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Practice Session – Days Five, Six, Seven and ….??

So I Shifted Gears

I decided I needed to spend some time each day jumping back into programming. I design a lot and after a few months of not programming very much, I realized that I need to hone my chops once again. I haven’t done any Lynda.com tutorials in a while and I am paying for them, so I better start using them. The last few days I have been working through a sweet refresher course on Jquery and AJAX in an effort to remind myself why I got into web dev in the first place and not just stuck with design. Don’t get me wrong, I love to design and its great fun, but as a wanna be UI expert I need to make some time for those programming fundamentals.

The gears have been shifted and I think I will suspend my ‘practice session’ posts indefinably. It was fun, but not that fun.

Categories: Practice is Perfect

Practice Session – Days Three and Four

Days three and four of practice sessions went well. To be honest, I forgot day three. So I made up for it by doubling up my efforts on day four.
I took my day one session idea (my secret idea) and created a couple sub pages for it. So, that is what I did, kind of boring. I should really take pics of what I did and add them, maybe that would make this more exciting. I don’t know.

Categories: Practice is Perfect

Practice Session – Day Two

Day two completed. Wire framed me out a snowboard gear store, sort of a re-design of burton.com. To bad I don’t work for Burton cause I gots me some great ideas. I didn’t get to go snowboarding last year so doing this little wire frame got me stoked to go soon. That’s my other goal, go snowboarding sometime this winter.

I would take a picture of my little sketch, but my camera phone sucks. Its no good, its always looks like the lens is wet or it humid in the room. Most of the time all the pics look like they were taken in the fog. Don’t get me wrong, I like my little blackberry pearl, but the camera sucks. Its almost not worth having it sometime. Off topic, sorry.

Well that was short and sweet. Later kids.

Categories: Practice is Perfect

Practice Session – Day One

I did it. I did my first quick, 30 minute design session this morning. I stuck to my guns and wired framed a website idea that has been floating around in my empty head for months now. I can’t tell you the idea because its double top secret (or just dumb). You pick. It was good to sit down and write down my thoughts on the site, list features and content and than do a quick wire frame to get the visual. I’m not supper happy with it, but for 30 minutes time its a good start. I would need to spend some more time looking at it, researching it and sketching more comps before I decide this is something worth pursuing.

If this site idea is something that I may invest in, then devoting more design session time to it may pan out to be good for me. I can already see why design practice is an asset. It is a good time to reflect back on ideas and flesh them out, or even just gather those ideas together and get them in one place. If I can actually make this a habit I think it will be well worth the time spent.

Categories: Practice is Perfect

New Goal – Design Everyday

I recently re-read “Design Something Everyday” by Jad Limcaco in Smashing Magazine. I read it along time ago when it was first published back in December 09 and I thought to myself, “Yep, I’m gonna do that. Its gonna make me an awesome designer!” Then I never did it. I am gonna take the pledge now that I will do this. I am gonna use this blog to help me meet my goal. My new goal is to do this everyday for 30 days (not the articles recommendation of 365 days) so by December 3rd I won’t even think about it. I’m gonna set up a category titled “Practice is Perfect” and I will be posting my designs there for all the world to see, or at least just the one reader, if there is one reader. Not only will posting my daily practice on this blog help me to get my design practice on, it will also get to post stuff. 2 birds with one stone, err, post.

The Basic Idea

The article challenges all designers to design something everyday, not some big project but just something small on a daily basis. Its like practice. To make a stereotypical sports analogy, if you hit the gym everyday and work on the fundamentals, when it comes game time you won’t need to think about it, you’ll just do it. The idea is that by practicing design on a daily basis, your ‘real’ projects will reflect that practice and you’ll be ore inspired and less likely to get bogged down in design decisions. The article continues to explain a couple important keys to taking your daily dose of design.

  • Just take a few minutes, 15-30 minutes or so will do.
  • Theme design ideas or focus your practice designs on particular concept, say typography.
  • Be accountable. They recommended starting a blog to help out (kind of like this one, except I will just use a category to stay focused)

A couple more things that I think will help me stay motivated through my 30 day experiment is to set aside the same block of time everyday and to make sure that I make rational design choices and keep practice simple. If I set aside the same time everyday then I will be able to remember to practice. This will help me to create the design habit, sort of like brushing your teeth every morning. Plus, just like practice should be, I won’t have to think about it, I’ll just do it. The second thing added to the list, rational choices, means that what ever design ideas I choose I need to keep them simple and to the point. I need to make sure that they are not long Illustrator tutorials that take 3 hours or something crazy like that, keep practice simple.

What To Do

So, like the article says, I need to pick a theme or a concept that I need to work on or to keep me motivated. I’ve thought about a lot of things from learning Illustrator better to just sketching something everyday. But I want something more specific, something that I will be able to do that will make me a better designer and something that will keep me on track and motivated. I have decided that over the next 30 days I will practice my design chops by (insert drum roll here) sketching a new web or mobile wire frame everyday.

I will pick a type of website or mobile app or concept and wire frame it out either by sketch or laptop. As a wanna be UX designer, this type of practice will not only help me with design in general, but it will also allow me to start seeing thing on a more macro level, a user centered level. Most of the time at work I am focused on the look n’ feel layer of the design process and I am busy pushing pixels around. Spending some time everyday to wire frame new ideas and will hopefully allow me start looking at the design process on a deeper level.

So tomorrow I will embark on my daily design journey and I hope I don’t fail. I have never been very good at achieving goals or changing habits so this will be a struggle for me. I will spend about 20 minutes every morning for the next 30 days wire framing my heart out and who knows, maybe I’ll come up with that great web idea that will change the world! Ya, like that will happen.

In the immortal words of one of the greatest shooting guards ever, “Practice? We’re taking about Practice?”

You Too

Hey you, my one reader. Ya you. I think you should do this too. Make your own goal and figure out how your gonna keep yourself motivated to design something every day for the next 30 days. If you want, share it with me and we can help each other stay motivated.

In Reference:

Design Something Everyday by Jad Limcaco