I must apologise for the rather “dear diary” style of this entry, but as I haven’t posted anything in quite a while felt obliged to put some sort of update on here!
Tomorrow is the first day at my new job and the first step on the road towards becoming a UX Designer. As is to be expected I’m feeling both excited and nervous but know that the company and my future colleagues are exceptional at what they do and have made me feel incredibly welcome on my previous visits to the office.
As of yet my specific role seems like it will be fairly flexible to begin with whilst I find my feet and determine what I’m best at and enjoy the most, and so I look forward to experimenting and attempting a range of tasks. I hope to expand on my daily work in this blog a little more in the future (subject to confidentiality restrictions) so will hopefully have some more interesting points of discussion soon.
Working in the centre of Sheffield should allow me to explore the city a little more as its not somewhere I’m familiar with, whilst on a related note I’m also looking forward to re-visiting Bristol where my girlfriend has relocated for work purposes. I went down this past weekend to help her move in and had a whistle-stop tour of the city which seems like a great place.
Yesterday I was able to collect my results from University to find out what degree classification I’d been awarded and was delighted to learn I will be graduating next month with a First Class Honours degree in BSc ICT. My final year module results were as follows, with the extremely high dissertation mark of 89% being a particularly pleasant surprise:
Individual Project / Dissertation – 89% (A)
Systems Strategy – 87% (A)
eCommerce Business and Technology – 83% (A)
Advanced Authoring of Interactive Media – 67% (B)
Digital Marketing and Communications – 67% (B)
As the module with the lowest mark is actually dropped from the official classification I achieved an average of 83% for the year, well above the 70% A grade boundary and something I’m incredibly proud of. After taking a few, dare I say well deserved, weeks off from the end of May when exams finished my attention is now turning to the task of finding employment, or at least work experience, in the UX Design discipline. Tomorrow I have an informal meeting regarding a potential opportunity with a local company that contributed towards my dissertation research so we shall see what happens there, and in my spare time I intend to look for ways to expand my UX portfolio of work, even if through completing personal projects at home.
I’m also looking forward to having some time again to really get stuck into design books, blogs and other media that I’ve had to neglect this past year due to university commitments, so I hope to get back on track with more regular blogging.
In 2007 Professor Randy Pausch, a terminal cancer patient and Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, delivered his last lecture titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Sadly Randy passed away several months later, but what is clear from this incredibly moving, funny and inspirational lecture is how full a life he lived in his 47 years on Earth and how he was able to achieve all his childhood dreams (even the seemingly impossible ones). It’s becoming a bit of a cliche but in todays disposable world we do seem to place far too much importance on money and material goods, whilst forgetting we should do the things we enjoy each day, especially when these acts can also enrich the lives of others.
So I’ve finally got around to uploading some of my completed university work from this final year into the Portfolio section of this site. Much of it is in the form of written reports (of varying lengths) available to view in PDF format. I hope to expand on the descriptions accompanying the examples of work after finishing my exams to give you a better idea of the actual assignment aims etc.
As always, all comments or questions regarding the work presented in my Portfolio are welcomed.
So I’ve just printed and bound my dissertation all ready for hand-in and can’t quite believe its finally over (not that I haven’t enjoyed working on it)! The 64 page 24,000 word report is an investigative study into User Experience Design methods within an applied industrial context (I promise its more interesting than it sounds), and takes a look at the UXD processes followed by four companies before developing a model that takes into account a range of contextual factors and how these impact the UXD process, before recommending a set (or toolkit) of UXD methods appropriate for use.
Once marked I intend to upload a shorter version of the report that summarises the key points and provide a greater insight into what I’ve done. Until then I’ve got 2 exams to sit before finishing University (at least at Undergraduate level), and possibly academia as a whole, forever!
So, we’re halfway through the academic year and for the Final Year Project module I had to create an A1 sized conference poster. This was then displayed in a session (along with many others) where lecturers could come and discuss the project and my progress, and make suggestions as to how they think I should proceed.
It was also the first time I got to meet the lecturer who will be examining my dissertation, so it was a good opportunity to introduce him to the project and its aims, and for him to provide me with his opinions and feedback so far.
Below is a picture of the poster (due to printing restrictions it had to be made as four separate A3 sheets and arranged together into an A1 sized document) that outlines the project aims, what I’ve done so far (green arrows), and what I have left to do (orange and red arrows).
I was lucky enough to go and see Mr Jamie Cullum perform at The Lowry in Manchester as part of his Momentum Tour last Sunday… and it was incredible!
First things first, the support act that evening was a BBC Introducing Act called The Lottery Winners. I went to take my seat not really knowing what to expect from them and was really surprised. They were brilliant (so brilliant in fact that I went away and bought their 3 songs available on iTunes)! I’m not usually the biggest fan of guitar based bands… for me they too often seems to be a focus on volume rather than quality, but this was not a criticism I could level at The Lottery Winners. The description on their website sums up how they sound pretty well, “Born in Salford and raised on romance, The Lottery Winners can be found pottering somewhere in-between the blithe of the Beach Boys and the suffering of the Smiths“. I also think a big part of how quickly myself, and the entire audience it seemed, warmed to this young act was down to the frontman’s ability to talk and joke with the crowd in a genuine way.
Moving on to the main act and JC played a mind blowing set lasting just shy of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Supported by his usual band (who are all incredible musicians in their own right, as demonstrated by numerous instrumental solos) Jamie’s set was the perfect balance of his newer ‘pop’ hits and covers of jazz standards. There seems to be fewer and fewer artists today who sound just as good, if not better at a live performance than in the recording studio, but Jamie is definitely not one of these; the energy, passion (and a little craziness) that he puts into each performance is astounding. This is the third time I’ve seen him live (the first was way back when he released TwentySomething) and he is just getting better and better!
The evening ended with everyone on their feet dancing around to These Are The Days and Mixtape before leaving after an amazing solo encore performance of What A Difference A Day Makes. If you’ve got tickets to see him in the near future, you’re in for a treat… if not, buy some!