Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 229

This was was the first full work­week of the year, which meant it was time to review our work of 2013 and set goals for 2014. To this end, Alper trav­eled to Utrecht and on Mon­day we sat down and strate­gised. We’re still using Google’s OKR method, which con­tin­ues to be a use­ful and rel­a­tive­ly pain­less way of turn­ing what are some­times neb­u­lous busi­ness goals into action­able, mea­sur­able things.

The rest of the week, we worked on CHUTORO. Hav­ing fin­ished and doc­u­ment­ed the first two-week sprint, we start­ed up the sec­ond and already final one on Tues­day. We had a num­ber of calls with our friends at GEE­lab in Karl­sruhe in which we joint­ly decid­ed on which con­cept to devel­op fur­ther from the port­fo­lio we had deliv­ered in sprint one. Sat­is­fied with the course to take, we got to work on Wednes­day through Friday.

It had been a while since I last expe­ri­enced a design process which did not flow. For a large part of the week I was­n’t sat­is­fied with the work we were doing. Not that it was bad—it cer­tain­ly was good enough, but it just lacked a cer­tain char­ac­ter and whim­sy. We worked through the con­cept, detailed its inter­ac­tions and did some tech­nol­o­gy explorations—with help from Tom, who gen­er­ous­ly shared his expe­ri­ences work­ing with SMS and con­ver­sa­tion­al UIs from Hel­lo Lamp Post and Hava­su. We detailed all the mes­sages going in and out of the sys­tem. We con­sid­ered embell­ish­ments and alter­na­tives to the core con­cept. Etc. etc.

It was only when we went over the main sce­nario of use once more that we realised a sub­set of all the things a user would do—which we ini­tial­ly saw as a minor prac­ti­cal hur­dle to smooth out with some clever design—that we realised we could take that activ­i­ty and turn it into a fun, inter­est­ing thing to do in and of itself. In stead of smooth­ing it out so that we could move on to the thing we’d ini­tial­ly felt we want­ed peo­ple to do, we could leave it as a fun chal­lenge and offer it to peo­ple as such. Final­ly, I was sat­is­fied with what we’d come up with. Relief.

In between, we had the usu­al range of activ­i­ties on the side, such as a call on Tues­day with Mag­a­ly in prepa­ra­tion of our soon-to-be-announced work­shop at Lift 14 and new year’s drinks host­ed by the Dutch Game Gar­den where we got to catch up with many friends of the studio.

A sol­id first full week of the year, in oth­er words.

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