Week 287

Largely Completely inspired by BERG—a design consultancy that I admire from back home in England—I’m kicking off what I hope will be a weekly retrospective post. If anything, it’s an opportunity for every willing member of the team to hone their writing chops (we’ll be rotating penmanship duties), and keep anyone out there who’s following apprised of recent happenings at Lush HQ. I also find the act of reflection a useful tool in aiding awareness; it’s the answer to that question … Just what exactly did we achieve, learn, and stumble through this past week?

Half of the company started the week early and attended FITC’s ‘Spotlight: Hardware’ event on Saturday. It was a great introduction for folks looking at taking a breather from the screen and taking their first foray into the world of physical computing and hardware hacking. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Leap Motion, OpenFrameworks, and Google Glass all featured. We’ll be putting up a fuller review shortly.

Ryan continues to drive business development con entusiasmo, glued to his phone, fielding calls left, right, and sideways from existing and prospective clients. He’s also been burning through his personal reserves of midnight oil to deliver on a number of tidy designs and creative concepts for a handful of appreciative clients.

Inspired by a talk on drones at the FITC event, Ryan brought in his toy RC helicopter which has been buzzing about the office all week, and typically splits its time between the charging station and spiralling, post-collision tumbles to the ground. An order for a hackable quadrotor cannot be far around the corner.

Alejandro, who’ll likely mock my attempted use of Spanish in the earlier paragraph, has been continuing his Latin love affair with Rails. I haven’t heard a single mispronunciation of Django in weeks. The timing is just right as we have a number of sizeable Rails apps in the pipeline that will require a certain ardour.

I’ve been sticking my fingers in every production-shaped pie, reviewing timelines, estimating, researching, and just generally laying the groundwork for what’s gearing up to be our busiest summer yet.

I also afforded myself the opportunity to play with around with PaintCode, a “a vector drawing app that generates Objective-C code in real time” in anticipation of us starting on a couple of iOS apps that demand dynamic, interactive UI components. It’s also been an opportunity for me to dive a little deeper into Apple’s Core Animation library by continuing to reverse engineer my favourite parts of Yahoo!’s delightful little weather app for iOS (despite the recent update, the logo still does not befit the beauty within!).

We lost a half-dozen man-hours keeping abreast of Apple’s announcements at the WWDC 2013 Keynote on Monday. There are currently 100 session videos to chew on in Apple’s developer resources section.

Jon and Matt have been tag-teaming the development of a sassy little CoffeeScript app over the past month, and spent the week wrapping up the QA and UAT phases. We’re using Backbone with Marionette this time around to wrangle in those errant events. Matt’s been keeping his eye on developments at E3, and highlighted Sony’s refreshing approach to DRM on the PS4. We’ll see how Microsoft’s seemingly dystopian take on gaming—with their oppressive Xbox One offering—pans out.

Dave has spent the majority of the week heads down studying the finer points of Objective-C in anticipation of getting his hands dirty with our upcoming iOS capabilities app. He’s also been exploring the possibilities and limitations of 3D mapping techniques with the Kinect for a prospective client project, and popping up for air to assist Ryan with a burgeoning load of design work.

Eli’s taken a week off production work to focus on conjuring up blog posts that cover our involvement with the recent Cambridge Arts Festival. Expect full details on the interactive, Kinect-driven installations that he and Dave crafted for the event to seep out over the coming weeks. He’s also been SR&ED-ing away, documenting the trials and tribulations, successes and failures he endured with his work for the festival, and exploring the use of creative coding framework Cinder for use in future projects.

Creative juices still flowing, Eli and Dave have been putting their heads together on an idea for a new installation inspired. It’s too early to give too much away. Just know that it’s an instruments of sorts, makes use of acrylic glass for its refractive properties, and leverages a ton of piezoelectric sensors and low-cost microcontrollers.

Adam had an unusually quiet week by his standards. Only a single Facebook app launched under his supervision; though it was for a major car manufacturer—bonus points. Either side of that, he’s been whiteboarding away, fleshing out the architecture and selecting technologies for the development of a stealth mode startup’s service that we’ve been engaged to build. Today he was spotted looking sharp and dandy in a pair of brink pink pants.

Edwin has been raging hard in interaction design land. The first part of the week was spent user testing the second iteration of the paper prototype for the aforementioned iOS capabilities app. He followed that up by facilitating a gamestorming session to generate ideas on a pitch for an interactive exhibit, and capped off the week with some persona discovery and mood boarding.

Lawton, our fearless intern (they playfully go by last names around these parts), continues to soar and is gearing up for the launch of his first Wordpress site into production. He’s also now something of an expert with Photoshop actions, leveraging them to process upwards of 2,500 images over the past week.

I’d also like to extend a very, very warm welcome to Elysse who joined us this week in a part-time UX Strategist and Producer capacity. In addition to oodles of positivity, she brings with her years of UX, IA and PM experience in the digital sector, with a particular focus on responsive, large-scale, content-driven websites. Furthermore, she’s a certified gelato maker and will be assisting us all in the deconstruction of our favourite flavours in due course.

We’ll catch you next week then.