We are coming to the end of the first year for Tap Swipe Click. Like a lot of previous projects, this blog started with an itch. For a long time, I felt the need to capture my conversations around design, productivity and technology in a place where I can share them with more people. I have been surprised and humbled to see that in such a short time people in and around my circles are reading the posts and continuing the conversations with their community. Below are some points of reflection for the 2016 year in review.
2016 Year in Review – What I have accomplished
Connected with current and former students for advice
James Hyland was once a professional musician, and has since made the jump to UX. Currently, he is working at National Instruments (NI).
Ravi is a former student of mine at ACC and currently is a UX designer at Novatraq. He was kind enough to relive his experience weathering rejection during his search for employment.
Explored professional and personal experiments
I dove into a sea of prototyping tools and pulled out Framer. In the battle for the best prototyping tool, the industry is the Wild West, and Framer is the new Sheriff. I know not everyone will agree with this, but if you consider the amount attention it has received, it is worth a look. From all of the prototyping tools I have tried (and I’ve tried them all), Framer promises to bring a level of realism to interaction and motion that most prototyping tools cannot deliver.
The push to learn and do more never seemed to cease. As I took on more challenging work, I was also looking for ways to optimize my schedule. Drawing from inspiration I found from resources such as My Morning Routine and Morning Miracle, I started to ask the question, “How can I not only get more time but feel more in control of my day?” The starting place was to take the leap and move my wake up time to even earlier. I have been experimenting with getting up at 4 am for the past 30 days.
2016 Year in Review – What I have learned
Failure can be enriching
Screen printing is not a skill that I am comfortable with. However, it does fit into an area that consistently peaks my interests. As a student and early in my career, I took every intro to screen printing workshop available. Each time, I went through the basics of getting a small, one color poster made. The instructors often took us through baby steps to teach us the foundation of inking and pulling screens. After every workshop, I pondered how I could get better at this?
I am surrounded by my colleagues’ constant scribbling. In contrast to my earlier work environments, we share our ideas quickly and often. It should be an easy task to draw, but I am out of practice. So, I took this month to reignite my sketching abilities.
Writing about process can refine my teaching
At IBM Design, we have a lifetime supply of 3M Post-it® Notes. When we are in early stages of problem solving, we can use these very well to get all of our ideas out. Until recently, we forgot to use this little tool to refine our ideas with feedback. After that meeting, I dug an activity out of my lessons from Austin Community College classes. I borrowed ideas from Ideo’s design thinking practices.
Empathy has gathered a lot of attention from the UX industry. As designers, we are asked to practice more empathy when considering the needs of the people using our products. How do you learn to practice empathy? Here is a exercise that I picked up from Liya James during an Idean UX Summit. I have since adapted it for teaching empathy to my class at Austin Community College.
This month is for reflecting on the work I have done this year, and I am also investing time to plan for Tap Swipe Click in 2017. My goal is to continue to create useful and engaging content around tops that are central to the UX industry. If you would like to suggest an idea or work on a post together, please leave a comment below or reach out via Twitter @engmatthew.