Last week I wrote a post entitled What’s this? which included the following diagram:
Answers from the comments:
- A planned presentation
- A 21st century educator
- The future
Good answers all. 🙂
The user experience. User outcomes*
Think about it.
It’s what designers, teachers, productivity gurus and technology enthusiasts all strive to improve. And it’s what Kathy Sierra used to blog about. I think it’s time to take up that mantle. :-p
*Thanks to Neil Adam for the pointer!
It’s amazing that, despite her stopping blogging over 3 years ago, I still use examples and graphs created by Kathy Sierra. She was that good.
I played golf for only the second time in my life today. I suck at golf. I suck at golf because I don’t particularly like it, but more importantly have no reason to invest time in it. I played today to spend time with my Dad who spends most of his time living in a far-off land. Looking at the above graph shows that the main problem I have with golf that there’s too much time between me taking it up and kicking ass.
The 10,000 hours thesis put forward by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers is that it takes around that amount of time to become ‘expert’ at something and achieve success. But there has to be a reason behind the commitment to put all that time in. In all probability it all boils down to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Nick Dennis was explaining to me recently how Bill Gates showed tremendous dedication to put in his 10,000 hours whilst still a teenager. However, he was also given a massive chance in life by his school being one of only a handful to have a computer at a time when even some universities didn’t have them.
So one take-away from this post would be to stick with what you’re both good at and interested in. The other would be to identify what benefits you’ve been afforded by your circumstances, and start practising.
Whilst I haven’t tinkered with the theme for this blog (yet!) I’ve changed the landing page when you visit dougbelshaw.com. There’s a bit of a saga behind it. :-p
A tweet from Kathy Sierra directed me to Brynn Evans’ (@brynn) blog where she had a great post about an idea called ‘betacup’. What struck me about Brynn’s blog, however, was the clear and straightforward layout. Summising that she was running WordPress (most blogs, including this one, do!) I looked in the footer for an indication of the theme she was using.
Hmm… no dice. Another way to find out a blog’s theme is to use the ‘view source’ option in your web browser (View/Page Source in Firefox). Sure enough, this revealed the following:
In other words, the theme being used was in a folder with the title love_work. Again, summising that this was probably short for Love & Work, I searched Google for it. No joy.
Refusing to be beaten and now intrigued, I looked at the CSS by following the link above. CSS stands for ‘Cascading Style Sheets’ and it is the method used to ‘style’ the blog. Authors often put their details at the top of such documents:
Although a little downhearted that it would seem that the author – a ‘Chris Messina’ (@chrismessina)- created a custom theme (meaning it was probably generally available for me to tweak) I decided to visit his website – factoryjoe.com. I was impressed with what I saw:
I thought this was wonderful. Not only does it link to everywhere Chris is online (and deems important) but it tells a story. Unthinkingly (and to my shame) I set about copying him. I ended up with this (CC-NC-SA factoryjoe):
I did mention on Twitter what I’d done (in fact my network were very helpful in my tweaking it) leading to this tweet the following morning from Chris:
Whilst Chris was a gentleman and agreeable about it, others were a bit more to the point. The outcome was that I realised I needed to do my own thing rather than copy someone else’s design. After all, as someone who makes his living through web technologies, it’s only fair that Chris’ design is unique. 🙂
I spent a while thinking about what I wanted and, to cut an already-too-long story short, with the help of my Twitter network, I’ve ended up with this:
Yes, I’ve had all the comments that I’ve got stubble on my head, it’s a bit ‘noir’, it looks like a dating site, and I look like I work for Apple. Oh, and my wife wants me to point out that she took the photo. 😉
I may not be finished my tinkering yet. Chris has challenged me to incorporate a hCard and I really like the design simplicity of the Flickr blog. However, again, it’s a custom-designed theme…