Andrew Fox

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October 17, 2014 at 1:17pm

Weeknote 521

Flow of work

I’ve always found lead time between design > development (and then release) a challenge. No matter which company I’ve worked for, big or small, it’s really tricky to get right when you’re working on a number of stories. 

  • Too long and you end up completing design way ahead of development. This causes a stock-pile of designs, a risk of situations changing, and things becoming inefficient. The longer you leave it, the more effort you need to put back in to familiarise with the work, or make changes. This means opportunities may be missed.
  • Too short and, well, often things don’t get done with the appropriate quality.

We’re a small team at Alliantist and things are pretty tight. We’ve also become pretty good at breaking work down into small releasable, testable chunks. That’s a good thing but sometimes you approach a gnarly architectural project where this becomes hard. This has definitely been one of those rabbit in the headlights weeks.

UX Brighton - Human factors and ergonomics

A good event on Wednesday. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a couple of the speakers lecture on the degree I graduated from 10 years ago - BSc Product Design at University of Brighton. Good to see that things have improved in that time. We did some human factors stuff, but not as much as they seem to teach now.

I always find it funny how generally, industrial product designers seem to see a separation between them and us; physical and digital. Sure there’s differences but the practice is the same.

Party

More birthday celebrations this week. Had a great time with friends in the pub on Saturday and Thursday. Off to see Morcheeba at the Concorde tonight with Rozzi and the Turn of the Screw at Glyndebourne tomorrow.

Exercise

Basically, if I’m actually going to run the Brighton Half in Feb, I need to start getting some distance down. I’ve been a bit under the weather this week with a sub standard 5k result at Parkrun on Saturday. Must put more effort in!..

October 11, 2014 at 11:53am

Weeknote 520

I’m going to try writing and publishing a quick weekly note. I’ve stolen the idea of ‘weeknotes’ after noticing others having some success. I like the idea of it, mainly for reflection purposes, as an informal way of logging thoughts about stuff going on in my professional and personal life. And there’s something nice about keeping it open and publishing stuff. I’m not expecting anyone to be interested, but if you are, that’s great and I’d welcome a chat :)

I’m starting at week 520, as its been around 10 years since I started my full time career as a designer.

So here goes, in no particular order…

Don’t learn to code

I’m a designer and have always aimed to keep a broad set of skills. Learning to programme is something I’ve always thought I should do. Who doesn’t want to be able to make stuff (and be on the same page as developer colleagues)?

Ryan Hoover’s argument may just be providing me with another excuse. But it’s the first time I’ve heard a good argument against. Basically, I’ve always felt that there is more than enough to be learning and keeping me busy in the field of design. Do I really need to distract myself!? 

More writing

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of writing at work recently. I’ve been wondering if this is typical of a designer? I write acceptance criteria for each feature I design which really helps collaboration with teammates. I’ve also taken it upon myself to start writing and publishing release notes. I’m enjoying it but feeling I must make sure I get a balance. Whilst it’s good to write stuff down (if you can’t write it simply it’s too complex), making stuff is the only way to bring something into reality. My desire to communicate clearly is important to me and the team at the moment. 

33 miles on the SWD

Sam, a colleague at work and I cycled from Brighton to Eastbourne on the Southdowns Way. I hadn’t done such a long ride for a good few years but it felt good. We had as good first 20 odd miles in the dry and enjoyed some very dramatic and moody scenes as the weather came in over the hills. Unfortunately by the time we arrived in Eastbourne, we were soaked through! Still, great fun!

Here’s a pic from the ride:

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Just getting ready for Halloween

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Rule of Genius 12 - Design quickly, decide slowly

I’m still working my way through Marty Neumeier’s ‘46 Rules of Genius’. It makes a good toilet book. So far so good and there’s a few gems. I really liked Rule 12 - ‘Design quickly, decide slowly’. If you follow me on Twitter, some of you may have picked up that I am very critical of the concept of management layers. So I enjoyed the bit that says:

managers tend to rely on a two-step process: know and do. They know something—from a case study, a book, an article, a best practice, a previous experience—and move straight to doing something. The flaw in this process is that it cuts out the possibility of new ideas. The know-do process is incapable of finding new approaches or mitigating risk, so it plays safe. It says: Just do what worked in the past, and nothing more.”

It struck a chord with me and made me think about whether I need to think a bit more slowly myself… or design more quickly!

On Wednesday, I turned 33

How do I feel? …about a year older than when I was 32. I’ve pretty much forgotten how old I am anyway. It doesn’t bother me to keep track of those things. Loved the gateaux Rozzi baked for me - I’m not sure how there is any left! Off to the pub in a bit for a few celebratory drinks with friends :)

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…and more of Rosalie’s home made creations! #spoilt :)

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Right, that took a little longer than I thought! Might try and keep things shorter next week…