History Reviews

What’s driving me to do better?

These images below and my previous posts… the good memories and the bad… the hole in the soul… the missing jigsaw to my realisation to life commitments.

This image is compilation of photographs taken at university in 2008, a few days after hearing the closest person I knew had passed away. This was one of my grandmothers who was like another mother at heart, my mother’s mother in context. The series of photographs captured my feelings and thoughts at the time when in split emotion realising I couldn’t make it home to pay my respects and help my parents straight away at the time of studying.

My parents are business owners meaning shopkeepers running newsagent from 5.30am-10pm without any breaks 7 days a week. Now it shuts at 9pm, although there’s always the odd person banging on the shop front to get served during late nights or early mornings, but we just don’t answer as my parent do enough hours throughout the day. Businesses like these used to be a backbone of thriving economy till internet and the supermarkets came to play. Longer hours is a must and a standard normality of lifestyle for most people who live in the UK.

So during this period I had a university project that involved making artist books, which I took to a personal level wanting to show how much I cared about both worlds, the things going on around back home while wanting to do well at university.

This was the result…

Some serious steady hands and being patiently calm. A typography project with dual material, a lightweight plastic film with a poem soldered through it and the other with the same poem carved into heavy stone tiles with a scalpel. The plastic film and the stone tiles were conceptualised as the soul and body of my grandmother who were mentioned throughout the poem.

Not only did it happen once, but twice in the following year with my father’s mother. My father’s parents were living in India and my father had to go visit straight away. My other grandmother who I only ever saw twice, once when an infant and again during end of my GCSE period.

By then my heart completely sank and I wasn’t in the best fit of minds to continue my degree, but by chance my university mates and tutors helped me around at the time. It was also my first time being independent living outside my home for 4 years too at the time, so homesickness was in the mix.

Thinking from an opposite view, I now get to see both grandfathers pretty much every few months or days. My mother’s father lives with my uncle and aunt and my father’s father with us. Sadly both are not feeling any better in terms of health, so we all try to do what we can to help around. I believe family values are important and that we must step up when in need of help.

Now a days, I visit my blog every so often to remind myself of the past and how I’ve overcome this and encouraged to do better, remove the negatives in life and turn them into positives!

Life for me has completely changed, more responsibilities is a must. I work for small agency that involves a lot more work, but I like the challenge. It also keeps me focused learning new skills, understanding workflows, technologies, implement them into the office and encourage to change old habits into new improvements. Currently I am working on tightening current client website securities and revamping our company website, both pretty much needs doing urgently while time is ticking away.

I still haven’t forgotten the post that’s due about my career progress I mentioned a few posts ago and my recent post about privacy. Right now, I’m just stretched out with all sorts around me, so I will see how it goes from here.


If you must know…

I have discovered the Internet Archive Wayback Machine also know as – it’s great if you want to look back in time for something particular in the realm of digital web.

I always had this thought in the back of my mind, it would be great to trace back and reflect on websites I had created more than 10 years ago that are no longer to their existence – sadly technology is moving at a fast pace erasing the old due to legacy in hardware and software.

Wayback Machine crawls randomly on websites to archive and I was shocked what I could find… my activity since I was a kid let loose on the web!

Back then I had big interests in design and culture, which then led me to designing, crafting, building online social networks. YES way before the boom of social networks (MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

In fact I was way too young to be even be on the web. Back then the web had full of nastiness and you’ll probably have had to grant adult supervision, now a day there’s software for adults that can restrict time or activity usage for their children.

I used Microsoft MSN Messenger quiet a lot during then to keep in touch with schoolmates and using to go on the online Messenger and accessing emails. By then I started using like a default homepage.

Having a passion for cars I started reading and tracking MSN Cars, a sub category of topics they published weekly of news and articles. Having a short attention span, I moved into crawling other parts of and the same with when DSL modems were popular.

Anyone remember MSN Groups? Back then they were chat rooms mainly for the adult dating. I bring this up because it’s somewhere/somewhat where I started to learn quiet a lot of things, the good, the bad – what can I say… I was curious and fascinated what the web can do during that age, I guess I still am in a way – what make the web so popular and the use of programming languages behind it. I guess it’s the same when referring to.. looking for your next car, wanting to know what’s under the hood.

I learnt a bit of programming if you could call it that back then creating basic HTML pages and creating animated, glittery, metal-like, typography .gifs. This was the boom of .gif animations!

I got a lot of attention when I did this, mainly because I was young and had created a very highly hunger for visual graphics that set apart from other groups, by then group members evolved from all ages reaching to 1000 users joining as members in a few years.

Funny enough it was just an experiment based on my own culture and trying to meet other people like myself at the time – pretty niche!

Anyway, today this number is nothing compared to the scale of major social networks we have today.

Slowly I came round and was intrigued by technologies and ever since have been learning, developing and deploying my skills to the web we take for granted.

Going back to Internet Archive Wayback Machine website, here is what I could find – unfortunately the .gifs and images are gone due to discontinued MSN services and that not all pages where archived or cached. Reading the guess book was a little amusing at the time of finding these pages.*/*/*/*/*/*/

I was hoping someone/something/somewhere it would have been cached for history to reveal itself. It just goes to show what is achievable throughout history and that online activity and privacy on the web is not an option. I’ll elaborate further in my next coming post about privacy, as again it’s a can of worms!


Where am I at now?

Over my 6 month probation period and not knowing where I am, puts me on edge.

When things are getting overcomplicated as more work is coming in for your boss to deal with while dealing with internal problems doesn’t really help.

There has been this continuous workflow problem since the day I started where work is getting overwritten and some of us are repeating what we have just finished.

Having backup of this helped me so many times to fix those mistakes quickly. But how do you stop professionals who know what they are doing, but disrupting the workflow process? What happens if they are the ones that are teaching us what to do too?

You have the choice to tell your boss, but they are just blanking what your saying and putting both employees in a meeting room to find a solution to stop this overwriting workflow from happening.

You’ve given your opinion based on previous experiences and they still go with a different solution, the workflow still seems sketchy. There is no record of what we are actually edited between each other. I think this is vital for when things doesn’t work as expected.

Is it really a mistake after several mistakes or is it a way to put employees in the bad books of their boss, especially of employees that have nearly fulfilled their time?

I would prefer it if employers just communicated this directly, rather than getting others to do this.

Of course this isn’t going to happen as they don’t want you work for another company, especially in the same industry or their competitors.

That’s life, complicated.


Happy New Year

It’s time to reflect on the previous year and make some new goals for the year ahead, by observing the nature around me and making some bold decisions.

Addressing where I work online cause some attractions to recruiters and while I could stay away from this as much as possible, I realise why people higher up the chain remain anonymous to the web. It’s a no brainer really, you’re exposing yourself to the web, a chance to rank up or down in your career, or the fact you could gain work for the company too.

By doing this I made some new contacts. Yes, maybe some were irrelevant and some relevant. I mean some will support you based on no knowledge of what you do, or some that do and will recommend you to others who are in the same or similar industry. I recommend those that don’t to do a little more research – after all it’s about being honest to yourself and others around you.

Having spent 3 month jobless, I realise in future I’ll have to remain anonymous to keep hold of my job – though I like to be open about the things I do; sharing is caring!

Another issue is why are all IT related vacancies held by recruitment companies? Surely there’s a can of worms here about to explode.

I can see several options for companies in which one might not have the time to find employees or the cost that arise in investing in time and passing this onto recruitment for a little fee, but one could argue to find a suitable candidate for employability could cost more than its worth with recruitment.

Arguable, but the truth is everyone has cost to pay and therefore cutting salaries down from an employee, could make an employee think twice about the work they do, in which is the reason some employees jump from companies to companies.

During this period, I had to be active as more than ever looking for vacancies at a time when vacancies are rare and same time finding a way to support myself. I realised the word trust was something that is pretty hard to rely on and trusting your gut instincts puts you on an edge – out of comfort zone; making you do things that was never planned to happen.

Trusting gut instincts, I referred back to using my previous skills from upbringing and those gained from being a merchant seller for Amazon to eBay. Now you will be wondering why not create my own website platform for this? Again it’s a complex issue right now, while going through a transitioning period with career movement (maybe something for the future to think about or blog about).

Many different suggestions was given by people around me while being out of work and some sounded off the wall and so strange that I thought why not give it a try.

Continuing to pursuit the eBay platform, which is now gaining attraction with my previous reputation with Amazon. I am learning and developing behaviour patterns by buyers and advertising strategies. I am also learning about the products that I sell and always up for learning something new whether it’s worthy or worthless.

Anyway while that is going on in my personal life and focusing back to my day job, I was listening to a few podcasts recently, which relates to career goals and life in general that did inspire me to do more things. Somewhere along the lines of having a day job to pay your expenses and a hobby or passion to pursuit, but if you do the same thing as a day job then make sure you have got the stamina to progress.

As always for me, a chance to adapt new roots suits me fine, finding niches, doing things differently are what I am interested in, but most of all doing a variety of things. I really don’t like to be limited; its dull being repetitive and eventually does gets boring.

So that’s the past and now for the present; I am looking for changes and new challenges with my day job. With my personal life, I have piles of resources that have been accumulating from being busy at my previous job. So top priorities are to sift through these as quickly as possible and start to refine my skills for my day job.

The best bit of my day job is having a passion for the career I’ve always worked for and to work there more than having time spent at home, which allows me to develop better and also give me a little room to try something different from home.


Back on Track

Just over 3 months jobless, but hunger for work – I was hired to get the work done in time for Christmas & New Year.

It’s been 2 weeks, half way in the month of December, picking up the business workflow and finding myself fit in the role as Front End Developer working with, between designer and developer on board.

I saw opportunities to boost workflow and technologies, which is currently in process for the New Year.

There were stacks of client work that needed creating, amending existing and finishing current work before Christmas – so a quick turnaround solution was needed.

Coming from a background learning popular software and new technologies, I had to step back and backtrack to using old for temporary basis – I knew the company was in a transitioning period, where it just so happen, I managed to blend in well.

3 clients websites all needed to be published live and another, a few tweaks here and there on the live site.

Lucky enough all the work met its deadline and happened so quickly just on time!

This is the shortest blog I have done and a glimpse of the beginning to a fresh new start for the New Years.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!


At least I didn’t quit!

It all happened so soon and I thought I could turn things around when things got tough.

It’s been just over 2 months finished at my current employment, ending in a sticky situation with a client and company management. My job was terminated; I was told to leave and had been paid out.

The dilemma when client don’t stick to agreements and ignore advice from company management, to management given up convincing what’s best for their future business and eventually leading to agreeing with client. All in all, resulting with work that may not generate great online experience with users, nor develop better sales.

I battled hard during the last 3 months of employment to keep simplicity and usability the main focus of online experience and still there were complex ideas being added. By complex ideas being those that would tarnish user experience.

Looking back at this situation, I can say this was an experience, an experience that management would see as usual on a daily basis to make client perform better than their previous.

During my time in employment, I realised not everyone had the same thinking process, which made technical know how discussions harder in meetings without demonstrations of examples. This point seems to be the norm in many businesses after listening to a wide range of web podcasts. So, I feel not alone here.

I’m back out in the market of employability, now looking for another vacancy with some new experience.

Having just over a year experience including the 3-month probation period, moving forward and overcoming this situation, I found it hard ignoring the negatives and thinking positive, especially when going back into interviewing process.

But this didn’t stop me, I had nothing to hide and clearly had great online present from previous activities to date.

The day I left I tried something different I met a few recruiters. I discussed my situation and my concerns and listened to their procedures and T&C’s. Many said I was very brave to start looking straight away. Together we drew plans to action and proceeded applying to relevant and suitable vacancies. As time went by more recruiters had been in contact and a similar process started again with telephone calls.

At this point, I have never had to talk to so many recruiters all wanting to know something about me. I felt there were different views forming from this.

Why choose a recruiter to proceed with vacancies, why not apply directly with companies, why not have more than one recruiter to find suitable vacancies?

These were just some of the thoughts running through my mind at the time and have tried all in respect and respected those who have helped me in the process.

Recruiters should know their clients very well and know what employers are actually after and having more than one recruiter can cause concerned to both parties, that’s if they apply to the same vacancy twice. Companies may also be thinking one may not have much self-respect, passion or care about their career, if they rely on others to do their work. After all, if one doesn’t have self-respect, clearly they don’t have respect for anyone else.

Doing nothing will cost, therefore trying something will gain, whether it’s good or bad, aim to stand out. At least one has tried; one hadn’t quit and remains positive to try again!


Life after Education

Before you start reading this post, I would just like to mention I created this half way through my current employment and was hoping to finish this at the end of year, but time just seems to fly when your busy working and then later in the evening keeping active – the gym! (Even after sitting at a desk all day and again staying awake till midnight or early mornings doing the things mentioned below). Anyway hope you enjoy reading and keep smiling!

I think it’s that time of year where I need to post an update on what I’ve been getting up to, and why some things have changed that may have affected my online behaviour and the social communities who have supported me – again I cannot stress how grateful the online community have been.

Previously I used my skills learnt from my upbringing to pay for a small, but mighty course after studying a degree.

These days a degree is not enough in this world to get by with nor will masters (unless its top notch).

You may ask why…

So here’s the gap, many student either learn to test their abilities or get help and learn from their tutors and other students around them.

I can argue my belief was from both sides, whether there was a set standard of coding right or wrong and at the same time if I got stuck at self studying, who do I go to for help?

It’s now clear after working as an employee, why many people in this industry would say education is teaching old skills and why there are so many students left behind after studying further without jobs.

In my line of work, there are new technologies appearing faster than I can grasp. My methodology is to work on the new, before it’s too late.

So it’s been a year from now working as an employee for Telescope Studios and in that time frame I’ve learnt so much from employment and self-taught.

During working hours I make digital content like websites, videos, online catalogues and magazines, post blogs and social feeds, etc. By night I enjoy researching, testing, what is possible and what isn’t – just for leisure and experience. If there was a gap for the market, I would usually exploit it via my social feeds, Twitter, Facebook, etc for the online community to share my passion and vision.

I like open-source and support it as it gives everyone an opportunity to get involved in future projects and advance those ideas that are worthy of development.

I used my personal website that would give some clues and resources how I design, code, my interests, what I do and learned to transform this into an Android app (now available on the market, to download just type: DIV BOT).

The app was just a test and trail to see if it worked, which seems to via my devices.

You may also be wondering why DIV BOT – well it’s part of my branding, career role and partly my nick name… DIV BOT = Design In Variety, Build On Technology = Front End Developer

I also made my own custom workstation computer competing with high-end desktop and workstations without any help, but the web.

Some of these things are just life goals that I wanted to do and have now covered. Now my mission is coding apps.

I did start half way through the year teaching myself Objective C for IOS devices, making card games, but in the recent Apple Web Conference there is another new language and that is now my main focus currently.

Although studying old materials are not fully suitable for employment, it does lay down the basic foundations in which you can progress further by self-study.

The web is really full of great resources and it’s just the matter of how you find and use it to your abilities.


FdA Web Design

This report outlines my learning experiences through college and work and other activities. It examines my strengths and weaknesses throughout the course. It also shows the soft and transferable skills that could be developed and improved in terms of future career prospects.

In summary, the first year taught me how to code from scratch using strict HTML1.0 and CSS2. I also learnt the difference between variations. An example would be from Web Development 1, where I created a website which had curved corners for its design and only CSS3 could do this.

I also learnt about the variations in software skills using typography. Before starting the course, I used to design in InDesign and when designing in Photoshop, I realised there were different behaviour patterns when resizing or moving text. Photoshop uses pixels and when resizing text it acts like an image, causing pixilation when scaling larger. The only way to resize typography in Photoshop was to highlight the text and then resize rather then dragging a corner of the text box. It was like a manual method compared to InDesign. In InDesign, the text acts like a vector and can be scalable like in Illustrator. Throughout the second year of the course my Photoshop skills have improved and continue to develop as I have become more familiar in working with software on a regular basis.

At the beginning of the second year, in Work Related Learning 3, I was surprised how we were given a task to create a business plan, which was something I had never considered in relation to college. Nevertheless, it taught me a few things along the way such as how a business works and organises its infrastructure, the paperwork involved with Sales & Marketing, the key personnel needed in Operations and the work involved with financial forecasts.

Part of the business plan made me realise that Operations has a vital role and I was currently putting this into practise outside of college during the Christmas period selling products though Amazon. I had to consider the sheer scale and time management during this process. I was able to transfer this knowledge when creating the operations plan for a digital company; I had to think like a digital agency and their issues of running the business as a profitable company.

For Web Development 2 I had to create a responsive website for the Guardian newspaper. As I created the website with two different design layouts, complications occurred during website development such as having to name each element semantically and make them work in three different sizes for devices. At this point I realised I had overcomplicated the task and I wanted to do my best to solve this problem. However this meant that my presentation suffered extremely in this module, as I had no time to practice my delivery.

I have noticed through my working patterns that I always think a step ahead and over complicate tasks when they really don’t have to be. I really want to push the boundaries as much as possible to find what my limits are and what I can possibly achieve. Consequently, I think that this has been a very good learning experience and one that I will be able to transfer into employment.

It has also been valuable, as I was able to recognise the amount of content to be included on the website and the time constraints involved. I also did this while completing another work intensive module. This made me aware that time management was a crucial part of any job and the importance of having some work experience or a freelance job during this course.

I also had to develop my organisational skills because I worked over the Christmas period in Leeds and this involved quite a long commute to work by train. This added to my workload as I experienced the frustrations of train delays and traffic jams! I completed this work alongside other commitments such as hobbies and completing my assignments. There were also times I had to help my parents in their shop. By working in the shop I was able to allow them to have a break during their long working hours of 5:30 am – 9:00 pm. Although I feel I have to support them, it has taught me the importance of being professional and meeting customer needs. I have been able to use some of these skills when meeting client requirements for the Project Management module.

Completing each module has shown me that I need to learn about new trending technologies. This will help when applying for professional vacancies, as knowledge of these techniques is important. Professionals will be looking for people who know how to create a website from scratch with the ability to be able to accurately and effectively name coding tags, as well as being able to understand new trending topics as they develop. They will also be looking at this from a point of view of what I could bring to the company. This also means that I will need to be able to show that I can follow web trends and that I am aware of the most up to date technology.

In Design for Print there were three tasks set for this brief. The first was to listen to a set of untitled soundtracks and draw what you could hear or imagine. This made me realise the task needed to be imaginative and be creative with different mediums when sketching such as pastels, chalks, inks, charcoals, coloured pencils and oil pastels. These were then presented in my sketchbook work. For the second task I had to research the soundtrack album and draw designs from the title of each track on the album. This made me aware of the limitations in relying on imagination to create visuals.

I then had to choose one of the design ideas from my sketchbook and develop it further on the design software Illustrator. From previous experience I knew how to use certain applications for design related work, but I had difficulty remembering this one as I haven’t used it for two years since graduating from Teesside University. This was another task that made me realise it was easy to forget a skill or technique when it isn’t used regularly. I had to familiarise myself with this again by practising tutorials on Illustrator to bring me back up to speed.

I also realised when submitting this coursework according to strict deadlines is that it is difficult to remember the small objectives I set myself which meant that I sometimes forgot to do them in the short amount of time. I found this a valuable experience and I need to improve this to make sure it does not happen again. One way to do this is to keep a notepad for small tasks so that I have a list of reminders that I check and tick as I complete tasks.

In Personal & Professional Development 3, I had to create a learning contract for myself. This was something quite familiar from past experiences at university where I had to create a design brief for one of my final projects or find a subject matter that was appealing to debate about. I found this relatively straightforward and enjoyable.

The learning contract identified some key skills and may have developed my ability to use these skills for future job prospects. The skills involved included researching and identifying subject matter in a range of mediums. I also had to make comprehensive notes that pinpointed important issues to address in the work and also the understanding of the subject matter in depth. I learnt that the need to credit the source from where information is used is very important and to also protect from copyright infringement. This is something I also knew about from previous studies and also from work placements.

Corporate Identity & Branding was a frustrating brief as a lot of problems arose when working through the project. The name of the client’s company is called ‘Thrown In Stone’. They are a ceramics company that produce various handmade ceramic wares such as vases, bowls and mugs.

They wanted a logo that could be used loosely on various applications, such as on pottery to vehicles and signage for craft fairs. This meant an icon logo as the size of 10mm and a word mark that can be used on larger scale. The client specifically requested the logo to be modern and traditional, but not old fashioned. This made me aware that the logo needed to be fresh and unique from their competitors branding.  When researching, I found myself looking at a lot of pots as logos and a few clever thinking logos, which I thought would be great for this design task. Consequently, I generated design ideas purposely without the pots in mind and came up with something abstract. After having a group discussion, I realised the whole idea of this branding is to sell ceramic ware and I had to come up with a design logo that could represent all the ceramic wares they make in a small icon. Eventually I came up with a logo icon using a plate, bowl and vase.

The icon itself was due to clever thinking and I had to make the word mark the same. After experimenting with the word mark in scale and position, I found a clever way to brand the whole idea by using a tag line within the word mark. This was by taking the logo ‘Thrown in Stone’ and developing to include the phrase ‘Own One!’ as a bold statement within the original logo. The only problem I had here was to show this expression in its word mark. I used the exclamation mark and shaped the top half as an upside down vase and a bowl for the dot. This made sense when looking at it loosely from the icon and with the icon and at the same time shows some expression.

Overall this module has taught me some valuable lessons: always evaluate the brief first and its purpose, find the right solution to apply to the problem and finally always get opinions from others, as I am always used to looking from a design point of view and not from a clients or consumers point of view. I think this is a common mistake many designers make in their work and this has been highlighted in my coursework. Now that I have recognised this process, I will be thinking of this technique for future client work.

Project Management was the biggest experience I have had in all of the modules, well in fact in all of my education. It was an eye opener and has highlighted several areas of development while keeping a track record of what client projects were being created and what stages they were at in terms of testing and being ready for client deadlines.

Working in groups also made me realise I had to be calm and collected while others were working. I noticed that each of us had different skill sets and different methods of working and I had to adapt to other people’s techniques. I have never worked with groups of people with real client proposals; this made me feel quite nervous, as I had to rely on another colleague rather than my self-motivation.

There were times I had to change tasks instantly and do some design related and admin work. I had expected something like this to happen because in the professional world with smaller businesses it is like this. You would have to do a bit of everything to earn your keep and also keep the business running.

I also found a new client in my own time for our group proposal work, but the client’s requirements were more than expected especially in terms of the short deadline we had. But this has made me realise I can approach a client, or in this case a committee, for work. I appreciated that the committee consisted of older people and I had to explain technical vocabulary with examples using the iPad I had with me. Nevertheless, this work resulted in a freelance job after I finish college and also freelance work with other clients.

I think it was the fear of doing something that could possibly not turn out as planned that makes me reluctant to do work like this. This fear has now disappeared, as I have got more confident at completing this type of work.

The major skill set I am improving is time management to balance all projects and not just focus on one. I am so used to focussing on one project at a time in freelance work that I have realised the impact of this throughout other modules. To develop this I had to keep on top of time management for the Project Management unit and I was also concerned about not letting others down in the team and clients. It would be highly embarrassing if I did lose track of time!

From a group perspective, there were individual and management mistakes that have been highlighted and have improved during the process. When giving individual feedback we all noticed that this was a time consuming process and we should have given feedback as a group on the first day of every week, rather than via e-mails and the forum board, allowing us to make the amendments after. It has also been shown that a looming deadline has made us all aware that we needed to work even closer together by communicating during and after college hours. This was also something that I learnt in the first year of the course and I have embraced as part of the module. We did use the forums as a communication tool and listed all feedback by assigning projects to people and their own threads to reply to, but this was not until deadlines were upon us. In essence I have learned that feedback should be given as a group, rather than individually because it allows everyone in the group to know what each individual is working on and will also produce better results, as each member knows their exact role.

It would be more beneficial for the group to meet outside of college hours and work more closely. This could have a greater impact on producing more work as more clients could be recruited for proposals.

In terms of testing, I could have been more involved in testing the designs before creating websites. This meant that I would have had to complete further research into WordPress, but I realise I could have asked a team member who learnt this as part of their learning contract to help me. They could have this by sending me their findings for me to learn. This would have saved time during research.

I learnt that testing is an on-going process and shouldn’t be finished in a day or week. Bugs had to be fixed before re-testing to get accurate results and I had to rely on someone else to do this. I found myself delegating tasks over the weekend in a short amount of time and realised the impact that this had on other people’s work. The alternative would be to delegate work before leaving college so that they could complete it during the week. I have learnt the importance of forward planning tasks so everyone involved is clear about the work required.

During the final week we had to narrow our focus and respond to feedback as clearly as possible. The only option I found useful to document my concerns was to print screen every problem that occurred. This was easy to understand for others and they were able to fix the problem as quickly as possible in the time remaining. It worked well and influenced others to follow the same process. I also learnt from another group member to provide a solution to problems for those who were struggling to fix the bug. This was great teamwork and helped us to complete tasks efficiently and effectively.

I can take leadership responsibility, follow sets of instructions and accept feedback by others while changing or adding new challenges in the mix. It’s helped me to improve and push those boundaries that I have previously feared or left unexplored. I did make mistakes and have learned from these. I have made significant professional developments that will improve my future job prospects as a Designer, Developer or Front End Development. I also have more possibilities to do freelance work or follow another career path if necessary due to the soft skills and transferable skills I have developed and that can be developed even further.

I am currently applying for vacancies as a Front End Developer in larger companies that deal with specific tasks, as this will make my skills much more professionally refined. These skills can also be taken to other smaller companies who would benefit from these skills to improve their business.

I was brought up in the business sector and can use this as an advantage during interviews and explain how I understand how a business works. I will be able to explain that time and accuracy is the most crucial aspect of any business. There needs to be a fine balance between both in order for the company to be profitable and be run efficiently.


Testing procedures for the web

What is Usability Testing?
Usability testing is commonly used to test something new, a product or service, and measure the reactions of audiences to it. Feedback is then used to improve it with the owner, inventor or developer. The same process occurs again until the owner is happy with it.

One may think this process could become repetitive, but fear not! Only test the most important issues that occur the most and are generally higher priority.

What is Accessibility Testing?
This is concerned more with people with disabilities. How would one interact with something if they were blind, deaf or unable to physically touch and move something? These are the major concerns to address and solve. This is similar to usability testing.

Do not mistake Focus Groups as Accessibility & Usability Testing!
Focus groups are groups of people (roughly 5 to 8) working together as a team about ideas and design to gather all thoughts into different concepts.

Usability testing is a one person process guessing which item to test and how to use it.

In contrast, accessibility testing is focused towards disabled people, inventing alternative methods when using products or services.

But focus groups have advantages, they can determine what the audience wants and needs and also test the idea behind the site, making sure it makes sense and it appeals to them.

The disadvantages are that it is difficult to acknowledge whether the product or service works and if improvements can be made.

Focus groups are better done in the research task and during the idea generation and development process for fine-tuning, but don’t mistake them for usability testing. They cannot tell whether people can use the product or service.

So when should test take place?
It’s common sense to continue testing throughout the whole process. When researching, there’s a test to compare existing products or services in competition. After idea generation, ideas can be compared and combined into one final idea. Various problems may occur which can be corrected.

Who should do the testing?
By now, one will know how many tests are to be done, but the first test should be done with a small group of all ages and genders who know about a product or service. After this anybody will be able to participate, thus saving time. Any business or company should do as many tests as possible for accuracy.

Testing in a professional environment.
In a professional environment, 2 labs should be hired with a very large mirrored wall in-between them. The owners, inventors or developers watch from one lab to the other and observe the person and the prototype tested.

Simple testing without using professionals.
Use one room with at least 2 cameras to record the person and product being tested, which will be used later with the owners, inventors or developers.

The problem with simple testing is the professional environment can be costly to businesses. Compared to simple testing, it’s far cheaper and flexible for businesses and the people involved.


Private Life, Public Spaces (Part 2)

At the start of FdA Web Design, I found this course pretty interesting on how we were taught to communicate with the fellow students. In work related learning (WRL), I have learnt that communication is a big key role in any employment and as working in small groups or big teams. This also helps meeting clients and discussing work processes and presentations. I also found time management was crucial, but as I wasn’t working at this time, I had achieved plenty of time to check and recheck my work.

In my typography module I have learnt more, how type were first invented and how the process from hand written to printed and finally web-based type was generated. I recognized how the olden days were very hard and frustrating to set out each letter for the printing press. This takes a lot of time and effort, which would ideally cost more in the present reality. I also now know the differences between typefaces for print and for web. This was something new as I have been taught most of my life in print work. I recently took a 3 day placement working as a web designer while studying. I have also learnt quite a bit in the web design industry through this.

For my interface design, I have never professionally created a web design layout for a client before. This was something new as well. I knew websites had some sort of grid structure as to print, but after hearing about the 960 Grid System, and taking time to explore the various grid system structures, I thought I had learnt more. The elements placed on a web page look so big, but when printed out on paper, this looks very small. So scaling from paper to web has some maths involved. Choosing colours for screen was more difficult as they appear to look different to print based colours. Matching the right colours I found a little time-consuming, but when the colours are right, it is more easier to set all the web pages right.

The next stages of my learning process is to concentrate on revising for my exams and also for coding. Coding is the most important element for me as this is a whole new field. As working for a company, for family and self, I have found time management a big issue. I noticed most of my time goes in traveling places to places, especially in town areas where there is always traffic. I try to avoid most traffic by setting my travels ahead of time but sometimes there are unexpected traffic on the roads. So to balance my work load I may have to cut a day or two from working to self learning.

So for my next modules ahead, I will try to plan more time for self studying and maybe use the facilities that my tutor has given to me on particular days. This will be very essential.