So my mate Ben “blindguidedog” Nightingale drew a caricature of my girlfriend and I, I was his first paid customer Check out what he did!
So yeah, check him out here! http://blindguidedog.co.uk
Looking back over the last 5-6 weeks I had set myself a huge challenge, to basically do half a years worth of work in 5weeks, and I think I pulled it off!
First I had set myself a couple weeks to produce my whole work based file, this wasn’t really ideal but I had no choice as I had forgot to make a track of everything I had done throughout the year. I felt I was working efficiently the majority of the time but at times I just got bored as all I was doing was writing paragraph after paragraph because of that I’ve probably made a few mistakes here and there. If I was to do it again, I would make sure I started it at the start of the year and not near the end as it made my life hell for those couple weeks.
Next module was my Portfolio which I only gave myself a week for doing the whole module. May think thats a bit stupid as its a whole module? probably was but I managed to get it all done, having said that I was spending about 8hours every night and going to bed at 3am+ but I feel some of the pieces I created were strong visual pieces, at least compared to my previous design work from this year. Only problem I faced on the module and it isn’t really a bad thing, but after I had finished designing some of the apps I wanted and did get into Xcode and started actually building them, which doesn’t really help when I’m on a tight deadline, I just get inspired so much that I have to get into Xcode and start developing.
Last module I was facing was this module, PPD, I didn’t realise how much I had to do, I’m just glad I gave myself the two weeks to get it done. Initially I felt a bit overwhelmed by how much outstanding bits of PPD tasks I had to do, but after speaking with Libby she helped me understand better of what I had to produce and I felt a bit calmer and knew what I needed to do to get it all finished within the two weeks I had allowed myself. Like I had mentioned last year, and said I would do it this year, I’d start it at the start of the year and not do it all last minute. But I clearly didn’t do it, and if there was a next time, I probably still would do the same. It feels like there is ages to get it all done and then there is only like 6 weeks left and then it hits you that you’ve done virtually nothing, I really need to get out of that habit.
Watching Jake’s video about fonts on the web, I never realised there was so much to do with fonts on the web and about how font-face started back in CSS2. I also never realised that the font face was in progress for 17 years and has hardly improved! I find it a shame that the fonts have been lacking for that long and only now are they starting to improve and become accesible fully.
I noticed that a lot of the problems that a user can face with viewing a site using font face is that if they’re a PC user and use IE then pretty much all of their versions of browser require some kind of hack to actually get them to appear, still showing that IE is rubbish and still no where near as good as webkit browsers.
This video has opened up my eyes a lot to how fonts work on the web and how they can impact on the download speed and the actual visual content when viewing a website on load and next time I go to build a website I’ll make sure to reference back to this video and take note on what is needed of me to hopefully achieve a fully functional site with the correct fonts and no missing content for the end user.
I have watched the video of him presenting his “Designing for humans” talk at DIBI 2011. He is talking about some companies and brands do really good with their packaging branding and physical visual assets but when it comes to their website they are lacking and there is a need for a huge improvement. The reason for the need for a huge improvement he mentioned which he is quite right, is that us humans make opinions on people without knowing them, “judge a book by its cover”, and we do the same when it comes to web design.
He had took the very bland Innocent website and redesign it to get it across that just “re-aligning” a site can make the experience for a user a whole lot better, he had made sure there were arrows and direction of how the user should flow through the site and gain all the knowledge they wanted to know.
I agree with everything he has pointed out as to how to design for us humans and I really need to remember that when designing sites that you need to create a site which makes the site enjoyable to the user and helps the user get the information they’re after and help them flow through the site and stay on the site for a longer period of time.
Another app design I found which unfortunately isn’t in the app store but I believe its in Alpha stage and will hopefully be in the app store soon! I’m seeing lately that on the homescreen of most apps they have the logo on the navigation bar instead of just plain text, I’m really liking this idea and I’m planning on now putting this on “The Future” app I have previously designed and currently developing.
Another thing I’ve noticed which I like is the, what I like to call, a foursquare notification bubble, I had originally only seen it in foursquare but thinking about it, its a really nice feature and subtle. Couple more parts of this app which inspire me to improve my designs and develop better apps is the simple page flick in the corner of the cell which has a cog, I’m guessing this will be for settings for editing which is nice and simple and makes a change from the swipe gestures you see in most apps now.
Last thing is that the colours are really complementary to one another, what I need to remember when designing apps is to get a colour palette as this colour palette really works well together:
Found this app on DeviantArt, unfortunately its not in the app store! I love the attention to detail, all the subtle patterns and textures over every aspect of the app, nothing is just a plain colour or gradient! Another thing I like about this app is that the images on all buttons are all so self explanatory that there is no need for text:
This russian app again has lots of custom elements to the app but still has the generic navigation bar, the only thing that stood out to me was the extra detail they had used on the scrollview, it makes me realise that the smallest things can seriously make an app from being okay to being a great design and stand out from the rest:
I came across this app, I’ve never seen an app like this before, it is really unique and meets all the apple guidelines but to me it seems like they’re pushing the boundaries just that little bit, for example the top navigation bar isn’t the full width I would of thought this would of been declined by apple but obviously not, and I’m so glad it didn’t as its really unique and fresh, but not every app could pull it off. The design of the app actually reminds me of old pokemon cards with the border around the whole content, except on this app its a wood effect:
Here I’m going to mention about the swipe gesture on the table cell reveals, I’ve known like on the twitter app when swiping the whole cell changes to several options to select from but in this app it does that with a little twist, it only goes half way, a jagged edge to make it look like the cell has been torn from the edge of the table and shows really simple icons, I’m really liking this feature and I think in the future if I have to design an app which includes options on swipe gestured cells that if possible to incorporate this really nice feature:
I’d never thought you could make a home screen of an app so minimalistic! Just table cells and then to add the edit functionality, there is a “ribbon” in the bottom right to give these options, its really simple but looks really easy to work, i don’t know though as the app costs! I dont fancy buying it just yet haha:
Again pushing the boundaries, instead of having a navigation bar at the top for the buttons and titles, the app has just a header to the table and has all the needed content, it keeps the whole app in its own design and nothing is standard, all of it is custom which is what I love about it:
Although at the start of this module it took me a while to get to grips with it all, I’m pretty happy with what I have achieved in this module. The main thing which stands out for me in this module is that it shows my progression of being very causal and becoming a lot more professional, with a very needed updated CV, business cards, letter heads, the lot.
Even though I can see why we have to do this module to further our progression, I still hated this module. With a lot of the tasks I had to do and include it was all written based which I feel is my weakest subject, with that in mind the majority of the time I have written something for this module and haven’t read over it as I feel its done and I don’t want to create more work for myself so unfortunately I will probably find myself losing marks because of things not making sense.
Worst parts I’ve hated in this module have been the weekly/monthly reflections and the SMART Targets, reason for this is that I had to do them every week/month and it was just remembering to do them when I needed to do them actually being bothered to sit down and write out some goals and reflections. If I wrote a diary then I guess it would of been an easy transition for me to make to write about things every week, but I haven’t ever so going from just doing nothing to writing something every week/month is really hard for me and I found it a huge challenge to do, but I believe I finally got to the end result I was after.
Best part I’ve liked doing in this module was all the visual stuff, like the CV design, letter head, business cards, and inspiration etc. I found that after doing looking at things for inspiration, it inspired me to want to go away and re-design and re-develop my Apps I have previously designed and currently developing, which I’m glad it had that effect because why try and get inspired and nothing to happen? On the other hand, means a load more work for me!
Thing which still sucks and I need to improve on is time management, I had tried using an issue tracker to monitor what tasks I had left to do and to put estimate times against them but I kind of forgot to use it which doesn’t help! But what I did do to help me push me further and to not slack at my work was having a photo of the tasks I had to accomplish in photoshop and I was crossing them off as and when I had completed it and it helped me focus on what I had to do and motivated me to get my work finished.
In this module I had to re-design my website and start populating my online and paper based portfolios with work I have produced and improve/create new pieces of work to put in.
With this module I was really happy with what I had produced, my site I am really happy with I feel it is my best website design that I have done to date and I haven’t done a lot of design in the past few months too. I had got feedback off Libby and peers and I’ve made changes where needed, I had kept the site very cramped on the portfolio page and basically wasn’t enough white space. I have since rectified this and I personally think the site is a lot better laid out, in the future I may work with it a bit more to add some new features to it, but I wont be changing the layout for a long time, I think.
I think the think I could of done in this module was redesign some of my old website designs as I feel they were pretty poor, then I could of had more in my portfolio, but at the moment my online portfolio is limited to 12 currently, and my paper portfolio is only 5 A3 Boards, I feel in my line of work that the online portfolio is better to get my work across than the actual physical portfolio so I’ll be sure to keep my online portfolio up to date when new work is produced!
In the work based module I had to document tasks I had accomplished on work placement and personal projects I may of undertaken.
My biggest downfall with the amount of work I produced for this module is that I had started it really late and had to back track a lot of my work which resulted in me generally getting bored and really taking me longer to produce than if at the end of every day looking back on what I had achieved and giving a brief incite.
At the end of the project I was actually pleased I had done enough, I believe, just not happy with the lack documented amount. In the future I am going to have to do things when I should and not just thinking that I can just get it all done at the last minute like I had to do, but a lower amount of work than what I should of produced.
On the other hand I believe I was able to demonstrate affectively that I was able to manage my time correctly and achieve what was needed of me, as well as handling clients professionally.
Its time to do mass PPD tasks and get it all complete in the next two weeks, this is my list of things I am going to be including and if they are currently done or not:
- Buy folder – DONE
- Swot Analysis – DONE
- SMART/Goals – DONE
- Ucas research – not done
- Module reflection x7 – not done
- CV Reviews – not done
- CV Development – DONE
- Personal branding – half complete
- Skill set – need to evaluate others findings
- Reflection – DONE
- Inspiration – not done
- Reflect on videos – not done
- Personal statement – not done
- Job Application, write cover letter for it – not done
As you can see I have quite a bit left to still complete but I’m positive I will bet it complete in time.
This is my plan to achieve what is needed:
30th April Monday – CV Reviews
1st May Tuesday – Personal Branding
2nd May Wednesday – Skill set
3rd May Thursday – Ucas Research
4th May Friday – Reflect on videos
5th May Saturday – REST
6th May Sunday – REST
7th May Monday – Personal Branding
8th May Tuesday – Inspiration
9th May Wednesday – Personal Statement
10th May Thursday – Job Application, write cover left for it
11th May Friday – Hand in module
I feel this plan is achievable and I will be able to complete all within the timescale I have left myself, I think I may of left too much till the end so the quality may not be as good as I wanted it to be, but I think I will still be able to produce a good quality to my work even though some areas may be rushed a little.
I Had downloaded the new National Parks iPhone App and was seriously impressed with the fresh new features it has. Really subtle features which set it apart from the rest.
The first feature I had noticed was that when showing an “actionsheet” the view re scales and skews as to go backwards out of focus, as can be seen in this picture:
This app also includes the Facebook style navigation, another great feature proving really effective, instead of having a tab bar at the bottom with limited options there is an option where you can press the top left button on the navigation bar and the view slides to the right to reveal the navigation, as can be seen here:
Last feature I’ve noticed is the options for the map, its like a Slider but with several options along it, and when selecting an option the text above it animates to move up slightly and the text changes colour, it makes you think about all the small details, once all the small details come together it changes the whole experience of the app and just makes you sit back and go wow, well to me it did! Here it is:
To top it all off the app design is pretty awesome too, all in all this is an app to truly take inspiration from, be it a designer or developer:
I dont think I’ll ever use this app for its actual intentions, but for me its great to have to gain inspiration of what capabilities are possible within the iOS platform.
Although I mentioned my initial plan for my portfolio back in February, unfortunately I haven’t actually produced anything so far so I need to spend very long nights this week building my whole portfolio and get things ready to print.
The three App designs I am planning on producing are as follows:
- Stanced app, previously mentioned
- Car Monitor, an app to display lots of relevant information to a driver
- The Future, a design for the final show app we are planning on building
This is my plan of attack for the week:
Friday – Post Portfolio Evaluation
The main thing I’m pleased with is that back in the Easter Holidays I had spent a day and a half redesigning my Portfolio which has helped me loads and means that I can just spend a week getting the rest of my portfolio created.
Looking into user authentication, I kind of went a step further and 3/4′s built an iPhone app which demonstrates all of the required functionality that the GoMe app will need to be using, main ones being:
- User Authentication
- Creation of posts
- Registering an account
- Reduce memory usage doing some optimisation
So I built and designed the app “Stanced” it isn’t finished but its pretty much there, couple features left to produce for it which is the favourites, comments and also a slight memory issue. So with the user authentication stuff I didn’t really have a clue of where to start so spent days and days looking up different “rubygems” to incorporate into my ruby on rails server, I finally came across one called devise which seemed very popular. Only problem, it didn’t support json communication to login and authorise, so I was on the search again not really having a clue what I was doing and lots and lots of hours later I found someone had built upon the devise gem to support custom communication which I made to work with json and managed to get it working with my app. It was a lot of work getting it done, and to be honest I don’t really know what I did to get it working as a lot of it has just been guess work since I’ve been doing it all myself with pretty much no help.
With that bit finally working I had to do a bit of trial and error with some ruby code to get the checks setup for checking users against the database and most importantly when creating a user had to make sure no one made a duplicate account with same email or username so had to make sure those checks where in place, I managed to get there in the end and I’m really pleased with my efforts so far with the app.
Now I need to put this app aside for the next month and a bit and focus on a lot of outstanding work I need to complete for my handins on 11th of May.
This is the plan for the next few weeks to complete my work:
- 2 weeks Work-based, hand in 25th April
- 1 week portfolio, hand in 2nd May
- 2 weeks PPD, hand in 11th May
I feel these are realistic time scales even though I have LOADS to do for each module but I’m positive I will hit these deadlines and get two of them handed in early and leaving me to focus on my PPD for the last 2 weeks.
I’ve set myself the following two weeks to produce my entire work based file, I was silly and left it all to the last minute which means I am needing to have to back track several months of the time I’ve been at hedgehog lab and try and remember everything I have done in my time there.
The Projects I am going to talk about in my work based file are:
- Epic Dive
- (Can not disclose project)
- Optimal Life
- Dice Life
I believe I have done enough in these 5 projects to fill up my entire work based file. I am also going to include imagery for a lot of the tasks I had done to demonstrate what I have achieved and to give a better understanding, as majority of my work being development instead of design I will have to try and show this by showing the visuals and not so much of the backend of the apps.
I plan to spend the 1 1/2 weeks doing this file and leave a few days to write up my evaluation, I will probably leave the evaluation for the last day/night to get that complete and hand in the project two weeks early.
I?ll start with a bit of background about me, I started doing late nights not really knowing what I was doing and not knowing what I wanted to do when I was younger, but what I knew was that it would be computer based, designer? developer? technician? Who knew back then. When I was 13 I started with html templates in my I.T. class at school and then I just got hooked, I ended up leaving school to go to college thinking I wanted to solely be a designer so I joined up to a 2 year BTEC National Diploma in Interactive Media, during this time I started going back to my school stuff I tried to make work, this was some php Mafia Game which I still haven?t finished to this day! Anyway, I still didn?t know what I wanted to be but it started to come clear that I preferred to either to do all design on a project or all development but not managing both. I ended up leaving the course with a Distinction, Distinction, Merit, I was really chuffed with my marks. I never wanted to go to University, so I settled for the next best thing which I knew was going to work out better for me in the end, which it quite clearly did. I started an Foundation Degree in Web Design at Newcastle College which ran for 2 years again, my intentions at this point was actually not to do web design after the degree. I had set myself 3 goals in the summer leading up to the start of the course.
1. show my potential to libby, so much so she?d talk to her contacts in the industry.
2. start a placement somewhere in the first few months of the first year and show my potential and my urge to learn new things and gain new knowledge and perform to, and above their expectations.
3. with showing my potential get offered a job that I will love and live happy ever after.
It?s safe to say I managed to achieve these 3 goals I set for myself, as of 28th March 2011 I started as a Junior Software Developer after doing a couple months of placement. Fast forward a year and 1 day, (29th March 2012), I?m still at hedgehog lab, the place that made my dream become a reality. I worked along other great developers and designers such as, THE Craig Tweedy (Developer), Mark Forster (Co-Founder/Developer), Simon Fawcett (developer), and Lauren Thompson (Head Designer).
Before I finish this piece, I?ll just like to finish with my thanks to everyone who got me to where I am now.
First goes to my Mum who could never for the life of her get me to go to bed,
Thanks to Deni Chambers who pushed me so far on my ND course that I started to visualise my dream coming a reality.
Thanks to Libby Gardiner who saw the potential in me and had faith I wouldn?t let her down going on placement so early into my first year on my FD course.
Thanks to Sarat Pediredla & Mark Forster for giving me the opportunity to go on placement and then to go on and hire me based on my hunger to learn new skills and to put these skills in practise over night.
And last thanks goes to, you guessed it, CRAIG TWEEDY, for being there to support me when I needed him the most during those difficult times of Nepic and other such projects which shall remain anonymous and sharing his vast knowledge of everything.
So the two goals I set myself where really both combined and it was all about getting to grips with all aspects of the iPhone app Paul had thought up.
- Ruby on rails backend database
- Json outputs into Restkit
- Display in iPhone app after parsing json results.
With that said I felt I had done good for a first attempt at learning it all in such a short space of time and putting it all into practise. I managed to get all of the above working but I hit a pretty huge road block in being able to progress further, the big blocker is that the user needed to login prior to accessing the app I had it working but the way I had it working is a huge security risk and makes every users passwords and emails vulnerable to any user who may use the app.
This major issue had stopped me in my tracks and has resulted in me not getting as far as I would of liked. What I need to do is look at ways to have user authentication but without downloading users details to the phone which requires me learning some ruby and understanding it all.
I’ve set myself these goals for April:
- Look into user authentication
- Experiment with it and understand how it works
- Be able to login within an iPhone app using json as the format and communicate with the ruby on rails server and do all the checks on the server side and not within the iPhone app resulting in minimised security risk
I got my feedback from my negotiated project, in this project I had free rain to do literally anything. We had to handle the whole project, most did a freelance project but I did a project I was currently doing at work.
I did a project that I was doing at work because with that project I was affectively doing the same thing, I was being the project lead, managing the client, communicating with the client, having video conference calls the lot. Working with this client was a great experience for me as it was first real experience of how it is in the industry as previously I had just been doing the odd bits of communication with clients. The professionalism I upheld when dealing with the client has obviously been noticed by my feedback and I will continue to keep up with the professionalism with future clients I have to deal with.
I noticed in my feedback that my proposal had a few let downs, the main one being that it didn’t have any styling/branding, I didn’t actually realise this when making the proposal but really I should of known this, but now I know. In the future I’ll make sure to create visually pleasing proposals to make them more presentable.
I’ve got some great feedback on how to improve the small things in the proposal and I’ll make sure to take notice of this in the future when creating proposals, things I’ll make sure to do are:
- Link budget to time plan or more detail
- Be careful to explain all technical elements fully