And… we’re back

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I’m going to start blogging again.

There. I’ve said it. Out loud. On here. So it’s public, even if it’s not going viral.

Amongst other things, I plan to write about sharing, listening, making time, paying attention, noticing, designing systems, and information architecture.

First up, I’ve updated to using the WordPress 2017 Theme – it plays nicely on all screen sizes. And it looks okay from an accessibility point of view – though the blog title and description may not pass the legibility and/or contrast test, depending on which image appears in the site header.

I’ll probably tweak the theme a little as time goes by.

Despite my neglecting it, the site still gets traffic.

In 2016, according to analytics, three of the most popular posts – arrived at via organic (i.e. Google) search – were:

  1. William Henry Pratt alias Boris Karloff, 1887-1969 – a photo of his blue plaque in East Dulwich, with over 100 comments from people who believe they might be related to him, and his biographer (from 2005)
  2. One card-reader fits all for online banking – TL;DR yes, you can use any bank card reader with any bank card (from 2008)
  3. Traffic lights and inclusive design – a post about not relying on colour alone to denote meaning (from 2010)

More anon.

A short talk I gave about systems thinking at UX Bristol 2014

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UX Bristol 2014 Short Talk: Nic Price – Systems Thinking in 3 Minutes from Bristol Usability Group on Vimeo.

Okay so it’s nearer 8 minutes.

In which I talk about elephants and bicycles… world view, mental models, Russ Ackoff’s definition of a system, and what happens when you change the boundaries of a system.

For more videos, see the UX Bristol 2014 album on Vimeo.

Prototype kitchen

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Working in digital product research and design, I can’t remember a project where we didn’t use a prototype in one form or another.

I’d not thought about doing it in the house until necessity paved the way – we ran out of time…

We’d worked up the eventual kitchen design through various discussions with Sam from IT Woodwork. Sam provided us with pictures from his Sketchup model. Then Simon from Neighbourhood Construction worked his magic and in next to no time had built a prototype from 2by2 and ply. It’s fully functional, and all the appliances are in the places they’ll end up.

Prototype kitchen (1 of 2) Prototype kitchen (2 of 2)

This means we’re able to spend a few weeks testing out the layout for ergonomics, and can make any adjustments if we need.

And to top it all, each unit is standalone and reusable elsewhere afterwards.

We’re calling it dweller-centred design.

Projection Hero

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Projection Hero by Beatnic
Projection Hero, a photo by Beatnic on Flickr.

I learned to be a projectionist in the early 1980s.

Our physics teacher at school, Mr Smith, taught me and a friend. We would practice “lacing up” the film, focusing the lens and switching reels as quickly as possible. We learnt to cut and splice the film to make edits or repair damage.

So when I went to Bristol’s Watershed Centre on Wednesday, I was immediately drawn to “Projection Hero” which is currently installed there.

It’s a collaboration between Charlotte Crofts of UWE, and Tarim.

“There will be a laptop, housed within a large white box, which will form the cinema screen, framed by working velvet curtains and lights. There will be two little viewing holes, for projectionists windows at the back so that you can peep in and watch the tabs open up. We’re using a curtain mechanism powered by a motor controlled by arduino, all hidden in a recess behind the computer screen, together with speakers and all the power cables. The floor of the cinema will be raked and populated with tiny little hand-carved cinema seats.”

Inside the cabinet, a QR code is generated, which you can scan with your handset. This will take you to a uniquely generated URL showing you the projectionists controls.

You can dim the lights, open and close the tabs (curtains), move to the next reel… all using your handset.

Read more about the Projection Hero project on Charlotte Crofts blog.


Today’s lunchtime run in “flyover video”

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(Update 16 Dec 2011: I’ve had to remove the embedded video, as it always autoplays every time anyone visits this website. V annoying!)

Here it is on the mapmyrun website:

A natty feature courtesy of the folks at MapMyRun. You don’t feel the hills quite so much in bird’s eye mode 🙂

There’s something about the South Bank

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There’s something about London’s South Bank.

Is it the people? The continuous flow of folk along the riverside pathways.

Perhaps it’s the river… the Tidal Thames. Living, breathing, flowing, carrying, reflecting.

Or the trains, as they rattle across Hungerford Bridge in and out of Charing Cross Station.

Maybe it’s the art, the music, the theatre, the film, the drama, the street artists, golden statues that spring to life to the surprise and delight of passing children.

For me, it has a reassuring rhythm. Something familiar, yet always changing.

Moving house, virtually

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When you move house and send your change of address cards out, you probably only put your new address on the cards and not your old one. And if people want to send you a “Happy New Home” card they’ll need to copy down your new address on to an envelope.

But when people change email address, more often than not, they send out the “Change of email address” email from their old email address. This is true for the last six such emails I have received.

So if you’re changing email address, transfer your contacts list and send your Change of address email from your new account. You never know how many virtual “Happy new home” cards you might be missing.

And please send them individually or use the BCC field. Just in case anyone accidentally hits the “Reply all” button.

From BBC News: Parents warned of additives link

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Watch out for…

Sunset yellow (E110) – Colouring found in squashes
Carmoisine (E122) – Red colouring in jellies
Tartrazine (E102) – New colouring in lollies, fizzy drinks
Ponceau 4R (E124) – Red colouring
Sodium benzoate (E211) – Preservative
Quinoline yellow (E104) – Food colouring
Allura red AC (E129) – Orange / red food dye

BBC NEWS | Health | Parents warned of additives link