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Thursday, September 18, 2014

UXweek 2014 in San Francisco

Download UXweek 2014 Sketchnotes

I just returned from 5 days in beautiful San Francisco where I attended Adaptive Path's UXweek 2014. It was great getting the opportunity to participate in UXweek and a big "Thank You" to my employer EMC for allowing me to attend! It was a week chock-full of presentations on the future of UX, the importance of Universal Design, and the changing roles and skill sets for those practicing User Experience (UX). There was also plenty of time to meet new UX practitioners and talk to some old friends; all-in-all it was a very busy and exciting week.

One of the more consistent themes of the week was the call to action for all UX practitioners to become more familiar with and begin finding ways to implement Universal Design into their solutions. The principals of Universal Design include:

  1. Equitable use - The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
  2. Flexibility in use - The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  3. Simple and intuitive use - Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
  4. Perceptible information - The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities
  5. Tolerance for error - The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions
  6. Low physical effort - The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue
  7. Size and space for approach and use - Appropriate size and space is provided for reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility

Many speakers included universal design in their presentations and supported the call to action within the UX community; expressing not to forget that the "User" in our job descriptions comes in many shapes, sizes, nationalities, and physical abilities and good design takes this into account and develop solutions that align to our users.

As in past conferences I continued to create my personal "sketchnotes" and make them available via the Adaptive Path UXweek mobile app. By the end of the week I was firmly in second place for "Most Posts" :) It was fun to share the sketchnotes with the other participants and especially those who were presenting. I let people know that my notes contain easter eggs and they would need to review them if they wanted to discover. Since my last visit to UXweek sketchnoting has become quite popular at UX conferences. I was hoping to find other sketchnoters but was surprised that I was one of the only ones sharing my notes. :(

If you would like to know more about the conference I am including a link to my UXweek 2014 Sketchnotes where you can download them and get some insight into all the presentations that I attended. Each sketchnote contains the name of the presentation, the presenter, and a quick sketch of what they look like (some are better than others-speed sometimes kills). Give these a look and please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions. I'll be putting together a bigger presentation to share with my UX peers at EMC; if possible I will also share that.

A big THANK YOU to Adaptive Path, Presenters, and all the sponsors and worker bees that made it all possible. It was an awesome conference and the effects of the discussions will definitely positively affect my future work and thought. Also a big shout out to all my new and old friends that I had the pleasure of hanging out with–I hope to stay in touch with you all and please, please keep up with me and let me know what you are doing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Educating from the Cloud

Hi. I’m T.Scott and I am a chronic designer. Actually my profession is User Experience (UX) Architect but to be honest I was educated to be a visual problem solver…I’m a Designer!

I am also a father of a child with ADHD. A bright kid who just forgets to turn his work in. I know how he feels because I too have ADHD. With one of my kids preparing for college and the other in middle school I have had a significant amount of interaction with the public school system trying to find assistance for my kids and their distinct learning styles.

My UX experience has been focused on the design of collaboration portals for large corporations, both inside and outside the US. In the last couple of years my work has expanded to include social media, big data, and “the cloud.” Several years ago our company pitched an idea to the NYC Public Schools that would include providing free cloud storage to all incoming students from K-12, and through that proposal I began to think deeply about how the cloud and collaboration could benefit public education and especially help those kids like mine who struggled with the current academic structure. What follows are some of my thoughts.

One of the hottest areas in public education is the standardized test. How do you make one test “to rule them all?” Even more radical what if you didn’t need to test the kids at all? What if through the use of the cloud and big data you could have an on-going record of a child’s academic progress complete with strengths and weaknesses?

By implementing free cloud storage in grades k-12 we could create a vast database of the children’s assignments, discover what they were finding easy to learn and what they were having difficulty completing. The teachers could then provide supplemental materials to help boost those subjects where the students were having trouble. Likewise, using the appropriate algorithms created by data scientists we could harvest valuable information about students learning and provide appropriate options for increasing their learning potential. By capturing and harvesting the student’s data the idea of traditional testing could become obsolete. Education could be customized based on individual needs and competencies.

Likewise, through the implementation of cloud based workflows and collaboration the idea of “late homework” could be dramatically reduced. I know that in our school district that when you turn in an assignment late then the highest score you can receive is a 70% (a major point of my contention). My child has had many 70% grades☺What if all schools created collaboration sites from which teachers could post assignments, store accompanying documents, and use workflows for the delivery and receipt of class assignments?

An example would be… Teacher assigns a math assignment; the student receives an email with the assignment, and links to associated reference materials (e.g., digital documents, digital movies, internet sites, etc.) would be included. This would kick off a workflow that would assign the schoolwork into the students calendar where they could set-up reminders. Once the student completes the assignment the work would be checked back into their storage and the teacher would automatically receive a notification that the work was complete and ready for review. No more lost homework; late work would be vastly eliminated through the use of automated calendaring and notifications. The completed work would be queried and based on the grade adjustments would be made to address weaknesses and strengths on the next or supplemental projects.

I am sure there are other avenues I haven’t touched on where this idea could be improved but I thought it might be an interesting subject for discussion here on Medium. I look forward to hearing back from others and opening up a discourse on this subject. Education is vital for our continued growth and for the future of our society. Finding ways to individualize education so that it is interesting and beneficial to our children should be of greatest importance. Finding creative and new ways to use technology to our advantage is foundational for our successful future.
Originally posted by me to Medium

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

245 lbs and dropping

It's true since getting serious about my health I have worked to change my eating habits, increase my exercise, and I've added meditation to my daily practices. So far I am down 25 lbs, and I have come off my Enbrel and Testosterone therapy. My psoriasis is almost completely gone and the inflammation I suffered due to the psoriatic arthritis is gone. 

What have I done differently? Well first off I have up all soda and began drinking a lot of water. I have also begun taking a product called Plexus ( -shameless plug for my beautiful wife) that helps regulate my blood sugar. Likewise, I have begun eating a Paleo diet eliminating all wheat flour from my diet-try to eat foods that are fresh, GMO-free, and hormone free. I've also added daily probiotics to my routine.

The last addition is a daily walk/jog of 3-miles and some 15 min stationary bike breaks throughout the day. I feel awesome and I am excited to be throwing away my big boy clothes :)

Just felt like sharing! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cubist-esque Texas

I've been sketching and pondering changing the theme of my art to something nearer and dearer to my in Texas! For those of you "not from these parts" there is a lot of good about Texas and being a Texan that would be very interesting seen through the eyes of my colorful, multidimensional, and excessively patterned art. 

As I mentioned before I am in the process of selecting some artwork from my vast inventory to sell on Etsy and once I have paid the man and can save enough for more paint I will start the new series. I am actually very excited about this direction! I'll keep you posted.

Def Leppard, Kiss, and now Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe ...

Me best mate Derek and I are having a week of Metal! Sunday night we went and saw Def Leppard and Kiss. I really dug DL but KISS not so much. Before I start getting hate-mail from the members of KISS Army let me try and explain myself. After watching so many episodes of the Gene Simmons show and hearing how he screwed Ace Freely and Peter Kris out of millions of $$. It's hard to watch all the theatrics without thinking that Gene has said that when he gets too old he's considering franchising the KISS brand to a younger group of NeoRockers to continue the KISS legacy...WTF! 

Etsy FTW...or uh, maybe not.

I'm trying to navigate the creation of a store in Etsy. Should be easy but every time I start I realize I need something else (e.g., good pictures of artwork, prices, cute but accurate descriptions) So what do I do? That's correct I procrastinate and then get busy with something with less roadblocks :) keep posted for updates on progress.