The ceramic process

Below are a few sketches which are in progress to illustrate what I’ve learned over the last few years doing ceramics. It’s a great hobby – playing with mud one minute, and then it’s a teapot or cup the next.   There are many ways for Shino glazes such as Malcolm Davis and EAC Shino not to turn out as planned – in fact, this is the very reason many potters prefer it. Here I’ve tried to explain the key variations to the shino glazing process – and why a pot will always have it’s own characteristics when using such …

Making in Oregon: Beginner’s woodwork

Here in Portland I’ve just signed up to a woodworking class, held by the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers. It’s a bit of a challenge as we’re going to make a gift within four weeks and I’ve chosen a pretty complicated one – making a toolbox for specific tools. It’s been a really interesting process and one which I’d like to remember as I’ve never really worked with so many different power tools in one go (!) and in my adult life haven’t taken on a woodwork project yet. Hopefully by documenting the process here it’ll help me next time I …

Are there any need for titles (Miss. Mrs, Mr)?

When designing, I’m always thinking about the value of the content for the user – What makes this useful for the reader? What is the minimum effort that they need to put in to get the information they need and can we automate that? It’s always about the level of value exchange – if someone is looking for good brunch spots in their local area, it’s likely we’d need to know where they are (essential) and maybe what they like (non essential but maybe more targeted and therefore efficient). If they’d like to send that summary to their phone, we could …

Mental Models

Recently I’ve been starting many of my projects using a mental model to identify new features which might be of use to a customer at each stage of the discovery and purchase journey. I’ve found the structure really useful to be able to think each step through thoroughly, and generate ideas which really help the customer and give them a different but valuable way to interact with the brand. I can recommend this book to help when starting out with the models – Mental Models by Indi Young. Ideally to begin, you interview people on the stages they think they …

Profiling the Perfect UX Practitioner

Last week I went to Sapient Nitro for another talk, this time by Andy Budd, Jason Mesut and Aline Baeck. They were talking about their own opinions on how to define a great user experience designer, and gave the crowd a lot of opportunity for questions and discussion.  It was a good chance for me to learn, understanding the mountain I have to climb to be a good user experience designer. The key quality in a great ux designer was passion. They all agreed that the person had to really care about the end user’s experience across all touchpoints of …

Human Computer Interaction, Coursera

Really enjoying this course on HCI at Coursera, a site which offers University courses for free by the tutors who teach them, from schools like Stanford and the University of Edinburgh. https://www.coursera.org/course/hci I’d be interested to see what the people who were paying to take them think, but I think they’re amazing – it’s a great alternative to learning from reading, which I’m also trying to do a lot of. These lectures break the themes up into 15 minute chunks, with quizzes within the lecture and a larger one every two weeks. There are also assignments, which we as the …

Gestalten Infographic Course with Francesco Franchi

In December, I went to the Gestalten offices in Berlin, for a short two-day course with Francesco Franchi. He’s an amazingly talented Art Director who is concerned with how the whole layout of the page can help to communicate the story, through infographics, supporting design and areas of text. He is the art director of the Italian magazine Intelligence in Lifestyle (IL). After a short introduction, we were separated into groups, and spent most of the next two days immersing ourselves in the topic; the intrinsic link between religion and politics in Iran. It was a really interesting one, as …