da Vinci writes that randomness feeds intuition, so enjoy a bit of randomness here.

To start, a few things;

“Expected outcomes are not the bane of creativity, rigidity is.”Antonia Anni

Research: The impact of award-giving

I’m interested in the impact of awards on a community/ industry/individual. Check out LinkedIn, a large number of people are ‘award-winning’ I have won a few myself, so how does getting an award affect the individual?, their area of their work, their community. What’s the follow up like? How are past award winners? where are they? what are they up to? Do the awards really inspire? do they pressurize? Why do we keep giving them?

Life – Balance

I remembered telling an interviewer that one reason I left my job was the routine. It wasn’t that it was routine, it was that, it was 90% routine, which I found out stresses me out terribly.

However, everybody needs a good balance of routine and the novel. How do you know where your balance is? listen to yourself, take time to reflect on your past experiences, use tools like the MBTI. I’ve found out that the balance for me is 40% Routine, 60% Novel.

Without routine our lives fall apart, Without the novel, we get burnt out. Routine is a marriage, Novel is another day.

Jesus and The Gospel

Jesus is certainly out of this world, he basically turned things upside down.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” How hard is this but necessary.

“The gospel frees us from the relentless pressure of having to prove ourselves, for we are already proven and secure.” I don’t know anything more amazing and freeing than the Gospel. Grace is everything!

What do successful start-ups have in common?

Currently taking an Entrepreneurship course and this is one thing we are exploring. I put the question on twitter here are a few responses;

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I really liked that it all revolves around people, The Founder, The Team and The Tribe.

Mobile is not going anywhere

Since the beginning of time, man has been mobile and each new age has found new ways to move, why should the future be different.

First, man found he had legs, then animals to ride about on, the compass, ships, wheels, airplanes, mobile phones. The question to be asked is simply, what’s next?

 Career and Recruitment

Ever since I  stumbled upon Penelope Trunk, it’s hard to resist going back all the time. I appreciate honesty on any given day, 100%. I prefer a negative answer to limbolysis.  She writes,  3 Career paths and 1 will fit you

My tweets on the brokenness of recruitment led to a conversation of solutions so, someone gave me a link to what he is working on. This is Globeshifts which seeks to change recruitment in the Oil & Gas sector

Immigration

As an Expat in the UK, this is always on my mind. A lot of changes are being made with immigration policies and it can make one very uncomfortable. A startup that is trying to bring some simplicity and clarity to this is Migreat. Some links to read;

UK Immigration and Tech Industry

Is Britain closing it’s doors to talent?

New Quotes

Words- “I find myself reaching for the dictionary more than ever, ‘leverage’ ‘construct’ ‘ecosystem’ ‘pivot’ ‘revert’ in casual chats…necessary.”

Blessings- “Disappointments are not blessings because they magically morph into a blessing instead they clear the way for the blessing”

Work- “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” why are we so afraid of work though? I do what I love but it’s still work and work is good.”

Passwords- “My favorite new button on the web is ‘lost your password?’

TED Videos to Watch

3 ways to speak English – Jamila Lyiscott 

Are you human? – Ze Frank

Design For all 5 Senses – Jinsop Lee

 

Till next week 🙂

Research: Mere Users or Real People?

This post is partly inspired by a tweet and by a profound moment that happened over 2yrs ago. In many ways it’s about the ethics of user research. It also ties in with my recent thoughts on empathy and stories. First of all, I am a big advocate for getting rid of the term ‘User’ but that will be addressed in another post.

The big questions are, Who are these ‘Users’ Do we think of them beyond the task at hand?. Do we see them as having lives interconnected with other products and services or just as the sole user of ours?

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It was a lovely cloudless Monday so I decided to go to the garden near my office on Piccadilly street to have lunch and sit in the sun. There was also a project on my mind. I had done a round of guerilla interviewing during the weekend and didn’t mind continuing if I got the chance. A few minutes after I had settled on a bench and my food, a lady sits by me and opens a book. I thought this was an amazing opportunity to have a chat to her. My project was on redesigning the reading experience, how lucky I felt. So I asked if she had a moment to chat and she burst into tears.

I was taken aback and genuinely sorry, I didn’t know what to say. She quickly got herself together and apologized for the outburst. She mentioned rough times at work and how she tried to escape for a few moments in the garden. I was doubly sorry, here I was in the name of User research encroaching on what little time she had for solace.

I had never really thought about the lives of people beyond the projects I had been working, this was a real eye opener. We still had the chat about reading and what it meant to her but this only came after I just sat and listened. As we talked, I found myself empathizing with her.

I remember walking back to the office and thinking, wow we need a Book Spa/Book Lounge, where people can read in public without being disturbed.  Most importantly, I thought about how we interview. People do not use products in isolation, some times they use your products/service in combination or in comparison with others. We must remember that people live beyond our research and approach them with that in mind. As a researcher its also important to just sit and listen. People’s stories engender empathy and that’s what you need to design better.

 

User Experience in Space

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I got the opportunity last month to speak with two talented designers/engineer/design-thinkers who are heading up the design team at SAC in Harwell, Oxfordshire. I was very curious as to what User Experience looks like in this ‘industry’, so I took a trip to Harwell.

First of all, I was impressed by the Diamond Light Source on the campus.

Diamond is UK’s synchrotron. It works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce beams of light 10,000 times brighter than the sun that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines to viruses and vaccines.

You can visit the Diamond on an open day

Now, when it comes to space technology there are three main areas of application; Navigation, Communication and Earth Observation. The designers at SAC were very keen on showing how space technology can be applied commercially. The facility will be handling a variety of projects from different industries. They would be pro-active in problem solving and they will be providing specific solutions for particular companies.

I have no doubt that this is one of the most important areas of development. We have years upon years of data that can be pulled into useful products. It is no wonder that it is one of Innovate UK‘s priority areas, find out more here

As a User Experience designer, it would certainly be an amazing opportunity to work in this industry, there’s so much to learn here and it opens one’s mind to the different possibilities and areas of application in everyday living. Innovation is certainly not far off, given that it usually occurs at the point where various fields meet, in this case, <Space science, User Experience/Design, Business, Engineering, Art >

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I’m also very happy that the Space Apps challenge by NASA made Lagos and Calabar, Nigeria, a part of this. I love that people from my side of the world are involved in global challenges for products that would benefit all of Earth’s citizens.

Learn by Prototyping

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For the past few months, I have had the opportunity to work on a number of prototypes. Each time has introduced something new to my knowledge bank. I also did up a portfolio recently which is live. I decided to create it in Axure, a protoyping tool so there will be no question if I can use the application amongst other things. It was something that was quite quick, after sketching out what I wanted to do, i went straight into prototyping. I also went responsive with it, which was quite the challenge. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did while doing this.

It is important to test assumptions. I thought I understood responsive layouts, but this showed me how much was lacking in my knowledge, and I’m going back to the drawing board now.

It’s in the details. Again and again, you’ll find your mind straying. The ability to bring it all back together, whether by talking to people, meditating or reading something is a necessary skill to have in design. This comes easy to me but we all forget things.

Skills depreciate or appreciate, work on them. As much as we have talent to do something, it is skill that makes it productive and takes it to the next level. Always find the time to work on your skills.

A world of opportunity. While working on this, I realized there was hardly a thing I couldn’t prototype in Axure, and as for content, it challenged me to start working on new things, which I will be uploading as I go along.

Is this perfect? no, but  I am committed to lifelong learning.

A successful prototype is not one that works flawlessly; it is one that teaches us something

– Tim Brown

Stay positive. Have hope.

Coping with Misophonia at Work

Barbie girls walkman

What is Misophonia?

Ever since I was a child, I found certain sounds absolutely life-threatening. Hearing them made me very angry (up to murderous rage) and anxious. I recently realized that there is a name for it, misophonia and it was such a relief knowing I wasn’t alone.

It is described by American Neuroscientists Pawel Jastreboff and Margaret Jastreboff as

A neurological disorder, in which a person feels anxiety, and even rage in response to certain sounds, which may be loud or soft

It  puts you in a fight or flight mode instantaneously. One of such times was the day my sister asked me to go shopping with her. She had come to London for the first time and we were on the tube heading to Oxford street. Along the way, a man chewing gum loudly and noisily came into our carriage. I was immediately angered and also at myself for leaving my headphones at home. I looked around the carriage and no one seemed bothered, this even enraged me more. I really wanted to hit the guy but as the train came to a stop at the next station I jumped out, thinking my sister was going to follow me, but she didn’t…

The Work Place

Open Plan offices might be straight from the devil. As someone who is largely introverted and with misophonia, it can be hellish. The continuous stimulation for over 7 hours is a massive drain on all my faculty.

Daily triggers at work include; loud voices and sibilation, furious keyboard typing (surprised the keyboard hasn’t broken), slurping and chewing noises.

One particular day I was in a rage and thinking seriously of quitting my job. Thankfully, it was a Friday, so after work, I got some comfort food and watched a movie. As I lay on my bed, coping ideas began to materialize in my brain. I told my friend I was so glad that depression hasn’t been added to my anxiety and misophonia!

Coping Strategies

Noise Cancelling Headphones – These work a treat, I use them all the time and because I love music, it’s an amazing solution. Now, I need to rest my ears every now and then so to fill the gaps the next solutions come in.

Ear Plugs – I am currently testing a few I got from Amazon, 3M makes some called earfit, which I am using right now. It is ok, but the level of comfort could be better. It tones down all the sounds, which is good enough. Only issue is having to take them out often because you have to talk to people.

Regular Breaks –  I try to take a 5 min break in a quiet place every hour, or 10 mins every 2 hours. This not only helps my misophonia but all the other stimulation which gets overwhelming fast like movements, lights, sounds etc. Definitely helps to stretch your leg so you can avoid deep vein thrombosis.

These are the things that help me cope at the moment. It’s hard talking to people about this because for the most part they can’t change ( voice for example ) and they can’t understand.

If you have some other ways which you use to cope, please let me know! all the best.

oh..I did not lose my sister forever, thankfully, she was at the next station.

Support for People With Misophonia

Misophonia UK

Misophonia.Com

Misophonia Treatment

To learn more about Misophonia, here are some related articles

Enraged by Everyday Sounds – Psychology Today

When a Chomp or Slurp is a Trigger For Outrage – NY Times

The Chewing Sound and The Fury – New Republic

Boyfriend Chewing Makes Me Want to Strangle Him – Daily Mail

How Sounds Trigger Rage and Anxiety – Daily Record

Living With Misophonia – Tribune

Making Carousels/Ads Work Harder

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Almost everyone who has access to the internet has come across a carousel. They are also called sliders, rotators, mostly used for advertisements, images with CTAs (buttons). They recently came under fire in the design and UX community.

Carousels are condemned here, herehere and tracked here

Personally, I like them and I think they are a good design pattern when used correctly. Many, in their web design trend speech for 2014 want to see the carousel dumped and replaced by a huge picture banner, which might be worse. A user recently said that for an ecommerce site having just one image banner feels like there’s not a lot of options in the store.

“If people cannot see it, they cannot buy it”

I acknowledge that carousels can be very tricky to work with and many have a high bounce rate. This is tied to content that does not appeal or just isn’t useful to people.

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But since, people are going to look at the carousel anyway, why not make good use of it.

Making The Carousel work Harder

Basics

  • Make sure the carousel is appropriate for your content.
  • Don’t use flash. It is bad for SEO as search crawlers cannot find it. There are many other options available to implement, HMTL5, Javascript.
  • It should not be automatic. Keep the user in control, let them know the number of slides available and and an idea of what’s in them.
  • Four slides max.
  • Update Content regularly, daily. For ecommerce sites, you have ALOT of things on your site to sell, make use of it.

New Direction

  • Don’t make Carousels dead-ends or a call to action to a dead end. If you are advertising a product, insert the options if any, and a ‘Add to Cart’ button, instead of making them click the banner and dumping them on a page where they still have to look for that item.
  • Experiment with different content and sizes. You can make your carousels responsive, so that they are useful to your different pages and manageable by your CMS team.
  • Consider making them interactive enough, so your users can favorite, bookmark content.

Some sites that work it!

Airbnb

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 14.41.57The images have a profile and price, which makes me think, oh wow, this beautiful place is actually affordable! or maybe not and It’s a real picture. My only gripe is, the carousel is automatic

Protest.eu

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The images are massive, and the navigation of the site might be a bit confusing but the image has a drawer which gives you the option to buy the actual products being advertised in the image.

As always, test, test, find out what works and what you can discard but please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Best xx

How Do You Think of the Internet?

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When designing for people on the internet it is important to understand how they think of/perceive it and also, across devices. Searching myself, I find that I see the internet as a constant stream of consciousness, always on, regardless of my state, or the state of my devices.

The devices I use are like windows which open up to the stream. The bigger the window the more I can do. I prefer to use my desktop to do everything, but it is not always convenient. Sometimes I just want to lie on the couch, sometimes power is out (in Nigeria). Also while using the desktop it’s hard to do other things, it demands most of your attention. Meanwhile using my mobile products ‘smaller windows’, it’s like I’m being offered glimpses of the web, while leaving me free enough to do a host of other things at the same time.

Strangely I do think I don’t have the full/real version of the internet until I get to my desktop. Shopping or any financial transactions, writing etc I usually leave to my desktop, while my mobile devices are enough for me to consume bits of information.

How do you think of the internet? What does it mean to you?

Hiring UX people

I remember his face; dark hair and round brown eyes, Greek. He had applied for a junior UX designer role. I asked him why he wanted to leave his current job, and he launched into a super story of politics at his work. I felt sorry but work is political, no getting away from that but the extent to which politics affect you and how is another thing. It was clear I wasn’t going to hire him over the other candidate who showed a lot of creativity and…spirit, the desire to just get on with things. Ultimately we want a worker in our cabal not a whiner.

If I were to hire a UX intern now as someone recently asked me, the two questions I would ask would be;

Why UX? You’ve got to have a story, even if you are drifting, looking to just try it out, honesty makes for very compelling stories. They are important because we remember them and there’s so much you can get from the unsaid. It also lets one into how you value people, value your experiences and how they have shaped you thus far.

The second question is What Skills they have. Life skills and useful competencies for the job can’t be stressed, foundational elements that cut across company fields. In UX you cannot afford to be a specialist, everyone has to step up and take the reins at one point or the other. One has had to take on graphic design, front end development, project management, story management, just to get a product out. The idea of ‘this is not my job’ has to go. As a UX professional it is your responsibility. If you don’t have the capacity to stretch yourself in this way, you will struggle.

As someone who will also be interviewed in future, I hope I will, along with other things like humility and passion, take my own advice.

Host the Party: The Importance of UX Strategy

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The Party

Most people love parties, I do. Actually I love the food and the music. More than that, we love being invited especially by those we know. Most of the time, all you have to do is show up and you will leave well fed, perhaps drunk, but mostly happy. It is comfortable.

As a User Experience Designer in the working world, the party could take the form of a service or product your company is providing, it could be a project meeting, it could be a planning meeting. When parties are thrown there are some key roles people need to take on to make the party a success.

Invitees

It doesn’t matter how beautifully planned a party is, if people do not come it is a failure. Being invited to these parties, your role is clear cut, your stake low, it’s easy to go. Not much is required from you. You have to accept what is available, and take what is given  to you. You are crucial in the wider scheme of things, but easily replaceable. Your work as an invitee-UXer is limited to what ‘Business’ dictates, it usually takes an extraordinary person to influence the party at this level.

Party Planner and Host

Now, every party has a planner(s) who decides what the party should be, what people would eat, the theme if any, so on and so forth. The host makes sure everyone is comfortable, everyone has enough to eat and that they are having a good time through out the event and beyond.  They can make or break these events, it is not a comfortable position but it is a very influential and powerful role.

The party planners and hosts I’ve worked with in recent past have been Business Owners, Products Owners, Marketing Execs e.t.c They usually have a clear idea of what they want and have low tolerance for a deviation from their plans. Some have excelled in this role, by taking everyone along the way, keeping an eye on things from start to finish and beyond, truly leading in the best sense of the word.

Fireman 

I love firemen and the work they do. Saving people from themselves, from others and from death. With all the good they do, who thinks of them when planning a party? No, you don’t, until something starts to go wrong. Cat on the tallest tree? Trigger-happy cooking? Fire-starting demented neighbours? (who you did not invite), stuff hitting the fan? It gets messy.

Many times working in UX I’ve had to do a lot of fire-fighting, which is essentially trying to revive a product that UX was not invited to take part in at any level of the process but has gone LIVE but with so much UX-fail that everyone is wringing their hands and feet.

Don’t leave UX to the fireman role, sometimes it is too late.

The crucial thing

While every role above is important, UX needs to acquire skills which move us into position of influence within companies. We need UX leaders willingly to suffer the lion bites. UX is bigger than the UX designers or Architects, everyone involved in a product or service needs to own it.

However it is far easier to share or direct a vision when one is at the top, when one has the ability and capability to plan, strategise and host the party.

Mid-Year Learnings.

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Sitting where the Black Sea meets the Bosphorus

Mercury is in retrograde and as a Virgo I should be having a very hard time communicating. I am taking this chance.

I love mid-year, it is summertime! good for relaxing and reflecting (two chief pleasures of my life) So I’m here looking back on the first half of the year

1. Choosing Happiness

This might sound like a self-help manifesto, but it is the dammm truth. At the end of last year I was wrought with anxieties (which give me physical symptoms and are a pain to cope with). As I got into the new year I shed all of that through God’s help, *focusing on the important stuff* and went on holiday while being jobless. Got a new job before I came back to the UK. Even if I didn’t, I was well equipped to handle whatever life was going to hand me. Worry does nothing but disrupt your life negatively.

Think positive, Do positive. These things add up, don’t let the negatives stack up against you.

2.  Cure Your Boredom Today

I realised quite strongly that when I am feeling bored, I should be doing one of two things. Sleeping or putting my hands to good use. Someone said that curiosity is the cure for boredom. Someone also said you can’t be moving your arms, legs, head and have time to be sad or bored. So whenever I feel like I’m bored and I’m home, I just take a nap and feel the better for it, my body thanks me. Otherwise, I will  have to move my body. I have taken up a number of things this year, I started tinkering with WordPress, started knitting, I’m writing more, read here Sketch Story (Had my first spoken word performance!) and I posted a number of handwritten letters and postcards inspired by a project online. I’m reading more ( I have a challenge to read 100 books this year, I’ve read 53 already, woohoo!)

There’s just too much out there to involve your self in, don’t waste life on being bored.

3. Leave Assumptions behind

We spend a lot of time assuming things, it’s good to think but there is a fine line. If you don’t know, just ask. Ask, Ask. Read, Ask, Think. I can’t even quantify how important this, I remember a project I inherited, when a lot of questions came out towards the end of implementation, I realised that I was wallowing and wringing my hand because I had just assumed the early parts had been signed off. Even if people don’t do their jobs, tighten your side of it. Good work, adds up, it adds up.

4. Acknowledge Your Guides

Before you were born, life has existed, knowledge has been built up, so don’t ignore those that came before you. Guidelines are usually put in place not to restrict you but to give you a backbone at the very least. Guides can be family and friends who look out for you, don’t ignore them. Even if you will not do what they say, never forget that their hearts are in the right place.

5. Trust Yourself

People are a blessing to have no doubt, sometimes you just have to admit that there’s nothing they can do for your present situation. In those times, the way forward is to find something to do for them, we all love people who bring us some kind of value. Trust that you can get things done, trust that you can help someone else and do it.

Current Favorite Things

You Should Know About Them

News Reporting the Way I like it >> Quartz 
This is Orgasmic for me >> Planes & Beaches
Person >> Pope John Paul II ((Birthday 18th May))
Person >> Don Colacho (Birthday 17th May)
Watch >> What The Internet is Doing to Our Brains!
Big Fan of Husband + Wife Run Design Entities >> Underconsideration
Do you love to read, love apps?, this is for you >> Dot Dot Dot
Doing some travelling soon, Check if you require a visa         >> Do I Need A Visa

J.Crew Decapitates Model

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I was just trying to have a chill ride back home on a friday evening after work. I wasn’t prepared for the tears that filled my eyes after picking up a JCrew magazine I saw lying on one of the tube carriage seats. I really like fashion and beautiful clothing but certainly, certainly not such blatant display of horror. The ONLY lady not white in this entire magazine had her head cut off. NO other model had this done to her. I’m sorry but what message is this supposed to send to someone like me. I mean, look at the spread, it looks like those girls behind are making jest of the decapitated model.

Ethics? where are ethics in design? I tweeted about this and one of those I follow on twitter, a design teacher in New York, told me “unfortunately, that is standard procedure. #Advertising #BusinessAsUsual” and I’m left wondering, standard procedure for whom? The conversation continued; “To advertising” he said “Having a ‘splash of color’ is enough to add the cool edge to appeal to their core demographic.” Things like this make want to run back to Nigeria, where largely we are protected from such nonsense. On Ethics he goes, “its so hard to see positive change when money takes priority over ethics.”  Sad just sad. “the subtleties bug me the most” he continued, showing me an example: Fat Girls! Abercrombie & Fitch Doesn’t Want Your Business bit.ly/12jDOSe

What Do We Do Then?

I don’t have any power against such corporations still, I can talk about it and draw attention to such issues. None of these things happen in isolation and they add to the circle of debris that continues being flung at us and then asked to allow settle which then become the norm. I asked this teacher, what we can do. “Media literacy for current consumers & future adv/media/merchandising executives could make a difference in the long run” ” I try to get my students to understand why things are marketed to them in a certain way. symbolisms, trends and expectations”

Education. If my post educates just one person, I would be grateful. I really do fear for my unborn kids.

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Yes I am disgusted, like their model shows. Very disgusted. I hope I see change in my lifetime.

The App of Reading

There are two things I never feel guilty about buying; Books and Food. That I love to read is possibly an understatement. Reading is both an end and a means to an end for me.

How do I read?

I buy books I can hold, that I can smell… Also, a number of times when I can’t sleep Amazon one-click has been my crack. I have e-books on my Kindle for iPad dying to be read.

Electronically, I have been reading with Wattpad, Blogger and the likes. Been a member of Goodreads for over 3years now, I have a 100 books per year challenge I’m trying to accomplish. Still unsatisfied. I want to be able, in an app, to buy books, to read them, quote, make highlights of them and share them, talk about what I’ve reading, find people who have read the same thing and perhaps arrange a meetup! Tried to work on an app once >> Book.Us  which had most of these features but we only had two days together.

At the moment, I have to navigate Amazon, Kindle,  Twitter, Goodreads and most recently Dot Dot Dot!

DOT DOT DOT

I am loving this app, and I’m reading quite a lot on it. I read on the web and I also have the app on iPad. I’m not restricted to books like on the Kindle and I can share my highlights. It is still new and has loads of quirks but I love how the timeline shows what people are reading and you get to discover quite a lot. I’m currently putting together some feedback for the team, so they make our experience better.

You should try Dot Dot Dot now! Enjoy.

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My Favorite App

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My iPad is loaded with up to 90 apps, which  give me info, that frankly I can live without. None enable me to really do anything..better. I guess I am not as elec-tech driven as I fancied myself to be.

This app helps me stay organized, keeps me sane on a crazy day. I can’t speak of how it calms me down enough. Sketching, Writing, Organizing, Messaging, Calculating…ah I couldn’t live without it.

Here’s to Pen and Paper. May you live long!

 

Effective Workshop-ing

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How to run an effective workshop and stop people from cursing you out for holding them hostage

I’ve been privileged to attend, co-host and run UX workshops in the past couple of years, and I’ve noticed a number of interesting things. People have stuff to do, and time is a limited resource. The only people who like meetings are usually those who have no work to do any way. Sometimes they spend their whole day setting up and attending meetings to set up meetings. If you have to use someone’s time, don’t make a mockery of it. You can waste your time with no repercussion, but if you waste another’s they might never forgive you.

Most workshops are 1hr + and that is a lot of time. There are a few things you can do, watch out for, while trying to run a workshop.

Prepare Prepare Prepare – Seems like an obvious thing to do, but many have fallen foul of this and then they realize time goes by, fast. Let the space you are going to use be ready and set up one hour before the set time. If that isn’t possible, get ready anyway and get help if alone. You need to be calm, and exude some confidence in what you are going to do. Nobody wants to be at the mercy of a disorientated, bumbling person. At the very least, make the point of the workshop as clear as possible.

Let There Be Food – I assure you, they won’t get distracted. There’s a higher chance of distraction if they are sat attempting to listen to you and wondering about Tikka Masala or Goat Curry. Water, biscuits, try a variety of things, not everyone loves Jaffa cakes or Haribo. Let it convey an atmosphere of concern and care. People will respect you for haven thought of them and it’s more likely they listen to you. Don’t take so much food that it turns into a “Work-Chop!” Chop is a Nigerian-Pidgin word for eat.

Involve Involve Involve – No workshop should be run without including activities for your participants. They can’t spend a whole hour listening to you without  boredom setting in. I have realized that bored is a sign of  two things, 1. You need to sleep  2. You need to be actively Do-ing something. And except it is a sleep workshop, number 2, will be your best bet. Given this is a UX workshop, get people sketching, writing down ideas, sorting cards e.t.c. There should be no thought for a nap.

Finish Well – People usually spend a lot of time doing the above but they forget that the conclusion of the matter is also a big deal. After all, it is the last impression people will take with them as they leave your presence. You don’t want people sighing with relief. You want to leave them excited, upbeat about what comes next. Since we cannot please all the people all the time. Those who haven’t been impressed with the red velvet cupcakes or a bout of card sorting, could still take a golden nugget with them, if you can nail this last bit. Get people’s feedback as part of the workshop. Let them tell you want they have done, and how it makes sense to them, there and in their work/life. Much better when it’s a Value-Added Workshop – VAW

And you are done, now go on and be great.

The Tube.

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The Beginning

Victoria was my first, and as she delivered me smoothly and warmly into the red hot Central, I was already in love. The London Underground celebrates it’s 150th birthday this month. It blows my mind, my country is only 52, 99 if you push it but doesn’t function as well as the Tube.

I first came into central London from Newcastle. I got off a train at Kings Cross and made my way to the underground as directed. My friend who was supposed to be my guide couldn’t make it, so there I was at 9pm trying to make sense of several coloured lines and names that looked straight out of monopoly. Luckily, the family I came to London to see had already given me the name of their station, somewhere in the deep west. I asked a ticket officer what line I should use  and got a single ticket, ah the christening!

Our relationship hasn’t been smooth sailing all the way but I appreciate it more every single day. I also struck up friendship with the Jubilee, the Metropolitan, Bakerloo, the Overground! nice trains and oh sweet irony! I love how a huge part of the Underground is actually overground.

The Best Line

Read my answer, on Quora to what the best line on the underground is >> My answer to What is the best line on the London Underground? And why? http://qr.ae/1w7ZH

The Map

I’ve had a good time riding the tube, but as a Designer, I think the tube map is one of the best out there! Never forget that it is a map for the tube! nothing more. If you look at the tube map and a real map together, your brain may not be able to take it. I actually won a ticket to a design conference because I had sent in an entry about the tube map, saying it was real good design.  I described being a first timer in London and how easy it was for me to navigate the city as long as I knew what stop to get on and off at.

Tube Challenge

I have been on all the lines except Waterloo and City. To celebrate along, I’m going to have a conversation with this line this month. Then I can say that my relationship with the tube has been wholesome!

Tube Futures

I am working on a series of stories based on people I have encountered on my tube journeys. This project is growing small by small, but I can’t wait to present it.

Happy 150th LU!

 

UPDATE: I’ve been on the Waterloo and City Line!

Royal African Society: Africa in 2013

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I spent the last three days being sick, and I was grateful that this event at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African studies was going to rescue me from myself. It also is my first event of the year! yay. Fresh air does good to the bones, even better when there’s a good place to go.

The topic of day was particularly interesting to me, as a Nigerian away from Nigeria since 2009, there’s so much talk of ‘Africa Rising’ but what does it really mean and what does 2013 look like for us. There were three speakers, Razia Khan, Head of Research, Standard Chartered bank. Patrick Smith, Editor, Africa Confidential and Komla Dumor, Journalist, BBC world services. The event was chaired by Richard Dowden, Journalist and Executive Director of the Royal African Society. I heard Komla Dumor speak at TEDxEuston so I was particularly looking forward to what he had to say.

It began with all the speakers giving an overview of things that happened on the continent in 2012, and what the biggest ‘surprise was for them’ Patrick pointed to the coup in Mali and then the death of the Malawian president. Razia mentioned the growth of domestic economies and Komla said that the biggest  thing for him, especially as a BBC journalist was that the single biggest audience dedicated to listening to BBC news is in Africa. “Ignore Africa at your peril” he quipped.

They all agreed that there was a huge disparity between the unstable political(and security) landscape and then the stability in market flow to the continent. Everyone painstakingly took the time to flesh out the different unique scenarios playing out in a number of countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, SA, e.t.c Given the whole ‘Africa Rising’ theme playing out.

While happy about the positive stories from Western journalism, we are not to remain jaded, but look at the issues still critical for growth in our countries. Razia says lets not confuse economic growth with development. Social risks are necessary to consider for long term growth. “It’s all very well celebrating growth but we need to peel away numbers & look at what’s happening on the streets” Komla adds. Basically, what does 12% or 40% GDP growth mean to the average person on the streets? Are jobs being created? Education? Where is the manufacturing and creation sector?

Some questions were asked around, the Africa rising meme, insecurity in Northern Nigeria, sovereign wealth funds  e.t.c They were answered swiftly and after less than 2 hours, the event was over! I talked to a few people, drank some orange juice and headed home.

It was a good evening.

Main Points For me

Nigeria is one of the four economic pillars of Africa. The others; SA, Egypt and Kenya.

Domestic economies are what really drive growth, and should be bolstered by actual creation of goods. Botswana for instance is going to start exporting cut gems! not just the mined stones. At the moment less than 5% of our GDP in Nigeria is from manufacturing.

Agricultural reforms should be a game changer in Nigeria

Nigeria could overtake South Africa’s economy in a year or two! if we can deal with Boko Haram and Infrastructure issues (NEPA being the major one)

Nigeria has some of the most brilliant and brightest minds out there, we should be more involved in creation and release our selves from the oil machine.

As a UX/Design professional, how can I add positively to this story? I will be exploring this in detail and writing as I go along.

Talking in my Sleep: UX/UI

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About two days ago, I had a dream that I was explaining to some people the difference between UX and UI. We were all sat in the living room, watching the telly, when this debate arose and the only thing I could find to explain with (because I love analogies) was the television set we had right in front of us.

I said, look at the telly (but of course I’m looking at it!). What can you see? “The telly is flat screened, black, 40in, rectangular, digital, a few buttons on the side, and has a remote control with many more buttons” There! I replied, that is the Interface, the UI of this product. Do you know what’s in the belly of your telly? I asked. They all shook their heads.

Right so, UI is all that you see but UX is a combination of what you see and what you cannot see. It is the sum of all that you experience with this TV set as you interact with it. For example, you do not know the technology that powers your telly, to give you this sharp clear images that you enjoy, this makes up the UX.

I hope with these points of mine, I have been able to educate you and not confuse you about the difference between User Interface and User Experience.

Thanks

*Television disappears*

Is it just me, or does the word ‘Television’ appear terribly archaic?

Ah well 🙂

Lessons from 2012

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I have a thing for numbers. I don’t like odd numbers. The only odd numbers I can stand are 5s and multiples of 5. So I think there’s some hidden  meaning in numbers but can’t really remember when/how this has been formed in my mind.  The world didn’t end in 21/12/12 but some part of my world ended on 12/12/12. Pretty significant eh.

When I came into 2012, everything was dandy, it seemed like it was going to be ‘my year’ It was for a while, nothing could go wrong, it was all even. Then life happened and we all know life holds both the evens and the odds. Looking back on time spent there is always something to learn so you can close the page and move on to the next chapter of your life, here’s what I learnt.

 Solve Problems

There is a problem, a challenge everywhere, think about it enough and you will see them rise before you. Think about what makes you mad, Rage for Change is a reality, that could be where your problem solving abilities will shine. People are only going to pay attention to the things you do if you provide a solution to a problem they see or have. At work, you are paid for the problems you solve, that is where your value lies. Increase your value by solving different kinds of problems. Being a UX professional really makes this come alive for me, being able to help QA, Graphic designers, coders e.t.c do their work better is very rewarding.

Teach Others How to Solve Problems

I didn’t know how much I enjoyed teaching until I was in Uni. I did a stint teaching graphic design even though I was studying Engineering. Since then I embraced it and even enrolled as a tutor on an online service before I got my full-time job. Like the famous saying goes ‘Don’t just give a man a fish, teach him how to fish’ This is the sort of thing that contributes to a better world. When you teach, you get better at not just teaching but also at what you teach.

Go After Change

Don’t complain about things you are not willing to change. A relationship? Job? work/life balance? passions? If you want something you don’t have, you have to do something you haven’t done before and do it daily. Don’t moan if you are not willing to let go. It’s either you get out of the situation or you change the way you react to the situation. You might not be able to control or change another person, but you can control or change the way you respond.

Develop Good Habits Daily

I remember having a chat with one of my friends at work about developing a Habit App, he thought all the ones out there didn’t quite do it. I was really interested even though personally, apps like that do not do me any good. People really want to change their lives but the reality is, to succeed at a thing you have to do it everyday, every two days might even be pushing it. I’ve started on some habits and I’ve fallen by the way side, but my biggest take away is, Daily! Daily!! Daily!!!.

Embrace your difference

I’ve written about feeling like a misfit sometimes however, I realize that that is where my significance lies. If two people bring the same thing to the table, it means one is irrelevant. Faith Jegede drove the point home with her TEDTalk  “The chance for greatness, for progress and for change dies the moment we try to be like someone else.”  “The pursuit of normality is the ultimate sacrifice of potential.” I was also able to become a Top Writer on Quora, by embracing this. Good times.

Stay Passionate, Always Create.

Passionate people change their lives, they change the world one person at a time. Be a force for good, dont get passionate about bringing someone down for goodness sakes. If you are not building up, you are definitely tearing down. Be part of the solution not the solvent and be passionate about what you do, you will succeed.

Get Connected

Everything was created to be connected to something else, it is the great circle of life. You cannot do things on your own. Invest in people, give your time, volunteer, help people. Being involved with TEDxEuston was life-changing and I will do it over and over again  What you make happen for others, happens for you too. Don’t like networking? e.t.c Focus and develop the relationships that you have.

Focus Focus Focus

A vision is a powerful thing. I have been privileged to work in a company with unfaltering vision, this is what drives focus. Don’t lose sight of it, stay on track and you will go far.

Everyone Fails

This is inevitable, everyone fails at one point or the other but that is not the whole story. Broken focus leads to failure but if you are able to pick up the pieces, that is what really counts. Everyone fails, Great ones get back up. James Dyson talks about the importance of failure here

Respect Life

Laugh, Love, Live. Take a minute, ok, more than a minute to enjoy nature, humans, life.  If you asked me this time last year if I liked domestic cats, it would have been a no. I have come to appreciate the creatures though I was forced to live with one, lol. One big thing I realized was that regardless of a person’s present state, their value never changes. This is important to remember. Value life, Respect it, we will all do better because of this.

The Future is Now

I love planning for the future, making a list of things I want to happen in my life. I forget that it all starts from now. Better, I realize that if I want to see anything in my future I have to do it today, no need to wait for tomorrow, the important time is now.

Wise up

Now as we approach another year and the great big numbers continue to chase us, let us not just grow older, let’s get wiser. Remember wisdom is not in the information or knowledge that you accumulate, it is in the things you do with the information and knowledge you have.

As you would have known by now, this post has been sponsored by the number 12. Go on and have a great New Year!

All I Want For Christmas

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Christmas!

There is something about this season that makes one happy, go on, admit it. In spite of the ‘commercialization’ we rightfully moan about, there is still something that drives you to smile.

Christmas time holds many great memories for me. One of them was the first time we got our Atari 2600. This was in the late 80s. One of my aunts who resided in Canada had brought it for us as a Christmas gift. That was all we could ask for at that point. We quickly mastered most of the games, from River raid to Jungle hunt. Gaming back then was a beautiful learning experience one that seems to have been forgotten in these days.

I remember a weekend ago at a cousin’s house, my little cousins were playing the new Super Mario Bros on the Wii! When I told my 4yr old cousin I wanted to play, he said, ‘it’s too hard for you!’ and they didn’t give me a chance to prove myself after I mistakenly jumped into a pit. I watched them as they frustratingly tried to play the game, stopping to watch the tutorial video built into the game. All this made me think of what we really need in these times.

I would like to see these few things in 2013, as we build games, applications and experiences;

Let Learning be fun. 

Many systems tend to make learning ‘the other’ I wrote sometime ago about this on Gamification and Learning Processes Give people the chance to pick themselves up and try again, that’s what makes people usually feel better. Holding someone’s hands is nice, but the mark of maturity is taking responsibility.

Develop good habits

One thing I think we need more of in this world is patience. It’s amazing how tech and everything has gone towards the system of ‘on demand’ needing things now, now, now. It’s sad when you see kids exhibit  impatience especially as the systems we create enhance that. They don’t want to learn to play Mario because they need to succeed, now! Imagine what it would be like when they grow up, this leads to all sorts of unnecessary stress.

I’m not talking about habit apps, because those things don’t even work for me. I think we need to create systems which nudge people to be patient. There’s the risk that they abandon your application, but I think the earlier the better. If people have spent time learning through your app, the likelihood of them leaving later on is low. This is a better experience, I find.

Whatever you do, enjoy the moment. If you can’t, help someone else enjoy the moment.

And oh yes, don’t forget to go to Winter Wonderland if you are in London.

Best of the Season to you!

Shoo be doo, How do you do? Who Am I?

You should listen to this song while you read my post

I’ve always struggled to tell people what I do. Not that it matters much, but it makes me think a lot about it. At the hospital, despite what I say, the doctor still puts down, ‘IT Technician’. My family say, ‘website designer’. My friends say, ‘She does something weird’. Some others, ‘She works with computers’. So I went to a clinic.

A UX clinic. What was I diagnosed with? Ignorance mostly. There’s still a lot I am having to learn, and learn really fast too. The clinic was organised by UK UPA in conjunction with UX London. It was technically one of such events for those who could n0t secure a ticket for UX London holding the same week.

The format was Q & A, with a panel of speakers, who were going to be answering questions from the audience (on and offline). The names I recognised were J Spool and Luke W. It was an All American panel, no complaints here. I had a bit of regret for not sending off questions, my rationale was that I’d love to hear what other folks were tackling. There was no wifi and I had no phone to tweet in my questions when they finally came to mind.

The QA began.

One of my key learnings was around talking,

Talking to the top in an organization – Do not speak to folks at the top of the food chain without figures, it would make everyone’s life easier. Speak in language people understand, that is why you do UX.

The most captivating question was,

Skill Set: What should a UX designer know? There was a huge discussion over this, but I tended to favour Jared Spool’s argument even if he wasn’t quite clear.

A UX designer should definitely to able to recognise Great Visual Design and Great Code, even if they don’t want to or actually have enough skill to build/design. A UX designer should understand quality principles. A UX designer should understand prevailing technologies so they can find the best fit for what ever it is that is being built, When should you use Flash? Flex? HTML5? Javascript? JQuery? Is it HTML/CSS that should be changed? Should Magnolia be called? What Database? Which Development team?

These are some of the things I encounter every day, and a good UX designer will not only do a better job with this knowledge but they will earn the respect of the people in these teams., thus creating a better ork environment for everyone. No one can really complain about anything when things are in sync.

Best Answer for the night went to Jared Spool’s answer on a graduate’s entry into the UX market. After someone had put the usual out there graduates should do any job they can pick up and internship. He suggested that this really had to change. People didn’t go through 5/6 yrs of school to come out to do free jobs. If its an internship, let it be paid! they are going to be doing real work, so why not pay them. I felt it because haven graduated in 2010, and didn’t get an internship until 10 months after, it was quite a hard transition.

Book to Check out Shaping Things by Bruce Sterling (I’ve started reading it)

School to Check out Brightworks (A game changing school in the States)

There was a brief talk, about how we ought to do away with titles, something I’ve written about before but then you realize it’s necessary for communication. At the end of the day, I thought ‘Really, I’m going to tell everyone I’m an architect’ At the least, everyone can understand this, and truly is what my role at present is all about.

Traditionally, An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings.

Digitally, An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of digital builds (and much more) so there.

Who am I? What do I do? I am an Architect..Digital.

Story Cubes

A colleague introduced me to Rory’s Story Cubes yesterday, which I thought would be a useful UX tool, for brainstorm workshops, idea generation and much more. The Graphic designer who showed me, said he uses it, when he has to come up with game concepts and the like.

How it Works

It’s all in the roll of dice. There are nine dice with 6 faces which have different pictures.

You can roll three at a time, and find a way to connect the pictures to what it is you are doing or what you want to work on.

It forces you to be creative by connecting the ‘dots’

Try it.

Empathy: Thoughts That Count.

First impressions matter, most people say and many have come to accept it. Why should it? really?. It’s been tried and tested out that our ‘impressions’ are always filled with known and unknown bias. It is like someone who goes to search for an image of a banana on the internet. The search engine turns up all sorts, obscene, rude, vulgar images from the internet database you may have to see, before you come across the actual image you want. Our brain is like that, a database of information collected from any and everywhere knowingly and unknowingly. So when you meet someone or see something, most of the image associated with that thing that you have encountered, your brain throws up and then you begin to make your jugement. Does this really portray who you are or what the thing is, no. This tells me that there is a need for some kind of control. This is why filters exist on the internet search, so you can hone in quickly on what you are searching for. We need to have filters.

 I just finished reading Blink! by Malcom Gladwell and he really did drive home the point. There are only two situations where first impressions matter. One, where the ‘second’ impression validates the first and two, where one has learnt to control the first impression. Basically, our snap judgements/decisions must be controlled and well-informed. This would only come through filters that help us focus on the important things which in turn, form our decisions. The book shows that these filter are built up by experience, it will come easy for some people and not so easy for others. It may not be easy to explain, but one has to have an awareness of this.

As a UX person and citizen of the world, the need to build and use these filters  is necessary. I always have to interact with people both directly and indirectly, if this is an inevitable part of life, I think it makes sense to spend a good deal of time in understanding these people one has to interact with. Also, the more one understands something, the less likely one is, to abuse it. The more one understands the people they are designing for, the less likely to abuse the privilege e.g by designing an unusable for product. I have to make snap decisions lots of times, while designing e.g going for a particular feature over another. I now know that my ‘gut feeling’ is being informed by something I have encountered or experienced in the past. To harness this ‘gut feeling’ I definitely have to do a lot filtering to make sure, that my gut feeling is well informed and objective in the situation.

While I continue on this journey,( because practice makes perfect) I realize that Empathy is one key filter. Empathy helps you to focus when you encounter a human being. On the most basic level, you know this person is just like you. I think this is a quality that UXers cannot afford to skimp on. We’d be lying if we say that our first impressions don’t matter. First impressions are formed by our experiences and environment, this means we can indeed control/change them. We have a choice. We can choose the experiences, we want to be a part of or how we process these experiences if inevitable. This article, “Using Empathic Listening to Collaborate” by Stephen Covey adds salient points. Empathy will go a long way in helping us build on the thoughts that count making us better designers and better human beings.

A Bookey Study Week: UX bookclub

First stop, it was the UX Bookclub hosted by IG Index and moderated by Leisa Reichelt. The book we were discussing was The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier 

I first came across the book during my time at Northumbria University. My masters course was centered around ‘Design-Thinking’ I never got to read much of it, so I was glad the opportunity came around.

My first major thoughts were mostly: Yes! Right On! Exactly! Could Try this! then I had a feeling that this book couldn’t have been targeted at Designers, because I had the ‘Preaching to the choir’ feel. Surely, this book is targeted at those who own companys, and invest in them. I’d say mostly those who are stuck in the old way of doing things.

My second significant thoughts came when I began reflecting on some aspects of the book. I particularly loved this quote ”The problem with consumerism is not that it fuels desire, it’s that it doesn’t satisfy it” If there is anything designers need to think about in this book, it’s this. I instantly got this picture of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in my head and brought to mind the event I attended at the RSA.

Now back to Maslow’s. It dawned on me that as a whole, society especially in the ‘First World’ countries had reached the ceiling of the ‘Esteem’ section. To go/grow any further, we must begin to take on Self-Actualization. If this doesn’t happen, we will continually keep reaching for things (consume, consume, consume) with no satisfaction and I strongly believe Design can play a huge part in helping curb these excesses and creating the environment for Self Actualization.

Another importance is that, countries in the ‘third world’ can then focus on the important things, because as much as we don’t like, we keep struggling to keep up with the ‘first world’ neglecting the basics, this too is why Design is important. If the leader and the environment err, what can the follower/inhabitant do?

Lastly, My discussion group at the Bookclub did raise issues around the fact that businesses have too many people to answer and would not like to bother about things they can’t predict or grasp. But the truth is, if people cared enough about things on a larger scale, mindsets towards Design will be changed and this is what is particularly needed for those at the helms of companies, a change of mindset.

There’s only so much a designer can do to contribute to the outlook of the company as a whole, significant change needs to come from the top. Designers definitely need to get to the top, if those at the top refuse change.

If indeed the foundation is faulty what can the Righteous do?

Gamification: Beyond Gold coins and Dead Koopas (II)

My sister and I (She’s in Ukraine and she speaks Russian to me!! sometimes) We were arguing about ChronoTrigger the other day. She absolutely loves it and thinks its ace. I have not been able to play it, in that, I tried and didn’t like it much. ‘But!’ my sister argues ‘It’s got great stages and level-ups, you can time-travel and end the game in 13 ways!’ Oh well, that’s all chipper, but I’ll stick to Final Fantasy, thank you very much.

Our conversation, made me realize that despite Chronotrigger having such fantastic gameplay with great Challenge/Reward loops, it didn’t appeal to me. Right now, I don’t even know what the goal of the game was. This is an element that must be put into consideration for any design. ‘Are people interested in achieving this goal?’ ‘What kinds of people?’ If I’m not interested in getting to a particular place, despite the ‘enablers’ I would more likely drop out of the process. I must really want to get there first.

I read this article –> The Newsonomics of Gamification and Civilization some days after my sister and I spoke. The comment by Kathysierra really drives home the point. It cannot just be about making things fun, or introducing reward/challenge loops, people have to first want to do a thing otherwise it ends up being manipulative and forceful. And it’s great that we can have these options because well, variety is the spice of life, I didn’t play chronotrigger, I played Final Fantasy instead, I achieved my goals and had fun.

The main points of learning I’ve taken from all this is

1. There must be a goal we want to achieve, not one that someone wants you to achieve. And if designing a gamified system, make sure you cater to this need.

2. It may not all go according to plan. Games provide a safety valve (Reset, Save, Extra Life, ‘Cheat’ mode ) incase of the unexpected happening ( Mario falling into a pit or NEPA switching off power just in the middle of killing off Raiden) In life, when designing make allowance for ‘Safety valves’

3. Rewards must be tangible and should contribute to actually helping to achieve desired goals. (A better gaming pad over badges, any day!)

4. It is a life-long learning process, we shouldn’t design like we have all the answers. Design to enable the users learn something along the way. Make the experience as wonderful as achieving the goal would be.

Stories That Touch: Kpakpandu

Sometime ago, a good friend approached me to review her site, and while I loved the Idea behind it, I made her know how much more it could be better.

So, we put our heads together in a bid to create a site where writers and readers alike can form a community by sharing their stories. One unique thing about the site is that it is children inclusive. This will encourage children to share their stories and to read more, it will also promote a sense of togetherness. I’m very sure of the positivity the Human spirit can show and extend, and it is one of such reasons I am involved in this project.

Right now, I’m still designing, structure and visuals, but my friend who is the Developer has done a lot of background work. In time, I will give updates as we progress on this.

E-Messengers

So I was feeling a little lazy today, wanted to kick back and enjoy myself. I have spent the last few days moving into a new place, unpacking, arranging things and buying some things to make my new place feel like a home. I wanted to pat myself on the back, then I realised I had no food! and I needed food now! and the nearest Tesco is 0.9miles away!

I had several options to consider, but like I said,  didn’t want to bother dressing up and heading out into the cold. I’ve thought about this before, but it seemed more urgent today, the need for e-messengers! I’m not talking of instant messaging apps. I’m talking of actual people whom you can contact via tools like instant messaging apps.

The Challenge: I’m tired and I need grocery, the closest shop is 0.9miles away. I need someone I could call/text/tweet to buy a pot of yoghurt, TUC crackers, some blueberries and apple cider. This person will buy the goods, bring them to my doorstep with the receipt, which I’ll pay for with a stipulated service charge. If there’s any item unavailable, I’ll be notified immediately or if there’s any other issue before delivery.

The Solution: A smart service which enables people to run errands for you. People sign up to the service to run errands for others and people sign up to have access to those who can run errands for them.

If I had access to this, instead of spending 2hrs back and forth, my day would have gone like this,

1. I need grocery!! –> Go to errand website or check through my phone app —> Type in errand —–> ‘In your area, Jon, Jeff and Joseph are available to run this errand’ —> message Jon who picks the errand ticket. (I would be kept updated on what happens). I get a message from Jon, thankfully, all the items I need are available, and he is on his way. —-> Shows me the receipt, I give him money for the grocery and pay him the service charge.—-> Woohoo! I have my grocery and I’ve been having a lie-in..So I can have my cake and eat it!

I don’t know if such services exist here, if they do, why aren’t they popular? What really goes into them? what are the challenges that those running the service have encountered? What can be done to improve existing ones, what can we do to make this service better, because I think it will be very helpful.

These are some of the questions I will be thinking about more deeply…possibly my task for the coming week.

Gamification: Beyond Gold Coins and Dead Koopas (1)

Gamification?

I got to attend a talk (July 28th) organized by Sophie @wickedgeekie the speaker was @bengonshaw. I attended because of three reasons.

1. I wanted to see or learn more about how it has been applied in the UX community

2. I wanted to get ideas, and ways I could apply to my current projects.

3. It was free (amazing huh, big thanks to City Uni)

The title of the talk was Gamification: Loops & Ludology. You can see the slides here > http://www.slideshare.net/BenGonshaw/loops-ludology

Humans have always played games to amuse themselves and or other reasons. But it’s only been recently people have begun to apply the principles behind gaming to other aspects of our lives.

One major characteristic of games is control. Unlike Life, our control is minimal, we can plan all we want, but unexpected things happen. I planned that one day I would visit the World Trade Center. I even had dollars saved for it, and I had it all mapped out. But right now, the towers no longer exist and with it went lots of lives, sadly. In a game world, I would probably be able to reset, or go to last save…and possibly save the world. People play games because they can control it.

But more importantly, why do people keep on playing, because even with control, it gets boring. People usually want more, a challenge, that’s why life can be very interesting. This is the reason why the Challenge/Reward Loop is the basis for great game design.

What is THE LOOP. As identified by Ben, in video games for example, it all started with a simple feedback loop which typifies a control loop. You, Press a button –> Character Moves —> Game world updates —> Press a Button and something else happens. In Mario World for example, Press B to fire —> fireballs come out of Mario —-> Koopas die/ vanish. This feels great! But as one goes on, this becomes redundant hence the need for other loops like the Challenge/Reward Loops which keep the user motivated to complete the goal of the game. In Mario World, we see the loop in forms of more powerful ‘enemies’ and difficult stages with Mario also being able to level-up or upgrade to meet them. None of this takes away from the overall goal of the game, it only makes it seem more rewarding to go through.

A Game Theory On Learning Processes

I’ve been gaming since an Aunt bought the Atari 2600 for us in 1990. We moved on to Family comp, NES, SNES, PC, PlayStations and XBOXs

Gaming has been fun and it also holds a wealth of knowledge. The learning process in gaming is important to note.

For UXBookClub, we had to read Don Norman’s Living With Complexity which expanded some of the concepts about learning processes.

One that particularly stood out to me was, what one undergoes to get a grasp of the complex systems. Learning is not an instant process, but happens over certain periods of time. He writes that for managing complexity, two sets of principles are needed, one for design and another for coping. the rules must all revolve around communication and feedback.

This is exactly what the best games convey, one doesn’t learn all there is to a game in the first stage. From my experience, it involves a learning process that stretches across the length of the game, and this is how seemingly complex games are broken down into simple bits as one goes stage by stage. Challenges are built purposefully into the games and this gives the feelings of achievement and progress, the more you have that, the more likely you are to want to complete and get to the goal.

Can Modern Capitalism Satisfy both Profit and Sustainability

We-first.

I got to attend a talk by Simon Mainwaring on We-First Capitalism, yesterday. It covered the topic of capitalism, sustainability and basically human responsibility. Simon talked about how his mindset got changed drastically, when he missed his fathers’ last calls because he was ‘busy’. It forced him to think about the important things in the world. Many times, situations force us to re-think what we spend our time and money caring about.

In the light of this, he mentioned that we need to redefine a number of widely used terms. Classical advertising tries to fabricate emotional connections between brands and consumers, but social media only broadcasts these connections which already exist. In essence, this technology is enabling us to remain human.

But being Human comes with a lot of responsibility. We have moved from the days of blissful ignorance to the point we can’t afford to take notice of things that we should humanly respond to. I personally think this message isn’t new, and Jesus even talked about it, when he said ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’

It doesn’t strip away self-interest. It is even because of self-interest we need to be aware that our actions affect others, which in the grand scheme of things also affect us. We need to have an expanded definition of self-interest, a broader and longer view.

Ban Ki Moon made a statement at a summit. “The world’s current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed” We need a new economic model. Prosperity or Profits should be about the well-being of all not the wealth of a privileged few. The future of profits is purpose.

Sustainability has to also be re-framed. We shouldn’t give a damn after taking our profits, but give a damn from the very start. The evolution of revolution is contribution. We need to emphasize a better world, over better gadgets or widgets. It should not be ‘the thing we did’ rather ‘the thing we are’ This is the same argument i push for UX. UX should not be a box that is ticked, it shouldn’t be a subset..but it should be in the soul of every company and our mindsets.

Right now, people everywhere are wondering ‘where is the trust’?

 Simon and We First have devised three pillars of We-First capitalism.

  • Private sector pillar of social change: Brand/Consumer partnerships. – Promoting creative collaboration.
  • Contributory consumption: Retail, Credit Cards, Online Virtual, Gaming. Inspire social activism
  • Cross-Sector Collaboration: Global Brand Initiative. Shareholders + Stakeholder

Some questions/discussions that came out of the talk revolved around

Building trust. How do we build and maintain the trust between ourselves and then corporations

The Role of Storytelling. Advertisers have much to do in bringing his message out to the public.

Where is innovation in all of this? For companies like Coke which drive social change and community collaborations, how is it rethinking its actual product. Soda is a cause of obesity, so perhaps corporations need to innovate around their current offerings.

The role of family in driving the change in behaviors. The onus falls on family in helping shape behaviors that we individuals take into the world at large. A learning process which starts with a whole different mindset will go a long way.

Personally, I can’t say I have never heard this kind of concepts and ideas before, but it is always great to have reminders and ways in which we can go about implementing these ideas. But to answer the question, ‘Can Modern Capitalism satisfy both profit and sustainability’…it’s not possible. There has to be a change as stated earlier. The way we currently operate will lead to our downfall as a specie. But my dears, all hope isn’t lost. Be  optimistic, WE can cause change!

To view the presentation it’s on Slide-share >> http://www.slideshare.net/smainwaring/rsa-we-first

To watch the We First Video, it’ on Youtube  >>>         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZloSRGIzRc

To learn more about WE FIRST, go to >> http://wefirstbranding.com/

You can also buy Simon’s book.

Sharing: eSwap

This is an idea that came out of the MEX event. I will post on MEX through out the coming week, What we did, links to pictures, my sketchnotes, Presentations, My ideas, the questions my Team tackled and others..and then my gift!

So back to my Idea. It is all about sustainability and a change of behavior. One, e-waste is a terrible feature of our world, not many things can be re-cycled, so it’d be great if we had stuff that could be used over long periods of time. My MEX team tackled this in a way that is futuristic for now (Mobile phones only though), but still great! My concept is about tackling the here and now. So, this is about swapping or exchanging a piece(s) of unwanted electronic/electric equipment for another. Two, We humans love to hoard stuff, won’t it be great if we can let go and share what we have, give to people in need.

eSwap will be a dedicated platform for electronic/electrical goods. I wanted it to kick off with just Mobile phones but I felt it could be under this umbrella too. So yup, that is eSwap! I wanted to do a garage48 type of hacking. I wanted to create a mobile app and a web page but a friend said I should create a facebook page first, which I did here . I’m still not sure of response, I’ve gotten one posted listing though.lol.  I need partners that’s for sure. What do you think?

Identified Issue : Train Travel

Working on the Percy Hedley project really stimulated my mind. I had to travel a lot NCL-KGX, KGX-NCL, Family matters and what not. Frankly I am as tired as Thinking ‘outside the box’ but I have been doing my own thinking inside the trains that look like rectangle boxes. And one thing that struck me was the need to have an efficient/effective system of checking train tickets to make sure people actually pay for their trips. Honestly its not funny, when I pay 69 quid for a ticket and someone just saunters in and out on the same trip.

Some cracks I personally experienced, for example there was a time I did sleep off and didn’t have my ticket checked. I could have gotten on that train with none. I know many have done this, stayed in toilets and things like that, but basically travelled without payment of any form.

There are systems in place to check tickets at some of the stations before and after you get on board, while on board, a train employee comes around to stamp such tickets. That cannot be the best of jobs when you have passengers come on from different stops, getting off at different stops, there has to be a way, I would have suggested this as a project we take on in MDI, but alas, I’m done with it..Maybe this years intake could tackle it.

Personally, i have just gotten to understand the transportation methods over the past months i’ve been here. And while this issue is identified, I think its expedient to harness creativity which can tackle this issue. Not only is the Experience of the Users hectic, the companies will be losing money along the line.

There has to be a way. *Thinking* *Researching*

One idea I have is RFID tagging, and also looking at the part Mobile communication can play in this, ensuring a higher UX..coming soon!

Why UX? Passion.

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

Outcomes: Project Execution 3

Everyone has done their bit and its good to see everything come together quite well.

These are some of the final outcomes which I worked on,

Process map which showed the present structure and the Desired structure

Booklet Designs,

Personas.

The user journey map (problems with uploading) can be accessed at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=LS45R8GU

My Dissertation

So here I am again with my many thoughts, still no outlet, still no refinement to them. what canIi do. Even my supervisor does not still quite understand my research question. This is just a dissertation. Why am I trying to be so complex. I could have picked something simpler.. shouldn’t I?.

Key Insights from my this last meeting with my supervisor Dr. Nick Spencer.

  • One, FOCUS!
  • Two, Aim to prove your question wrong.

I should have been blogging about this here, probably would have helped keep me stay a bit focused. So my Topic is about the dangers having or holding on to single narratives have on innovation within teams.

There are things I  need to focus on;

  • What is this single narrative?
  • What is innovation?
  • What sort of teams?

I am leaning strongly towards ‘Racial’ narratives, but i know this will be a difficult nut to crack.

Think Lego

So while we begin to Ideate around the equipment design and user space, Something came to my mind which I passed on to Bogdan. ‘Think Lego’. Riding also on the principle that Aggi the conductor gave to us K.I.S.S.  Project execution begins from this week and I felt it would be good to have such principles at the back of our minds.

The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The Company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder. The Lego brick in its present form was launched in 1958. The interlocking principle with its tubes makes it unique, and offers unlimited building possibilities. It’s just a matter of getting the imagination going – and letting a wealth of creative ideas emerge through play.

I played with Lego when i was much younger and I can’t begin to quantify the joy we got out of it, anyways the Lego principle as relates to design, is one where you start with the simplest of things and use it to build up more complex things like how Lego does, what more, its easy to move about and take apart and then made into something else.

From our interview with Agnes the conductor, we got the equipments had to be founded on the following

  • Adaptability
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Warmness
  • Friendliness
  • Accessiblity

All the things that Lego embodies.

Also, considering our DNA, the building blocks of our lives, was something to ponder on.

Maps, Second C.E Session and Meeting

We mapped out areas where we could see routes to Awareness of the Conductive Education Service

We mapped out common symptoms of the conditions that afflict current participants and future ones, to gain a better understanding of what and who we were designing for.
My area of research was on stroke. It was frightening to see how many people get afflicted with this, even those who are seemingly healthy like my friend’s mum

The expected outcomes for Marketing was also taken into consideration

In the week we also had a second C.E session where we oserved people who were relatively new to the C.E program, and we also had an indepth interview with Agnes Mikula, C.E Conductor

              Monitoring Progess

Are participants encouraged to keep journals to monitor their progress?

They wouldn’t do it because they see it as an extra job.

Do conductors shoot videos of participants exercising in order to better observe the participants’ fluency, mobility etc?

This would probably be a waste of time because experienced conductors observe everything they need during the CE sessions; replaying the two hours long material for minor details wouldn’t be wise.

Do conductors take photos of participants in order to monitor their progress?

Yes, participants get photographed before their first session and at the end the first two weeks (10 sessions). Occasionally more photo sessions are arranged after that (15 sessions, half year, one year, etc). The photographs are printed and compared to observe improvements. Participants find this important.

On equipment, participants, conductor-participants relationship and CE sessions

The key principle around these sessions and equipments is  K.I.S.S (keep it straightforward and simple)

           Participants

            Participants are better off starting the program when they are newly diagnosed, most of those    sent to CE are usually  In their 3rd to more year of having parkinsons for example. (insert graph)  The program would still be of help to these ones, but as with most systems maintenance is best done from the beginning of decline.

What kind of relationship do the Participants and the conductors have?

Conductors are taught to understand to the tiniest detail. Human interaction is a big factor in C.E. The relationip developed between both parties is  more like a partnership based on trust and complete honesty (although sometimes is really difficult to be completely honest) than a friendship.

Do conductors find any problems related to the CE equipment?

The weight is problem when it comes to moving the plinths around. On the other hand, having very light plinths could alter their stability, and this is a bad thing, as stability of the plinths is really important for the participants.

At this point I was more concerned with human factors and relationships between Conductors and Participants.

We had a meeting with Anne Coates, the head physiotherapist at Percy Hedley; it was a good idea to get first hand information on areas we had assumed on. Some areas that we covered are Assessments and Research on C.E.
She made us understand that the three first stages people with Parkinson’s go through include,
• Perceptions
• Break down in motor skills
• Freezing of Gait

She said that Participants had to have confidence in partaking in Conductive Education.
On assessment, it isn’t really easy because its subject to the way people feel at particular time. They now have various methods of assessing the participants but there was still room for improvement.

On researching Conductive Education, she admitted that it’s been a rough ride, but they have a body so things have got better. She spoke about the C.E world congress which holds in December. And also due to these issues, Conductor training isn’t buoyant; it’s difficult to get conductors. And as far as we understood, only about two universities in the UK offer a conductor training program.

She also spoke about the fact that C.E is Age dependant to an extent, It is better to get them at the earliest stage possible. So it acts as a preventive and coping mechanism, since it is not intended to cure anyway.
She gave us contacts of Nurses we could go to for further information on specific area.

Ideation Continua

Monday–

So we began the week with a general meeting to continue our Ideation process

  • Identify the needs of those involved in this
  • Generate Ideas
  • Review what we have.

We looked at the needs of participants and conductors alike. Some identified needs include,

  • Physical exercises
  • Mutual support/ Group-feel
  • Interactions within the group
  • Motivation from able-bodied participants

We also looked at the Routes to C.E, areas where people get to encounter information on C.E and the process from information to participating.

Some other observations we made, saw that the participants preferred function over aesthetics, the conductors motivation was the reward of seeing people achieve the littlest things. Seeing psychological changes in the participants.

Other areas to look into were, alternative angles, Criticisms of C.E and other forms of therapy. B was going to get the book by Agnes Mikula, Emails were going to be sent to organise meetings and get information where possible, C.E centers contacted also.

Tuesday—

  • Map out conditions(Stroke, M.S e.t.c) to pinpoint areas to look into
  • We need to be Aware of the patients needs, to basically put ourselves in their shoes
  • We need to understand where C.E fits in, in their lives.
  • Brainstorm
  • Talk with Expert Matthew Levley at the CDR

We had to constantly have it at the back of our minds that C.E is basically a learning process for the disorders and not a cure, it helps with coping with the problems one has.

First Conductive Education Session and Feedback

To continue on Research, one Important aspect was to talk to the ‘end-users’. So we scheduled to attend some of the Conductive Education sessions.

We wanted to have first hand information from Conductors and Participants alike. We also decided to visit C.E sessions where there had been participants who have been on the programme for a long time, over a year, while the second session would be one where participants just started the programme less than a year. This would give us a good perspective on things.

We all contributed to a set of questions which we were going to ask the conductors, while B and Katie drafted it.

  • How things have changed since they have been conducting CE
  • What has remained the same
  • Their motivations
  • What is most rewarding for them
  • Do they notice changes in someone’s personality or outlook
  • The most effective parts of CE
  • Emotional motivation
  • Opinion on equipment
  • Any form of networking across conductors in the UK
  • Opinion on the environment of the centre
  • Any thoughts on how to reach people and inform them of the programme
  • Experiences at other centers

There was a bit of chat with the conductors Agnes Mikula, who has had 46years experience in Conducting and Bea, her assistant. This was before the session started and some things she did say included

  • The fact that some people did leave C.E because the equipment was uncomfortable and hard.
  • Some key things in running the session include Organization which keeps people on their feet.
  • Most of the people in this group, were 70-85 years who had come in a bit late, that is..3 or more years into Parkinsons.
  • They had all been informed by the Parkinson’s nurse.

During the session, we filmed and took photos of the session to keep records, and use later in the project. I and Bogdan also participated in some of the exercise, For me it was even a bit difficult and tasking. Bogdan took over when I couldn’t do any more, and he continued to the end of it. It was a great learning experience, made me think about some of the things we do that we take for granted.

So we realized at the end of this week that, the five main area that facilitate C.E are

  • The  Conductor
  • The Programme
  • The Task
  • Intention
  • The group

People had to be willing to go through this process, if will-power isn’t built up, there’s hardly a thing that could be done.

Ideation start.

For this week so far, we started off making clear of our Aims and the Objectives we all sought to meet. I put it to everyone to be specific on team roles and also to give ourselves titles because I felt this is something that could go into our CVs.

Also we looked at our schedule, and the plan that Katie had produced with the help of, that I gave her

DEFINE :  Whats the issue? Who is the audience? Urgent? How will it be successful?

RESEARCH : History of issue? Examples of attempts to solve, Project supporters, Investors and critics, Talk to end users, Get leaders opinion

IDEATE : Identify needs and motivations, generate ideas, log sessions, one conversation

PROTOTYPE : Combine, Expand, Refine, Seek Feedback

CHOOSE : Review the objective, select the powerful ideas

IMPLEMENT : Make task descriptors, Plan tasks, Determine resources, Assign tasks.

LEARN!

Which became this,

Project Definition and Initiation

  • Site Visit(s)
  • Problem definition
  • Project exploration
  • Project Selection

Research and Planning

  • Background research
  • Project timescale decided
  • Project plan created

Ideation

  • Brainstorming
  • Further research
  • Site visit(s)
  • Review objectives

Project Execution/Production

  • Proposition creation
  • Site visits

Monitor and Control

  • Review Objectives
  • Client Feedback
  • End user feedback?
  • Project Handover

Final Handover/Presentation

To start our Ideation process, we brainstormed and produced a mind map of what we had at hand and identified areas to further take on.

Katie and Victoria would be on tasks which revolve round marketing, and promotion. While I and Bogdan would focus on Equipments and the Environment. At this point, I wanted to just keep my eyes on the larger picture,  overseeing how each area feeds into the other.

Project Two: One World

Our second project which was introduced in my absence due to an urgent visit at the clinic, was based on a Football website, here is the context from the project brief given;

‘One World One Game’ is to be a new online portal/social network for fans of football, it will originally be focused around the English Premier League and the football teams associated with the World Cup but with the scope to be expanded around any football league in the future. It is aimed predominately for use in the Asian market, but is available to everyone all over the world.

It was undertaken in two stages. i was paired up with a team which was to tackle the area of design. How appropriate, i thought then. the first stage was to explore and research design; discovering what is already around in the context of online portals/ social networks (eg, facebook, myspace, bebo, footbo) and what should be included in ‘One World One Game’ for it to succeed. We were to collate and document in the form of a visual report/presentation to share with the client and other MDI teams.

The second stage involved preparing a conceptual design and layout of http://www.1world1game.com. Looking at content, function, appearance and commercial value. We were to design a few pages to show the look and feel of the site. Taking into consideration target market and users’ needs.

MY INPUT

I began by accessing social networks like Twitter where i was linked to articles such as ‘Designing Social Interfaces: Overview and Practical Techniques’ available at http://www.smashingmagazine.com, i shared this with the rest of the team. Amongst the tasks we set up, interviewing potential users, timeline predictions of social networks, Defining what engages people by sight, colour, info e.t.c, And also learning about the football culture in Asia.

I took on the task of social network timeline and learning about the football culture in Asia. I joined football newtworking site ‘footbo’ just to have a feel of this, to see how the design of the site interrelated with the experience we wanted to give this particular market.

Also looked at different literature like ‘Internet and power in one-party East Asian states’ by Nina Hachigian. From this we realize that in Asia, its a very diverse continent and the governments react differently to internet and social networking sites different ranging from very liberal states to highly restricted ones like N.Korea. also articles on CNN and Asia Times online did point to the fact that social networking did require a certain level of reward systems to be successful.

After the first stage, it was presented to one of the stakeholders for suggestions o different areas, logo and style, the outcome of research and all of that. When feedback was collected, we went back to the drawing board

 

 

For the second stage of the project, where we focused on the actual design of the site. I used LG’s site, http://www.lg.com to understand how the design of such site to be, from a global scale narrowed down to each major Asian state. Lg’s site clearly mirrors the idea we came up with.

After we’d done all this research and put the site together, I along with three of the team mates presented it to the involved parties/stake-holders