Blog

Research moderation as a service

I’m thinking of offering a moderated remote user research as a service and would love to hear your thoughts. I will be travelling through Central and South America from October to March and have around 10 years of experience in user research and design.

  • Do you have trouble finding people on the ground to help moderate your research?
  • Does anyone have platforms or services that are targeting those regions?
  • Need opinions from far-flung destinations in an effort to help globalise your platform?
  • Or are you simply interested in getting some fresh ideas and perspectives that you wouldn’t get from your local area?

Not selling this just yet, but I am wondering what you all would expect from something like this. Comment or send me a private message.

Get in touch.

Interviewing Users – Steve Portigal

The author of Interviewing Users: How to uncover compelling insights (2013) Steve Portigal gives a talk in September 2013 at the IxDA LA meet up.

I’ve read the book, but its always a good thing to watch / rewatch presentations from the author. He brings up some simple points that are always worth remembering – I’m not getting into them here (you need to check out the video 🙂 ). The book itself is well worth reading – its a great go to resource and reference guide when thinking about interviewing users. As experience designers we tend to talk to customers a lot, whether formally or informally, make sure you flick through the book first.

The video is shot from the side so the slides aren’t visible, you can follow along with the slides here.

 

Inclusive Design

I’ve been spending the past few days thinking about inclusion. I’m embarking on a big project at work where there is a great need, and benefit, to ensure inclusive design practises are considered from the outset and importantly that we don’t exclude anyone.

Previously in luxury fashion, banks, or social networks for the privileged, inclusive design wasn’t ever a big priority and it rarely is for the able-bodied person. In a good old customer centred fashion, I began thinking how I can change that? Getting the board room buy in from well meaning, but unknowing senior managers is a challenge at the best of times, never mind getting them to approve extra time on a project with a larger budget to boot would be harder.

Animation of different kinds of disability.

I quickly ended up at the The Inclusive Design Toolkit, a University of Cambridge website demonstrating some of their work and research in the field. Particularly of interest were these reasonably priced Cambridge Simulation Glasses to simulate vision impairment. Double them up to increase the effects, etc. Also, the Cambridge Simulation Gloves that highlight the effects of arthritis and a limitation in hand movement seem like a great tool. Hearing impairment could easily be simulated by a pair of over ear headphones (any self respecting designer already has a pair of those), preferably noise canceling. Simple tools to demonstrate a complex and pressing problem.

There are a bunch of other resources on the Inclusive Design Toolkit, it’s well worth a look, but how big is the problem? Microsoft’s Design Language, Inclusive section has some really great printed resources, activities to help you host workshops and videos demonstrating the issues.

Some books that I’ve come across and added to my reading list / downloaded:

Designing Around People – Springer (2017) Link.springer.com. Available at: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-29498-8.

“Inclusive Design” (2003). doi: 10.1007/978-1-4471-0001-0.

“Inclusive Designing” (2014). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-05095-9.

Pickering, H. (2016) Inclusive design patterns. 1st ed. Smashing Magazine.

Let me know if you come across anything that I might like to read in the comments.

Templating User Research

Some nice User Research templates released under a CC0 license over on GitHub that should help get a research project off the ground without much effort.

I’ve usually kept a bunch of templates like this that I use in a dropbox folder, but this seems like a nicer way to work it, simple markdown documents that can be copy / pasted and edited.

These cover recruitment, screeners, participant briefing and info sharing, consent forms, interview script starting points and more.

They are on GitHub, but if that scares the shit out of you, you can just click the green “Clone or Download” button on the right and choose “download zip” to get some concrete files.

Tony Buzan – The power of a Mind Map

Tony Buzan, widely regarded as the inventor of the Mind Map gives an interesting Tedx Talk on the power of mind maps and the mind.

Interesting short video for all creatives out there. I’ve personally been creating my own form of a mind map for years (wrongly in comparison to his form), to capture ideas around the projects I’ve been working on. Worth a watch.

Tony Buzan's personal mind map
Tony Buzan’s personal brand in Mind Map form.

Also, here is quick instructional video here on the elements of a mind map and what he believes they should be.

 

Leadership & Innovation

Hi All,

Welcome to Fearghal.co.uk. This website has served as my personal portfolio for way too many years than I’d care to admit, but it’s time for a lick of paint and repurposing. I’ll be using this space primarily as my blog as part of a Leadership & Design Thinking module that I’m taking at the University of Dundee where I am studying (part-time distance learning) an MSc Leadership & Innovation.

I’ve taken down the portfolio section (seriously, I’ve not updated it in about 4 years), and set a new responsive theme. This is much better. Over the next few months I’ll be posting here my thoughts as I progress through the module and re-adding my portfolio so that I can maintain some kind of professional online presence.

A little about me

I’m currently based in Hong Kong, working as a Design Manager for a large international bank. I studied my Bachelors in Design & Communication at the University of Ulster, and have lived around the world ever since, moving from Singapore to India to Germany and now i’m in Hong Kong.

Any questions, you can comment as expected or email me at mail@fearghal.co.uk or fhendron@dundee.ac.uk.

Cheers,

 

 

 

Fearghal

Stefan Wewerka

Some beautiful furniture that really challenges the usability and “refuse to bow down to their elementary function”. Such a simple idea that results in some really fun chairs.

Classroom Chair
Classroom Chair

Try to sit on this!?!
Stuhlskulptur (Eckstuhl), 2011 – Try to sit on this!?!

IMG_2964
Long Chair 2012

Abendmahl, 1969
Abendmahl, 1969

Stuhlskulptur 5, 2011
Stuhlskulptur 5, 2011

Stuhlskulptur, 2011
Stuhlskulptur, 2011

KrĂĽmmling, 2003
KrĂĽmmling, 2003

Nice and fun, eh?

Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Berlin Tempelhof Airport was once in the top 20 largest buildings on earth and was constructed in 1927 in anticipation of Increasing air traffic. You can read more about the history of the airport on Wikipedia. I had the chance to swing by and take a guided tour through the now deserted airport on my Christmas break and in the process I snapped some great pictures. Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

Model D-3502 hanging from the roof of Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
Model D-3502 hanging from the roof of Berlin Tempelhof Airport.

The departures and arrival hall of the now deserted Berlin Tempelhof Airport.
The departures and arrival hall of the now deserted Berlin Tempelhof Airport.

 

Empty rooms in the main hall of Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Empty rooms in the main hall of Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Check-in desks for Cirrus Airlines
Check-in desks for Cirrus Airlines

Wayfinding signage and check-in desks at Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Wayfinding signage and check-in desks at Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Parked Car on the concourse at Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Parked Car on the concourse at Berlin Tempelhof Airport

There are many more pictures to process, so you can see more soon. When they are all done I will make them available under a Creative Commons License and you will be able to download them in all of their full resolution glory! Until then, let me know what you think.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Brixton Pound

What a great Idea, the Brixton Pound (B£) is a new currency that has been released in Brixton, London. Recently redesigned by Brixton based “This Ain’t Rock n’Roll” ( www.thisaintrocknroll.com ), the colourful currency features images of local Brixton Hero’s.

Len Garrison (1943 – 2003)

Designed with the aim of encouraging trade within Brixton, the idea is actually quite simple. Anyone who wants to use the BÂŁ can go to one of the Issuing Points and exchange their Pounds Sterling (ÂŁ) for Brixton Pounds (BÂŁ). They can use BÂŁ to buy items and any of the supporting local businesses throughout Brixton. Employers can pay staff with it, shops can issue change in BÂŁ and you can simply go back to any of the issuing points to exchange BÂŁ for regular ÂŁ if you need to. The currency is designed to work alongside the pounds sterling, not replace it, and it clearly has its advantages or the Brixton community in that it can generally only be used as currency by local shops that agree to it, keeping trade within Brixton and driving their micro economy.

Luol Deng (1985 – Present)

David Bowie (1947 – Present)

Violette Szabo (1921 – 1945)

 

You can read more about the B$ and its latest developments at http://brixtonpound.org/what/ or hear more from the designers of the notes at http://www.thisaintrocknroll.com/

The Selby

Some great curtain twitching shots here from The Selby.

Todd Selby began in 2008 shooting his friends in their homes and posting them online. Soon after, artists designers, photographers, and fashion moguls began queuing up to be featured on his site. www.theselby.com went from strength to strength from then on shooting any number of famous people in their homes. He certainly has his own unique style and I can’t help but love this hand drawn questions that go with the shots.

Charlotte Rust – Stylist and Vintage Store Owner Pictured by Todd Selby

Selby is cheerily a busy man these days working full-time on www.theselby.com, but before that he worked as any number of things, from a Political Corruption Consultant in Mexico, to an Industrial Researcher in the Californian Strawberry Industry. Head on over to The Selby and check it out.

Solegivers: Our First Project

Time for a bit of Solegiving, don’t you think?

Solegivers, a charitable cause from Singapore are starting out. Their aim is to raise money for I-India by running barefoot across Singapore. The main man there, Kris Leverton is working hard to toughen up his feet for the big day in December. He has a rigorous training schedule that includes running on car tyres, shoeless, and of course, all that cardio work to get fit enough for the long run.

Kris came to me a while back and asked if I would like to help raise his profile a little, help him get a great brand to stand behind and help attract donors as well as runners. The great thing about Solegivers is that Kris not only will be running across Singapore. He is encouraging others to run across their city, country or state to raise money for I-India. In turn helping the street children of India get a descent education and put a pair of shoes on their feet.

Of course, we were delighted to help out, this was exactly the reason we started If Not Us. What a better way to kick it off than to help such a great cause gain a foothold (pun intended) in the hearts of the people. We gave it some thought and began to sketch out some ideas. There were two strong themes in Solegivers, Barefoot & Running. So we joined the two and came up with this.

Solegivers: Our First Project

Simple idea really that encompasses all the things that Kris was after. Shoe tracks in the shape of a foot. I took it a little further and softened the image by adding an extra element. The figure of 8 shape of the foot is a subtle hint at a running track to add that last bit of detail to the brand mark.

Typographically, we wanted something that was mature and sensible. A modern serif typeface named FF Olsen showed the clean lines and simplicity that we were after, while holding on to a traditional and experienced persona. We opted for the bold weight to strengthen the type and bring the focus to the name of this charitable cause. Solegivers.

The whole project consisted of an Identity for Solegivers and some simple guidelines to make sure that the brand is used correctly and consistently in the future, we are also in discussions about developing some promotional T-Shirts and materials. Kris had some great things to say about working with us:

Working with Fearghal was extremely easy, we discussed a couple of ideas and what I hoped to achieve, and within a short space of time I was presented with an amazing logo and ideas that will set us off on the right foot. The whole process couldn’t have been easier! In fact its such an accurate representation of our mission that we will go beyond our first fundraising event in December and make it a regular fundraising organisation! – Kris Leverton, Solegivers

What a great first project to work on. If you want to know more about Solegivers, check our their website:www.solegivers.com

Liam Brazier: Angular Illustration

Liam Brazier’s angular illustrations are simply stunning. He was snapping up attention earlier this year for his illustrations of the Star Wars characters (you can see Darth & C3PO below) but his work stretches far beyond that and its clear that he is not a one trick pony. You can see some more of his excellent illustration and techniques below, I especially like “Bear with me”.

The sharp corners and straight lines create a lot of motion in these artworks, even if they weren’t quickly drawn up in Illustrator. Apparently, they are painstakingly had drawn in Photoshop with the Polygonal Lasso Tool, then individually coloured. Head on over to his website www.liambrazier.com to see some more of his work, including some pretty awesome comic book characters.

 

Images © Liam Brazier, or their respectful owners.