Tag Archives: work

Design is a form of problem solving

Design is thinking made visual(*), it is problem solving. But this process takes time. Things cannot be ‘designed’ overnight. That is styling. Unfortunately many don’t know the difference.

It takes a real understanding of the problem to provide the right solution. This means designers need to be involved at the very early stages of a project. Thinking that a designer can come along at the end and ‘design’ it basically means that they are looking for someone to simply style their solution.

Design is not simply styling.

If this happens, and if you willfully let it happen then you are harming the profession you work in. To get away from this situation, you need to educate those you work with.

Designers should be involved at the very beginning. This avoids a ‘chinese whispers’ effect of others interpreting the requests a certain way and relaying them. It is best to be with the client or stakeholder to understand their requests firsthand. Afterwards, write a brief and have all parties agree to it. This will be the brief that the design solution is marked against.

This is the start of getting away from simply styling other peoples’ solutions.


For a while now, my Twitter description has read like this:

A web designer and developer from the UK. I occasionally blog, frequently tweet and often procrastinate.

The last part couldn’t be more true. With RSS feeds, Twitter and other social media, lots of time can be spent keeping up-to-date and researching – but it really boils down to procrastinating (postpone doing what one should be doing).

With the immediacy of these social media, links can come in at any time, easily distracting you away from the current task in hand. Staying ‘in the zone’ can be hard with tweets popping up and other distractions such as IM, text messages and phone calls; chances are you are reading this when something more important needs to be done.

The Solution

Taking a dedicated hour out of your day to deal with these can help alleviate this. You’d be surprised how non-urgent reading your tweets are when you don’t do it for a few hours.

So turn off your Twitter client, IM and sign out of anything which could ‘pop-up’ during your day and give it a go, perhaps taking time out in the morning and afternoon to check-up and see what’s gone on in the real world and see if your productivity increases.

Are We Too Connected?

I just thought about this whilst checking work emails at the weekend. Are we too connected? Now I agree that being able to access everything, all the time is a wonderful thing, but by emailing on a Saturday, or weeknight, are we creating a 24hr culture for ourselves?

Do you have to make a consious effort to not check emails over the weekend or just finish off that markup before going to bed?

I am sure that a lot of the self-employed people are thinking “that’s nothing new” but is it something you feel obliged to do, or do you feel it adds value to your service to be contactable throughout the week.

This is probably the least constructed blog post to date, but I would like to hear your thoughts on the situation.

How I Got Into Web Design

My love of web design really started when I got my first car – a bright yellow Mini. Aged 17, and still at Secondary School I bought the domain paulsmini.co.uk and created a simple, frame based website.

Then a competition was launched by Channel 4 called ‘Webit’ aimed at 13-19 year olds. I heard about the competition from my School, and I thought about redesigning paulsmini to enter the competition, but in the end, I decided to just submit the site as it was, and was shocked to be a runner up for the whole competition.

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