2023-01-20

Oh hi – I moved back to WordPress

I’ve just moved this website back to WordPress. I know, I know. JAMStack is the future. WordPress is slow.

The thing is, when I moved it over to Hugo, I never updated it. Even writing text only posts was just too much hassle. I haven’t done any real technical work in a few years, so the thought of running Hugo instances locally and committing to git repos just for some small updates just put me off every time.

The Twitter tailspin of 2022 has got me thinking and engaging with the indieweb community again. Big tech has got me not wanting to go anywhere near their networks any more. My curmudgeonly bloody mindedness has got me wondering why on earth I every cared about reach or likes or whatever in the first place.

I know I’m not the only one.

So here’s to hopefully posting a bunch of semi-interesting things in 2023. From my phone! In minutes!

2021-04-06

Creating a great UX & Design case study

This post originally appeared on FanDuel Life blog.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

When you apply for a position on the UX & Design team at FanDuel, we ask you to send at least one case study with your application. (Things are different when we hire for entry level positions, more on that in the future). While the specifics of the work will depend on your role as a product designer, UX researcher, or UX writer, the principles of that case study are the same.

What is a case study?

It’s an explanation of a real project you’ve completed. It frames the problem or opportunity, explains your approach, process, and involvement, and showcases the solution.

But I have a website/portfolio/Behance…

Great! If that portfolio has case studies as part of it, send that. However, sometimes we see great solutions-only portfolios from candidates that don’t show all the important details and process of the projects. All the disciplines in the UX & Design team — product design, UX research, and UX writing — require a lot of collaboration, choosing the right tools for a given project, and execution far beyond just a visual element to be successful.

Why do you ask for one in my job application?

It helps us understand your role in the projects you’ve worked on. What did you contribute, what are your processes and understanding of those processes, and how successful was the solution? More on the details later.

Our hiring process has three stages and we assess different skills and experience levels at different stages. As part of the first stage where they review your application,four team members will look at these areas, which form part of our career path framework. One of our hiring principles is We hire at the right level and know that very few candidates are the finished article, so we want a strong framework to assess that level.

  • Functional knowledge — Can you demonstrate high quality work?
  • Process — Do you have an understanding of standard industry processes and when to use them?
  • Complexity — Do you understand the constraints and outcomes of the project?
  • Scope — Did you have the appropriate level of involvement in the project for the experience level we’re hiring for?
  • Presentation — Can you clearly communicate your projects and how you did your part, while explaining your decisions and constraints?
  • Suggested experience — Do you have relevant experience at the level we’re hiring for?
Digestible sections from Uber Scooters case study by Bre Huang

What makes a successful case study?

The short answer is a study that helps us see the best of your skills and experience based on the criteria above. There’s no one template for a successful case study, and it will depend on the project you’re showcasing. We find that the information below forms the basis of a lot of successful studies:

  • What was the problem/opportunity/brief/reason for the project?
  • Who were the users?
  • What was your role in the project?
  • What were the processes you used from start to finish to deliver your solution?
  • What were the decision points and how were decisions made?
  • What were the constraints and limitations of the project?
  • What was/would be your next step?
  • What did you learn and what would you do differently next time?

We often get asked about formats, too. To us, a successful case study is a successful case study, regardless of format. Send us a PDF, a website, a Behance page, a Medium post or whatever presents the work best for you.

Show your process — Promo.com case study by Sascha Yeryomin

Got any examples?

Of course! Here’s some inspiration hand-picked by members of our team. Please don’t just copy these though. Every project has its own unique challenges and solutions, and your case study should reflect that.

Product design

Uber Scooters by Bre Huang
“This a great example of documenting an end to end process in a clear and legible way, demonstrating that design thinking was undertaken. There is real attention to detail throughout — the animated interactive screens are the icing on the cake!” — Jonathan Wilkinson, Lead Product Designer

UX research

Sex and/or gender — working together to get the question right by Jane Reid
“This does a good job of giving a bit of depth without being too long. Also appreciate the visuals to help envision the process better.” — Yasmin Amjid, Senior UX Researcher

UX writing

Contributor Style Guide by Nikki St-Cyr
“I think this is a good example of a case study where the output isn’t actual UX copy, but a content style guide for all the UX writers. Like a design case study, it’s solution-oriented, presenting the problem, solution, process, and implementation in a plainspoken way and concise way that makes the writer’s impact pretty clear to me.” — Melissa Warren, UX Writer

iTunes by Darci Groves
“Darci’s site showcases really juicy problems as short case studies (removing the U2 album from iTunes!). As a UX writer and team leader, she offers clear, concise language and empathy to advocate for both the business and the end user.” — Natalia Lavric, UX Writing Manager

2020-03-03

A few words about Major Minor Music Club

I’ve taken my daughter to a few Major Minor events, and was asked to write a few words about the latest one, featuring Martha Ffion.

Read at The List

“Andy Lobban (one half of Gerry Loves Records, and a father) We’ve been to a few Major Minor gigs, sometimes as a family sometimes just for a father and daughter outing. It’s great to find things to do as a family that everyone can genuinely enjoy, and this is definitely one of them. Parents can see some live music and have a very sensible drink without negotiating nights out and shared calendars. Children can run wild in a safe space, get their faces painted, put on temporary tattoos, eat donuts and play with balloons while also seeing live music.

They get to try playing drums in a place where no one cares about the racket. The lovely people who run it genuinely care about it and have fun with the kids. Sometimes the kids pay attention to the band, sometimes they don’t, but there’s no expectation to try and get them to be calm and quiet. There’s something about seeing and physically feeling people play music live that mesmerises kids if they’re in the right mood. This time my daughter and her pals mostly watched Martha Ffion and her band, sat cross legged at the front drinking Fruit Shoots. She always comes away from these gigs with a big smile on her face, asking questions about the band or the instruments or the songs. It’s a great way to expose her to small live music at a young age, and bond over something we have in common. We’ll be looking forward to the next one.”

2018-12-31

My favourite albums of 2018

My top five

In no particular order

  • Low - Double Negative
  • Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar
  • Kathryn Joseph - From When I Wake the Want Is
  • Waxahatchee - Great Thunder EP
  • Adam Stafford - Fire Behind the Curtain

Spotify playlist

My other favourites

In no particular order

  • 
Hairband - s/t

  • Domenique Dumont - Miniatures de auto rhythm
  • Sons of Kemet - Your Queen is a Reptile

  • Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert - Here Lies the Body

  • Swearin' - Fall Into the Sun

  • 
DRINKS - Hippo Lite
  • Brian Eno with Kevin Shields - The Weight of History / Only Once Away My Son
  • Ought - Room Inside the World
  • Solid Space - Space Museum (reissue)
  • Tune-Yards - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
  • Shopping - The Official Body
  • Hovvdy - Cranberry
  • Bas Jan - Yes I Jan
  • Beach House - 7
  • Jon Hopkins - Singularity
  • Niklas Paschburg - Oceanic
  • AMOR - Sinking into a Miracle

2018-11-19

Design, systems, people

I was very pleased to be asked to speak at World Usability Day 2018 in Poznań, Poland. I was asked to speak about design systems, but with so much information already out there about the theory and technical points of creating and maintaining a system, I wanted to talk about how those systems affect people. The people who use the products that we build using our design system, but also the people who use the system to build the products. The customers of your design system product: designers, developers, third party suppliers, and more. How can we maintain a system that's usable by those people, so they can and will use it to its full extent? My slides are above. 

2015-11-08

Physical music documentary

Kevin Robertson interviewed me for his documentary about physical music formats.

'Musical Artefacts' - Documentary from Kevin Robertson on Vimeo.

2015-10-02

Some good new music on Bandcamp

I love Bandcamp. Every week I get an email with new music that people I follow have bought. I've been listening to loads of new stuff the last couple of days. Here are some good bits and pieces you might like.

2015-02-18

Sleeves Received Twitter

The Wire run a Tumblr blog called Sleeves Received which features some of the lovely, weird and wonderful packaging from releases they're sent. As a label owner, record nerd, and designer, this is pretty much the best Tumblr for me. Since I've given up RSS and moved to following sites on Twitter if I absolutely need to follow, Sleeves Received has been missing from my life. So I used IFTTT to pipe the RSS feed from the site to a Twitter account, so it tweets new posts. Follow if you're interested.

Disclaimer: This is totally unofficial.

The Wire's Sleeves Received on Twitter

2014-12-12

Web designers: consider using a bad monitor

This post originally appeared on the Storm ID blog.

That's an odd thing to suggest, isn't it? We digital designers love us some shiny tech. From Retina MacBook pros or the new 5K iMacs to the latest hi-res displays from Samsung or Dell, what we view our work on is important to us, for better or worse.

There's only one problem: most people don't have fancy monitors like ours. The majority of our users have average-to-bad screens to view our beautiful designs on. That subtle grey you've used is lovely, but on that 5 year old, burned out, 19" Dell monitor that John in Accounts has, the grey looks white like the background, and your carefully planned visual hierarchy can fall apart and become confusing.

My nice screen and my bad screen, together forever

A few years ago I acquired an old 16" monitor from a cupboard, to be a second monitor for my 27" iMac. I tell people it was a place to put my email client and browser's web inspector while I worked on my main screen, but I think I actually wanted to stream the Ryder Cup while I worked one Friday. It is a handy place to put my email, web inspector, Twitter, Spotify and all that other stuff that helps me work but isn't actually work.

More than that though, I very quickly learned it was a great way to test designs. This monitor is small, low resolution by today's standards, has never been colour corrected, isn't nearly as bright as it once was, and has a couple of dead pixels. It's crap. But if I can put designs (created on my lovely iMac screen) onto that crap screen and they still work, then maybe they have a good chance of working for a lot of the users, too.

So if you have one or two big lovely screens to design on, consider running another bad screen too. You can probably find one at the back of an office cupboard somewhere, or pick one up on Gumtree for almost nothing. I guarantee it will improve the experience for your users in the long run.

P.S. This also goes for mobile screens. Add a small, low-res Android device to your test devices, or use a Device Lab. Most of your users don't have an iPhone 6+ or a Nexus 5.

Andy Lobban

Edinburgh, Scotland