Mikey Allan

Weekly retro: Anticipating meetings

This week was full of interesting meetings and anticipations.

St Paul’s School

Firstly a revisit to St Paul’s School to review the last stage of the work and get prepared for launch. St Paul’s School has recently appointed someone to head up the marketing and branding for the school, an appointment which they certainly needed. That is not to say that the school has any lack in confidence in itself or its branding, it’s reputation precedes it. However appointing someone who understands consolidation, consistency and the multiple “marketing” channels is now important more than ever, whatever the sector.

A new member to the team, she certainly knew her stuff and is in the perfect position to own the brand and move it towards a unified vision. When people join a project at a late stage, I get a little apprehensive. Many decisions have been made, debated over, concluded and moved on and it can be difficult to for someone new to integrate themselves into all the thinking we’ve been doing over the past weeks.

My anticipation for this meeting was that there would be some push-backs on certain decisions and we would have to defend our corner. And rightly so! Like I said she’s talented, knows her stuff and will put us through our paces if we don’t deliver.

Emotional and professional armour on and ready for the meeting.

To my surprise what passed was a pleasant and amicable meeting. There were some small push-backs and amends but they were all completely valid and what was more pleasing was that many of our design decisions have been adopted into the current branding.

Meeting my old professors from uni

I had reached out to my old professors at the University of Brighton to see if they would be interested in any resource from an active professional. From a selfish perspective, I love workshops, they’re fun to run, I like the face-to-face interaction and I would like to do more. I thought this would be a good opportunity to offer my time and help if I can.

We met in the Marwood, a quirky Brighton Lanes coffee shop with strange hanging mannequins and lots of Star Wars toys. It’s quirky but serves some of the best coffee in Brighton and I love it. After a coffee and a long chat, they offered many ways in which I and other professional can hold talks or workshops throughout the curriculum. So we are now in the process of seeing where I can fit in and what I can do. Exciting times 🙂

UX London critique

Have you ever gone into a presentation knowing it wasn’t going to go well? Not for any specific reason just a gut feeling? Well that’s how I felt before presenting the first round of designs for UX London 2016. Ben Sauer and I had done a bunch of work identifying what lies at the core of UX London and derived some design principles.

My initial designs didn’t reflect all of that thinking and I knew that. Knowing this, I prepared myself for an onslaught of negativity, which I got. However that negativity was warranted and what I realised was that I was in a little bit of a rut. Through a less than desirable critique James Bates offered many suggestions which of course helped and allowed me to get out of the corner I managed to back myself in.

What I’m trying to say is that sometimes it’s better to face a situation where you know you’ll get criticised in order to gain the value from discussion that comes with it.

The Good

  • Revisiting St Paul’s School
  • Working alongside Ben Sauer on UX London redesign
  • Meeting my old university professors
  • Using a bad critique to unblock myself

The Bad

  • A less than desirable critique (although it was actually very helpful)
  • Getting poorly on a Friday

Take aways

Listen to your feelings (Star Wars has never let me down) and face something you know will be tricky as it may well help you out.

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