This weekend I tested out designing and building an App in record-time using Sketch, Marvel, Atom, React-Native and Expo.io. The objective was to throw together a quick prototype from Flow to Front-end. The theme is a Sleep tracker. I started with basic Flow.

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The user flow leads the user from an overview, through sleep logs to sleep events. Then, I drew out some wireframes. You can view the crude wireframe prototype here: https://marvelapp.com/ah00fd4

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I’ve tried React Native before, but not to this depth — so I found a neat framework to help me set up the env and deployment etc. Expo.io. …


Blockchain is a zany cool idea, especially for crypto-anarchists like me. I’ve been wading deeper into crypto this weekend; got myself setup with Metamask, started hunting Bounties, opened my Gitcoin tip jar, joined some slack & telegram communities and became a Level 1 Crypto-Zombie.

Remember one of my recent posts about giving up coding? yeah, forget that. I’m full of sh*t. Here I go again, this time raking at the blockchain soil.

So, here is my crypto-zombie Ethereum Solidity Contract (s’no’biggie — just a Zombie generating blockchain hook).


or, How I learned to stop worrying and study piano.

For a few years. I have to say, quite a few years. Many years. I tinkered with coding. I’ve invested many moments of my life to coding. I like coding.

I used to like coding.

I liked coding when it seemed to make sense. But I’ve since, in the last year, come to stop believing in coding as a valuable use of my time. Ultimately I believe this is mainly due to the rise of artificial intelligence, but at a more practical level I dislike the current practices of coding: Coding starts out as pleasant architecture, but ends in pain-staking restoration. …


I’ve had a post in mind about the disruption that text (and voice) interfaces are going to wreak upon businesses, but I hadn’t got round to writing more than my first thoughts on the text UI itself, and now someone has done it for me. http://alistapart.com/article/all-talk-and-no-buttons-the-conversational-ui

I consider this an intelligent piece articulating the problems (for businesses) that are right around the corner. Like, *right* around the next corner. Like, this corner, coming … now!

CEOs are overpaid if they haven’t seen what is coming, coming. And I often found in UX that CEOs are no longer in control of the situation, and that UX and more, developers, are in control: How many times has a business initiative been crushed by a developer stating “it can be done, but it’s lots of work” (i.e. …


Part Four in an n part series of coding job “apps”

Part Four in my ongoing “job board” coding series (others here, here and here): Coding a bot to look for jobs for you. Facebook recently announced their chatbots thing: Chatbots are not that super new, but more fuel is now on the fire and chatbots are probably app-killers — So let’s make our own super simple one!

Setup

We’re going to use Github’s awesome Hubot for our bot kit and we will plug it into Slack, because we are *always* on Slack, amirite?

Pre-requisites for this episode? Node, npm, git, yeoman, Hubot, Slack and a Bot token, and Heroku to deploy. Also some knowledge of Coffeescript, and the command line (terminal) will help. …


Part three of my “quick job board” series, this time for React Native — and deployable on mobile devices. This follows on from “quick job board in 48 lines of code” with Meteor, and the “quick job board with meteor and React” version.

The beautiful thing about React is the syntax and structure is very similar, regardless of platform — so the React Native for devices code is very similar to any web based version.

For this app we have 2 files: Index and Results. The app is only a single feed on one page, but I have broken the App into two components to keep the “pages” in separate files (as well as being better practice). …


So I’ve been studying programming AI bots. And in that warren there is also Machine Leaning/Deep Learning/Machine intelligence.

Further down the warren are the debates about intelligent robots replacing jobs. Which touches on the subjects of economy, deflation and capitalism in general.

So, you know, the A.I. hole goes pretty deep.

Coming back to the surface: having studied more closely programming a bot and how to endow it with some rudimentary intelligence I stand back, into the light of deep learning, and do wonder: Why program a bot at all? If I agree that deep learning is true (I refer generally to the method of reinforcement learning via neural networks), programming a bot “the old fashioned way” doesn’t make sense, and I am just wasting my time on such a redundant and nonsensical mechanical process. …


I recently wrote a mini-tutorial “How to write a job app in 48 lines of code” — and here it is again, but using React JS: Facebook’s javascript love-child. This is slightly longer than 48 lines of code, but mainly because I also integrated a Material UI interface. I actually learned React so I could use this UI library. React is not strictly necessary with the Meteor framework, as Meteor is reactive out-of-the-box — but I like Google’s Material UI style, and it required React, so here we are.

Getting Started

Ok, so as before let’s just add our packages to a new Meteor…


UX is focussed on user needs. And to discover user needs, we run through a “discovery” phase. But, what if people don’t know their needs? Or the needs discovered are distracted, irrelevant or not deep enough to really satisfy the designer.

A good experience designer wants to seek out deep motivations: Motivations that oftentimes the users themselves do not acknowledge. This is where experience design, for me, encroaches the territory of psychology.

My ultimate goal as an experience designer is to design experiences that enable the user to grow, to realise themselves: This requires that I know what the user desires, what their dreams are — what they want to become. …


Frequently I hear the case for not using Bootstrap when developing a responsive website because it’s “too heavy”. And the proposing developer recommends using an obscure grid framework that weighs less than 1k in its place.

I love levity and brevity as much as the next designer, but I also feel like stepping into the breach here to defend the intelligent architecture and practicality of the bootstrap framework.

First of all, Bootstrap is not heavy. You cannot compare a 1k grid framework (helium.css?) with a fully loaded bootstrap, which I often think is the mistake: Bootstrap has been intelligently engineered, if you only want the grid, then comment out all the other items you don’t need, and they won’t be compiled. …

About

Derry Birkett

Thoughts, stories and ideas from a Digital Product Designer.

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