Confused man standing at the subway in France

Design Thinking for Life

I was feeling overwhelmed, more accurately so “scatterbrained”, by the many areas of life that I want to work on. As a creative person, I get so excited and want to pursue all the things. Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to just focus.

Well, how do I know what to focus on?

Ideation

With so much swirling in my head of what I should be doing. It was time to throw it all out there. I started out with yellow sticky notes and put everything that came to mind on my whiteboard.

Organize

Once I put it all out there, I took a step back and let it sit. I started to notice patterns emerging. I grouped those original yellow sticky notes together based on the emerging patterns. Some sticky notes went to the trash as they were tasks that needed to be completed. I’m looking for broad categories here.

From those, I came up with a few categories:

Redesigning This Blog Based on Components

Around the end of June, I decided it was time to redesign my blog. On a flight back from Disney in Orlando, Florida, I opened up Sketch and began crafting a new design.

This is what I came up with:

I’ve always built my WordPress theme from scratch. I like having as little code as possible, speed, and hand-crafting custom CSS. I’m not against frameworks, I just choose not to use one for my own site. More on that in a future post.

Then I let the design sit for a week. Great.

I was also stuck on what I wanted the mobile layout’s navigation to look like. I still have work to do on that. That’s fine. Ship it. Iterate. Repeat.

Evolving the Approach

In the past, I would have taken my own mockup, put it in Zeplin, and then start coding out the CSS from the top down. However, this time, I decided to try something different: I would look at the code as components. With this task, I was not only creating the HTML/CSS but also cleaning up the PHP & HTML that makes up the current theme.

The site would consist of: the main template structure, a blog template, the main navigation, a blog topic navigation, the search bar, a social media cluster, and the blog post content area.

To build momentum, I started out with the smaller components. Doing that ends up being a quick win, which gives you a boost of creative energy. Then repeat and knock out another; repeat it again.

Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories and It’s Confused User Experience

Earlier this month, Instagram released a new feature for it’s app: Instagram Stories. This isn’t a groundbreaking new feature. It’s a feed of stories from your followers that expire in 24 hours.

Just. Like. Snapchat.
( Admittedly so. )

There is definitely a conflict of attention here. You can’t recreate a spontaneous moment to capture it for another platform. I’ve seen many Snapchat users upload videos to Instagram to share with their audience later. That is, until Snapchat introduced the Memories feature and made it much more difficult to save stories to your phone.

We’ll see if Instagram Stories takes off or not. Just due to the sheer volume of users already on Instagram, most likely it will. That being said, having two feeds competing for attention within the same app does seem to be a bit of an odd user experience.

On the other hand, for any app, increased engagement is definitely the goal and a plus.

Sketch 39 Top Features Including Symbol Resize

Resize Layers in Groups & Symbols

“You can now define how layers within groups and Symbols should move/resize when the user resizes a group or symbol.”

This is what excited me the most about the update. I have been wanting this for a long time.

Not only can you change the label of a symbol dynamically. You can now smartly resize symbols and groups. This will save so much time in day to day design activities.

Sketch Cloud (beta)

“Introducing the first version of Sketch Cloud (Beta) — a free service that lets you upload Sketch documents and share them with the world.”

cloud-browser@2x

How to Customize Your Snapchat Snapcode

Snapchat made a pretty standard landing page for adding people. Here’s mine. It shows your username, snapcode, and a link to download the app.

As an experiment, I made a Snapchat page to promote what I’m snapping about. Turned out pretty sweet.

Snapchat Page

As you can see, I’ve customized my Snapcode. You can do this with your brand, image of yourself, favorite pet, or the theme of what you’re snapping about.