In May this year I wrote excitedly about an application to complete a Masters at UCL. Whilst I knew there was a good chance my application would be turned down I was hoping for a small miracle. Unfortunately I learnt soon afterwards that my application would be turned down. The reasons were never given, but to be fair to UCL I could have inquired myself. Due to disappointments at the time, I simply wanted to to move on.
Four months later and I can report that my Kingston University application – for a MSC User Interaction Design – has been accepted. While the programme officially started in September I’ll be starting in January 2010. To say I’m happy would be an understatement. I’m ecstatic. Finally I can put a lot of what I’ve learnt (through passive and active self discovery) about designing great user experiences into formal practice – a systemic approach.
You also cover a systematic approach to designing interaction – one that is explicit, knowledge based and creative – and various kinds of user interface technology.
Kingston University programme description.
I’ve met my tutor via email and he’s prescribed a programme that should see me cover all the required modules in two years. The programme includes: Research Methods (1 & 2), User Factors, Experience Design (1 & 2), Usability Engineering plus three optional modules before concluding with a final project.
So, it’s going to be a busy two years while I juggle a full-time job, a family, cycling with my Masters. I’ll be making necessary adjustments in my day-to-day schedule like dropping competitive cycle racing and reducing the amount of networking functions I attend whilst including necessary time to study. My priorities for the next two years are: Family, Work and MSc. I’ll be scheduling extra time to manage my studies, including: lunchtimes, evenings and weekends.
Roll on January 2010…
I don’t visit art exhibits however today I attended a UX Field trip event ,organised by Alice, exploring local art. Today’s visit took us to the Kemistry Gallery, in Shoreditch London to see Typographica (11 September – 31 October). I walked away feeling inspired by the cleverly curated collection of photographic pieces. I enjoyed the company of like-minded folks from our local London UX/IA social group http://london-ia.ning.com too.
The journal (Typographica) was founded by a 25 year-old Herbert Spencer, who went on to become one of the most influential British communication designers and typographers. Typographica’s pioneering content included concrete poetry, avant-garde type experiments and photo-documentary, all highlighting Spencer’s ability to fuse images and words in meaningful new relationships, and featured the work of, among many others, Dieter Rot, Robert Brownjohn and Alexander Rodchenko.
We spent time admiring and ‘seeing’ the many visual stories of snippets from 32 publications (two 16 part series: Old and New series) presented as re-prints around the gallery. I particularly enjoyed Hernert Spencer‘s “Mile-a-Minute” edition as well as his “Piet Zwart” piece. Robert Brownjohn’s “Street Level” was seriously inspiring too. I managed to take some sketch notes of interest bits. It gave me a chance to think a little harder stand-out snaps… one in particular was about the “juxtaposed, accidental or design” question posed after a photo appeared of a shop sign ‘ACCESSORIES’ with the first ‘C’ lying at an odd angle provoking that very question (juxtaposed, accidental or design).
After the viewing we spent some time catching up on studies, work and our mobile worlds… with special attention being played to the new social network iPhone/Android app, Foursquare.
Fred Beecher writes a great post covering what personally use as guiding principles of good user experience design. Fred's characterises nine essential elements a designer should posses to make a good user experience designer:
- Moderate Familiarity with Business, Deep Familiarity with Your Business
- A Deep Understanding of Human Psychology & Research Methods
- Competence in the Basics of Graphic Design
- An Awareness of and Interest in Technology
- Verbal & Visual Communication Skills
- The Ability to Quickly Learn a Subject Matter Area
- Mediation, Facilitation, & Translation Skills
- Creativity & Vision
Read the full post: Nine Essential Characteristics of Good UX Designers
If you wondered what all the hype is surrounding Google’s new web app, Google Fast Flip, then look no further. Here I run through the basics of this app and demonstrate how Google have managed to find middle ground between online news content and RSS. What’s noticeable is how any display advertorial content has been removed from the thumb views (small and large) yet they manage to keep their ads in tact (as you’d expect).
Personally, I like it and will start to use it more than my RSS reader… for now that is.