Keeping It Real About UX!

Working from home – week 3

Wanted to get in a quick update on the new freelance adventure. It’s been a little difficult to write as I have been VERY busy. I’ve been working from home about 3 days a week and am lucky to have access to the company office at my leisure, so I work from there about 2 days a week. The communication issues have sorted themselves out pretty well. Of course there are still challenges but now that I’m in a rhythm things are much better.
The one thing I am finding a challenge is taking enough “breaks” during the day. Most of the times I’m so heads down that I barely come up for air. Of course this is leading to a burn out effect which I’m now having to counter. Do any other freelancers out there have any advice on how to divide work time?

Working from home… week 1

Today is day 3 of my working from home adventure. So far, it has been going really well. I’ve been able to set aside an area to work during “work hours” and promptly put everything away when I close up shop for the day. I do this in order to separate work from home life (even though in reality they are the same place!) Here are the things I’ve found the hardest so far:

  1. The places I have to sit aren’t very comfortable and it’s not feasible to set up shop on the couch. Then again I’m not sure my chair at the office was very comfy either.
  2. Communication has been harder. This is not due to the lack of trying on both ends, and I contribute this to many factors. First, it is early on in the project and things are still fuzzy and due to the size of the effort they will be fuzzy for a little while. Also, not being able to sit at someone’s desk and hash things out is a hard habit to break. I’m sure, however, that myself and the team will continue to refine this process until we find a grove.

Despite those two things, I’m really not running into any issues, although it is only day 3. Do you work from home? Any suggestions, comments or heads up??

Starting fresh

After just a few weeks, and plenty of support, I find myself starting a new venture (new at least for me) into the world of freelance. It is a world that I have always wanted to explore and have thought about often, but was too scared to leave the comforts of a fulltime gig. Now it seems that I’m being escorted down the freelance path and I can say that it is something that I’m very excited about!
Now that a freelance opportunity has been presented to me, I find information about freelancing coming from all different places. In my networking ventures, almost everyone I’ve met has freelanced at some point in their career, several of them still freelancing full time. These colleagues have been integral in helping me make my decisions. I’m also finding resources such as Blellow and the Freelancer’s Union full of important and useful information.
So now I enjoy a week off from both working and work searching to reflect on my future endeavors and how best to enjoy this time. I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on how it works out!!

On the job search trail… week 2

Last week was quite a week. First I participated in a two day job placement workshop which, at first, seemed like a waste of my time, but ended up being THE BEST choice I could’ve made. I learned a great deal and was refreshed on other topics and I’m now fully invested in my job search. The thing is that there ARE jobs out there. Perhaps not a ton of jobs but there are jobs. Unfortunately for me I do not want just any job, I want one where I can contribute to the company and its goals and at the same time develop myself and my interests. Networking has helped me to start to uncover these types of jobs and also has allowed me to talk to and learn from so many people. Living in NYC with all these resources available really is a plus.
Second, I’m another year older! I had a great birthday and want to thank everyone for their wishes and support!! Well back to the search front for now…

Unemployed week 1…

I must admit that I never imagined that I would find myself in a position where I’m not working. Despite the obvious set backs, however, I’ve managed to keep a positive outlook on my situation. After being laid off I was of course immediately filled with shock and fear, but after a few hours I was filled with hope and promise. I was able to take a few days to think about the types of work and opportunities that I want to pursue and in doing so have really cleared my mind and brought focus into my life.
So from here on out it’s the job search struggle. And struggle it can be if you don’t take control of it! By the way has anyone ever thought about the experience of job searching and how it can be made easier or is it just me? I’m on the lookout for customer experience design positions and hopefully I’ll find something that is close to what I desire. Luckily NYC is full of networking opportunities and I FINALLY get to attend all the UX events that are hosted each month. Stay tuned for updates on what I find!

Roomba week 1

Is the romance already gone? I must say that it’s not, but it’s fading. Does that mean that Roomba is not living up to my expectations… indeed he is. But honestly living in NYC there really just isn’t that much to vaccum. However I will note that my floors are MUCH more clean that before. I think I’ll end up using Roomba about 1 – 2 times a week. The one thing that I haven’t used yet are the little lighthouse features. I think I’m really just too lazy to set them up. What they are for those that haven’t experience Roomba bliss are little triangle looking things about three inches tall that you can set up to create boundaries for Roomba so that he stays in one room or ignores another. I find myself just closing the door and letting him be.

So this was not a romance such that I anticpiated, but I do still love the product and am happy with my purchase. It’s so great not to have to sweep the entire place all the time, even though it is small!

Roomba Day 1

I recently made a new purchase that I know will affect my life in many ways. I FINALLY bought a Roomba!!! This product has been all the buzz the past few years, and I got to see it in action during my stint in Texas. When I moved to NYC I vowed to get a Roomba of my own, and he arrived yesterday and is doing well :-). I have named my Roomba… get ready for it…. Roomba and am looking forward to our relationship together. I also wanted to take some time to blog about my experiences with this product, to get my point of view about such a widely talked about vacuum out there.

Having only had Roomba for a few hours, I can’t say that I’ve totally figured out all the features, but I will say that it’s not that hard to… which is a great thing! The first thing I noted was that Roomba came with a quick-start guide (a standard these days). What made this process stand out is that there was really no process. The guide basically said take Roomba out of the box and plug him in to charge. When he’s green hit the “Clean” button and you are on your way. And that was it. There was no assembling necessary, nothing really was necessary except insuring he was charged. Once the light turned green I hit “Clean” as instructed and that was that!

So, so far so good. Set up was simple for general cleaning. I did purchase the 560 model which has some more advanced features that I will putz around with the next couple days and report back with any findings!!

January 20, 2009

Today is the day the world changed. There’s nothing more to say.

Our users

I am completely excited today because tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be away from the office listening to real users talk about my company’s website and more specifically one of the products that I’ve been working on. At my old job, this opportunity came along with just about every project that I worked on, and I realize now that I took that very much for granted. At my new company we do user testing on the website maybe two to three times a year… a drastic change.

The benefit for me and usually anyone that has to do with product development, is that I can see what users want, here their thoughts and feelings as well as watch their reactions to certain ideas. These moments provide me with the ability to make better educated guesses as to what types of things will work for our users and which won’t OR even better which need to be changed. All of this is of course old hat for those of you that have been knee deep in the UX realm, but I was able to bring these thoughts to my forefront and really explore them and understand them.

Although I wish I got to see more user testing, going without it has taught me a LARGE number of lessons as well. We’ll see what happens this week!