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Category: Design

My Africa Diaries: Working at iHub

The primary reason I’m in Africa is as a volunteer for the Microsoft4Afrika program. One part of their outreach is to match professionals from Microsoft with identified technology needs in African countries. Many of the assignments are either teaching advanced skills or helping with infrastructure and IT needs. For my own part, I was matched with a request from the iHub in Nairobi for user experience training on developing products for Microsoft platforms. I’ve spent the better part of the last month preparing my curriculum from scratch – though I do teach an intro to interaction design workshop back in…

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My Africa Diaries: Prologue

Back in December, I was browsing the internal Microsoft forums (Yammer) and stumbled across an announcement for a new volunteer outreach program – MySkills4Afrika, part of the larger Microsoft for Afrika program. They were accepting applications from full-time employees to share their skills and expertise to energize the tech industry and entrepreneurship in Africa. Instantly, the posting spoke to me in that way you can’t quite ignore, even though travel or outreach to Africa never seemed like a realistic possibility for me up until that moment. Out of curiosity, I searched the available opportunities and discovered there were in fact…

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Fastpass is Dead, Long Live Fastpass+

In the past 6 months I’ve had the opportunity to use the new Disney World MyMagic+ system as a guest at Animal Kingdom Lodge on two separate trips – my honeymoon in October and a trip at the end of January. In October, we got to test the Fastpass+ system – which allows you to schedule rides before you arrive at the park – while still enjoying the old system. A shining moment of efficiency where we rode Big Thunder five times and Space/Splash Mountain twice each. Alas, that loophole is now closed – as of January, the old-fashioned Fastpass…

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Channel Not Found

I can still remember when the TiVo interface was a beautiful creature of simplicity, a thing to be emulated and learned from. They accomplished so much with a simple directional control. But the TiVo – and all modern DVR/interactive guide systems – were designed for a different scale of television. A world where each network had a single channel. A world before HD signals complicated everything. When I finally opted in to HD cable, I quickly developed a coping mechanism. If I needed to find an HD channel, just add 100 to the standard definition channel number. And that still…

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A Beginner’s UX Reading List

Over the course of a year, I talk to hundreds of students and young professionals interested in the field of UX and looking to start a journey through reading. Three notes: 1. For those looking to pursue this as a career change, I will caution that books won’t be enough – most design jobs require a full portfolio and review. Where for entry-level programming you can demonstrate knowledge of key computer science principles and reasoning, in design you’ll need to show examples of your work and the process you used to get to your final results. But books are a…

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