Core systems

Core – Transforming lives together

Core Systems (NI) Ltd – North Belfast


  • Roisin – Product delivery manager
  • Ellie (Placement student)

About Core systems 

  • Focus on the criminal justice sector
  • 200 thousand users using their products across Australia, USA
  • Challenging
  • How can they help the prisoner while they are incarserated.


To utilize technology to make life better for individuals in the criminal justice system.

For the victim, the workers and the imprisoned.

The problem:

  • Reoffending – within 3 months after release about 50% of them go back.
  • Nothing is being fixed so they try to give them tools while in prison to make sure they do not re-offend.
  • Some come from disadvantaged backgrounds and their needs are not meet before or after prison
  • The average reading age of prisoners is of a  8 – 10 year old.

The solution:

  • Communication with friends and family while in prison to prevent reoffending.
  • Self-service modules (doing things for yourself and not relying on other people) teaches them tools they need for when they are released.
  • E-learning.
  • Shop ordering (Helps them to budget)
  • Meals selection (makes them responsible to make sure they get the food they like).

By allowing them access to these key skills the aim is to help them improve upon themselves and keep up with technology so when they leave they are not alienated.

  • Avoid causing frustration or anger when creating the software to avoid fights or irritating a prisoner.

Working at Core systems

What they need from their people:

  • Curiosity and imagination
  • Creative problem solving
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Analytic and critical thinking
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism

Come forward with your ideas, they appreciate it all.

How they work:

Agile practices – this allows them to develop products very quickly.

What does the flow look like? Is it technically feasible?

Meet every other Thursday to agree on what they will be working on and then spend 2 weeks developing.

  • Product development level
  • Marketing and graphic design
  • Opportunities to work in UI and UX
  • Working on a live product being delivered to customers.

Skype and teams – working remotely atm. Then they will have a hybrid working model by early next year.

Things you get to do:

  • Loads of prototypes to take to people to ensure it is correct. Great way to get feedback
  • Get to work with product rebranding team – Varied role
  • Get to work on UI and UX

Ellie – placement student

  • Been there 4 months
  • Working to create designs for product pathways
  • Working towards a set of existing UI standards
  • Considering the user when doing UX
  • THE USER!!!!!! they have a low level of education so the language, text size and visual element has to be very carefully considered.
  • Working as part of a bigger team
  • Creating prototypes
  • Consistency for better user experience
  • Saves documents with quick description for developers
  • Worked with the business team creating designs for them for marketing
  • Variation in work
  • Her first project was creating a core banner


  • Colour
  • Logo
  • Imagery
  • Get brief and look at previous designs then get some feedback, make some changes and other options then get the final outcome

Creating an e-Book

Web design

The design team is relatively small so you get a lot of design freedom and your input is appreciated.


1- Working from home

  • Was in the office for a few weeks to be introduced.
  • People who were not in the office even messaged her to introduced themselves.
  • She slowly transitioned to working from home.
  • Loads of support to remote working transition.

2- Consider their audience. When they went into prison was even something as old as Facebook a thing?

3- Cortney is working there atm (final year student)

4- What impresses them:

Empathy, understanding the user, creativity, feedback, user research

4- How many placement students can you take on?

Only 1.


02890 722044


  • Interview to get a feel for you
  • December – January

Product pitch

So as I showed above in my notes I am interested in either creating an eBook for children or a more affordable ambulance system for Americans.

While the urge to create awesome illustrations for a kids book is so strong I do think that exploring the ambulance alternative would be a very good and interesting challenge. Many families in the USA have struggled to financially recover after calling for an ambulance as their insurance provider will not cover the whole cost. My main focus for this is to create a more affordable substitute for financially disadvantaged people and also to reduce the strain in the emergency services.

I was reading an article in The New York Times as part of my research and discovered that in America an ambulance ride can cost thousands even if not medical equipment is used and the costs are not always covered by the insurance. This is simply not an option for some people and so they have begun ordering an UBER to take them to the hospital if the injury or emergency allows. As stated in the article ‘For some, the financial setback of an ambulance trip can be immense. An alternative choice for non-emergencies could save people thousands of dollars and help reduce waste in a system rife with it’.

This tells me  that this idea is a possible marketable product that will help people. I do think that this does bring the danger of people abusing or misusing the service and calling a lift instead of an ambulance when their emergency could be life threatening and requires the attention of medical professionals.

I also found this online chatting platform where real Americans were recounting their experiences in using a lift or asking a family member to take them to hospital instead of calling for an ambulance.

My fear is that the healthcare system in America is built around profit over people, cost over care which is something that truly saddens me as in cases like these usually minorities, less financially stable people/families or the vulnerable suffer. I want to create a solution surrounding a current existing service that will remedy this and better peoples life.

The global pandemic further exposed how broken the health care system in America is. After reading an article in the Guardian I discovered that there were 27.9 million people without health insurance in 2018 with patients biggest worry even when nearing their death beds being “who will pay for this?” that is a truly heartbreaking reality. As Derrick Smith, nurse anesthetist at a New York City hospital wrote on Facebook: “Next-level heartbreak – having to hear a dying patient use his last words to worry about healthcare finances.”

According to a recent study, 71% of ambulance providers don’t take the patient’s insurance. That same study found that 79% of patients who took a ground ambulance could be on the hook for an average fee of $450 after their insurance paid out. By comparison, air ambulances can cost the average patient $21,700 after the insurance pays out.

These surprise bills can be a huge problem, especially when nearly four in 10 Americans would have to borrow money to cover an unexpected $1,000 emergency.

More info:

App name ideas:

  • WELP
  • 505 – I could make the brand look like a mix between SOS and 505 so for a mid emergency the user can call 505

Trying to articulate my thoughts

What is the problem?

The negative financial impact calling a life saving service like an ambulance can have on Americans and how cost influences patients decision on weather or not to seek much needed medical care.

Figures to drive point home:

  1.  71% of ambulance providers don’t take the patient’s insurance
  2. 79% of patients who take an ambulance could be on the hook for an average fee of $450 after their insurance pays out.

The solution

505 is an ambulance alternative that utilizes the same principles as UBER to request a high priority emergency lift that will cost a fraction of what an ambulance would.

Usability testing

Next week David Wilson from Google – Senior UX designer will come in.

We will also be looking at presentation techniques

  • Don’t make me think revisited by Steve Krug
  • Nielson Norman group articles.

Basic usability rule. Don’t make your users think. Make it easy for your user to use your products. It should be obvious and self explanatory. Don’t overcomplicated.

When it comes to digital products consistency is your friend. Make the aspects of your website easy to process and understand. Th elements in it should resemble their real life counterparts, like for example buttons/call to actions.

Fixation: we only use fixation when the eye is still. This is used when using a digital product or website. Your eye is fixating on words, places and content but the things you fixate on are the only things you will remember. This tells me that the layout of my content needs to be very carefully considerate to make sure my user fixates on what I want them to.

******* Use an eye tracker to see how users use your website. **********

This is why information architecture must be implemented as well as possible to make the process of reading the content much easier.

Try to make use of sensory imagery to trigger the users memory. You can trigger these with words. When you read you don’t actually read every letter but you rely on memory, like for example

You also have to be mindful of the user and their abilities. How old are they? How big is their vocabulary? This is something I need to keep in mind when creating my elements app for kids as using big technical words would result in it being too complicated for kids. Not only does the layout of the information matter but also the selection of the words that are appropriate for the user and demographic.

The idea is not to make users work your way but for you as the designer to create solutions that work best for them.

User testing

If you want a great product you must test. The point of testing is to inform your judgement and decisions. Testing should be an interactive process. It should also be a constant process and not a one off. The more users you get to test your product the more issues you will be able to find to then improve upon.

Before testing your own product it is always a good idea to run a usability test on competitor products – consider it free usability testing with no pressure. Doing this will help you improve your own design.

Types of test:

  1. Think aloud protocol: Get someone to test you product by giving them prompts and asking them to talk through their actions and thoughts as they go; this gives a mind-eye hypothesis.
  2. Standard usability test: In this type of test you are looking for 3 metrics: efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction. All you need to do is record your screen and audio and you have your test.
  3. Key task testing: Get a participant to do something they would normally do with a product. In this type of test you write your tasks like scenarios and get the user to carry them out.

It’s important to identify 3 or more tasks – it does not have to be the whole product. Have prepared pre-tests and post-test interview questions. Give the participant user written instructions for their first task. Record the start and end time and observations. Then analyze the data.

It can be useful to use a test script highlighting everything you are planning on doing that day.

A good type of post-test surveys is the SUS method (this method provides the most reliable answers) In this type of survey you ask questions about the usability of sections of your site and ask the user to give a number between 1 and 5 with 5 being the best. It gives you numbers to back up your decisions. This then lets you interpret the score.

Users will remember a bad experience. Avoid giving them a bad experience. The more bad experiences the user experiences the more their goodwill for your product will be reduced. This could happen because of information that they want being hidden, Asking for information from the user you don’t actually need, require them to behave in a certain way for the product to work, putting things in their way (Pop-ups). When in doubt apologize to the user when something does not go right for them with your product, this will create a sense of goodwill and trust in a way.

Online usability testing

  1. Usabilityhub
  2. hotjar
  3. usertesting
  4. maze – free



Screenflow or quicktime are great software to record your screen time  – it also helps as then you can watch things back.


Brief: to create an immersive learning experience explaining the periodic table to either undergraduates or children aged 8 -10.

I have chosen to create an immersive VR game for children.

Here are my initial thoughts:

So since I will be designing a learning tool for children I will need to focus on the following:

  • Simplicity
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to understand
  • Engaging
  • Not too content heavy

IXD301 – Content strategy – Week 8

Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content –

Basic principles

  • Alternative elements: How do you present the content in a more engaging way? Think of how to organize it and present it in a very interesting way

*********** Insert screenshot of Spotify dashboard and how they organize their content. They have overviewing, different playlist, album covers.

The premise for all music apps can be the same, you start with a grid and then move onto a list.

Think of BMW and how they take the user through a brochure like exploring process to show the user the available options; once you select a model you are then given the information on the car which is not given originally as to not overwhelm users. Think of it as levels of information. They don’t just show you everything at once, it is like peeling back an onion if you will.

Good content is user appropriate – how much and when it is shown is very important. Content is appropriate for users when it helps them accomplish their goals.

Personal behavior content: These are the things you must consider

You must provide context to your content. You can do this by creating user personas

Idea: you could tie the periodic table to jobs.

Content planning for physical factors:

  • Gender
  • disability
  • Device type
  • Geolocation
  • Time
  • Segmentation potential.

You then have to think of how the UI would work in for example a kid friendly clunky tablet

Emotional factors:

  •   …

Learning factors:

  • Familiarity with content
  • Reading level
  • educational level

Good content is useful. A good book for research would be – how design makes the world.

Ask yourself

  • What are you trying to improve?
  • Who are you trying to improve it for?
  • How do you ensure you are successful, throughout the entire project, at improving the right thing for the right people?

For example

“Sell product” vs “Sell this product” vs “Show how this product helps nurse practitioners”

Notice how it goes from incredibly vague to directed to the target audience so you can be more user centered.

Good product is user centered

  • The user can figure out what to do
  • The user can tell what is going on

Good content is clear

  • In a language they can understand
  • Is layout in a way they can understand

Good content is consistent

  • Sometimes when you design a product, you have to design for different audiences eg an app for doctors, patients and insurance providers would have to interact with each user very differently as the language used (complexity and some career specific language) could be different.

Good content is concise

  • Sometimes the nice things to have eg animations, images are nice to have but are not necessary. Audiovisual dust bunnies
  • Think how can I make my content concise.
  • Sometimes you can write a ton of content when a video would do a better job.
  • Redundant documentation

Good content is supported

  • Must be supported across diff devices
  • User support – eg a chatbot

The craft of content strategy

Information architecture, Visual design, being able to work with investors, engineers, creative directors, content writter, content strategist … It requires planning. The content strategist has to make sure the content is ready at the ideal time

Content people work for the user.

“Online yiu dont have a captive audience. You have a multitasking, distrated, ready-to0leave-you-site-at-any-time audience …………………”

You have a fickle audience.

Use a readability test tool to ensure the best experience

Stories matter

  • Content people use these stories to help you navigate and sell the products.
  • You must figure out what is the most important  information the user needs then the supporting details and finally the general information (This is the order of importance).
  • The content strategist has failed the user if the site is near impossible to use due to never ending adds.
  • Users are people too

Information architecture

  • This brings order to the chaos.
  • This can be done by creating sitemaps, user flows, content audit, wireframing to better understand the necessary structure.
  • You can’t show everything at the same time – you have to funnel the information.

image of examples here….

  • User flows show how the user would navigate the site. These are incredibly useful.

You need to

  • Evaluate – Think user
  • Design
  • Execute – workflows, sourcing and organizing content, etc…

You also need to execute…

  • Usability test
  • User personas
  • User research findings
  • User research plans
  • Competitor analysis
  • User scenarios
  • Visual representation recommendations
  • Wireframes
  • Taxonomies
  • Quantitive and qualitive content audit and findings
  • Example content
  •  Content style guides

Understanding your users

Using user personas

  • We are not our users. We need to design for them
  • Look up Alan Copper

“Here at Silicon Valley, we forget how skewed our population is, and we should frequently remind ourselves how abnormal we really are. The average person who uses a software based product around here isn’t very average”

– Alan Cooper

How do we build better products?


…. image with old timy lady

If we design for everyone we make no individual happy – you can design for specific users.



This is a way to model, sumarize and communicate research about people who have been observed or researched in some way …

Each perosona serves …

What does it look like? It is usually presented as a one-page document, it is more than just a deliverable …

They generally have their name, job, salary, motivations, core needs. They can be visual

Example here ————————–

Talk about them as real people – it will feel a bit like method acting but it helps see the world through the users perspective.

Components of goal-directed design that support personas

  • End goals
  • Scenarios – what they are trying to do/achieve

How are personas created>

  1. Interview and/or observe an adequate number of people.
  2. Find patterns in the interviewees’ responses and actions, and use those to group similar people together.
  3. Create archetypical models of those groups, based on the patterns found.
  4. Drawing from that understanding of users andf the model of that understanding, create user-centered designs.
  5. Share those models to other team members …

Wahta re they used for?

  • Build empathy
  • Develop focus
  • Communicate and form consecuences
  • Make and defend decisions
  • ….

Are they effective?

They are very powerful in the right time and place, while other times they are simply nt warranted; the trick is knowing …………….

How do personas work?

  • Narrative practice: This is the ability to create, share and hear stories
  • Long-term memory: This is the ability to acquire and maintain memories of the past (wisdom) from our own life experiences, which can be brought ..
  • …..
  • Theory of mind (Folk psychology): This is the ability to predict

Do I need to use personas?


Indentify your users

  1. Persona A (A child 8-10): What are they interested in? Is this to do with teaching? Is it fun? …



2) Personal B (Undergraduate 18-22): A different kind of person, different kind of needs. This person might ……

Think about what you would ask them

  • Ask primarily open ended questions (What games do you like to play?)
  • Ask participants to show more than tell.
  • When possible, ask for specific stories, especially about anything you cannot observe.

Getting access to users can sometimes be difficult.

Persona document

Things to include:

  • NAme
  • demographic

examples here of how they can look.

Socialize the personas – by sharing the persona documents with others, you’re disseminating ……

Spaghetti sauce TED talk

Speaker – Malcolm Gladwell

“Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce — and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

He starts of by introducing the maker of spaghetti sauce in America – he suggest that by profession he is a measurer. He talks about how asking the right question is vital – eg instead of asking what is the perfect product you should be asking what are the perfect products – There is no perfect product but there are perfect products. By varying the products he was asked to improve by different factors and collecting the data he found that the user (Americans) would fall into 3 categories: plain, spicy and extra chunky spaghetti sauce. This increased profits and brand recognition – this was a great incentive in starting to give customers variety (Ragu now has 36 different spaghetti sauces). Howard changed the way the food industry makes the customer happy. They would have focus groups over the years yet they never came to the conclusion of needing more variety. The mind doesn’t always know what the tongue likes if you will. They were trying to find a product that would suit everyone universally – this is kind of impossible, especially with something as personal as taste.

The user does not always know what they want, it is your job to help them figure out how best to serve or in my case design for them.  Give them something to aspire to. There is no good or bad or perfect solutions, just different solutions or options that suit different people. Variability is essential to good design.  By embracing the diversity of human beings you can find a way to make users happy through your design solutions. This is why understanding the user is so important even if you don’t know what the right question is; just chat with them, the information you will get from this will be invaluable.


Speaker: Andrew  McCrea – head of delivery

Topic: UX design placement opportunity #placementwithfathom


  • One of the leading companies in Ireland for UX design
  • Kyle holds the company in great regard
  • Andrew has 16 years industry experinece in digital/\design/UX
  • Ux certified by NN/g —> LOOK UP

Performance through insight

Use analytics, usability testing, design thinking to get better more accurate information based on user needs.

They invest heavily on training for their long term employees and interns.

Go to they run this – as an intern you get to do this for free otherwise it is £1000

They are part of something bigger now, they joined with – Low&behold

They are still very local (office in Belfast) they use a hybrid work experience they are active in NI and Irish UX societies and clubs.


Previous students:

  • Jim
  • Kelsey
  • Pujith
  • Christine – now full time
  • Matthew – current intern.

They all extended  their stay with them after their 2nd year.

What is human experience design?

This is how they see the world of design. How can you make design for the benefit of the people, the business and for technology? Through human experience design they help companies …

Don Norman – founder of Norman group (NN/g) video:

  • Focus on the people, all the people.
  • Finding the right problem – solve the fundamental basic problem and then the small resulting symptom problems will resolve themselves.
  • Optimization – think big picture.
  • UX isn’t always the most important component. The journey the user takes to get to the end result is the most important part.

When Fathom thinks of UX they think of what the end outcome will be, thinking things as a system, how to choreograph user journeys to best serve the user. Think about who the user are and what they need so they can design the correct thing for them.

Russel Ackoff – “….The righter you do the wrong thing, the wronger you become….”

Good design is focused on beople not asthetic. Thinking about people inclussibly. Inclusive design is a big thing for them.

They consider impairement like:

  • Visual
  • hearing
  • moter/desterity
  • motion/vision
  • gognitive
  • speech

as 1/5 people have some kind of imperament.

Situational imparements: what are people circumstances in the moment so how can you make the interface easier and clearer for them to use?

  • baby
  • cold day
  • gloves

Fathom is the bridge between technology and people.


  • Pets at home
  • NHS
  • Translink
  • AIBank – they reimagined their customer end-t0-end mortage application process, invloving online, offline, digital, phone and branch experiences and the relationship between them. They looked at customers and the user process and how often a sustomer looking for a mortage wont just jump in and get one – they will come and go do more research and then maybe deside.

Research methodology:

  1. Workshosp, branch visits, call centre visit
  2. Heuristic analytics, analytrics review, usability testing, affininty mapping (Take all of insight and put it in teams)
  3. Comparators (other bankls and services and compare it to your project), Competitive testing, Desk research
  4. Workshops/focus groups, one to one calls, personas


  • Thinking and feeling
  • timeline
  • Future process
  • Touchpoints
  • ..

Intercafe design

  • They move through iterations of design
  • Low and then high fidelity prototipes
  • UI

Case study example

In 2018 they worked with BBC what is now BBC Discover – a digital archive.

  • Content and placement of support information was very important here as there was a lot of recording from the troubles and therefore sensitive language that coulf cause issues.
  • Test categories: Perception and understanding, sensitivity to content, ….
  • Usability test report

Research is Design

They love to see research.

Their fundamental tool for them is the double diamond: problem and solution

  1. Discover
  2. Research
  3. Analyze
  4. Synthesize
  5. Refine
  6. Definition
  7. Develop
  8. Prototype
  9. Test
  10. Refine
  11. Solution

Linear view:

Research —> ………

They also do contextual studies to better understand who the client is and what their needs is. EG for visually impaired people the screen to speech bus timetable does not work properly, it does not read the times for them.

You get experience out in the field and also designing in house, you get to do contextual observations (How well does the company you are helping analyze information)

Maybe give someone screens and video them/the screen as they use the app to see how well they interact with it and the issues they face. Usability testing!!!!!!!!! As the designer we are more tech-savy – this will most likely not be the same for the user.

They keep up to date with emerging technologies – Augmented Reality, smart tech.

Placement opportunity

  • 1 yr placement but this can be extended
  • Part of the Fathom/L&B team to work and learn from others
  • 2 days of UX Training in first quarter
  • Placement training budgeted circa £1k
  • MEntourship throughout monthy 1:1
  • Library learning resource

What you would do

  • resaerch and discovery
  • Analysis and asynthesis
  • Recomendation and ideation
  • Usability testing
  • Wireframing
  • etc…

What they are looking for:

  • Maybe give someone screens and video them/the screen as they use the app to see how well they interact with it and the issues they face. Usability testing!!!!!!!!!
  • Has an eye and aptitude for analysius t=of resr4ach
  • Recording of usability studies
  • Invest time in learning through secondary reseach
  • Time management
  • A focus on human needs and interactions
  • Self starter
  • critical thinkiner
  • empathetic
  • problem solver
  • Good communicator

What they can offer:

  • Training
  • Onboarding and resources
  • Responsability
  • Process and culture
  • They will train as best as they can – they are investing in you if they think they could keep you.

How to apply

  1. email:
  2. Tell him a bit about yourself and what might have appealed to you about us.
  3. Tell him about your ambitious in UX
  4. Attach and include a link to your CV and portfolio and anything else you feel is relevant.
  5. Deadline 19/11/21

FOCUS on research blog.

They will make their decision in January.

Elements project

  • You probably need a support area not for the kids but for the parents.
  • Interview children and their parents? at least 5 or 10.
  • Some people have gotten jobs simply because they focused on their user during their process and talked about them in their blog.
  • Age range 8 – 10
  • Game based on scooby doo like mysteries
  • game of card snaps
  • doesn’t always have to be digital could be a game of snap.
  • Talk to a teacher
  • idea VR game they can use around the house where they are shown examples and then they must go around the safety of their own home to find examples after being explained what each element is and the different forms they take.
  • Can post questinare on momsnet or something like that. Post it on Instagram
  • Maybe give someone screens and video them/the screen as they use the app to see how well they interact with it and the issues they face. Usability testing!!!!!!!!!

Planning a questionnaire

  1. Do you know what the periodic table is?
  2. What is the periodic table?
  3. What are you learning in science class?
  4. What games do you like to play?


  1. User personas
  2. Content
  3. Sketching
  4. Wireframes
  5. Competitor analysis
  6. Brand


  • Start sketching and designing in week 9
  • Week 12 group critique


  • You need to post more – currently I am in the red zone – not good
  • Good examples of other students are Lauren Gilmore and Kezie Todd

Thunder struck

I know but I simply had to 😀

So this week we had an awesome placement talk by Tim Potter who started Little Thunder an awesome design company that I would love to work for. I took a few notes on the company bellow that might come in handy once I apply.

Speaker: Tim Potter (previous IXD tutor and founder of the course) Started in 2013 at Little Thunder

Director of Little Thunder

  • Him and Gave started the company – they studied with Kyle and then started teaching at Ulster
  • Dan Gold previous intern now working full time (graduated last year)

Who they work with/skills

  • Content creators, animators, etc…
  • Clients they work with (mostly outside NI) EA, Visa, AON, Adobe, Ulster university, Instil, Department of Justice
  • Working outside of NI ironically so became easier to do with the pandemic and more online talking.

Problem solving first, design later

This is their ethos – follow this to better fit for their josbs.

  1. user research
  2. prototyping
  3. user experience
  4. visual design and front end

They integrate their design team into other companies – they are a contractor company but they become part of the companies team whilst working on a project with them. Facilitate digital product design for other companies.

It is not a waterfall methodology as this creates a real lack of consistency. They are involved in the work even after they hand in their work


Case study

EA – How they designed an app to help EA grow their 16000 + employee base.

  • The problem – Recruitment at EA was a very manual process arranged via email with participants – there was no standardized global approach.
  • The solution: Standardized and centralized solution, prepare participants before hand leading to more successful candidates, ability to notify and push updates to a participant in real time eg if running late. …
  • Their role: UX, UI, art direction, …
  • User flows: mapping at a system level. They now use FigJam (learn how to use)
  • Prototyping and wireframing: low fidelity and then move to high fidelity – they use Invision for prototyping.
  • Post support: ongoing support during and after development and user acceptance testing.

Other projects

  • They work primarily with product design
  • heavy data and information based jobs – eg ORCA (Aimed at people in mid 50’s)
  • Current project – Bludot
  • Kairos
  • EA FIFA – give users ability to see connectivity problems. QR code that can scan within game that can take you to this data site they created
  • they created the badges for the EA support parts – they build a visial identity

New project just launched:

  • The EA creator platform
  • New initiative to reach out to content creators that focus on gaming with a certain number of follower base to receive perks. Pushing it past only Youtubers.

How did they manage to work with one of the largest gaming companies? It all started with a book of a cat

  • They got a local illustrator to illustrate the children’s book – They invested so much that they did not take any salary for many months. The stories were written by Tims dad – nam eof the book (Chalky and the new sports car)

They met with Dan Womsley after a conference – they had earlier on demod at a makers fair and it grabbed Dans (Worked at NESTLEY then moved to EA) attention – he remembered them from that conference and suggested they get hired. NETWORKING works

They still work with kids content – especially kids educational content.


  • Website that caters to football fans needs
  • They created it during lockdown when clients pulled works and they were left with no work to be done for like 3 months
  • The most environmentally conscious football website in the world
  • They REALLY care about the environment – eg hosting companies: and the energy cost related to them so CDN’s – Server-less technology however makes it hard to get things in real life – eg live stats.
  • They have also looked at how they can use AI to simplify customer support – worked on this for 9 months. Intercom beat them to it though. Little Thunders program never got off the ground

Previous intern: Andy

  • He was interested in Illustration and design and then learned how to animate with them



Things they like us to know:

  • Figma
  • FigJam
  • Invision
  • Animations to inform project walkthroughs
  • They are very environmentally conscious (Be aware of the real time carbon cost of your designs)
  • Challenge yourself, do something that makes you happy
  • Be passionate about your work
  • Being able to make friends and start from scratch with many people – relationships first and foremost.


Work with them in 2022

  • Paid placement
  • They don’t have a job description
  • Their needs: design front end, social media understanding, content writer, researcher, illustration, animation
  • Anything that you think is interesting as a side project bring it in – do something that excites you and interest you.
  • If anyone is interested send you online portfolio  (No CVs please) showcasing your work to
  • Studio in Riverhouse moved in 2019 – they use slack for communicating, Figma for designing and zoom for conferences. They have given up their offices and are now 100% from home.
  • Hi Tim for the email – he will read it.

IXD301 – Critique and elements overview

Brief for second project – elements

  • What is the periodic table?
  • Some of last years work

Deliverable 02 – Elements project

This will be a digital product

  • due week 13 semester
  • ….
  • 2019 international year of the periodic table

What is the periodic table?

insert image of it here…

As designers we have to understand problems so we can try to solve them.

The bried: to design and create a digital roduct to explain the elements from the periodic table. the content is scientific to be used in the scientifc profession. Nevertheless what about children or undergraduate studenst. Is the content aiding or confusing their understanding …

this project will ask you to look at the content of the periodic table from the mico packets of information in each cell …

In some type of device … but which? This is your choice eg TV, VR, Tablet, phone, smartphone.

Eg kids expect things to be touchscreen and they work best with iPads.

Do a competitor analysis, look at other apps that do similar things and do user stories and jobs to better understand your audience.

Think outside the box – is it a VR experience you  can walk into.

example in slide of explanation image that is not very interactive here


Project requirements:

  1. A branded homepage containing your version of the periodic table
  2. At least 5 additional elements pages aimed at 10 year old audience and bellow OR
  3. At least 5 eleemnets pages aimed at undergraduate chemistry student
  4. A style guide, visual grammar and brand  …
  5. ….

Make a prototype either using Figma, Xd or invision


To proceed:

  1. Design first
  2. Start on paper
  3. sketch/figma/Invision
  4. Final product Adove XD/Figma/Invision
  5. Also consider the visual grammar …


Think typical UX workflow

  1. discover
  2. plan
  3. text design
  4. sketch
  5. visual design
  6. prototype/build
  7. test
  8. discuss
  9. deliver but keep learning


Previous students

  • Antechamber – he created a website for this also. He interviewed undergraduate chemistry students. Visually very interesting. Visually very strong but kept it safe
  • Dan Gold – impressive from coding point of view. Visually nice and technically proficient. He focused on undergraduate students
  • Sarah Couples – Deadly elements. Used Beano style. For kids. Showed how elements are created and broke down the science of it. Showed how they could be combines to create an element. Looked at elements that could kill DR Bob – the avatar – and added the info next to the illustration.
  • Science lab The element. used nice call to action (Lets learn). For children.
  • Hope McCilroy – 118 elements street. Made it as a house. You can navigate through the hgouse and can find diff things that represent elements in the periodic table. Science discover. Kids had to search and find things. Very nice and interactive. Looked at the producst first then matched the elements to them.
  • Jemma Ferguson – Metal monster.
  • Detective Dimitri – Alex McCormick. She took a very different and cool approach. No mention of the periodic table yet subtle hints.
  • Scott McKee – undergraduate VR project were you could take a picture of anything in real life and it would tell you what it is made of.


Things to consider

  • Group
  • appearance
  • uses
  • Discover date
  • Discovered by


Why it is important to think of the audience:

  • managing disparate range of content
  • Organizing content into logical structure
  • Presenting content coherently
  • target content to specific audiences


A method for groping and organizing content.

eg Tiny books website

You must organize your content!!! both for this and for your portfolio website.


  • interview students eg undergraduate
  • questioners
  • Make it a trip around a chemistry lab

Task 01

Organize raw text to better understand the relationship within the content and to better organize it.

  • Organize it in a spreadsheet – content audit

Task 02

paper prototype a design for your periodic table – start sketching

  • Sketchbook – how would it look in the device
  • Also research
  • Think outside the box
  • Can make cut out drawings of the different pages and interactions of the page and take a video of you moving the pieces around to show how it would flow.
  • Begin to consider the paper prototypes, sketches and wireframes.

Task 03

Visit the elements project ulster museum


An introduction to Puppet

Rick Monroe @monro

Now working at Contrast security

Who is Rick Monroe?

  • Started working at Tibus (one of the first 2 web developer agencies in NI) now a network organisation. They morphed into Zesty – They work on websites and apps. It is a fast-paced agency. Monroe introduced the UX design idea to this agency. Agencies make their money by doing as much work as possible as fast as possible.
  • Then went to FATHOM a dedicated UX agency. Top 3 UX agency in NI. They built up a client base by consulting with them on usability.
  • Whilst at FATHOM he worked at an app called MyWallST he worked around 3-4 times with them as they would run out of money and he was just part of an agency. They then won the award for the Irish startups. But while working at an agency its very short term, you don’t stay with a team.
  • Puppet – a US company starting an agency in Belfast. He started of as a UX engineer. Puppet users can interact with code in either a code-based system or a design based system. They have worked with Intel, Nasa (their system is used in space), Cern, SONY, Apple, Disney (Puppet facilitated the management and success of Disney+, it allowed the streaming quality and demand to be appropriately supplied.)
  • Contrast: US form in Belfast – no placements atm. Creates self-protected software. Cybersecurity is the start of a hige wave, there is tons of money in it atm

Don Normal – the design of everyday things book. First person to have the UX job title at Apple. Living with complexity – book of his.

“Every application has a level of complexity that simply cannot be removed.”


What are companies looking for in students?

  • Go to the companies website and watch a summary video on their website to try and start learning the problems the company solves.
  • They are just trying to make/design tools that will make peoples lie/work easier. In the world of cyber security that is.


  • Rapid7 is a big organisation that will take a large amount of students
  • Go to their website, understand what the industry is about and from there understand which company you want to learn from
  • Big motive – invented NI covid app.
  • Some companies may have a too structured
  • Go in armed with questions into an interview – ask what design probrems the organisation solves? Can you show me a product you have worked on and any improvements you have made? Do you have a plan in place for interns? What will I be doing? Who will I met and can I meet them? How much exposure will I get from different areas of work? What does a year look like for placement students?
  • Work I need to show – Don’t think quantity. Talk about your process. State very clearly what kind of problem you were trying to solve with your work. Don’t be afraid to show them the roughest of work if it aided you work. The elements of user experience – BOOK – talks of how you think through the layers and how you talk about it to show you knowledge and process. Do not focus on the UI and the pretty parts of it, focus on the nitty gritty.
  • Don’t be blinded by perks in company open days, focus on development and opportunities. Don’t jump at the first option, compare and contrast.
  • Rapid7 is super strict, rigid and organised, an agency is more disorganised and wild west if you will.
  • Still show branding even if you want to work in UX as its still problem solving and a way of communicating. Talk of improvement and constant iterations

Design should solve problems

UX Belfast – LOOK up – 18/10/21 online 6pm register at


It is easy to get lost in the infinite sea of information so I decided to make this a little easier to view by listing all my research blog post links and other relevant links here to keep things nice and tidy. I will also be organizing it by week – here is to hoping it works out!

Portfolio part 1

Week 01 – research conducted between 23/09/21  to  30/09/21

Portfolio part 2

Week 02 – research conducted between 30/09/21  to  07/10/21

Portfolio part 3

Week 03 – research conducted between 07/10/21 to 14/10/21

  • Peer feedback, evaluation and improvements

Portfolio part 4

Week 04 – research conducted between 14/10/21 to 21/10/21

  • The HTMLs and CSSs – notes and research
  • From prototype to reality

Portfolio part 5

Week 05 – research conducted between 21/10/21 to 28/10/21

  • Responsive web design – notes and research
  • Progress, feedback and improvements