Hexagon – Women in UX
Seattle 5th Cohort, 2018

I recently volunteered as a Hexagon mentor in Seattle’s 5th Cohort and I absolutely adore the mentee Hexagon paired me up with. We continue to meet on occasion.

“Hexagon is a community of women and non-binary folks in UX who support each other through the different stages of our careers. We welcome current and aspiring designers, researchers, writers, content strategists and program managers across the user experience space. We believe that having strong networks of peers both online and offline helps us discover new skills, boost confidence, and foster growth. At its core, Hexagon is a community.”

Volunteer Become a Hexagon mentor
Visit Seattle chapter of Hexagon

Creating an inclusive future, one pixel at a time,
Pivotal Labs, April 19, 2018

Tim Allen is leading Microsoft’s efforts in Inclusive Design. He was the speaker for a Hexagon UX Seattle event held at Pivotal Labs. I attended this event with the UX professional I have been paired with as a Hexagon mentor. He points out there are 5 biases currently hampering AI’s development; Data-set bias, Confirmation Bias, Association bias, Automation bias, and Interaction bias. All of which can be overcome with awareness.
Here are his top-3 take-aways:
* Advocate for human interest.
* Creators of AI need to embrace inclusivity.
* Recognize exclusion.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher - Technically Wrong

Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Toxic Tech
Impact Hub, Seattle, November 17, 2017

Sara Wachter-Boettcher takes an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that inform decisions in the modern tech industry with her new book Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech. She explains how our blind spots and prejudices have taken an active role in the creation of programs designed to enact harmful and malicious behavior: chat bots that harass women, signup forms that automatically fail anyone who’s not straight, unfairly weighted algorithms that put more black people behind bars. Join us as Wachter-Boettcher demystifies the tech industry, leaving us better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use―and demand more from the companies behind them. Redesign went live June, 2017

I worked with 4culture to redesign their website employing a user centered design approach. After months of user research, analysis and stakeholder presentations. After design prototypes integrating a dynamic content strategy — while showing off their amazing public art archive. After distilling a more cohesive and inclusive grant application process in an environment where applicants can easily recognize themselves. After doing a heuristic on the final visual designs – before development. After all that, THE REDESIGN IS NOW LIVE!

Beazley Designs of the year 2016 – Design Museum – London – December, 2016

My first job in London was near the original Design Museum location in Shad Themes. After moving to the west side I use to commute past the Design Museum’s new building everyday while it sat vacant. I was very curious about it, so am delighted I got to see the amazing renovations and the opening exhibition while in London for the holidays.

Beazley Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Themes = Self – Renew – Place – Start – Connect – Unite – Act

This exhibition includes designs like Amazon’s Echo and Tesla Model 3. But A few of my favorites are; the set of open-source First Aid icons for refugees’, the Astronauts Space Cup that works in zero gravity, and the water filtration Drinkable Book.

Articulating Design Decisions – Tom Greever – IxDA event Seattle – February, 2016

A talk from Tom Greever held by IxDA Seattle. I came away fortified with tactics at the ready.
Its a good reminder that even rock-stars are not immune to the odd question or suggestion.

Here’s the top 3 answers you want in your back pocket to help prepare you for anything according to Tom:
– What is the problem we are trying to solve?
– How does it affect the user?
– Why is it better than the alternative?

He stresses that ‘you want your stakeholders not to love your designs, but to love the rational and logic behind them’. Not only does Greever’s insights help you structure your stakeholder presentations (mine are mostly with developers these days). His approach actually informs the origins of your ideas. Keeping you on track throughout the whole design life cycle.

I won a ‘Big M’ Award · 2013 New Media | UX Design · MediaKit B2B site · The Seattle Times · May 14, 2014 · View MediaKit site

“The MARKETING Awards were created to recognize the most outstanding work in each of the major elements that constitute marketing communications — The awards showcase the excellent work being produced in the Seattle market.”

‘The Seattle Times Mediakit site: The goal of this project was to create a website that provides the perfect balance of visual engagement with that of utility and organization. A requirement was to show off our design and marketing sensibility as well as provide information on the Seattle region and The Seattle Times advertising product portfolio and services. The site also needed to have the ability to capture lead data, create user engagement and provide a platform for sharing educational marketing content.’

View Big M Award announcement

Ken Garland, Design Lecture Series

I went to Ken Garland | Design Lecture Series · Seattle Central Library · April 18, 2014 · View series details

“This four-part DESIGN LECTURE SERIES brings world-class designers to Seattle to stimulate conversation on design practice and innovation. All lectures are FREE and open to the public. This lecture series is produced by CIVILIZATION, a Seattle-based creative agency.”

Last Lecture – Ken Garland a British graphic designer, writer and game designer, April 18, 2014.

Ken Garland design lecture series put on by these guys at CIVILIZATION.

So great to see this talk which focused on Protest Graphics comparing amateur vs professional exclusions. Ken brought a few images from the Battle in Seattle WTO protests and a recent piece by Garland for ‘Occupy’ shown in my photo.

Thanks to CIVILIZATION for presenting this series. Cheers.

View Ken Garland event details

Warren Berger at Town Hall Seattle

Attended | Warren Berger · Seattle Town Hall · March 19, 2014 · ‘Beautiful Questions’ on the Road to Innovation

“Between the ages of 2 and 5, children ask 40,000 questions. So what changes? Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully” —  can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?” The author takes us inside red-hot businesses like Google, Netflix, IDEO, and Airbnb to show how questioning is baked into their organizational DNA.”

‘ASK WHY 5 TIMES’ came up again in Bergers talk who sourced it as coming from the ‘Toyota Production System’ 50 years ago. I first heard it said in a presentation by Jeffrey Veen (TYPEKIT). The statement really resonated with me because it is something I have always done. To get to the bottom of an issue you have to dig deeper, so one ‘why?’ just does not dig deep enough for the real answer. Thank you Warren for telling everyone it’s OK to keep asking lots of questions. (Even if you get in trouble for doing so. But, that’s the whole ‘disruptive’ point isn’t it?)

I also got my copy of GLIMMER signed!


xkcd comic on use of the word ‘Sustainable’ trending using Google ngrams

Attended | Erez Aiden Culturomics · Seattle Town Hall · January 23, 2014 · View talk details

“In Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture, authors Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel chronicle their research of Google’s 15 million digitized books, which led to the creation of the Ngram Viewer. This tool is, as they suggest, “a lens on human culture.”

Enjoyed this talk by Erez Aiden of Culturomics about how big data from Google’s ngrams can show cultural trends and even predicting the future. You kind of have to know the answer before your quires but its a lot of fun and can be very telling about the data and about our culture.

View Cultuomics
View xkcd ‘Sustainable’ comic

End of an era | 2013 Build Conference · November 11-14, 2013 · Belfast · N. Ireland· View conference details

“Build was a design festival for web designers. For the past five years, an intimate community of smart, talented people have come together to share ideas, tell stories, and get their hands dirty.”

2012 Build Best Made axe restoration workshop. That’s me in the green coat on the end. My axe works great and have put it to lots of use.

Last year I attended the 2012 Build Design Festival in Belfast and had a blast in the axe restoration workshop. 2013 is their fifth and final year. But you can check out the video’s from past conferences. My gratitude and admiration goes full-heartedly to its organizer, Andy McMillan, an amazingly generous chap. He also co-organises XOXO, a festival in Portland, Oregon, which celebrates independent artists who are using technology to make a living doing what they love, with his friend Andy Baio.

View 2012 Build conference videos.

Vandana Shiva YES Magazine

Saw | YES! Magazine presents Vandana Shiva – The Future of Food · September 12, 2013 · Seattle · Town Hall · Vandana Shiva – The Future of Local Food

“As part of YES! Magazine’s third annual celebration and fundraiser, internationally renowned biodiversity and global-justice activist, author, and philosopher Vandana Shiva outlines the future of food if it is to sustain us all.” Yes Magazine post

Vandana Shiva – Seattle Town Hall

I have wanted to see Vandana Shiva speak for a long time. Her Navdanya center in northern India works on issues close to my heart; the right to save and share seeds. Navdanya (nine seeds) is a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 17 states in India.

About: Navdanya
About: Yes Magazine

Buster Simpson // Surveyor

Saw | Buster Simpson // Surveyor · June 15, 2013 – October 13, 2013 · Seattle · Frye Art Museum · View Frey Museum’s listing

“The Frye Art Museum is proud to present BUSTER SIMPSON // SURVEYOR, the first retrospective survey of work by Seattle artist Buster Simpson, a pioneer in the field of urban environmentalism and art in public spaces.

For more than four decades, Simpson has been the ecological and social conscience for neighborhoods and cities in constant states of transition and renewal. His site-specific, agitprop, and process-driven art has surveyed the problems, scrutinized the context, and presented new frames of reference to provide local solutions for global issues.” Buster Simpson Walking Map

Buster Simpson – Möbius band saw – Frye Art Museum

It was so wonderful to see Buster Simpson’s retrospective. Long over due. We were neighbors back in the 80’s. The little yellow houses on Western Ave. At the time he was hanging Salmon everywhere. Man, was he ahead of his time. Don’t miss this show! Closes soon.

Chris Jordan

Saw | Chris Jordan: Journey to Midway Island with Chris Jordan · June 19th, 2013 · Seattle · Town Hall · Chris Jordan at Town Hall Seattle

“For three years, Seattle photographer Chris Jordan has immersed himself in a stunning environmental tragedy on fabled Midway Island in the heart of the Pacific: the starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake our floating plastic trash for food. As part of Sightline Institute’s 20th-anniversary speaker series, Jordan shares his Midway photos, recounting his harrowing and redemptive journey into horror, beauty, grief, love, and—ultimately—healing.” Midway movie Trailer

These photos by Chris Jordan of the albatrosses have haunted me since the first time I saw them. They evoke such sadness deep inside and there is no better evidence for humanities madness then these images. In face they have changed my behavior. I can not look at some senseless plastic trinket or utility without seeing these images in my mind. I cite them often as examples in conversation. I don’t know how I will face the emotions they will raise again but I had to attend this presentation.

About: Sightline Institute
About: Chris Jordan

Temple Grandin

Saw | Temple Grandin: ‘The Autistic Brain’ · Seattle Town Hall · May 20th, 2013 · Temple Grandin: The Autistic Brain

“Dr. Temple Grandin, author of The Autistic Brain, weaves her experience with new discoveries, introducing the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, and even sharing her own brain scans—all leading to a route toward more effective mainstreaming and a way to unleash the unique advantages of autistic people.” Temple Grandin

Temple-Grandin-The Autistic Brain Town Hall Seattle

I can really relate to Dr. Grandin’s talk. I think a lot of us geeks are on the spectrum somewhere. What she finds alarming is how ‘autism’ itself – for today’s autistic children – is becoming the child’s intense focus. Rather than focusing on the unique talents we need to seek out and cultivate in each of them. Her frank manner and humor is penetrating and abrupt. And everyone laughed out loud when she remarked that ‘It wasn’t the chattering gossips sitting around the camp fire that invented the arrow head. You can be sure of that.’

Always read The Manual

Arrived | limited edition engraved plywood case for first 3 issues of The Manual · May, 2013 · Seattle · Always read The Manual

“The Manual is a thrice-yearly publication on web design as a discipline, capturing the voices of our profession as they explore what we do and who we are as designers.

The Manual is a different sort of publication. No markup, screenshots, or tutorials—we focus our lens in bringing to you the stories of both the well-known and the quietly working designers, as they bring clarity to the why of web design, share their visions, break our hearts, stretch our minds, and move us to deeper, smarter, richer work. Let it challenge the way you think.

I had subscribed to The Manual which are great reads on web design but really design in general. Inspirational in an intellectual, esoteric sort of analytical way. Which I love. So when I saw the prototype for the binder in Belfast at Build 2012 I just had to have one for my set. Always read The Manual.

Bullitt Center grand opening

Went to | Bullitt Center grand opening · Earth Day, April 22, 2013 · Seattle · Bullitt Center

“The Bullitt Center will be the greenest commercial building in the world, firmly planting Seattle at the forefront of the green building movement.

The goal of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest.

The building is seeking to meet the ambitious goals of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most strenuous benchmark for sustainability.”

My window in the Bullitt Center

My office! I have leased a co-work space in Suite 400 of the Bullitt Center and am working from here as a freelance UX Designer. I am very delighted with this change. It is inspiring to be part of such an innovative and 100% sustainable building. A world wide pilot project.

Salman Khan

Saw | Salman Khan · The Khan Academy · February 6, 2013 · Seattle Town Hall

“Salman Khan has a radical vision toward an inspiring solution—a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere—and a track record of uncommon success”

I love Seattle’s Town Hall. Where else can you see top minds like Salman Khan and from around the world all for just 5 bucks!

Join Town Hall Seattle.

Street Yoga Teachers Training Manual

Completed | Street Yoga teachers training · December 14-16, 2012 · Seattle ·

“The densely-packed 14-hour training focuses on a wide-variety of practical, hands-on skills needed to serve youth with yoga and meditation in the real world. Areas for exploration and practice include communicating effectively, maintaining safety in the classroom, promoting healthy boundaries, choosing postures and exercises, handling challenging behaviors and situations, and collaborating with agencies. Each day of training includes learning by doing, seeing, and listening”

This was a great intensive to supplement my 200 hour Jivamukti Yoga teachers training course from 2003. This specific area of service is what I am particularly interested in. And I learned so much about myself in the taking. Now, when can I put all this to practice.

Went to | Build conf 2012 · @buildconf · November 12-16, 2012 · Belfast, N. Ireland ·

“Build is a week-long design festival made up of a conference, workshops and practical sessions – surrounded by film screenings, live music, meetups and parties.”

I am very excited to be attending this conference in November. Got lucky with the waiting list. But for me I think the highlight will be the 2 day axe restoration workshop I am taking with Best Made Co.

And my long awaited holiday in London. Sweet big smoke that she is. Me beloved London. For 2 whole weeks I get to be a day-time-person.

Best Lanyard ever! Has map, weeks at a glance, conference schedule. Hand done. Well done. Build!

The highlight for me, and it’s not just because I have 2 piles of wood to split in my yard, was attending the axe restoration workshop conducted by Best Made Company as part of the Build 2012 web design festival.

Went to | InfoCamp2012 · October 13 – 14, 2012 · Mary Gates Hall, Univ. of Washington

“InfoCamp is an unconference for the information community. It features an egalitarian, community-driven format in which the agenda is created during the event.”

I’ve been 3 times now. This was the second year I attended. The first year I sat on a panel about freelance contract workers. It’s a lot of fun I think conceptually. This year a couple of the presenters were quoting from my old hero, Eno. Dan Klyn used “A cultural address”. And Ario Jafarzadeh used “Scenius” — Lets hear it from the horses mouth — ‘So I (Brian Eno) came up with this word “scenius” – and scenius is the intelligence of a whole… operation or group of people. And I think that’s a more useful way to think about culture, actually. I think that – let’s forget the idea of “genius” for a little while, let’s think about the whole ecology of ideas that give rise to good new thoughts and good new work.’

Here are some of the quotes that stood out for me from the panel discussion:

‘Every design is a hypothesis.’

‘Replace the giant spec with shared understanding’

‘Prototype the backlog’

‘UX = fulcrum of project’

‘Cross discipline teams yielded more creativity and innovation’

‘Contextual inquiry is the root of ‘Design Thinking”

‘Put it on a continuum’

‘What’s true, and what’s factual, are not the same’

‘Prototyping artifacts’

Pitching a workshop. InfoCamp 2012 Seattle.

Went to | Seattle UX MeetUpInformation Architecture Panel From Amazon · October 9, 2012 · Piecora’s

“What is the role of an Information Architect at You’re probably burning with curiosity, wondering what an IA does at the world’s largest online retailer. You probably wouldn’t guess that there are only 4 known Information Architects in the entire company!
 While Amazon has employed browse taxonomists for years, IAs are relatively new to the mix – mostly as a result of the tremendous growth of the company, and the information challenges that come with it. At this IA Meetup, you’ll have the opportunity to meet a panel consisting of three of them: Nick Sweers, Carolyn Tweedy, and Nick Berry. These IAs will inspire you with their pioneer spirit, as they show you how they are defining the practice within a culture dominated by developers.”

Was interesting to hear more about the Amazon culture.

Here are some of the quotes that stood out for me from the panel discussion:

‘Document Usability’

‘Procedural Documentation’

‘If you don’t understand the problem, how can you present a solution’

‘The 6 pager’

‘Start and end with users’

‘Contextualize Requirements’

design and thinking the movie

Saw | Design & Thinking – The Movie • September 21 2012, Seattle • SIFF Cinema at the Film Center •

“Design Thinking is an evolving methodology used for creative problem solving. Originating in design and engineering, it has gained influence in everything from business challenges to educational curriculum, to daily life decisions. Inspired by the process of design thinking, this crowdsource-funded documentary features designers, businessmen, social change-makers and unlikely individuals discussing the achievements and the criticisms of this invigorating school of thought.”

I’ve read the book ‘Change by Design’ by Tim Brown. The book was inspiring at the time despite it painfully pointing out how rare it is to have the depth of influence IDEO has on their clients projects. It provided me with rational and courage to question the briefs in my own projects even more. Early, cross discipline engagement is how I try to minimize inward focused ‘business model’s’ which impact on the outward focused user experience.