Designation: Week 3

I’ll be damned if I don’t finish this code project tonight.

This week was lots of lecture, a guest speaker, and finally some social events. We focused mainly on the practice of UX in the evening; specifically discussing practicing what was being preached and how to put it into action.

My project team solidified and we started our preliminary fact-finding interviews. Two down, dozens more to come, I’m sure.

We had a big ol’ code project for Chris to finish which, admittedly, I haven’t finished (see above) but I’m determined to do it the long way and the hard way so I can get it right and clear this hurdle. It’s been infuriating pushing these classes and id’s around but when you get the interwebz to do a neat trick, it’s really invigorating. I’ll post a link here when it’s done.

We also had a good amount of design projects to finish during the day. I learned that I get really inside of Illustrator and it’s hard to get me out. I’m focusing on learning how to accept “good enough to get the point across” and “pixel-fucking.”

My team and I are sacrificing our day off on the altar of research tomorrow — we’re roadtripping up to Milwaukee to ride the busses. One of my cohorts is from the Bay Area so it’ll be really fun to watch these three dudes figure out MCTS but even more fun to show them around like tourists.

I’m really looking forward to it and spending more time with these guys. I mean, we already spend most of our waking hours together, so what’s a few more?

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Designation: Week 2

Admittedly, this post is late. Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 5.39.18 PM

Designation has me nose-to-grindstone all day and most of the night. The mornings and evenings are spent commuting. The weekends have been condensed to Sundays with class on Saturday. This past Sunday I moved out of my Milwaukee apartment.

The night before I was totally exhausted and a little emotional about leaving. But once we got everything out, it felt like the right timing. Thanks to that and a morning yoga class on Saturday, my body is feeling completely like Jello.

So, what have we covered this past week? Code, mostly.

Andrew said during the first week that the week of code is the one that pretty much makes or breaks the cohorts and I’m happy to report that I held my own, as did the rest of my comrades. So, we’ve gone from 0 to making a responsive prototype in a week.

Week 3 so far has been research-focused. It’s almost like we’re learning to juggle…

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Designation: Week 1

The theme of this week could be “get to know your neighbor”, “get out of your comfort zone”,photo 4 (1) “think differently” or “welcome to being really tired.”

In reality, the theme of the week has been “make stuff.” Or perhaps Andrew said it best: “get reps.”

We’ve sketched a lot, we’ve taken a lot of notes, we’ve learned a little bit about each other and I’ve come to realize that all of these people are my people.

It’s invigorating to be in an environment that encourages getting everything out on the table. It’s affirming that all of us want to be here and are committed to doing great work. It’s awesome to have a forum where I get feedback on what I’m doing, thinking and making. It’s refreshing to make mistakes.

photo 1 (4)We spend more time with each other than we do with our families and when it hit’s 8:30 pm and everyone’s tired, nobody looks at their watch and says “yeah, I gotta cut this short.” In fact, I get halfway home on the Metra and come across some other tidbit I want to share with the clan.

Looking into the weekend, we’ll be firming up our term projects and looking for the initial biases, pain points and constraints. We’ll all be spending Saturday sleeping, gearing up for our Sunday workshop and week 2.

We move fast here.

Some sketches from the week are below. All of this will arrive on the portfolio site as soon as I have some unspokenfor time (read: tomorrow).


photo 2 (3) photo 3 (3)



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Designation: Day 1

photo (2)Oftentimes, the moments that influence us most are not marked or categorized. With some exceptions, they usually present themselves in hindsight, within the context of a greater overall experience.

Designation, however, is a great exception to the rule.

It felt like I was jumping out of a plane. A jump I had willingly signed up for but for all of June, I wasn’t sure if I was bungee jumping or pulling a Jokke Sommer.

I’m in the wingsuit and the first day out of the plane feels like complete synchronicity. I’ve found my people. I’ve found my thing.

It’s really been one of the happiest days of my life — meeting new people, getting weird with them, getting nerdy with them, taking lots of notes and using my brain in ways I haven’t in many, many months.

I love it here. It doesn’t feel like work in any way, it feels like my life. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 weeks bring and I welcome whatever is to come with open arms.

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Started from the bottom

Now I’m HERE!

Coincidentally, Drake has been making his way into my standard listening rotation. Yesterday was phase one of moving, my bed and my cat are now at my parent’s house in Deerfield, Ill., once again. I’ve set up shop at my old desk in my mom’s office (my old bedroom) and it feels good to have a transitory space.

I was telling Manfriend over the weekend on our way to the gun range that I’m really happy about this next chapter because it allows me the opportunity to live in a much leaner way. 30 pieces of clothing, only the essentials, no wiggle room in the budget.

I’ve been enjoying this morning immensely because I’ve also kickstarted a period of renewal with myself; getting lots of sleep to both recover and charge up for DESIGNATION and also returning to my regular workout habits that have taken a back seat in the last few months.

I’m feeling rather inspired and speaking of, here’s an AMAZING video from the lovely J.Crew about how they do color. *swoon*Hat tip to Plenty of Color.

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Design Critiques: Good & Bad

Physical Design — Good
photo (1)Dad’s coffee grinder. Good design because it’s compact, simple and very, very obvious in what needs to happen to accomplish the mission. ‘Nuff said.






Physical Design — Bad
IMG_6851The center console of the 2015 Ford F-150. I didn’t start this year as a car gal but between managing a car brand and a gearhead boyfriend, it grew on me. At the 2014 Milwaukee Auto Show I was reviewing the 2015 Ford F-150 and noticed something real weird about the center console. Clearly, the design team completely overlooked this aspect of the product because I really doubt people still put their mobile device in such a container. Nothing about it says “use this” it instead says “your stuff is going to get caught on this all the freaking time!”



Digital Design — Good

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 6.57.15 This site does a wonderful job showcasing what’s new, interesting, funny and groundbreaking in the design space. It also manages to accomplish this by NOT having an obviously-Pinterest type of feel. Instead, it uses the space meaningfully, no taking up too much with images and not adding a whole lot of extra fluff to make the site look like it was designed. I also really like the neat trick they did with the roll-over on each article. It doesn’t get in the way and gets the job done.

Digital Design — Bad

photo 2The Headspace password reset. I find this issue in more than one place, the most recent place being on Headspace. The interface looks great! I want to interact with it! Seems easy enough! But only after you enter your password does it tell you your password has to meet certain conditions. Looks like it wasn’t so easy after all.





Local Design — Good

The Chicago Marathon. It’s an unbelievable amount of work to orchestrate something this completely massive. Having run many, many races, it’s pretty apparent when they’re not well thought out. There’s not enough water, there’s not enough cool stuff, the road isn’t blocked off, there are no port-o-potties, etc. I was blown away by the whole design experience of the Chicago Marathon because at no point did I say “man, this really sucks” (except maybe mile 24), I just got to think about running and the race team did the rest.

Local Design — Bad
photo 1The bus system. Pick and aspect, I’ll help you tear it apart. We can get into the lack of app later but in the new physical bus design that was brought to market in late 2013, there was a critical error in the design of the last pair of seats on the lower level. While the metal bar feels essential for the standing rider, it’s placed in utterly the wrong place for the rider who’s sitting next to a total stranger. It creates a really unnatural sitting position making what can be an uncomfortable ride even less desirable.



Service Design — Good

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 6.42.26 I can’t believe I’m saying that. But after all the flack it got, they really upgraded to an experience that was very easy to use. When I got in trouble, calling was easy, the customer care folks were competent(!), helpful, and actually did me a pretty big solid in the coverage department. I’m really pleased with that whole experience.

Service Design — Bad
20120801-081342.jpg I know I just said the bus system is terrible, one of the most terrible parts being you have to physically go to a specific location to purchase tickets in increments of singles, weeklys, monthlys. You can’t do this online in any way. You can’t auto-deduct. You can’t rely on a physical object with permanence, the tickets themselves are paper. So, don’t lose it, don’t leave it in your pants in the wash and don’t forget to get to your local retailer before the end of the month otherwise, they’ll be SOLD OUT.

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Milwaukee Home

It’s been quite the 24 hours.

I quit my job. I failed at book club this month (see also: Summerfest). I enjoyed a really great weeknight(!) with Manfriend. I had a weird day at work. I got new insurance.

I am saying goodbye to so many people. It’s my true intent for that goodbye to be temporary but in the true spirit of this year, I’m giving myself to whatever is coming. I’m trying not to plan too much and follow my guts.

This process is both incredibly scary but incredibly freeing because I’ve learned to trust myself. Similar to that first time you do a handstand, trusting your gut is learning to say over and over and over and over and over and over and OVER again “you got this, what’s there to be afraid of?”

The easy way to deal with this is to say “I’m fine with things the way they are” but that’s NEVER been my M.O. I actively seek criticism and room for improvement. I’m constantly hungry for it.

But something has happened recently. I’m not sure when but I realized that I really do love living in Milwaukee. It is my home. Or rather, my first home. I took a lot of parts of a something that previously made a nothing and it became an incredible everything.

My street, my running paths, my meat counter guy at Whole Foods, my Whole Foods, the secrets I’ve extracted from this city, the people, the food, the bus system, the network, the issues, the way the air feels so close to the lake, the memories on each street, the favorite bars, the things we said. Isolated, none of these elements seem to make up anything but together, they make up my life.

I’m proud of the life I’ve made here. I’m proud to say I live in Milwaukee, something I was iffy on if I’m being completely candid. I’m more sad to leave it than I thought I would be.

All endings are beginnings.

I’m SO excited to start this new chapter of my life but I gotta say, this last chapter was pretty fucking awesome. I think that’s why I panicked a bit when I realized the label on my mailbox was already gone.

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