Week 21 - 14 May 2020

I’ve resurrected my plan for building a shed in my garden with a desk in it. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while, but I’ve been spurred on by the feeling that we might increase the time we spend remote at Farewill - even after lockdown ends. All the pre-fab ones are either crap or expensive, so I’ve been reading span tables and browsing for wood. I feel lucky to have a garden in London.

At work I’ve been sketching out a new version of the dashboard we give to charities. The dashboard allows them to see what kinds of people are leaving them money, and which campaigns are doing well for them. Aside from a tiny bit of data visualisation stuff I did at Parliament, I’ve not designed anything like this before. Such a lovely treat of a project! Lots of interesting considerations. Clare recommended Show me the numbers which has been really helpful. I’m looking forward to sticking the prototype in front of some of the charities we work with next week.

I’ve mentioned before that we’re hiring for designers (and now researchers!). Which means I’ve been looking at a lot of portfolios. It’s made me wonder whether as a discipline Product Design has painted itself into a bit of a corner with an over-emphasis on process. I spoke to a candidate from a UX bootcamp who’d been explicitly told by one tutor to put the double diamond in every case study. Which just seems completely wild to me. It’s like a carpenter showing me their toolbox rather than the chairs they made. To be clear I think this is a problem created by the industry and those hiring rather than candidates themselves. And I’ve absolutely been guilty of an overblown case study or two. Process is fine, but it’s much more interesting to see how it’s been applied.

In stark contrast to that, whilst looking through portfolios I somehow stumbled on this case study about a house by an architecture firm practice Tikari Works. It’s a hundred times more succinct than any case study I’ve ever written, and it’s about an entire house rather than some button. If anyone ever asks me for a model case study, I’ll be sending them this.

Anyway - back on the hiring, I was absolutely delighted last week to make someone an offer - and crucially, have them accept it. I was suddenly hit with the fact that our design team will be double in size very soon, and the fear that what works for a team of 5 will probably not work for a team of 10. I flip flop between thinking we can totally self organise (as we currently do) and thinking someone needs to grab the wheel. As always, there’s probably a happy place somewhere in the middle.

The first version of the website for a friend I was talking about last ‘week’ also just went live here - Isobel Irwin.

Speak soon!

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