I’ve had to re-load Omnigraffle a couple times in the past year, and its really a pain to get the TOC creation tools in place, since they aren’t yet supported by OmniGroup. I’ve written out a word doc for my workplace, and going to re-create it here for those who need it. WordPress wont allow for zip, scripts or graffle files to be uploaded to the server (good for them). If you need a template for omni that has a TOC page and prints properly in all sizes, feel free to email me through this blogs About page.
AppleScript / Omnigraffle Table of Contents Installation Instructions:
Link to TOC Scripts:
- In AppleScript Editor / Preferences / Check off Show Script menu in menu bar and Show Computer scripts / Bottom or Top (the defaults will show in the opposite).
- Once in that folder, paste the file or folder into the Scripts folder. After pasting, you should see the TOC creation options from the menu drop down.
- The script will create the TOC on page 2 directly from the page titles in your Omni doc.
- The TOC will show all pages after the Cover and Table of Contents. You can edit and resize or color the text by selecting the TOC text and changing the font size or color in the properties manger. This script is set for Helvetica med grey font size 12. Now you can export your PDF and the added TOC should allow users to navigate to respective pages.
- Before you create your PDF, if you’d like to set a Home link to the document, linking back to the TOC page from other pages is as simple as linking the Header title. Select the Header title, then pick the canvas you would like to link back to from clicking on the header. See the Properties, Actions section. In my case, i link back page headers to the TOC page.
I get a fair amount of requests from budding UX designers for best or favorite UX books. I dont like to overload them, so basically i do a walk through of a blueprint / spec’d wireframe set via Skype, hangouts or in-person, then the following reading list as a solid, easy to digest introduction.
The #1 read is: The Elements of User Experience. Jesse James Garret leads the Adaptive Path team here in SF, and he’s the man. This book talks about the structure of sites from the bottom up, then priority, structure and strategy. Its the Bible.
#2-3 include Designing the Obvious. This was my fav book from 2008/9 followed by Designing the Moment. The original versions were mainly web focused as opposed to mobile, but the approaches he suggests to trim down the design (get rid of the nice to have features, and how to talk the team into doing it and why, at least initially) was a game changer for me. I think the 2nd edition incorporates mobile. Also check out his articles on that page. Good stuff.
#4 Don’t Make Me Think. I cant say enough good about this book. Its the first time i realized through a great visual statement the author make about street signs in Los Angeles. You can read the next cross street name a mile away the signs are so clear (Sepulveda or Venice). And you always know right where you are as it should be on a website, “I’m on the corner of hardware and chainsaws”. About x Careers. Something like that… There was no ambiguity, and due to this book, i am a diligent proponent of very clear “street signs” on the web.
#5-8 include: Mobile First, Responsive Web Design, Content Strategy for Mobile and Design is a Job (my fav of the abookapart lot which talks about how to be an effective consultant, which we ALL are at ALL times be it FTE or contractor).
I’ve been a long time user of cleanscores.com but went to look up a restaurant recently and realized the site is either down or gone. It was managed by the Dept of Public Health in San Francisco, but i’m guessing due to budget cuts its gone. After a quick search found http://sfscores.com. I’m not sure if this is managed by the same team, or a private org but they have current scores for cleanliness at least in the City. I’m also an avid Yelp user. While working on a design architecture for Googles new Glass, I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to see the Yelp or google, travel site, ect reviews and ratings matched up with a clean score? Glass, show me all 4 star Dim Sum places in Chinatown that get a clean score above 90, or places closest to me in the SoMa. The aggregated results show a list of the highest rated spots sorted by cleanliness top to bottom?
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
― Mark Twain
I was on a flight from a yoga retreat in Phoenix and while on the plane to San Francisco a gal in my row asked… Why are we here? I thought about it for a few moments and gave her my stock answer which starts with a story i’ve been telling for some years. This includes family, friends, and personal experiences. I honestly have no idea why we’re here, but i’ve given it a lot of passive and active thought. The story starts like this…
While in utero, my mom made a U-Turn on a blind corner of Sunset Boulevard and was t-boned by a truck in a small convertible so it was pretty bad. The ambulance took us to UCLA Med Center where she was pronounced DOA. While in the trauma room she left her body and was hanging out in the upper corner of the room near the ceiling. At this point she could see her pregnant body on the gurney, and realized she knew exactly what was wrong with her and exactly what the doctors needed to do to resuscitate her. She also expressed being asked a question if she wanted to come back, and she said yes, i want to have my child (thanks mom). At that moment she came back to consciousness.
Fast forward 13 years: She is telling me this story about the accident when she was pregnant with me. After, I went to my school library and looked up life after death. I found 2 books by an author, Ray Moody, MD (http://www.lifeafterlife…). The first called Life After Life, the second, More Life After Life. I read through the first in the library on the floor in that row, and was amazed at the accounts this physician had documented where people had some sort of trauma or cause that threw them into a near death experience. Each account was almost identical, only differing by a detail here and there. Basically all accounted for the light, the tunnel, and those who went in saw souls to the left and right of their path, and those who crossed the light barrier heard music, saw a different spectrum of colors, and there were others there.
Fast forward 13 years: I never lost interest, but over the years never found anything that was as compelling as the Moody books I had found in Jr. High. While browsing a book store I ran across a book from Dr. Brian Weiss (http://www.brianweiss.com) called Many Lives, Many Masters. I read through the book and honestly couldn’t put it down. It was a fairly compelling story about this Psychiatrists (Weiss) experiences with one patient (Catherine) who well under hypnosis began expressing experiences where she was a Spanish prostitute in the eighteenth century, a Greek woman who had lived a few hundred years after the near-Easter lifetime.
Either way, I had to try it. I was able to sit in some years back with Dr. Weiss in a group session while he was in San Francisco. So I decided to look further, but didn’t find anyone local who purported to be a regressionist. Time past and I ended up in Jerusalem for a month in the summer of 2005. I met a man named Shimon that purported to do Regressions. He was trained by a local Rabbi, and since I would be there for a month, we set up four sessions (no charge). My first session was incredible. I went down very quickly, and immediately recalled running through a Sewer, running and running, and could hear the slight of water splashing beneath my feet, until at some point I could see light through a grate to my right. I looked through the grate and through the bars could see a city (it was Prague and I knew it although I have never been there). It felt like 5 minutes, but over an hour had passed. The time period was mid 1700’s. In a second session I recalled being a small girl (age approx 8) and horsemen were coming up a hill near the wooded house I was near, killed my family and burned the house. I was hiding near a pond, in the water. Third and Forth experiences allude me at the moment….
While in Jerusalem I also met a man named Asher. Asher did what was called Reiki or light healing. I had never heard of it, but one night after a nice meal with an orthodox student (Moshe) I had befriended on my first day, I was taken to see Asher. I was tired that night, but we stepped into the Apartment, and Asher asked me to lie on the table. He did my front side for 30 minutes. Then asked me to roll over and did my back. I passed out at some point as it was late and the room was pitch black. After finishing, he said to me that he knew a lot about me now. I sat up, and Moshe said, “Adam, you’re glowing”. I said what are you talking about Moshe? And he took me by the hand to the bathroom mirror, and I was literally lighting up the room, radiating a white blue light from my head and body.
Fast forward 1 year. I decided I wanted to do another past life session. I called Dr. Weiss’s office and he (in Miami) was booked out and not taking new patients. They referred me to a Psychologist in San Francisco, Sheva Feld who was trained by Brian Weiss. I went to see Sheva that month, and we did a single session. She started the session by helping me locate or recognize a spirit guide. I had a pretty amazing experience, and she was amazing. I’ve seen her a few times since over the past 2 years, and outside of being an excellent approachable therapist, she is an exceptional regressionist.
Through all of these experiences I had to ask several times what have I learned? It continually comes down to purpose. What is our Purpose? From my reading about life after life, it seems that we are asked a question: What was your purpose here. When we pass the barrier after we die, what do we experience? The stories from those who pass the barrier consistently cite that they are asked a question: Why were you here, what was your purpose.
What i answered the gal on the plane was that we may move through lives in order to learn one thing. And when we leave this life were asked what we learned; the one thing we needed to take with us in order to advance. We are supported by friends and family who we choose as we move on to the next life. The support that we’ll need in order to accomplish this goal of recognizing why.
Each time we learn a lesson we move forward, and if we cannot answer, we carry the burden forward. You may ask how we carry the burden, and actually attend to getting the answer to so many questions? The answer may be that through regressions we overcome the fears and realize the lessons of those past lives. Jung used an example of a bag we are born with strapped to our waste that we stuff all of the negative emotions in, and rarely if ever open it up. And as we age that bag gets heavier, and by the time we are 40 we are dragging this heavy, mile long bag of our regrets, mistakes and embarrassments. The same applies to the lessons from lifetime to lifetime. We need to occasionally open the bag and not be so afraid to remember the past and learn from it. Brian Weiss may have publicized a way for our race to deal with the burdens of our past that we cannot consciously see or remember. Once we get over or through the process of dealing with our shortcomings, past, issues… we can move on.
And in the end the Self-Actualization hierarchy Maslow spoke of comes to mind. Is there a reason we need to learn these lessons? My last statement to the gal was that we may have a certain amount of steps we take, lessons to be learned and once we achieve this goal, in our last life, we meld with those who have also overcome this great challenge in the afterlife creating a pure entity that moves to who knows where.
Teresa Neil does a great job of describing what it takes to become a true agency or contractor. REBLOGGED NOV 20, 2012
Diving into Indie UX: The Wrong Way
We just wrapped up last day of the IA Summit 2012 in lovely New Orleans. I have enjoyed wonderful food, drinks, company and speakers including Stephen Anderson,Josh Clark, Chris Risdon, Greg Nudelman, Nadine Schaeffer and Dan Brown.
But one of the talks on Saturday, a panel called Taking the Plunge: Diving into Indie UX, left me gaping. The first section focused on design and design process and how it would be different if you are acting as an independent operator vs working within an agency or organization. I was shocked to hear the 4 panelists don’t collaborate with other designers or work with mentors because, as one said “I’m a good designer, I don’t need help“. Other comments about 16 hour days, spending 20-40% of time on non-billable tasks, deals taking 18 months to close, and not having repeat clients illustrated the wrong way to approach indie work, not a sure path to success.
I’ve been an ‘indie’ for about 7 years, but I’m no expert. I came to the session hoping to learn how other independent designers handle important issues like process, pricing, managing clients, finding the right clients. Instead I am alarmed that there may be a whole group of people out there posing as UX designers who don’t know their ass from a tea kettle and another set of professional, dedicated designers who could be very successful working independently now scared to try it.
Like I said, I am not an expert, but I have been successful, more so that I would have ever imagined. I have a group of 10 other ‘indies’ who work with me, many outstanding client relationships, a broad & deep portfolio in the space I’m interested in. If you measure success with dollar signs, I matched my salary from my previous Director of UX position in the first year and it has steadily increased each year. I like what I do and I hope to be in this field as it evolves over the next 7 years.
So I don’t know if this is the right way to dive into indie work, but I think it is a more balanced and professional approach than what I heard Saturday:
1. Clock your 10k
Malcolm Gladwell and other writers have noted the correlation between 10,000 hours of experience in a field and expert status. So you’ll need a bare minimum of 5 years designing before you have the skills, experience and exposure to go out on your own. But a normal desk job doesn’t get you 10k in 5 years. A full-time job + side projects might though- see #2. And making a web site in high school doesn’t mean at 20, you now have 5 years experience under your belt. I’m talking about design work in a professional environment, hopefully one where you work like a dog to learn everything you can about this field- see #3.
2. Ease into it
Keep your day job, and if you have the passion and time, pick up a side project for the evenings and weekend. This will help you learn important info about yourself that you’ll need to know before taking the full time indie plunge. How are you at:
- managing timelines
- setting client expectations
- selecting and screening projects and clients
- taking criticism
- following through
- scheduling meetings
- saying ‘no’ (this was one of the good things Donna Spencer noted in the talk)
- working from home
- working remotely
- dealing with all the bs that comes with working from home
- negotiating your rate
- handling the bookkeeping
It might become readily apparent that you will thrive in this role or that there are some areas where you’ll need more experience or support.
3. Do anything to work with the best
Anthony Bourdain, author of ‘Kitchen Confidential’, has a newer book, ‘Medium Raw’. In this book he has a chapter titled “So you wanna be a chef”. He bluntly explains that if you are old (in restaurants that means over 30), fat, or have any health problems, to stay away. After this chapter designed to open your eyes about the real physical demands of cooking, he says if you do decide to go to culinary school, and manage to graduate, do everything in your power to work for the best. Whore yourself out to the best restaurants in Europe, just for the experience. Even if they don’t pay you, even if you sleep on someone’s floor for a year, it is worth it just for the experience.
Same thing applies in our field, but I’ll spare you all the cussing Bourdain uses to make my point. Go work with the best UX designer or agency that will take you. Intern for free, or volunteer to work on side projects just to get the chance to collaborate with experienced and talented people.
I was super lucky in this regard. In my first year as a designer, I helped hire my future boss, mentor, friend and co-author, Bill Scott. I spent 4 years learning from one of the best UI designers and developers in the U.S.
4. Don’t degrade or disgrace this budding industry
UX is an emerging field. Many companies know they need UX help but don’t know exactly what that will entail. If you have clocked your 10k, worked with the best, and successfully delivered a number of side projects on time, on budget, and the designs you made were well received by the end users (in testing and production), you maybe ready to help these companies.
If you haven’t clocked your 10k, haven’t successfully delivered multiple projects on time, on budget, and received positive user feedback (in testing and production), and haven’t worked with the best, you likely do NOT know what you are doing well enough to represent our industry on your own. Go back and get the experience you will need to help your clients be successful. Because, ultimately, this isn’t about you making fat stacks while working in your pajamas, it is about making your client’s projects successful.
5. Get your ducks in a row
You need some type of legal entity. I’m not lawyer or accountant, so I won’t advise you as to what type. I have a LLC, and so do most the designers I collaborate with (who are in the US).
You will need a standard MNDA, a consulting agreement, and a SOW template. And you’ll need a lawyer to review contracts before you sign them. I am serious, pay the extra money to make sure you are covered, you’ll sleep better at night.
Software and hardware
You need a time tracking system, invoicing system and file sharing system. You need a personal computer, and preferably a back up computer. I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but you need a secure backup of your work.
You’ll need 3-12 months of living expenses in the bank. Trust me, you don’t want to be in the position where you have to take any job that comes along because you’re broke. Having some financial security gives you the freedom (and time) to screen prospective clients carefully and only accept projects that are closely aligned with your expertise and interest.
You do not need a fancy office, amazing web site, logo, or business cards.
You do need a concise overview of your services and how you will work with your clients to provide value. I drafted a UX process years ago to help set client expectations about my role as a UX consultant, the deliverables, and what I expect from them during an engagement. Every client’s UX needs are different, so we don’t always follow this approach, but it is a good tool for the initial discussions. If you are going to freelance, you need a process or at least some case studies of projects you have been involved in.
You need a current portfolio. Be honest. Clearly call out what your role for each project was and who else you collaborated with. I would also recommend having a professional blog and authoring original content. Once you get used to writing, contribute to reputable UX blogs, like UX Booth, UX Magazine, UX Matters, etc..
Not all clients ask for them, but they should. Be able to provide references, preferably from pleased clients and colleagues. Again, if you clocked 10k, eased into this and worked with the best, this shouldn’t be hard to come up with. I had the luck of the lifetime when I left Sabre with a portfolio with dozens of desktop, web and mobile applications and their gold star recommendation.
6. Build a trusted team of collaborators
So I already mentioned that I was appalled that the panelists didn’t work with other designers, not even mentors. But as I thought about this more, I realized this is simple arrogance, not ignorance. UX encompasses a broad array of disciplines. A typical UX project we’re involved in includes:
- market research
- stakeholder interviews
- business strategy sessions
- user research
- information architecture design
- interaction design
- content development
- user validation/testing
- development collaboration
- project management
- visual design
And some projects require even more specialty work like video production.
I’m certainly not qualified to handle all of these roles myself, nor have I met any single UX person who is. Before I built my team of UX experts, I connected with fellow consultants who specialized in the areas I was weakest (ie. user research, testing, visual design, and prototyping). I knew which ones I could collaborate with who could be trusted to provide high quality work on time and on budget.
7. Provide a stellar Client Experience
Here’s an area I am still working on. After designing all these years, I forget that our clients don’t live and breath UX. They are new to the process, the terminology, the principles and the deliverables. They are looking to us for guidance to make their project successful.
One of the things we try to do, but should probably make a mandatory step in our process, is an on-site kick off meeting. We elaborate on our process, meet the stakeholders, then start looking at the business objectives for the project.
Once we’re up and running, we have standing design sessions, 1-2 days a week depending on the pace of the project. We also use Basecamp or myBalsamiq for file sharing and collaboration. Basecamp isn’t the perfect app for consulting, but the calendar does allow you to enter events and milestones. We’ve found that providing a really light weight project plan combined with standing weekly meetings, and the message board in Basecamp cuts down on random client emails at mid-night, or panicked calls asking when they can see the next version.
Don’t go crazy with the SaaS though, notes on Google docs, assets in DropBox, messages in Basecamp, project plans in Gantter, etc… just confuse clients. You’ll spend more time resetting passwords than getting design work done. Try to find onetool that is good enough, and stick with it, for their sake.
All in all, be professional
- Leave a reasonable amount of time to complete your work, don’t knock it out at 3am, or in a 16 hour day
- Respond to messages in a timely manner
- Treat clients’ questions and feedback with respect, you are the design expert, but they are the subject matter experts
- Educate them on UX methodology as appropriate during the project- note this is different than evangelizing UX
8. Get clients, not projects
This was the most troubling part of the talk, none of the panelists had significant repeat customers. They didn’t even talk about building client relationships. I have found the key to consulting is building client relationships, meaning, instead of taking 20 disparate projects a year, we have a half dozen clients that we work with on multiple projects.
The panelists spoke of 16 hour days (at the same time saying they bill by the hour which made me cringe) and how “you’ll burn out quick” like this. What I find to be most draining is ramping up on numerous small projects back to back. That is why client relationships are so valuable; it is easier to ramp up on projects within the same company, even if the work is for a different organizational unit. And we’re providing a great value to our repeat clients by reducing the number of hours need in the discovery cycle, since we already have some understanding of their industry and customers.
You can’t become an ‘indie’ UX designer until you have proven yourself as a ‘successful’ UX designer and have the portfolio and references to back you up.
I’d love to hear more tips from other successful independent designers; I’m sure there are many topics I’ve overlooked here, so chime in with your own experiences.
We just wrapped up last day of the IA Summit 2012 in lovely New Orleans. I have enjoyed wonderful food, drinks, company and speakers including Stephen Anderson, Josh Clark, Chris Risdon, Greg Nudelman, Nadine Schaeffer and Dan Brown.
But one of the talks on Saturday, a panel called Taking the Plunge: Diving into Indie UX, left me gaping. The first section focused on design and design process and how it would be different if you are acting as an independent operator vs working within an agency or organization. I was shocked to hear the 4 panelists don’t collaborate with other designers or work with mentors because, as one said “I’m a good designer, I don’t need help“. Other comments about 16 hour days, spending 20-40% of time on non-billable tasks, deals taking 18 months to close, and not having repeat clients illustrated the wrong…
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Some 10-15 years ago HIPAA came into play creating a scramble to meet the privacy constraints. Later EMR regulation via CCHIT and other “certification authorities” were born to authorize Electronic Medical Record systems. Compounding this, all medical providers must incorporate Electronic Medical Records into their practice by 2014 or be fined. Over the past year there has been a new mandate for all medical providers and or groups to become Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). This includes single providers, small practices all the way up through medical centers. This will supposedly allow someone in or outside the org or practice to determine how well the patient population is doing.
One of the interesting spots of concern is that there are currently no interfaces for this “person” to see how well, rate, grade or even view the providers patient population yet alone the patients wellness. I’m also unclear on who should have access to this information. Those are a lot of unknowns that need to be surfaced asap in the form of Standards and Guidelines.
Here are a few of my questions to create an effective UI for ACO users:
1. What information needs to be surfaced? Patient Names, Provider Names, Address, Phone, Age, SSN, Sensor Data, Number of Monitors (fitbit, scales, etc), Wellness Programs they subscribe to, Overall population and individual wellness levels, amounts spent by patients, total amounts spent by ACOs to cover the care, cost of the visit or procedure?
2. Who should be able to see this info, and do we need to set permissions? Providers, Patients, Admins, Insurance agents?
3. How much transparency should Patients have? Should there be a usage log the patient can look at? See who and exactly what was viewed?
4. How much of the record and social networking within the ACO takes place here?
5. What really needs to be in the interface?
6. What APIs need to be in place?
7. Is this the new patient / provider portal? How opaque are the view points? Do we all finally see the same thing so both the provider and patient become accountable?
Who really should be accountable? The ACO is more than just the provider network; its a collective partnership between the patient and the care coordinator / providers office. The ownness of wellness for the past several years has been shifting to the patient, and although its not there yet, this move to ACO management could be the ultimate opportunity to place the responsibility of care on both patient and provider.