Author: caitstuff

Tuesday Thoughts

Thinking about how I have always been partial to the way handwriting looks from the back of a piece of paper. An interaction that I would love to do for a portfolio site would be to have pieces of paper that initially showed the back of the page, with the handwritten words reversed, and then they flipped over to show the details of the project.

Initially I thought to have the pages flip on a mouseover (like the mouseover on ) but I am not sure how that would look on a mobile site. Or if the visibility would just end up being confusing as to why the text was all “messed up”, since backwards text is not a natural mapping pattern for providing information on a website. Would it even be clear that mousing over the text could turn it into something readable?

Goals Monday

A very socially busy week, and lots to do in the free time as well.

  • Stale goals:
    • Resume and Portfolio revisions (now week 4!)
    • Finished Designed Future logo (now on week 3!)
  • Talk to Hugo on Monday, make sure our mentoring statement in turned in with Automattic
  • Attend the She Geeks Out networking event at O’Reilly focused on non-developer tech roles. Attend the UXPA Monthly Meeting.
  • For the storytelling for change class, work on the reading, the worksheet for using visual aids in talks, revise my personal story, and do a practice recording. Meet with groupmates on Thursday evening over skype.
  • This weekend, attend the Ladyproblems Hackathon.
  • Work on questions and activities for the Service Book focus group.
  • Create “fascist normalizing device” sticker design.
  • Continue design reading (ReWork, books from Hugo?)
  • Work on a redesign for the YesOrigami wireframes based on received feedback.

Wins Weekend Edition

It doesn’t even need to be said what a horrible week this has been. I have spent most of the week on suicide watch for depressed and anxious people in my life. Design work has had to take a serious backseat.

  1. Mentor meeting with Warren went well. Biggest insight was to have a clear idea of what I wanted to get out of the focus group I was running before starting. The two questions I have decided to focus on are validation of the idea (that the group is even interested) and figuring out what the highest needs are to make the software useful. We talked about how to incorporate stickies to give everyone a voice, and the use of big poster-stickies to display and group ideas. It was good to think these things through aloud, especially since there are some technical challenges of the hosting location that will make wall space at a premium/non existent. He also recommended getting and reading a copy of 37Signal’s ‘Rework’ book.
  2. On Friday I went to the UXPA’s local UX Fair at General Assembly for a short time. I missed the keynote and the panel, and had to leave early during the small group mentoring sessions. What I did get to attend was a talk/q&a with Astrid Chow about working for enterprise companies, and about going from a design agency background to being in-house. It was really inspiring to hear her talk. Just the ability to see another fat blue-haired woman succeeding in a traditional “corporate” environment made me feel a bit more hopeful about my eventual chances for getting in the door somewhere.
  3. Someone posted on Wednesday a very interesting thread about bringing in empathy to white understanding of the messages that blacks in this country have been feeling for a long time. Since then I have been pondering how to “design think” social change. How to get into places where people are encouraged to think in empathetic ways. It is still no more than a pondering, a “how might we” question, but I think answering it will become an important part of my work over the next several years. At the moment, I know many people are already at work and have studied this question, so the first step will be to tune in to some of their research and knowledge before undertaking anything further.


Two Weeks of Wins

Two Weeks Ago

  1. Did several rough design sketches for the new Designed Future online program, Desprosperity-logo-draftsigned Prosperity, and sent it off to the CEO. I was not particularly happy with any of them, but she liked them and sent them to the board for comments. They ended up picking two that they would like to see further iterations of.  Lesson learned: save yourself some effort by being willing to show ugly rough drafts. Now I know where to be best expending my energy in further revisions.
  2. Attended the Boston OpenIDEO rapid prototyping workshop. Ended up working with a partner on a project for a “smelly diaper alert” sensor. We developed quick sketches for an ad campaign, then put together a quick storyboard, and then had open choice for the third prototype iteration. In each iteration we had only about ten minutes to complete our work. It was interesting doing these prototypes back-to-back in such rapid succession. Changing the format of the prototype being presented each time help define new problems that needed to be solved.Working with a stranger under such tight time constraints proved to be particularly challenging. Despite agreeing on a lot of the direction for our initial prototype, we could not find a consistent vision for the ad, and ended up creating separate but complementary layouts. And for our final prototype, we ran out of time before even being able to agree on a type of project that was sharable with the other groups. As we presented, therefore, I improvised a role playing scenario that was largely a repeat of the information we had worked out in the storyboarding process. It was a good learning experience about conflict in collaborative environments, which is something I have not had nearly as much trouble with before in other group activities.
  3. Attended the Design Thinking meetup group which was working on new fundraising programs for the nonprofit Community Servings. Our group prompt was about encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles. We had some good wacky ideas such as a “fitness in the kitchen” classroom—which was eventually nixed due to safety/insurance/litigation fears!—and eventually settled on a purchasable community program of small group grocery store tours with one of the Community Servings nutritionists, who would then answer personal questions relating to the attendee’s food preferences and issues/allergies. Almost all of the other groups’ suggestions involved offering paid cooking classes. As a result, I was proud of our group being able to offer up something different and more experimental but still feasible and within the nonprofit’s theme and scope.

Last Week

  1. For the Storytelling for Change class, I wrote a rough outline of a personal story from this past summer of interrupting a couple of boys fighting in the street, and then tying it back into my job search, and jobs that skills that I have that are not immediately apparent from my employment history. In group, I practiced reading it aloud, and was also able to get good feedback on how to revise it, and how to clarify my point about my skillset, and also about adding a more clear “call to action” about the reaction I want from the listener (hire me!) after hearing the story.
  2. From Hugo I received a list of good design websites to be following, and went through them to find designs that were particularly appealing to me.
  3. I continued my trend of watching a bunch of skillshare making-futures-book-coverdesign videos, and used the “free learning week” on linkedin to watch
    the Frog Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization course. I finished reading Six Thinking Hats and continued my reading of Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy, which is just amazing.

Goals Monday (On a Tuesday)

Traveling this week. Limited time to work on goals, but I am hoping to be working on:

  • Draft of personal story for Storytelling for Change class
  • Write-up notes of last week’s workshops
  • Finished logo design for Designed Future
  • Resume and Portfolio work (carryover from last week)
  • First meeting with my Mentor Everywhere mentor, Hugo. Then…
    • Send copy of resume/portfolio
    • Fill out mentoring agreement worksheet
    • Send link to website/this blog page
    • Send Am/Will, T notes
    • Second meeting, Friday morning
  • This weekend: MDP Hackathon

Goals Monday

What I’m working on this week:

  • Life map and ‘Identifying your story’ worksheet for Storytelling for Change class, meet with groupmates and discuss reading
  • Attend Pop Up: Rapid Prototyping with David Lanphear and Getting to Solutions
  • Visual design work for Designed Future: a new logo for the online course
  • Create a visually attractive resume
  • Revisions to my portfolio:
    • Consistent visuals with the resume
    • Take out the customization screen on page 13
    • Fix the table of contents