Project highlights from last quarter

Data sorting interface

In the first few waves of testing, people overwhelmingly preferred drop-down boxes to a drag-and-drop interface. However, the drop-down test always came after the drag-and-drop test; it's possible users were biased toward whichever interface they saw second.[1]

To allay my concern, I decided to run at least one test with the order flipped, and it didn't matter at all; drop-down boxes still won in a landslide.[1:1]

Success on 1st attempt with drop-down boxes; success on 4th attempt with drag-and-drop.
What's Your Type Main Screen Grab

Coding is going well. At the moment, I've completed the basic mechanisms for:

  • Choosing which database column to sort (first name, last name, etc.)
  • Adding (and removing) additional drop-downs for secondary, tertiary, etc. levels of sorting.

Up next:

  • Adding the ability to sort columns ascending or descending
  • Getting everything into a SQL query
Code Maintenance

As always, there were small-to-medium tweaks and adjustments to make. A couple of notable victories:

  • There are two types of "gravity" in Android layout, both of which act as a virtual gravitational point toward which elements are pulled. Once I figured out a) that there were two types and b) how they differed, I was able to use one of them to move the Cancel and OK buttons to the right side of dialog boxes.

  • Figuring out how an App Bar, a Toolbar, and an Action Bar all relate to each other was surprisingly annoying. Android's documentation uses some of the terms interchangeably in an unfortunate way. Once I figured out the hierarchy[1:2], I was able to activate and deactivate them,
    appropriately.

Quiz Questions: Taking time to get it right

Developing questions for What's Your Type's quick quiz remains tricky. It constantly feels so close and not quite right.

Notes from a recent test
What's Your Type Main Screen Grab

For a brief moment, I considered coding the framework of the quiz while I continued to work on the questions; I quickly decided that was a bad idea. If the questions still don't feel quite right, it's possible they'll never feel quite right. If they never feel right, I may decide to change the overall design of the quiz. If I change the overall design of the quiz, I'll be very happy I didn't start coding the old design.

In consideration of:

  • My limited time-and-energy resources[1:3],
  • My desire to get it right, and
  • The fact that things you do for fun should be fun...

I'm resetting my expectations and acknowledging it may be a while before I find the right set of questions for the quiz. I'm going to take my time and hopefully put some of the joy back into the process.


Other highlights from last quarter

Love and Music

I have a turntable!

A post shared by C. Kennedy Design (@ckdsn) on

In part, I wanted to put the labor of love back into my music listening... there's something nice about the physical interaction (and ritual) of handling LPs and the big, beautiful album art.[1:4]

In part, I wanted to support artists in a more direct way... Paying for a Spotify account didn't feel like enough.[1:5]

An unexpected benefit of having a record player has been using records as timers.

When I'm working on a task, I'll often put on an album and tell myself that I need to be done when the album is done. When the album is 50% finished, and I'm forced to stop and flip the LP, it's a great time to ask myself "Is this task 50% finished? Because if not, it needs to be..."

If I happen to be going slower than I'd prefer, that moment is a great opportunity to assess why and re-calibrate.


Next Quarter

Goals for next quarter include:

  • Continue to code the sort interface.

  • Add the ability to sort columns ascending or descending

  • Get everything into a SQL query

  • More tweaks and bugs. (Primarily, retaining information after screen rotations.)

  • I've been reading the BABOK Guide[1:6] to see what I can apply to this and future projects. (And also my day job.)

  • Enjoy spring. (It's always too short -- get out there while you can.)



  1. Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® guide ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎