12 Sep

dConstruct 2015

“The first guy made me want to build robots. The last guy made me want to change the world.”

Ashley Nye dConstruct 2015

That’s what I said when we left dConstruct 2015, the absolutely amazing conference on designing the future held at the Brighton Dome yesterday. I always come away from Brighton Digital events feeling inspired. Passion, enthusiasm and excitement is contagious, and we’re very lucky to have such a great community of coders, designers, makers, and doers.

I got to listen to a whole bunch of really great people talk about things they love, things I love, raise questions, highlight opportunities and best of all, make me think.

Also I got to play with lasers, a giant 3D pac-man, send a postcard to my future self 5 years from now, try and fail to make an origami llama/unicorn, and meet some really cool minds.

IMG_5225

So here’s a brief overview of the talks:

  1. Brian David Johnson made me want to build robots. I want a robot I can teach to walk and wave at me because his robot, Jimmy, was just too exciting for words. He made it clear we can DO this stuff. All of us. Why aren’t we building more robots? Why isn’t that part of arts and crafts time at school? I want it to be right up there with playing in the sand pit, learning the times table, and building a robot. Mine would be called Dawn001, and yes, she would wear a cape because “every robot should have a cape”. And her skill and purpose would be to play frisbee, because everyone needs a cape-wearing, frisbee-playing robot.Dawn001 Ashley Nye robot illustrationThe technology is all there, our imagination is the limit. We just need to “change the story people tell themselves about the future they will live in”.
  2. Matt Novak, lover of The Jetsons and the comic Closer than we think! showed us by looking lovingly at past futuristic visions that the future won’t come all at once, and won’t come in the form we imagined.
  3. John Willshire gave an mind-boggling presentation about Metadesign, some really interesting card-sorting style techniques to create rapidly evolving ideas and the advantages of mapping.
  4. Josh Clark showed us why Harry Potter is magical (and even demonstrated some ‘magic’ himself). There is “one goal: the computer disappears into the environment” (Alan Kay) and that is what Clark envisages. A world with a simpler design and a more natural interaction with technology. This would be infinitely more satisfying, more social, and bring us back into the world again. He says we should use “phones to caption our lives rather than frame them”. This is music to my ears. I can’t wait for a world where we can have a conversation in a restaurant again…
  5. Chris Noessel took us through some very BIG problems with the user interfaces in popular sci-fi movies. I laughed, I was entertained, but essentially he’s ruined Iron Man and Star Wars for me. Thanks Chris – the designer in me is enlightened but I still want to believe that Tony Stark is as cool as we are led to believe and not just about to destroy everything around him.
  6. Nick Foster gave a talk on the mundane which was actually very interesting. The word ‘mundane’ used to mean ordinary, normal, even dull to me. Now I realise that ‘mundane’ also denotes ‘of the world’ and that there’s a real benefit to framing your designs in the context of the ordinary world. New products will be placed into an already existing environment. How will it fit in/interact with that? Also, I learnt from Nick the importance of planning for breakages. The thing you design will go wrong. How will you handle that?
  7. Carla Diana showed us some amazing examples of a storybook she designed, with characters that can be 3D printed by the reader. This is just one example of a use for the technology we have to create things to interact with.
  8. Ingrid Burrington made me think. She gave a wonderful talk about resistance, leading onto a whole manner of topics to think about, all framed nicely by the Terminator series.
  9. Dan Hill talked about the major changes taking place because of technology. Technology changes. It changes whole cities, and the way we design. There’s some very interesting developments in the way of transport, in particular train stations and buses driven by demand.
  10. Mark Stevenson spoke passionately about the need to change. There are so many opportunities for change now if only we would do something about it. Everyone needs to listen to this talk. He made me want to change the world. And yes, I’ll offset my carbon emissions because it’s the right thing to do.

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You can listen to all the dConstruct talks at http://archive.dconstruct.org.

Thanks to Clearleft for organising such a brilliant event.

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03 Sep

WordPress Project Update

I started building the final BOSHrun website around two weeks ago. I had done a lot of the work previously, including extensive research, planning and prototyping as can be seen in earlier posts about this project, as follows:

  1. Client worksheet
  2. Surveys
  3. Concept maps and cultural probes
  4. Probing part 2
  5. Competitor analysis
  6. Cultural probe results
  7. Personas, user scenarios, use cases and user journeys
  8. Task analysis and content inventory
  9. Functional and content requirements
  10. Card sorting and information architecture
  11. Mood board and wireframes
  12. Clickable wireframe
  13. Visual design for BOSH prototype
  14. Summary and clickable prototype
  15. Evaluation
  16. Building from a prototype

The existing BOSH site was rarely used, with the main bulk of activity on their Facebook group. This allowed me to take the site offline while I work on it. For this, I used the Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin.BOSH under maintenance

As for the rest of the site, only a handful of volunteer testers will be able to see an advance preview. The final site is due to go live at the end of September.

 

 

 

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14 Aug

Henry, a short stop-motion film

This year, I created a storyboard for a short film based on my son, Henry.

storyboardCI221smaller

The process had its challenges (mainly involving weather, camera angles and that old saying about never working with kids…) but I am happy with the outcome. You can view the film below.

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03 Jun

Building from a prototype

I am starting the process of building a WordPress site based on my prototype for BOSH.

I want to keep the structure of the site as it was in the prototype, but I am working on adding functionality, and in particular for registered members.

 

A WEBSITE PROPOSAL BY ASHLEY NYE

  • Aim to present BOSH as a community: open, friendly and helpful – sets them apart from other running clubs.
  • Minimalist, sleek design in keeping with the BOSH brand.
  • Fully responsive, mobile-friendly site.
  • WordPress CMS

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Online community. Members can register to use special features.
    1. Communicate with other members.
    2. Leave posts and comments.
  • Member registration will allow you to collect data about your members.
  • Find a buddy/ find a group – registered members can search for other members.
  • Blog with specific categories, with the option of allowing certain members to upload posts.
  • Members page to sign in.
  • Forum replaces the free flow conversation that Facebook currently contains. Based on Mumsnet and Runners World forums. As it grows, we can add more means of organising the posts.
  • Photo gallery where members can upload photos and write comments (just as Facebook).
  • League table sorted by gender and race length.
  • Simple shop, uses Paypal.

 

To view my blog about the entire design process, please go to http://ashleynye.co.uk/category/web-design-2/boshrun/

 

To view work in progress, click here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 22.50.47

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22 May

Web Dev: Evaluation

Overall, I am happy with this project. The end result was a responsive website that I feel is also beautiful, minimalist and informative.

The following was taken directly from my project plan:


Project aims:

To create a website to replace the existing, inadequate design. It will need to attract new clients, and inform existing ones of term dates, exam dates etc. It will also be a showcase for the school’s successes.


In respect to the project aims, the website I have designed will attract new customers (when Google Map Maker is back online). It also contains all the information necessary for prospective and existing customers, organised in an efficient way. The business will surely benefit by having a more up-to-date online presence.

There were some issues with gathering imagery, with regards to parental consent forms and the time scale of the project was put back due to unexpected delays with gathering content.

However, the site will be ready to go live within the next two weeks, and the client was very positive about the outcome. The following email shows her response:

ClientEmail

I then completed another competitor analysis, to see how the site has developed from when I compared the business’ old site to others in the same sector. The results are below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 13.38.07

The content has had a complete overhaul, so is definitely all relevant. The whole website was designed with the user in mind, to make it as easy to navigate and as appropriate as possible. I think from this point of view, the project has been a resounding success.

To download the bibliography for this project, click the link below.

CI264 Bibliography

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20 May

Web Dev: Testing

I conducted a navigation stress test, as outlined here by Keith Instone, on the website prototype.

The following shows the table of questions I asked as described by Keith Instone, and my annotated web page.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 15.13.56

stressTest

The navigation is clear and the information is organised efficiently. The navigation is at the top of the page where users will expect to see it, and every page is consistent. The links in the navigation describe exactly what is going to be on each page, so users can navigate directly to the page they need.

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19 May

Web Dev: Finishing Touches

Before testing, I completed little detail tasks such as creating a favicon using a generator to match the company branding, and writing the PHP to action the email form on the contact page based on this code.

I ordered the domain name “anitagunnschoolofdance.co.uk” to upload the site when the consent forms have all been signed and the site has been tested and approved by both me and the client.

I tested the website on different devices, including an iPhone 5s, a MacBook Pro and an iPad 2.

Sample screenshots are included below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.05.41

 

mobileScreenshot

mobileScreenshot2

 

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18 May

Web Dev: Project Specific Factors

Every project has different obstacles that need to be planned for and considered. When undertaking this website project for a dance school, it was important to be prepared for the complications surrounding using images of children online.

In this case, every parent whose child’s image is to be used in the project will have to sign a consent form. The project is (as of 20/05/2015) not currently online.

I created the branded consent form below based on this one used by Merton Council.

AnitaGunnConsentFormAlso, I made sure that the code was going to be easy to maintain in the future by adding comments. It was important to my client that she would be able to edit timetable dates at regular intervals, so comments to highlight sections, along with instructions on how to use an FTP client were a real benefit to her.

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 13.48.38

 

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17 May

Web Dev: Google Map Maker

My research for this project highlighted to me just how much this business relies on location.

Location-based searches are going to be the first port of call for most prospective clients. The best way to ensure this business shows in search is to use the Google Map Maker tool, and to place the dance school on Google Maps.

Unfortunately, within the last week Google Map Maker has been temporarily suspended due to misuse of the tool.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 20.02.59

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 20.02.46

When the tool is back up, I will add the business to the map to raise the profile of The Anita Gunn School of Dance.

Until then, I have just added a map to the website so users of the site can find the school with ease, using this Google Developers tutorial. The following shows my code with the specific latitude and longitude of the business.

Google Maps Code

The image below shows how it looks when embedded into the website, after I also added a simple marker using this example code as a guide.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 22.22.01

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 22.20.46

 

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