# Legacy Wordpress Export
Hello and welcome,
Joshua R. Lowry
Sketching is one of the best tools for rapid communication and iteration. It is a skill that improves with practice, and in 2017 I'm practicing more than ever. Today, I'm sharing some of the tools I use for practice and some of the sketches I have made so far this year.
Today, I'm crossing over a major milestone. I suppose this makes me an adult. The average age of retirement is over sixty years old, which means that I still have all of the life I have lived before I even retire. This is great news because I have plenty of time to grow and explore!
I'm a big fan of the [What to Draw](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=llamaze.com.br.whattodraw&hl=en) app on Android, which gives random sketch prompts. This one stood out to me as being something that would be fun.
I have the \"Design Bug,\" which is a clinical way of saying that I find myself wondering how I could improve experiences that I have. Redesigning things is fun and relaxing, and can also be a good way to demonstrate design process.
\"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits,\" \[Obama\] said. \"I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.\"
I am currently listening (Audibling?) to the book \"[Algorithms to Live By-The Computer Science of Human Decisions](https://www.amazon.com/Algorithms-Live-Computer-Science-Decisions-ebook/dp/B015CKNWJI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)\" written by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. In the book, they describe how algorithms used in computer science can also be used in the real world.
My wife, Patricia, and I went to visit my parents for the weekend a while ago. My stepdad drove us to breakfast in his Ford Fiesta. When we arrived, Patricia tried to get out but realized that the door was somehow locked. Upon further investigation, there may be some interesting design safety considerations about the locking mechanisms on the car doors.
I went to a happy hour with a friend at a local bar called Hops Scholar. I've been to the bar before, and I really like that they have a wide selection of beers (47 taps) and an easy-going atmosphere. They have a chalkboard which typically lists their beers, but this time they told us, \"We have our menu on this app, it is called \[pause, while the bartender turns a placard around\] 'Untapped'\". We said, \"Great!\" and ordered a round based on the bartender's initial suggestion and sat down at a table across the room.
Beginning research is an acknowledgment that we don't know. There are many things that we may not know, and we can try to articulate them by listing hypothesis as assumptions and then testing them with research. We are always better off knowing sooner because our ability to pivot is improved and our sunk cost will be lower.
When I feel like I haven't been very productive I think a lot about how retirement would certainly free me up to do \"all that stuff\" that I wish I could do.
Sneaky makes me wonder what you are doing with my information!
It is interesting how sometimes the smallest things can trigger an emotion. Whether it is a word, a phrase, or even just [learning something new](http://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe). It is important in your design copy to use words relevant for your audience.
I recently re-watched a great TED talk by Simon Sinek titled \"How great leaders inspire action\".
Things in your career and life don't always go as expected. Maybe you didn't plan, or maybe you had some assumptions about how everything would work.
My life would be easier if I had a home dashboard system that allowed me to control different parts of my home and fed me information. Of course, this implies that I have things to control... I do not.
Have you ever approached an elevator and on your way through the open doors you suddenly realize that the person inside wasn't holding the door? What about from the other side? You are using the button to hold the door and the person outside is waiting for you to flag them safely through the doors. These are awkward moments of the poor design of elevators.
I figured it is about time to reveal some of the characters of my notes. Over time I have been trying to draw, with a short amount of time, characters in my notes. Typically this is someone who has said something interesting in a meeting or the person delivering a presentation. Shout out if you see yourself. I also sometimes draw characters when I need to get my creative juices flowing, so some of these are characters that don't relate to anyone in particular.
So many people tell me that their sketches aren't good, but they are just overworking it! People assume that a sketch has to be beautiful, with straight, clean lines, and maybe even a little color. They are wrong.
I hear a lot of buzz on both sides of the MVP argument. Some say, MVPs are great, others say that they are trouble.
Sketching with ink is definitely the right strategy for the UX field. Ink is so rigid and yet so flexible.
I remembered sketching a cool pig and a moon concept years ago, but I couldn't recall if I had taken a picture of it. I went to my Google photos and started sifting. Then I had the great idea to try searching for the term \"Yellow\" because I thought it might have been on a yellow sticky note. While I got many great photos with the color yellow, this one was not there. Then, I went out on a limb and tried to search for the term \"sketch\". I was shocked at how well Google identified my sketches! There it was, near the bottom. This should tell you how long ago this sketch was created. _In fact, Google claims the photo was taken back in September 2011!_
I was out on the [Sketch Daily Reddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/SketchDaily/) again looking for sketch prompts. This time, it was a Cartoon Self Portrait in the style of your favorite cartoon. I'm a big fan of [Bob's Burgers](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob%27s_Burgers), and I bear some resemblance to Bob I think.
I am back at it again with Inkscape. I have regularly sketched these interesting layered art concepts where it looks like each layer has been cut away to reveal more depth. Below are just a few I had on hand.
I am renting camera equipment for an upcoming trip, and I found the user journey to be kind of interesting. I will first detail my journey for renting the equipment, talk about challenges I had with the site, and then talk about how I came up with a pricing model that should enable a new UI design.
Sometimes the best user experiences aren't that you went through and did a ton of research to re-architect the entire experience, but that you thought about what could be valuable and made something just a bit better.
Sometimes you need to ask me for some information. Most of the time, I'm not really sure why you want it. My gender is an example of one input field that I'm never sure what people are doing with it. I understand that you could do something, but I don't think most people are.
A few posts ago I mentioned renting camera equipment. It was finally time to pick up and use the equipment in advance of vacation (where the real use begins).
We went on a quick trip to South Africa recently, part of why I have been absent. We visited Cape Town, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape of Good Hope, Hermanus (Whale Watching), and Kruger National Park (Safari).
Our day at Kirstenbosch was a little gloomy at first. We actually were planning to visit Robben Island, but due to the weather were not able to get out to the island. We hopped on the bus and made our way over to these beautiful gardens.
The climax of our trip was in Kruger National Park. For those who don't know, Africa has \"[The Big Five](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_five_game)\" game. We were lucky enough to see them all, but we didn't capture great photos of the Black Rhinoceros. During this part of the trip, we rented a vehicle. It was particularly interesting because they drive on the \"wrong side\" of the road.
Lean UX to me is a method for prioritizing evaluative research over generative research. In the long run, you will have the same research information, but the product will have been delivered dozens of times to the customer already. It sounds like a great win on the surface, but it requires a large commitment on the part of the entire team.
The easy thing to do for any product development is adding features. Sometimes the features we do implement are as important (if not more) than those we do not. To do this, we need a strategy and backing research to be able to say no to the superfluous and focus on the necessary. Research does not need to be a large effort, and you don't have to halt work to get it. Here are two strategies to get started.
Sometimes good designs can become great designs by rearranging the parts. I find that the best arrangement for tasks closely mirrors the way we do things without technology. The closer we match these experiences the easier our system will be to use. As a bonus, rearranging interfaces is typically pretty simple and low cost.
I took a great winter break. I have been having a ton of fun doing an assortment of things. It is only fair that I catch you up on some of the things I have been doing.
I decided to participate in the [Uplabs](http://www.uplabs.com/challenges) Craigslist challenge. In short, they are looking for Craigslist redesigns as if Craigslist were released today. I find this particular challenge interesting because I think the design is simple and straightforward like old-timey newspaper postings. Doing anything that gets in the way of the ease of operation is a failure case. Another challenge that Craigslist has is that none of the content is managed by Craigslist, leaving the content unedited by a professional. This post will be a 3-part series leading to the final result.
This is part two of my [Uplabs](http://www.uplabs.com/challenges) Craigslist redesign challenge. Last time, I reviewed several of the pages of the Craigslist Website and identified some stumbling blocks as well as positive components. Next, I will build up some artifacts that will help inform the design process.
This is part three of my [Uplabs](http://www.uplabs.com/challenges) Craigslist redesign challenge. You can read post one and two which cover some basic overviews of the Craigslist site as well as a Persona, Scenario, and Journey Map I will use today.
I have been learning Angular Material. I also wanted to play with some charts, so I'm using ng2-charts which is back-ended by chart.js. Since I have been designing more at work I can feel some of my programming experience getting rusty. Also, since I sometimes design using Angular Material components, I find it handy to understand how they all work together.
This plate armor knight came in a learn to paint kit from [Reaper](http://reapermini.com). Total paint time was somewhere in the 6-8 hour range.
I have spent most of 2017 building my sketching skills. Recently, I have been wondering how far my designs could go if I started making higher-fidelity prototypes. Unfortunately, skill building can be hard on the go, so I signed up for the [100-day Daily UI challenge](http://dailyui.co).
Initially, I felt a bit bored by Challenge 6. Once I started thinking about what I wanted to design, though, I remembered that I have a DND 5th Edition Campaign full of characters. Each character could have their own \"user\" profile. For those who are unfamiliar, characters in DND have all kinds of information you can track, including background information, stats for their capabilities, items they are holding, and more. This information is typically captured in a character sheet (example below).
Challenge number eight was to design a 404 screen. The screen I created could be used for something fun and coder-centric. In software development, I always refer to the black box as anything I want to abstract away. In this case, the black box is the page.
Recently, I have been enthralled with the work of [Dyson Logos](http://www.dysonlogos.com/). Over the last several weeks I have been watching as Dyson posted map after map of beautifully drawn maps. Being a fan of sketching, I was drawn naturally to the allure of gaming cartography. I had one problem, I just needed to sit down and make something.
The Daily challenges aren't as much daily as... maybe weekly. I hit a stumbling block on Challenge 7, which cost me some time. I just couldn't for the life of me think of something I cared about to spend the time on \"settings\". So, I shelved that one and have moved on for now.
Design challenge 10 is one that barely held my interest. I spend most of my usual design time working on scientific applications (no social sharing here). It took me a while to really think of something worth sharing, and then it came to me.
This may turn into a series, but I wanted to show off something early. Inspired by [Dyson Logos Geomorph Challenge](https://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/maps/geomorph-mapping-project/), I decided to buy some grid cards online and create some interlocking maps.
This was my first Chicago Camps event and it was masterfully hosted through the [Demio platform](https://demio.com/). This event attracted some great speakers including [Stephen Anderson](https://twitter.com/stephenanderson) and [Kim Goodwin](https://twitter.com/kimgoodwin). These notes do not cover all of the speakers in the conference.
I started working on a new site last night. Eventually you will be directed there by visiting joshualowry.com. Take a look [http://joshualowry.netlify.app](https://joshualowrycom.netlify.app/)