I dont feel this week started off particularly well. It started with our review and retrospective, and it felt hard work to get through. Recent sprints have lacked focus, and have focussed more on the development of future releases and architecture. There is a genuine feeling of lets get the current release out of the door.
People in the room including myself seemed to lack focus. The demonstrations seemed arduous and didn’t seem to engage with the room. There was a lot of technical detail demonstrated and it was hard to see the initial business or customer value through the demos. We need to find ways to change the format of our review sessions.
Planning was light for the UI team, a selection of bug fixes and a few feature enhancements that came from some internal feedback.
I spent a good part of the week in various discussions. Since Dan B has joined the team to work with us on the design we’ve needed to chat through a lot of background and history. All sorts of decisions thoughts and approaches to different areas of the app. It’s amazing the volume of stuff we’ve discussed over the last 6 - 12 months as a team, no wonder my heads been spinning a lot.
Content flows and Crazy 8s
Jon, Dan and I put together a list of some of the core design challenges that we need to look at over the coming weeks. There is a lot to think about.
This week we focussed on the flow of inserting content into the entry editor, particularly around images.
We started off with discussions on the issues around inserting an uploading images. There are many parts to this flow; image selection, single use, multiples, upload and progress, setting alt text and different image views. Then there’s the context that they are being used in to consider, fields, components, components and our proposed canvas. It’s a broad challenge.
We continued using our 15 minute sketching sessions as a way to validate ideas, throw out the bad ones and refine them with further sessions.
The recent images flows went through 3-4 sessions producing 12 variations of the ideas we discussed. This generates a lot of ideas in a short period of time. Its a cheap way of running through ideas and aids a lot of discussion.
Whilst we managed to hone in some ideas around the image flow. We were struggling to see how we could provide a way to insert content in different editor contexts with a pattern that felt familiar to authors.
We used a quick sketching process called Crazy 8s to come up with new ideas. All you need is a piece of paper folded to give you 8 frames to draw in, a sharpie, and an 8 minute timer.
You have 8 minutes to come up with 8 ideas on the same theme. Each of these sketches attempts to show different approaches to the same idea. For smaller pieces of UI this is a great tool for generating ideas.
A mixed bag
I could write a similar paragraph each week on all the different peripheral things that I have worked on. This week I reviewed our release documentation and wrote a couple of articles on the feature enhancements. I put my front end hat on and did some code reviews and addressed a few minor bugs. I also carried out some testing, and had various conversations about tasks.
Review week is also my Friday off, I was glad to finish for the week as I felt exhausted. I love my Fridays off. I got to take and pick E up from nursery, I love seeing her beaming face when I see her coming through the nursery doors.
I went for a trail run with my brother for the first time. It was so refreshing to get out in the woods with the dogs, its been two months since I’ve run, I’ve been feeling pretty lethargic recently.
My brother and I have never run together, he’s usually in far better shape than me. It was really good to spend time together, although I was meant to be sorting tea and the traffic on the way home was horrendous.
I haven’t got back in to the Leonardo Da Vinci audio book recently I’ve still go 12hours 25 minuets to go.