Mark Jenkins, Freelance UX Designer

based in London, working worldwide 😎

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How to prevent getting too attached to your design work

Mark Jenkins UX Designer prevent getting to attached to your design work

Adobe recently asked me to give them my thoughts about letting go of your designs and ideas. They wanted to understand more about understanding user needs over personal taste and how designers can approach not getting too hung on up on the aesthetics of their design work and even though everyone has an ego, trying to leave that at the door, so to speak.

Here’s what I wrote for the article.

There is no “I” in team.

Babe Ruth once famously said:

“The way the team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

I feel exactly the same when it comes to design. The definition of one’s contribution to a team is sometimes a mixed one.

There’s a tendency to become too attached to the things we design and never let go. When we don’t let go, we’re not making the best contribution we could be making. For me, the easiest way to let go is by having a mentality that prototyping is the quickest way to the wrong answer. My aim is to get to the right answer faster.

I have to remember that I’m designing for people. If I forget that, I’ve forgotten about people. If I forget about those who I’m designing for then I’m making something that might just look great, with no function.

Simply put, people value design that values people.

Read the full article on Adobe.com

 

Embracing simplicity

Embracing simplicity by Adam Silver

My friend Adam presented at EnhanceConf 2016 on Friday and his presentation was about embracing simplicity.

Having worked closely with him at Just Eat, he talks about real world examples in this very through provoking talk in which he shares his knowledge and experiences on how he’s always striving for the simple.

A brilliant read, I highly recommend it.

Speaking at UAL Futures #4 – UX in Context

Kanye West Lyrics – The key to prototyping faster

Kanye West Lyrics – The key to prototyping faster

Last night I spoke at the fourth UAL Futures event at Central Saint Martins in London. I was invited down to talk about UX and specifically about prototyping, dissecting the things I do in my day to day and demystifying these for the audience. UAL Futures is an initiative at the University Arts London and leading the charge is Luke Whitehead who describes it as the following:

It’s about introducing students to the possibilities of new technology. Encouraging them to explore things like coding, programming, interface design, and data in their creative practice and ensuring they know enough of this stuff to get jobs or start their own businesses when they leave. I guess futures we’re talking about are: the future of technology, the future of work, and the future of the creative industries and creative education.

Prototyping was an obvious choice for me and as I was speaking to students from a lot of different courses my aim was break it down and show the simple way to getting towards designing and building the right thing – by prototyping ideas early, sharing with people, getting feedback from people and finding out if what you are designing really does solve a problem.

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Momentum

Momentum by Mark Jenkins

Inspired by an article I read on Brain Pickings today, here are some thoughts on momentum; in life and as a designer.

Upon accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in 1995, Heaney, whilst delivering poetry, spoke the words below:

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival, the ground of convinced action, the basis of self-esteem and the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others.

I seem to be getting inspired by all of the things around me at the moment, especially in the least expected places. I read the quote over a few times and I can safely say I can sum the same thing up in a single word…

Momentum.

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Why I started a newsletter to bolster my person brand

UX Essentials Newsletter

35 weeks ago I started the UX Essentials newsletter.

After steadily building the subscriber list and the content it’s time to share my experiences about why I started a newsletter and my learnings from it.

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Mentoring at The Dots Digital Design Portfolio Masterclass

I was invited to be a mentor at the Digital Design Portfolio Masterclass organised by The Dots.

The Masterclasses are a monthly creative industry-led series of workshops at some of London’s most iconic offices and workspaces. They aim to offer aspiring creatives a really rare and valuable opportunity – to get their work in front of the eyes and ears of a selection of industry leaders.

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How to use Kaizen thinking to design better

I took a short trip to Barcelona recently, and whilst that is of no significance to this post, it did give me time to relax, reflect AND read a book.

The book is called “One Small Step Can Change Your Life — The Kaizen Way” by Robert Maurer, Ph. D. It caught my eye because I’m a strong believer in taking smaller steps to a bigger goal and this is exactly what the book is about.

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8 ways of getting the best from people

8 ways of getting the best from people

Are you a leader?

Do you want to help make more leaders?

My simple guide to help you get the best from your team.

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Cultures of WHY

Simon Sinek Why How What

Taking the tube home means I get a rare moment to sit and read a book, a real book, made of paper. I’m currently reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek and it’s a book of real substance – no fluff.

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Defining ‘done’ and knowing when you’re ‘done’

Done is bette than Perfect

I subscribe to the UX Thought of the Day newsletter from Jared Spool and it’s one of those emails that I actually open, and spend time to read.

Today’s email started to provoke thoughts as soon as I’d finished reading it and so I forwarded the email to my friend Adam. The UX Thought of the Day email was:

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LIDL vs The Supermarkets

If you’ve been watching TV, reading the web, the papers and Twitter over the past few weeks you may have seen the barrage of adverts that Lidl are using for their new campaign, #LidlSurprises.

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How to contact and work with bloggers

How to contact bloggers

I’ve spent a bit LOT of time this week unsubscribing from newsletters, mailing lists and the such like. Why? Because all of the ones I’ve unsubscribed from, I never actually signed up for them.

This behaviour seems to be happening over and over again and frankly, it’s annoying. When did it become ‘ok’ to do this?

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Does your organisation have a ‘design-centered’ DNA with the right rewards?

10 tips to getting towards Essentialism in your everyday life

Essentialism

If you haven’t read my previous post on the new book I’m reading I’ve finished, then pop over and check it out.

Essentialism can be described as getting the right things done. From reading the book, I’ve learnt that it’s a mindset, rather than a way of managing your time and the tasks that fill up that time. We do live in a time where taking on more and more, be it socially, work or personally, is seen as a positive thing. We sometimes believe that the result of this will be a greater success. This isn’t strictly true.

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Essentialism

Dieter Rams - Less But Better

I started reading a new book today.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

I managed to devour 50 pages in the 20 minute bus journey home from work tonight and what I read resonated with a lot of my thoughts. So, I felt compelled to pop a quick blog post together, to share with my readers and followers.

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Students ‘hack’ #neknominate and team up with NHS Blood and Donor Centre

Donate & Nominate

School of Communication students James Lucking and Will Wright have ‘hacked’ the recent explosion of the #neknomination phenomenon with a clever twist on the idea – Donate & Nominate.

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Blogging Design and UX, presenting at The Guardian

Up on stage at the How To Blog Like a Pro Masterclass at The Guardian

As part of the “Blog Like a Pro” Masterclass at The Guardian this weekend, I was invited to speak about Blog Design and UX.

I approached this in a different manner than some people may have expected and used my knowledge about optimisation and speed to explain to the attendees that design is MORE than just how something looks.

Topics covered over the hour included images, optimisation, permalinks, RWD (Responsive Web Design), Mobile “first” and caching.

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“Sapeurs” – The new GUINNESS advert for 2014

GUINNESS’ new ad campaign for 2014 features the ‘society of elegant persons of the Congo’ also known as the ‘Sapeurs‘. Described as a group of everyday heroes from Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

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Value

Value has a value only if its value is valued.

– Bryan Dyson, former CEO of Coca-Cola

PayPal pilots face verification for mobile payments in London

PayPal are currently testing a new mobile payment method in (West) London, using a facial-recognition and verification app. The app highlights participating shops and merchants on your phone and allows you to check-in, and pay for the goods you are after.

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Playing with Leap Motion

As Leap Motion hit the Amazon UK Store last week, I sold my Kindle Fire HD and traded up for this gesture controller for Mac and Windows, a win right? No brainer!

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Good design is…

Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.

– Dieter Rams

MasterCard Brings MasterPass to the UK

Mastercard is bringing its digital payment service to the UK. The service has been in available in the US, Canada and Australia previously and this European debut will include the in-store mobile check out capability.

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