What of this website?

An issue has appeared this morning.

I want to take notes about my Linux switch so I don't repeat the same mistakes when I do it again. The same can be told about all the stuff I try to do really.

To perfom that task, on macOS I enjoy Bear and IA Writer as my notes/script writing tools of choice. However both are not available on Linux and they don't have any cloud offering as of now[1]Both plan to do it though.

So I thought, well, I need an cross-platform text editor, with code highlighting, easy navigation and tagging abilities, what's available to me? I remembered about this notebook that I initially set-up with a lot of ambition. It finally withered over the pression to publish something interesting.

I realized that adopting this, I could solve other problems I faced and kill multiple birds with one stone.

  • Being alone most of the working day, I don't have the ability to share or talk about what I do professionally and I easily forget how important this is. I tried to start using Twitter more but I have no idea if I will follow through at that point. This notebook can be a controlled-space for me to do so.
  • I wanted to get used to write more. After all, that's a key part of my skillset and being out of a corporation didn't improve it. I will write no novels here, but it will put me in the right mindset.

Sharing my personal note is not something easy. I might look ignorant most of the time but, at last, it's ok. I care less about looking being stupid and it is going to be key in my ability to can improve.

  1. Both plan to do it though. ↩︎

Where a list of goals is created

This week was actually my first focusing on what is going to become my normal routine. For the sake of transparency, I will go here into the detail of it.

I will start with the professional aspect as it is the purpose of this journal.

A. Professional Life

I have three main professional challenges to address:

  1. Become a complete developer
  2. Strenghten my design skills
  3. Build my brand

The time-allocation going to look like this: ratio-1

A.1. Become a complete developer

I have to be able to prototype whatever I want in the future, web or native mobile.

The task is going to be the most challenging as I will walk on grounds I barely touched yet. Backend web development with a focus on security and fast redeployment. Native iOS and Android development.

I started by studying iOS development and I will soon start to study Python in parallel.

A.2. Strenghten my design skills

To tackle the problems I want to solve in design, a focus on AR/VR and conversational UX is necessary.

There is so much to learn on those topics. Linguistic, 3D Design and Engines, AR/VR Design. Plus all the other areas of my design practice won't magically stop evolving.

I am now involved in a side-project including design thinking, UX and high-fidelity UI. I will use that to systemize my design process and strengthen my core knowledge. Starting Blender tutorials is pretty much the next concrete step.

A.3. Build my brand

I want people to see me as not only a specialist but someone who start discussions and engage an audience. Becoming a specialist in starts with having an updated and rock-solid portfolio. I need to get out there and create and present high-quality content.

That means that I need to better understand branding, sales and growth-marketing. In parallel learning to produce multimedia content is going to be something new and fun. Finally, working on my elocution is also going to be part of the package.

I already began this journey thanks to my dear friend Werner. We will soon launch together a design-centric podcast so stay tuned.

B. Personal Life

It is out of question for me to repeat errors from the past. Creating is a craft of passion for me but also expose a lot of vulnerability, I finally have some self-awareness about this.

Instead of work/life balance, I prefer to talk about profesional and personal sphere. I create, work hard and have genuine fun in both spheres. However I don't stay under the hammer of judgment in the personal one. The impact on my mental and physical health is huge.

My plan is to focus between 60 and 70 hours a week on the professional sphere and never more. I want to focus the reminder of my awaken time on personal skills and passions, improving my health and spending quality time with family.balanceI won't plan like in the previous chapter the detail of the time spent on those personal moments. I only need to know that I will have time saved for the people and activities that I enjoy. Knowing that brings me hapiness and peace of mind.

When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision ~Paulo Coelho

Growing up I went from one extreme to the other. From researching serendipity to overwhelming monitoring of my time and activities. All because I wanted to fulfill the unrealistic expectations I set for myself. I tried to cheat on time and harmed myself in the process.

It's time to have fun again.

Reorganizing my Information Feeds

It's that time of the year.

As I am migrating computers, I am also taking advantage of this time to review some of my information sources.

Long story short, I used Slack as my main aggregator for pretty much everything: RSS, YouTube, Twitter. I really like that workflow despite the lack of management tools inside Slack.

I decided to move on Slack and keep the aggregation. I am betting on a tool called Cappucinno, in which I am adding not only my RSS and YouTube feeds, but also all the newsletters I receive. About Twitter, I decided to revert back to a dedicated tool, as the nature of tweets is way too disruptive.

Creating a Character

I will just leave a link to a video about storytelling today, more specifically how to create a "sympathetic" character.

This is not what you expect.

Migration Day

I am downsizing from a late 2015 15" i7 2.5GHz with 16/512 to a late 2016 13" i5 2Ghz with 8/256.

That wasn't something I initially planned as I hoped to buy-back my 15" that is leased by my company but it didn't work out. After a lot of hesitation, I decided to buy the cheapest "good enough" option. I didn't see the point of investing more on the current generation, considering my short-term needs and my current budget.

Consequently, I am trying to use best-practices and properly document my installation process, as it is something I will repeat in the future.

Thanks to that process, I am rediscovering the power of homebrew. That tool is awesome. I even switched my font management to it which is something I really wasn't expecting this morning. Little victories are sweet too.

Thoughts​ on Information Architecture

I spent those last few days with three separate groups of designers. I insisted with all three on the importance of setting-up a proper blueprint as a priority.

I have a academic background in retrieving and manipulating data. It was a given that I would have an inclination for the information architecture aspect of user experience. The issue comes with the appetite of clients for screens. They want things asap and we want to please them. There is a focus on the page, the interactions, the pop. Sometimes, when the project doesn't seem complex, it even seems like it's okay to skip IA.

It can be okay sometimes. Your experience will help to draw that line. One sure thing, if a project that needs IA doesn't plan it, the people involved are going to get frustrated.

Unuseful screens are going to get created. Wrong design patterns for things as important as menus or tables are going to be chosen. And coming back from that is difficult. Time will be lost, work will be trashed.

I see the Information Architecture documentation as a comfy pillar, always available. Reading your flowchart should give anybody a crystal clear idea of what your application does. A proper IA makes you confident of the goals you are pursuing with your screens.

Yes, I really like IA.

Illustration by abd-alrahman, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.

InVision Studio

Yet another design tool to test, and that one position itself as the One, no less than that.

It seems that the InVision Studio trailer took the design world by a storm. The associated thread on Designer News is a wild but interesting read for instance.

From what this video shows, InVision Studio doesn't provide anything new. They instead conveniently packaged all the tools we use in a web-based, cross-platform UI.

For those of you not knowing the design trends, InVision (minus Studio) is today a leading web-based collaboration platform. They enable designers, their team and their clients to collaborate on screens. It gives the ability to not only gather your screens but also link, annotate, animate or comment them.

The pricing is transparen and the company is corporate friendly. They also do a lot when it comes to design and user experience evangelization.

I see Figma and UXPin as prime competitor for this new tool, as they are also web-based. My main interrogation for this kind of tool, specially with the proposed feature list, is performance. Figma went through lengths to provide an enjoyable experience. Hopefully I will be able to put my hands on the preview version soon.

A Way Too Simplified Explanation​ of Git with Suitcases

Today I ran a course on Git and GitHub with my teammates. I came up with this metaphor.

Let's say, you're going in vacations in the Caribbean and you want to be sure that you have all the clothes you might need.

You are going first to buy a suitcase that will fit all them and several packing cubes for better organization.

On your bed, you are going to lay all the clothes that you may want to use from your wardrobe. This is your local repository.

From that pile, you will select some clothes that you are sure to use. Let's say your favourite pair of socks git add myfavouritesock.

Then you need to put those socks in a packing cube, in order to create a set that make logical organizational sense. You will add anything that make sense in that specific cube. Then, you are going to put the cube in your bag while you shout a description of it to your companion(s) for good measure. git commit -m "Adding my new favourite pair of sock".

You repeat the operation a couple of time, with other packing cubes and you finally close your suitcase as you are ready to travel with it git push.

Ok now the reality of my broken metaphor is that you don't move your suitcase to your island of destination (GitHub) but you put there a copy of it. As if the transporter of Star Trek would keep the original version.

All your clothes are now both in your suitcase at home and in an exact identical suitcase in your destination place, the GitHub island.

In the next episode, I will explain how one of your companion is going to retrieve your suitcase and change your clothes, because he is a funny person.

On How to Design a Font for a System

The highlight of my day for me was definitely the wwdc presentation of the San Francisco font creation.

I warmly recommend anybody insterested in design to watch this talk, as it highlights the difficulty behind the creation of a useable font.

Additionaly, Figma's designer, Rasmus Andersson just released the version 2 of his Inter UI font. This font is available on GitHub and was designed with a particular attention to legibility, particularly at smaller sizes.

Inter UI on GitHub.

One post a day or more

This daily journal will gather my thoughts and experiences as I improve my skills as a product designer.

I will write about design, development and server configuration and administration. I will also include selected pieces of my portfolio and show some of my work in progress

Finally, from time to time I will talk about two others topics if they relate to my craft. On one side I will highlight the books or articles I enjoyed. On the other, I will talk about some of my other hobbies that help me better myself too.

I will do my best to keep my posts as concise as possible.

Illustration from FIDELx, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.