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January 29, 2015

Paperproto

Filed under: Design — admin @ 9:19 pm

A 3D printable model of a phone that lets you create quick paper prototypes. Great idea!

Don’t Describe A Unicorn Unless You Really Think You Can Cage A Unicorn

Filed under: Design — admin @ 9:12 pm

I come across a lot of job descriptions and their quality varies wildly. The descriptions that exist in the UI/UX contract design community are intended to snare the widest pool of talent possible — from a recruiter perspective, the more potential candidates, the more likely the role will be filled. But this often leads to awkward interviews, where it quickly becomes apparent that your skills do not match the role.

This guide from Google Ventures summarises what makes a good job description. Like anything of value, it takes time and craft to prepare but the payoff is more suitable candidates applying for roles.

How to Make Side Projects Work At A Digital Agency

Filed under: Culture,Design — admin @ 9:06 pm

Spending time working on non-client work is something I believe is key to maintaining motivation within a creative team. Taking a break from client work to spend time solving a completely different problem is mentally and creatively refreshing.

Smashing Magazine have an article on the subject that’s definitely worth a read. From my experience, the biggest challenge to these internal side projects is making it commercially viable. But to only consider side projects in a commercial light is to miss the bigger picture and the greater benefit they can bring to creative teams.

As a contractor, I doubt I’ll be partaking in any side projects during my contract work. I do, however, plan on working on some side projects in my own time.

January 2, 2015

New Horizons

Filed under: For Posterity,Working — admin @ 7:56 pm

2015 promises to be a year of change for me, professionally speaking. In December, I left my role as Design Director at HeathWallace after more than 9 enjoyable years.

It was a very hard decision to make; to leave a company you’ve poured tens of thousands of hours into (not all during ‘work hours’), a company who you’ve helped grow, clients you’ve helped make happy, colleagues who’ve become firm friends. But, after all those years, I felt I needed a new challenge: new ways of working; new teams; new problems to solve in new verticals. Our industry moves at such a pace, I worried that I was becoming stagnant.

I started asking myself some difficult questions. If I stayed, where would I be in 12 months time? What experiences would I have had? Was I happy? Through months of cognitive chewing, I came to the sad conclusion that I needed to move on.

The world of contracting was appealing: short term blasts of exposure to new work, teams, methods, challenges. The flexibility to choose the kind of work I might like to do. The ego massage that when you do a good job, it reflects well on you personally.

And yet, at the same time it was terrifying. As a father of two young children and the sole breadwinner of the house, I would be taking a massive risk. Contract roles do not come along until a matter of weeks before they start. My notice period was three months; I probably wouldn’t be able to find a role until 2-3 weeks before I left. So if I left, I wouldn’t know where I would end up for months. As someone who’s meticulous about finances and planning, this was incredibly difficult to accept.

Questions gnawed at me. Am I good enough? Can I survive in the far-more-cut-throat world of contracting? How will it feel to be treated as a commodity, rather than an embedded employee? What if the work dries up?

Ultimately, I’ve decided that the risks are worth the potential enrichment this experience offers. And no, I don’t mean fiscal enrichment!

I’m lucky. I’ve got the support of my beautiful wife and that of our families. I know that they believe in me and want to see me professionally happy and fulfilled. We’ve been open about the risks and what it would mean; ultimately it’s a decision I could only have taken with their full support.

So here we are. For the first time in my entire career, I’m doing my own thing. Whether it works out or not is completely down to me. And that’s massively sobering.

I’ll try and document my experiences as I go — I certainly found solace across the Internet when I was pondering change. I feel it only right that I should try and pay some of it back.

So 2015: what you got?

I wrote four things in 2014

Filed under: jammylammy.com — admin @ 7:26 pm

A piddly four! I can’t even think of an excuse.

I will try and create more of my own content in 2015.

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