Category Archives: discovery

X marks the spot

I don’t get many opportunities to start a post with the letter x.

On my way after a morning appointment in Glebe. Across from the Glebe Town Hall someone left their runners on a bench but kept the laces.


It feels a bit spy thriller, like a “drop” location. I was hoping for a cryptic note, or USB drive with secret plans on it.
Maybe I’ve been watching too much “Homelands” and “The Americans”. There was just an abandoned sock and, as usual, usable shoes.

More pairs in the street

Bopping along this morning, I decided that Femi Kuti is great marching-to-work-at-a-nice-pace music. So intent on the music, I almost failed to notice there’s a great pair of shoes against a bright yellow wall. Used Instagram to dilute the intense colours a bit. This is all part of the abandoned shoes project.

Hope you like.

User experience in a nutshell

User experience in a nutshell, thanks to the always interesting XKCD:

university website Venn diagram

While I was at UX Australia last month I saw a load of venn diagrams, many of them useful as a conversation-starter, to focus on the subject, but to me they ended up mostly saying: “this bit in the middle is what I want to talk about”. My problem with venn diagrams is they can be created without meaning or value and  are indicative only of one’s intentions, one’s desires, one’s own perspective, not a truly factual or researched mapping.

But I like this cartoon as it describes almost every initial meeting or workshop moment I have experienced with a client in the past.

Very often the problem with a User Experience exercise is that the client wants what is on the left and the user wants what is on the right and for some reason, the left often wins. I completely understand why they find the left important and the right scary, but isn’t “a little scared” where you need your clients to be, in order to push forward with improvements, or truly deliver on their real business goals?

Very often the information on the right is readily to hand  but they fear it is problematic or scary to release all of it or to set up the workflow and administration for it to happen. But they’ve come to you to deliver a solution to their problems, and it may be that the way to do it is to ignore their “delivery” problems and solve their user’s problems first.

You should always “scare” your clients, just a little bit, and definitely within their tolerance, but scare them a little. They’ll often understand it if you make it easy for them to do so.

A different, beautiful experience

I’m off to UX Australia tonight, packing clothes for the cool Melbourne spring and noticing I have an unhealthy amount of cables and connectors. bringing paper along as well as there is nothing better than a sketch book & pens at times. You just can’t doodle with a laptop and I am holding out on an iPad till there is a camera in it and the ISPs will let me share my account between two devices.

Anyway, talking about Lo-Fi, while checking my facebook this morning, there was perfect case of synchronicity, with this Video of the Perseid meteor shower, recorded at Joshua Tree.

A perfect calming foil before the intense and exciting conference. Remember to stop and smell the flowers.

See you there.

Boots and slippers

As I was wandering the lanes and back-streets from a great afternoon at the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale, I decided to stay in the lanes to see if I could recognise the backs of the houses I knew well from passing them so often from the front.

After stopping to consider if seven potted pansies left in a row behind a back gate were intended for public consumption, I spotted these fine boots.

Contrary to my usual practice of leaving these discovered footwear pairs undisturbed, I slightly rearranged these so you could see that they were infact, intact and not damaged in any way.

The story of these must be interesting, so near the gardener who so generously offered up a string of plants for people to take. Maybe she felt extra generous and started to put out some of her superfluous wardrobe for general consumption.

Having snapped that pair, slightly pleased that the week has not passed without a footwear find, I continued on, enjoying the laneways and architectural oddities of the back of Wilson St.

It was then another pleasant moment to see this mad collection of footwear, telling it’s own story of loss, adventure and missed solace!

This pair of slippers, plus a practical boot and a single flashy heel almost could be lined up to a narrative of it’s own, which I hope you will attempt to supply in the comment area below.

Happy writing!

Abandoned foundations

In the past few months I have been noticing pairs of shoes left in the outdoors, snug, together, as if in the closet or by the door. They all look wearable and usable, but alone and apparently un-claimed. Here’s a pair from yesterday.

This pair was at Bondi Beach, a short walk from the beach, near the showers. A warm winter day with some people still swimming and playing in the surf. No-one anywhere near them, which was odd as there were many people who would have considered taking them for themselves in the area.

But it’s not the first time.

it’s the 7th pair I have noticed in two months.

Here’s the pair that started it off, found in the Domain, across the roads from the Art Gallery of NSW.

Sitting tidily at the side of the park, as if their wearer came from the road, slid them off and ran into the grassy park, never to need shoes again. SO between late April and yesterday I have 6 pairs to show you, listed here, in order. Each one must have a story of its’ own, a narrative that digs deep into someone else’s life. These shoes tell more than any Manolo Blahnik could.

Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

I bet this is not what you thought I’d be posting about Social Networks, here, namely as it is not about digital Social Networks but physical and tangible ones. These people actually touch each other.

Put a door on it – stop pissing away the environment

Am I the only one who seems to get upset at the massive open-air refrigerators in grocery stores?

My local council introduced a scheme to reduce the use of plastic bags, called “bagbusters” in the neighbourhood, for obvious reasons, and you can read the press release by downloading the PDF from their site. But to me it seems a complete waste of time in comparison to what else is happening in the grocery environment. I feel like it is battling only a small part of the energy waste and a small, token gesture. There is a far greater environmental impact from the chill fridges in most supermarkets.

Choose to refuse: bagbusters

For example, my local Franklins, in Newtown, has a 30 metre fridge along the entire side and back of the shop, and it blasts very cold air into the entire aisle so that even if I am buying coffee, I get a frozen backside by the time I’ve made my choice. From meats, through dairy and pasta to fresh juices and milk. It is a 30M x 2M fridge pumping very cold air into the entire store, needlessly.

The thing is, I recall when I was younger, back in the dark ages of the 70’s, grocery store fridges used to have these heavy plastic strips you could see and reach through, that conserved the cold in the fridge space to some degree, and the breeze of passing shoppers would not warm the refrigerated atmosphere enough to require massive amounts of energy.

But groceries with entire walls of refridgeration, pumping very cold air into the general shopping space are wasting energy, for no good reason, and with no significant conservation of time or effort for the shoppers. It does not take time to hold a door or barrier aside to reach for the steaks you like, or your yoghurt pot of choice.

It is both a near-criminal waste of energy (think: leaving the doors and windows open when your air-con is on) as well as an obvious waste of money, not to mention causing me to wear a coat just to do my groceries! And surely we already know what the excessive use of energy means to both the environment as well as the already stretched power-grid.

What do YOU think? Is it worth a complaint or am I just a whingeing old fart? …grumbling in the cheese section.