“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions”

- Einstein -

 From Einstein to IDEO, you will find research championed as the foundation of excellence in design - that is because design requires sifting, gathering and thinking. The Factory of Thought champion UX-research, so our solutions are underpinned by a deep awareness for context.

A mix of academic-excellence and design-practice gives me an edge in being able to establish a solid awareness of context. This insight is a prerequisite to the emergence of effective designs & solutions.

METHODOLOGIES

I sometimes begin the research phase with an intervention and use action-based research according to Carr & Kemmis’s model: plan an intervention, act it out with users, observe the results and then reflect on the outcomes. So long as assumptions are framed as they arise, this ‘discovery’ phase ends with an awareness of how users are challenged.

I use grounded-theory to gather qualitative feedback from users. As a foundational framework, grounded-theory supports the development of hybrid methodologies: my own ‘video-cued commentary’ method was developed by mixing grounded-theory, interaction-design, preview-screening & observational-recording. 

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CONTEXTUAL INSIGHT

Results from early research leads me toward an understanding of the contest and the stakeholders involved. To identify shortcomings in the existing product/service, I find it useful to visual processes with Journey-Maps. In parallel, Persona-Maps help identify which parts of the existing experience users value: these are the very components that will need respect in any future pivots.

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Discovery-research gives me an appreciation for context, so that the assumptions made during design are ‘informed’. I use lean-UX to move ideas towards prototypes as fast as possible: make an assumption, generate a prototype, test for impact, re-evaluate.

IDEATION

To drive ideation, I use everything from high-level brainstorms to detailed user-journeys. My multimedia background means I lean towards narrative-based scenarios that put content first.

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SERVICE FLOW

When developing business-oriented services I find Keeley’s triangle (desirable, viable, capable) and the lean-business schemas to be helpful frameworks. The development of experiential services requires technologies to be combined in new ways, so we specify system-requirements via both low & hi fidelity schematics.

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WIREFRAMES

With early design iterations, I avoid high-fidelity prototypes as lo-fi versions tend to attract more honest feedback.

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PROTOTYPES

After wireframing, I use mockups to establish UI aesthetics & then prototype device-based interactions.

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MULTI-SCREEN Narratives

UX design is not just about interfaces & devices: it is about the user’s experience in a specific context. A sensibility to context is the reason I can design installations, visualisations and experiential interactions. Furthermore, with a background in multimedia production, I understand the emotive impact of narrative & so design effectively for content first.

I began in IxD back in the early noughties; a time when designers had to code for themselves to realise working interaction prototypes. As a result, I am as comfortable with a sharpie as I am in with an API. Speaking both languages means I can manage multidisciplinary teams from ideation through to deployment. 

INTERFACE PROTOTYPES

Developing software can start with a high-level IDE package such as Max/MSP. It is with Max/MSP that I often hack together working prototypes to process multimedia, setup system-control, interface between tricky protocols and much more.

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APPLICATION MVPs

The Processing Java library is a high-level IDE for developing multimedia applications in Java. I use it create apps that realise data-visualisations, eLearning solutions etc. Below is an example of a suite of eLearning apps developed to automate ICT-based teaching tasks.

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RESPONSIVE FULLSTACK WEB-APPS

To release fully functional cloud-based services, I develop Fullstack Responsive Web-Apps (Node.js) as both POCs and operational MVPs. Such Wep-Apps tend to serve as the backbone to the bespoke screen-based solutions I deliver to clients.

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INSIGHT ON ENGAGEMENT & INTERACTIOn

Engaging users via their mobile phones gives the opportunity to gather and mine data. With an academic background in user research and analysis, I am well versed in mining both qualitative and quantitative based datasets.

It can be an onerous task to mine large data-sets for qualitative feedback. To automate this process, I use natural-language-processing and then data-visualisation scripts to render insight. As a result, I can then extract insights on usage and interaction.

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