All the time I spent playing video games back in the day is finally paying off: I trained my brain to always find more efficient ways to build experience, and that's been a helpful skill to have.
Over the past three months I did things that will make it easier for me to work, some more indulgent than others.
Automatic document feeding!!
When testing, I usually write notes directly on individual pages and, later, convert it all to a PDF. Scanning 30 page documents on a flatbed scanner, one page at a time, was really annoying. That meant I usually put off doing it, which slowed down the design/revision process.
Exapmles of handwritten notes
I upgraded to a scanner with automatic document feeding and it's made my life significantly better. The scanner itself isn't particularly fast, but now my involvement is minimal and I scan those documents same-day, which keeps the process moving.
I have a new favorite person... she responds to "Alexa"
Amazon's Echo Dot is ridiculously useful. If I need to remember something, I tell the aether and the aether responds.
It's been most helpful when I'm falling asleep, in the shower, elbows deep in cookie dough, or otherwise unable to make a note to myself... or, if I'm working on something and don't want to interrupt my flow. The faster I can note something, the less likely I am to forget it. Knowing that I'm less likely to forget things keeps me much more relaxed and productive.
I reworked my contact cards - the new ones look like this:
My previous cards were half-sized, so I decided to try something normal sized. Also, my first run of cards didn't have "C. Kennedy Design" on them, just the abbreviation: CKDSN.
Speaking of the abbreviation...
The convenience of appropriation
One of my friends recently asked how to pronounce "CKDSN", a question for which I had no answer. My main-and-only motivation for using CKDSN was typing something shorter than CKennedyDesign into address bars, Instagram handles, etc.
I know that there's a trend of people dropping letters from names... Weeknd and MGMT come immediately to mind. I wasn't a fan of being on trend[1:1], but I thought:
A) Hopefully it will be familiar for people,
B) It's very convenient.
I didn't process that a number of those shortened names are pronounceable, or that "how do I pronounce it?" might be a question anyone would ask.[1:2]
None of this adds up to an egregious mistake, but it was a good reminder to be more thoughtful about appropriating something just because it's convenient. Trends and patterns have customs and expectations attached to them, and those things are worth considering.
Stay on target: Web Redesign
I had this idea that I wanted to do a major overhaul of the website. When it came down to it, though, I couldn't bring myself to dedicate any time to it... What's Your Type is my current focus and I wanted to stay on target.
It's important to connect with people and talk about your work. That said, having an amazing website before I had an amazing product seemed a bit cart-in-front-of-horse-ish.[1:3]
Stay on target: One Man Academy
The One Man Academy project has been immensely enjoyable and I've been spending entirely too much energy on it. The OMA Awards is a fun side project to keep fresh content on a website that only exists to house project updates. To spend too much time writing about music is another instance of mis-ranked priorities.[1:4]
That said, there may not be a noticeable difference in the music content. I usually start off writing too much, realize I don't have time to develop it the way I want to, and then cut most of it. So if I could just avoid writing too much in the first place, that would be great.
Design Testing and Quiz Making
Creating a Myers-Briggs quiz continues to be fun and difficult, specifically the Thinking vs. Feeling pairing. In some cases, there was some negativity attached to the Feeling choice, from people I suspect might be Feelers.
Example of Thinking vs Feeling questions
Now that I've noticed, it makes some sense: a question like "Do you make decisions by thinking or feeling about them?", could easily generate answers that reflect our collective attitude about decision making, more than someone's personal strength in that area. And I can see how our society talks about decision making in a way that casts "thinking" as a virtue and "feeling" as a vice. People demonstrating a bias doesn't seem like a huge stretch.
While there's some work to do on all of the pairings, T vs. F will take some heavy lifting: I'm trying to recraft the questions to circumvent any negativity that "feeling about decisions" may evoke.
People don't like tutorials
There was a tutorial at the beginning of the quiz and every single user skipped it. I guess people don't like tutorials... now I know.
Tutorial pages, previously unseen
So the tutorial has been cut, and I'm working on integrating any important knowledge from the tutorial into the quiz itself.
Data Sorting Interfaces
During testing, people checked out two options for sorting search results: drag-and-drop and drop-down lists. Currently, drop-down lists have been more intuitive for people, so I anticipate that's the option that I'll create first.[1:5]
Drag-and-Drop and Drop-Down List sort examples
As always, there's a list of housekeeping tasks to be done and tiny adjustments to be made; I did some of those tasks and made some of those adjustments.
- Make sure any important information from the now-cut-tutorial is integrated into the quiz itself.
- Continue reworking the quiz questions to deliver quick, consistent, accurate results.
- Start coding the quiz, once I feel confident the design is fine and it's just the text that needs further work.
- Start coding the sorting interface, once I feel confident most people prefer drop-down lists.