Model showing skills, support, and resistance applied to a situation, resulting in growth.
Community

A model for self-reflection

I was fortunate to speak this week at the latest event from Ladies that UX Belfast, ‘The Winding Road to Design’.

My theme was growth through self-awareness, which featured a model for self-reflection adapted from the ‘Making-of’ model by Mikael Krogerus & Roman Tschappeler To reflect on any given situation (a project, an objective), think about:

  • What strengths did you bring? What qualities or experience did you draw on?
  • What support did you have? Was a particular person(s) involved? Particular resources?
  • What resistance did you meet? What challenges or obstacles were put in front of you?
  • How did you grow or develop? Was it incremental, or substantial?
  • For successful situations: what can you reproduce to achieve a similar result next time? What patterns do you see in successes you have had?
  • For unsuccessful situations: what factors need to change in order to achieve a different outcome? What have you been lacking, and how can you introduce what is needed?

Thank you to Ladies That UX Belfast for inviting me to speak, to all who attended and listened, and to co-speakers Anna Murray and Conaill Hyndman

Books

UX Belfast, October 2021

Organising meet-ups has become a tricky business of late. After being all online for over 18 months, some are starting to get back to ‘in real life’ (IRL) events.

Not so UX Belfast! Still online-only, and hybrid events still feel a couple of months away. The generosity and knowledge of guests continue to be a joy, however.

How to design for everyone‘ saw New York-based designer, educator, and author Reginé Gilbert join us to talk and take questions on her accessibility work. As ever, our book club past meant that a book set the evening’s theme This time round it was Regine’´s ‘Inclusive Design for a Digital World‘.

My former Fathom_ colleague, and friend Marie-therese McCann then gave us an outline of work to bring focus to accessibility as an element of her role at ESO.

Reginé nominated America On Tech as our charity for this meetup. A donation was made to thank Reginé and MT for their time.

I had hoped this might be the last remote-only meetup before looking to a hybrid model going forward. Time will tell. Planning for 2022 events begins now. I’ll stay flexible on format and see how things stand early in the New Year.

Community

UX Belfast, February 2021

Lockdown has added some new dynamics to meetups, not least converting local groups into potentially global events. I saw this first-hand, hosting UX Belfast this week, as attendees signed in from across Europe, North America, and UAE. 

This shouldn’t have been a surprise given our guest author was Susan Weinschenk, speaking to us from Wisconsin. Susan pioneered the incorporation of behavioral psychology as an element of user experience work and features high on my list of design industry heroes.

Our second guest, Tommy McClean (from much closer to home) delivered an insightful talk on the ethics and impact of products that thrive on attention and engagement. Frequently through design-driven habits.

I continue to be amazed at the generosity of guests, giving their time to pass on hard-won experience and wisdom to new generations of designers. This meetup certainly delivered on all those fronts.

An added bonus was speaking with one of the original founders of the UX Bookclub Belfast meetup, Jamie Neely of Monotype.

A donation to Susan’s nominated charity, the International Rescue Committee, was made in place of an honorarium. 

Lots to take away for those who attended – or indeed hosted!

Community

‘She Rocks!’ Awards 2019

Last week I was stunned to receive a nomination in the Women Who Code Belfast ‘She Rocks!’ awards.

The Honorary Changemaker award was introduced this year “to recognise men who have actively committed to the advancement, sponsorship or championing the progress of women in tech. We rise by lifting others, and allies are a vital component in our mission to inspire women to excel in technology careers.”

I appreciate that these awards focus on recognising positive human qualities in and around the tech, making it all the more of an honour to be included. I hope that the decisions and actions across my career have been worthy of the nomination. And it’s a reminder to keep trying to be a better ally.

Community

UX Belfast at Belfast Design Week 2019

As a Belfast Design Week fringe event, a collaboration with Ladies that UX Belfast, with a notable guest author and great local content, it’s no surprise that this week’s UX Belfast meetup was the largest to date.

Charlotte Tracey got the talks going with insights into the power of data and immersed us in the world of qual and quant data.

Our guest author Jonathan Shariat was nothing less than gracious and generous, in spite of an AV glitch leading to 20 minutes of dead air. Jonathan brought to life the background and content of ‘Tragic Design’, the O’Reilly Media book he has co-authored with Cynthia Savard Saucier. All agreed that the book is required reading for designers wanting to create positive change in the world. A donation was made to Jonathan’s nominated charity, AbilityNet, to thank him for his time.

Ioana Enea closed out the evening with an entertaining talk on her experience of improv and how it has enriched her work as a designer.

Thanks to Jonathan, Ladies That UX Belfast, Puppet for hosting, and to co-host & former colleague Marie-therese McCann for the original idea.

This is my seventh year of running the UX Belfast meetup. It continues to gain momentum and draw new faces, as the design community in Belfast surges. Particular thanks are due to Belfast Design Week for demonstrating what a broad and diverse design community it is. I’m proud to be a small part of it.