design

Game design lessons for interaction design talk

Just saw that the lightning talk I gave at DEFUSE Dublin towards the end of last year is up on youtube.

Thanks to Ben.

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Monday, February 28th, 2011 Conference, design, games 41 Comments

ASOS Marketplace is live

On the 17th March, I left my job at EMC Consulting (formerly Conchango). On the 19th of March, with my fledgling company Orangered I started doing some work for Profero. My first project was to work on a pitch for ASOS, a company I’ve admired for sometime who are known for doing interesting things in the online retail space in particular with regards to fashion.

Apparently ASOS were doing some sort of marketplace site which would allow their customers to sell to one another. Well after a successful pitch and 6 months building the site (with one of the best teams of people I’ve worked with), it’s live.

I’m delighted with what’s been achieved in such a short space of time. It’s a pretty rare thing for me to get to the end of a project like this and feel so happy with the results rather than lamenting what might have been. That is a credit too the developers, for caring about the design and user experience as much as the code, and to the client, ASOS. Throughout the company, but most particularly the product owners have a keen eye for what works, a drive for quality in everything, but also another trait which is so important with any product owner - they know where to give and take, when to insist on a feature and when to sacrifice one.

Marketplace is not finished, I’m not sure if it ever will be. Its is not a site that will be left to lie fallow over the next year. Instead ASOS have learned a little from agile start ups and launched early, prepared to make mistakes but learn from them. To trust their brand is strong enough to hold their course should any stormy waves buffet the good ship Marketplace - rather than wrap it in cotton wool.

I can’t wait.

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 Retail, design 13 Comments

Upcoming talks in Dublin

I’m going to be speaking at a couple of events in dublin over the next week.

On Friday I’m talking at the Dublin Web Summit in the Developer, Designer & Mobile stream. My talk is on at 12.15 on the topic of “Game design lessons for interaction design”, I’m also sitting on a panel discussion at 12.24 with Josh Williams from Gowalla and my old friend Paul Campbell.

On Tuesday I’ll be talking at the IXDA Defuse event at the Sugar Club doing a lighting talk also on the topic of game design and interaction design.

Both promise to be great events so if you’re about for one or both say “hi”.

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 Conference, design, games No Comments

Data Visualisation: Football Related Arrests

Here’s a data visualisation I put together  to see what I could do with some of the recently released  government data.

Must credit David McCandless, whose blog Information is Beautiful has provided the inspiration and heavily influenced the look and feel of this design. If you find this interesting his work will blow your mind. I’ll try to be more original in future efforts. Also the Guardian Datablog is an excellent source of both data, ideas, and visualisations.

The data for this is also available.

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Thursday, February 4th, 2010 design 12 Comments

5th November Bing vs Google

Bing remember remembers the 5th of November.

Google remembers the Cookie Monster.

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009 design No Comments

3 Maps & A Homunculus

I love maps. I love data visualisation. So this sort of thing is right up my street. The worldmapper population atlas, show maps of countries of the world with parts of the map scaled by their population density.

Ireland for example look like this:

The UK looks like this:And the US looks like this:

I think things like this have been around for a while, but they’re always interesting. Sort of like a map homunculus, a person where the external body parts represent the internal system. This homunculus shows the the body parts scaled by the size of the sensory area of the brain devoted to them.

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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 design 1 Comment

How to get Obamafied

Obamafied: adj. To practice a “Yes, we can!” attitude through vision, purpose, plan and action; especially when faced with an obstacle.

hope_colm

I’ve been using a new avatar on Facebook, twitter and a few other places. Someone asked me how they could put one together. Here’s how I did it.

  1. Get a Mac.
  2. Install the Obamafy plugin for the Photobooth application.
  3. Tun up photobooth with the Obamafy effect (it will be at the end). Getting the light right can be a bit tricky as it needs to be fairly bright to get the good highlights and lowlights for the image to work. A bit of experimentation should help.
  4. Put on your best visionary pose.
  5. Take a photo.
  6. Grab an Obama Hope poster image and bring both your photobooth image and the poster image into Photoshop. You may need to get Photoshop first.
  7. Put your image over the Obama one. You’ll probably need to tidy up the image a bit. Just make sure you keep to the basic colours they use. I found I needed to do a bit of work at the bottom of mine so it was totally dark at the bottom. Exactly what you’ll have to do to make this I ork will depend on the starting image you took. Take care to keep the pale yellow border as well.
  8. I also tweaked the Obama O logo to turn it into a C.
  9. You should basically be done then. I saved mine as a GIF cause of the small number of colours used (warning: twitter hates GIFs so if you’re uploading it to twitter make it a jpeg or png insead). I also did two versions: The classic portrait one shown above and a square one since a lot of online services seem to like square avatars. The best way I found to do this was to simply extend the pale yellow border.hope_colm_squareborder
  10. If anyone does this I’d love to see your results.

P.S. I also came across this image which I love…

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Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 design 4 Comments

Eircom is delighted

No really, they are. They’ve been delighted almost every day this year.

Except on the 25th of November when Eircom was “extremely disappointed”.

How do I know all this? Well Michael Kennedy Eircom’s Marketing Director said so on their new broadband website. Damien mentioned they had one recently so I wombled over this morning to have a look. A bit of clicking around led me to their latest news section. Most of their news “articles” seemed to be announcing new areas of broadband availability. Such as this one.

As part of its nationwide broadband rollout programme, eircom today announced it has broadband enabled the telephone exchanges serving the residents of Ballygorman and Milford in Co. Donegal. Today’s announcement comes as part of eircom’s public commitment to broadband enable over 400 exchanges across Ireland by the end of next year.

Commenting, Michael Kennedy, Marketing Director, eircom said “eircom is delighted to announce the roll out of broadband to Ballygorman and Milford in Co. Donegal. eircom is one hundred per cent committed to making broadband available to as many parts of the country as we can. Customers in Donegal who sign up for broadband can also save €120 per annum when they bundle eircom broadband and eircom talktime”

In fact some of the other articles seemed to be suspiciously similar.

As part of its nationwide broadband rollout programme, eircom today announced it has broadband enabled the telephone exchange serving the residents of Belcarra in Co. Mayo. Today’s announcement comes as part of eircom’s public commitment to broadband enable over 400 exchanges across Ireland by the end of next year.

Commenting, Michael Kennedy, Marketing Director, eircom said “eircom is delighted to announce the roll out of broadband to Belcarra in Co. Mayo. eircom is one hundred per cent committed to making broadband available to as many parts of the country as we can. Customers in Mayo who sign up for broadband can also save €120 per annum when they bundle eircom broadband and eircom talktime”

My mistake. All of the articles are suspiciously similar.

As part of its nationwide broadband rollout programme, eircom today announced it has broadband enabled the telephone exchanges serving the residents of Churchcross and Ballycondon in Co. Cork. Today’s announcement comes as part of eircom’s public commitment to broadband enable over 400 exchanges across Ireland by the end of next year.

Commenting, Michael Kennedy, Marketing Director, eircom said “eircom is delighted to announce the roll out of broadband to Churchcross and Ballycondon in Co. Cork. eircom is one hundred per cent committed to making broadband available to as many parts of the country as we can. Customers in Cork who sign up for broadband can also save €120 per annum when they bundle eircom broadband and eircom talktime”

Call me cynical but I suspect someone’s just replacing the words in Michael Kennedy’s original quote.

LESSONS:

  • If you’re going to have a news section of a site then it should actually be news.
  • If you push those news articles to the front page of your site then people are more likely to notice the lack of effort you’re making.
  • Think about the appropriate way to fram your content. So if your content is a number of new areas that broadband is being rolled out in (to take a random example off the top of my head), then maybe a map pointing to all those new areas might be better than a series of articles.

Our educational bit aside, back to Eircom’s mood, and that strange anomaly when on the 25th of November Eircom suddenly became extremely disappointed, only for Michael Kennedy to announce the very following day that they were delighted once more. Those guys know how to pick themselves up from the canvas. To try and shed more light on the topic I drew a graph to try and see any patterns in the qualitative data Michael and the Eircom website have provided.

eircom_mood_2008

This didn’t really help.

I’ll keep you updated on further progress in this line of research.

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Sunday, December 21st, 2008 design 9 Comments

Spotify: Following Best Practice or Just Copying?

I’ve recently started using Spotify thanks to an invite from my friend Julian. Spotify is comes in a desktop client form and streams music a la Last.fm.

It has less social networking elements and doesn’t do recommendations to nearly the same extent. Where it does excel is that it has a great library with great search capabilities and as an experience it feels like you’re listening to your music own collection. At least it would after you’ve sprinkled your music collection with 1 minute ads. Actually the audio ads are not too bad, not being so frequent as to be annoying. There are also banner ads on the client but since that’s minimised most of the time I don’t notice them.

I shared it with Richard, who is an extreme music buff. His comment was this:

Like it so far.  I get fed up with so many beta apps cos’ they take time to install and learn how to use them – time which I don’t have.  This was easy – up and running in a matter of minutes.  I can live with ads.  Music is a little limited but still finding some good stuff.

I couldn’t help but wonder at that easiness. A glance at the interface is enough to show why someone familiar with a certain dominant music player might find the client quick to get to grips with (I think Rich was also talking about the end to end experience of signing up also).

Spotify Playlist

iTunes interface

iTunes Store

What I’m wondering is whether this is a clever play to follow the design of an application that people are familiar with rather than trying to reinvent the music player format. And iTunes is a pretty well designed application at its core, though it’s really starting to bloat. Or is this a convergence of laziness, cutting time and effort in design? Or is it just plain plaigarism?

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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 Music, applications, design 3 Comments