My project for UX Camp summer 2015

By: Maria Matveeva
My clipboard from UX Camp last year

I’m super excited to attend (and help organize) this summer’s UX Camp. Last fall we had an inspiring, productive weekend and this year I expect even more.

The camp is a project based weekend, meaning that in addition to talks and workshops, we can all bring a project we want to focus on. Today, I want to share what I tried last fall, how it turned out, and what I’m bringing with me this year.

What I got last year

Last year, I focused on improving my visual thought process through quick sketching. I brought a clipboard, a felt tip marker and a stack of paper, and practiced quickly and roughly sketching out any ideas or notes that I wanted to capture throughout the event. My set-up (clipboard, paper and one pen) was intentionally minimal because I wanted to be able to pick up the project in the breaks between helping run and document the event, and listening to lectures and workshops.

My clipboard from UX Camp last year

The result was encouraging: I was able to fill about 25 sheets with rough drawings, and got a bit more comfortable capturing my ideas in drawing form, rather than as a list or a paragraph of text.

What I’m doing this year

This year, I am hoping to try a slightly more involved project: repeat patterns. It will require a few extra tools, and a bit more space than last year’s.

The inspiration

I was inspired by Matisse - his paintings and even more, his creative process. He sourced colors and textures for his work from an extensive collection of textiles, artifacts and clothing. I want to create repeat patterns for use online (an existing interest of mine) by sourcing color and texture inspiration from Matisse.

Matisse and his patterns

The tools

To sketch the patterns, I will bring:

  • Markers in a few colors
  • Sheer marker paper
  • Masking tape (to display my results on a window)
  • A ruler and a pencil
  • Scissors and clear tape to re-combine shapes

The process

I plan to start with a grid and play with layering patterns on sheer paper to arrive at different solutions. The initial drawings will likely be very messy, but I expect that the clarity will improve as I work on the same idea a few times.

The goal

I plan to iterate in public so I can take advantage of the camp setting. While a specific result (pattern) may look good and useful to me, others may offer an unexpected opinion. By showing my work early and getting feedback - even if feedback is anecdotal, like - “yeah, I might use something like that for a web project” - I will have the advantage of many people’s perspectives.

So, here! I’ve shared my plans for camp! My colleagues at DockYard are getting ready as well.

Tim is planning to either focus on a typeface he’s been crafting this year, or begin conceptualizing an idea for a live music website.

Steve is still undecided about what he’ll focus on in addition to running the camp. (Perhaps, you can tweet an idea for him to work on!)

Patrick might finally tackle an infographic he’s been planning to make for a pumpkin beer review site he runs, so that he can release it in the fall.

Amanda will be working on a future conference talk and learning about animating SVGs.

What are you excited to work on? Share your ideas with us!