29 Jul

Degree results & awards

I am thrilled to announce I’ve been awarded First Class Honours for my degree in Digital Media.

I was also awarded the prestigious Governors Prize, established to recognise outstanding achievement and academic performance. The 10 awards were given to the university bursary recipients who achieved the best marks in their overall degree – a great honour.

Not only that, but my Plotting Shed project was awarded the Create.net prize for best web-based project. It’s truly amazing to have my work recognised in this way. I couldn’t have asked for a better result from the last three years.

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01 Nov

Growing publicity: awareness of the project

I created a new Twitter account @plotting_shed and tweeted about it.

It’s a good way to get involved in the online community of allotment holders. I can also use it to gather user testers for evaluation.

Another way I did this was to join my local allotment Facebook page, and post about what I was up to on there:

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 21.15.23

I was also invited to write an article for the Eastbourne Allotments and Gardens Society blog, which went online today. It’s a fantastic way to generate publicity for my project and make people aware of what I’m doing.


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20 Oct

User Research: Survey

A classic technique for gathering data is the simple survey. I used SurveyMonkey to create a simple set of questions focussed on asking what the user wants from an online allotment planner. Finding the features that will be most helpful to the end user is vital, so that time is not wasted developing useless functions.

Survey can be accessed here.

Results will be posted soon.



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05 Oct


“I intend to create a website that allows users to plan their allotment gardens without the need for pen and paper and is easily edited. Users should be able to save their gardens and return to make changes at a later stage. This idea came about as I tried to plan my new allotment on paper, and found that decisions about where I had placed structures and beds were difficult to amend. It occurred to me that a drop and drag process online would be far more efficient.

I will know if the project has been successful if a user can plan an allotment garden using the website with minimal support and have a document that they can print and take to their plot.

The design process will include extensive user research set out in my project plan, and the end product will be coded using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I will also use PHP to connect the website to a database, however my main focus will be on functionality, usability and visual design.

I hope to practice research and design skills gained in [module], but the emphasis will be on improving my coding ability beyond the basics taught in modules [module], [module], and [module].”

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30 Sep

Idea Generation

It’s really odd being given a brief without a subject.

“Anything you want, within reason.” is quite a difficult task. There’s so many options and yet finding one that feels perfect takes time.

I know I wanted to practice my coding skills – HTML, CSS and JavaScript being the top 3 I’m interested in. Structure, styling and functionality are necessities for every front-end developer. I also wanted to combine the things I’ve learnt in other areas: usability, branding, maybe even a little SEO and marketing (why not?).

It’s very rewarding (and self-indulgent) to look back over the last two years and see just how far I’ve progressed. That’s one of the lovely things about this blog too. It’s very helpful to be able to remind myself of some of the tools I have at my disposal. No one has a perfect memory, and looking back at old work shows how I overcame certain issues in the past, saving energy and a lot of time spent on stackoverflow.com.

So after flicking through my old work, I created the following mind map (always a great starting tool) to expand on the following 4 points:

  1. What do I want to make?
  2. What do I want to learn?
  3. What am I interested in?
  4. What skills make me employable?

Initial mind map

I wanted to pick something that would combine an interest with other beneficial elements. There’s no point wasting time repeating old stuff exactly as I’ve done it before when I could be learning something.

Two ideas I pursued:




After some brief initial research into the two ideas, I decided to select the second for my degree project: an online allotment planner. It has endless possibilities, and hasn’t been perfected in a workable in-browser format yet.

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