The Power of Webmaker Landing Pages

We just started using our first webmaker.org landing page, and I thought I’d write about why this is so important and how it’s working out so far. Who’s getting involved? Every day people visit the webmaker.org website. They come from many places, for many reasons. Sometimes they know about Webmaker, but most of the time it’s new to them. Some of those people take an action; they sign-up to find out more, to make something with our tools, or even to throw a Maker Party. But, most of the people who visit webmaker.org don’t. The percentage of people who do take action is our conversion rate. Our conversion rate is an important number that can help us to be more effective. And being more effective is key to winning. If you’re new to thinking about our conversion rate, it can … Continue reading »

Who’s teaching this thing anyway?

This is an idea for Webmaker teacher dashboards, and some thoughts on metadata related to learning analytics This post stems from a few conversations around metrics for Webmaker and learning analytics and it proposes some potential product features which need to be challenged and considered. I’m sharing the idea here as it’s easy to pass this around, but this is very much just an idea right now. For context, I’m approaching this from a metrics perspective, but I’m trying to solve the data gathering challenge by adding value for our users rather than asking them to do any extra work. These are the kind of questions I want us to be able to answer and that can inform future decision making in a positive way… How many people using Webmaker tools are mentors, students, or others? Do mentors teach many … Continue reading »

Remembering maps from memory

Today, I found this awesome post on Uncertain Cartographies (via Flowing Data), and it immediately took me back to something I made when I was in college and studying fine art. So check out that link first, as this post will make more sense in relation to it, and it’s pretty fascinating anyway. Then I’ll continue my reminiscence… I used to have a framed print of a map I’d drawn on the wall at home, though when I say “print” it was ~10 bits of A4 photo paper I had carefully cut and glued together. It lasted about 6 years on the wall before the ink faded and the paper peeled and I had to take it down. And I hadn’t thought about this map again until today. Then after reading this paragraph in particular, I really wanted to find … Continue reading »

2 new designs for your votes: Campfire Stories and Infinite Fun.

I was feeling creative last week  and entered a couple of Threadless competitions as it’s a nice outlet for visual ideas. The designs are now live, so your (high-scoring) votes would be most welcome: Minimalism competition: Infinite Fun Your New Favourite Hoodie competition: Campfire Stories Infinite Fun: Campfire Stories:

Critters Processing Sketch – Round 3

This is taking a little bit more shape now… Coming up next is user interaction.

Critters Processing Sketch – Part 2

I’m just posting some progress as this concept develops. Code etc is hosted on Open Processing if you want to have a look. I’m really enjoying Processing as a sketchbook for code. It’s definitely a good tool for teaching programming.

Critters Sketch in Processing

If your browser is up to scratch, here’s a little JavaScript based sketch from a current personal project… This is some early code for a simple game I’m working on for the Coursera Creative Programming course (it’s my first time building a game rather than regular software). These shapes are generated from a limited range of numbers, which can later be turned into a simple genetic code to define these critters. I’ve hosted this on OpenProcessing.org, so you can get to the source-code etc. http://www.openprocessing.org/sketch/103410

Pixel Art Impressionism for Threadless

Just a little design for this Threadless competition. Please vote if you can spare a minute. Impixelism    

Learning Backbone.js and Single Page Applications

Following up my post about the backbone.js book I downloaded, I’ve been playing, testing and learning as much as I can. So much so that I’ve neglected my Coursera design course, though I think this is a better use of my time in the long run. This particular Coursera course was mainly to test out the MOOC process first-hand, and it’s pretty cool on the whole. I’ll still be taking part in the Game Theory course that’s coming up, and I’d give Coursera a big thumbs up overall. I’ve studied design previously, so the content in the course (while very good) was mostly a re-hashing of old stuff for me, whereas delving into the world of Backbone.js and Single Page Applications has been a great way to challenge my existing approach to web design and development. It’s been a real brain … Continue reading »

Menu Planner: Sequence of user needs

Here’s the next instalment from my Coursera project notes:   This has been an interesting exercise but I’m looking forward to doing some actual design and prototyping work soon. I’ve also been thinking about how much more flexible software design can be than physical product design; especially hosted auto-updating software like a web app.