News & Thoughts #8

Hey everyone,

April was another long and busy month, and I’m just coming up for air in May. It’s been good to have steady freelance work, but it brings up new challenges of juggling priorities and setting boundaries. That said, it’s a better problem to have than looking for work.

Let’s dive into what’s new and interesting in my world…

One of my blog posts went (sort of) viral

I set up my personal blog last year as a small outlet to just post about things on my mind, and my news. Traffic isn’t the objective and I don’t overly promote it, with most posts getting (as expected) only a handful of visits. I do try and shake things up now and then by writing a though piece, and I was surprised by the one I posted in April on being creative. Somehow, the stats from my analytics were way higher than normal – over 600 views! Unfortunately my analytics lists most of it as ‘Direct traffic’ (no referrer), which could mean it was featured in an email newsletter.

Stats for the post during April

Do you live in London?

I’m someone who enjoys the city, yet I also find it overwhelming at times if I’m roaming around. So in 2019 I started a side project to help – Calm Corners. It’s a simple, free mobile app documenting ‘places and spaces’ in London to get off the streets and grab some calm. I’m slowly adding new data to it as I come across locations, and I’m happy for anyone to use the app or suggest locations too.

Thoughts on chaos and design

I probably need to write a blog post on this, however the below article struck a chord with me. There were two main points that stood out:

  1. Designers (especially in UX, Product and Service) can end up perpetually dissatisfied – after all there’s always something you can improve on a product, so how do you get to a point where you (or the stakeholders for that matter) feel satisfied with what you’ve done?

  2. Sometimes what might be described as a poor experience is actually a richer experience, which makes life more interesting. If everything is always ruthlessly optimised, it takes all the richness out of using it.

AI can’t create good vector images yet

AI image tools are getting more advanced by the day, but we’re still not seeing anything that can do the same with vector (SVG) images yet. As a designer this is something that interests me, so a workaround for this caught my eye recently – in this tweet thread from Arvid Kahl. In short, he’s used Midjourney prompts to create a vector-like graphical image, then used a vectorising tool to convert it to vector afterwards.

What I’m working on

I’m still trying to build side projects, but this has proved almost impossible with my work commitments this year. So I’ve been focussing on running and growing the current ones more than building new ones.

Lastly, a quick update on my current work commitments. 50% of my freelance time is currently committed to an ongoing contract on UX design for a SaaS. The rest of the time I’m doing small projects and ad-hoc website support – including Webflow design-dev. I’m still open to new work but have limited availability in May-June.

That’s all for now,

See you again soon,