Weeknotes #001: User research

What I did in the 2nd week of September 2020.


Back after a week off, catching up on work. We had user research to review on our prototype. This process is still new enough to me that I’m always blown away by how useful research is. The findings came up a lot in discussions about what’s next. Being able to refer back to it feels like a firmer footing, and that feels good.

I’m also reminded at how much talent, skill and preparation goes into making these interviews successful. We’re particularly lucky here to have the folks who can pull it off. If you want to see the kind of things they do, more on that here.

I’ve tried to describe the benefits of our multidiciplianry approach to friends recently, I’m not sure found the language to do it justice. More siloed work feels impoverished by comparison, but not sure I’d have realised this before I saw our approach in action. So how to convey that to others when you can’t show them?

This week was a lot of preparation. Drawing cards together, discussing next steps and building consensus. I hope we’ll shortly see the prototype move into live user testing as a result. Then, our chance to find out what’s working for users, if they want something different, measure our expectations and start making improvements.


Went to Cambridge looking for good Chinese food. Found Zhonghua Traditional Snacks online, and went to take a look. Turned out to be fantastic, I’d recommend to anyone who loves dumplings and noodle soup (is there anyone not in that category?), worth travelling a fair distance for.

Also stopped off at Fen Drayton nature reserve for a walk. It’s very pretty. There’s also a guided busway, they’re cool, not seen many before, how’d those become a thing?

There’s a big red star looking thing at night. Turned out it’s Mars, it’s getting closer until October. It’s very red.

Oh and there was an Earthquake in Leighton Buzzard. We didn’t feel a thing, I guess we were too far away.




Listened to

I’ve fallen behind on my usual podcast listening, a lot of audio books recently. I keep thinking about one episode I heard though:

Fungus Amungus - Radiolab - Published 2020-09-04

Uh oh, this is a new one to me. Climate change is geologically quick, but gradual year to year. That is killing some fungus and leaving heat resistant offspring to take their place. Human body temperatures seems suspiciously positioned at the point that kills a lot of fungus, the podcast has some theories on why…

So the more 36.5–37.8 °C days we see around the world, the more we could be promoting fungus that can endure our body temperatures in unexpected places. With that, new illnesses. I’m sure there’s more research to complicate this story, but a new idea I’m keen to hear more about.

A fun sequel to our present apocalypse perhaps, and another climate danger.

Thinking about

If you found me on the internet I’d love to chat any of that.

| Huw