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Happy Monday

Welcome to a new week! Start your Monday with some good reads:

An experience designer’s desk

I’m officially a member of the R/GA team this week, yay! I’ve spent my days this week reading lots of documentation and trying to get up to speed on complicated projects. I love seeing how other designers solve problems!

Starting a new job made me sit back and thinking about what essentials I’ll need in my new desk. The basics are all here: a notebook, pencils, sticky notes, mug for tea, a cute calendar, and a solid ruler. I’m so sad that this Rifle Paper Co. calendar doesn’t start until 2015 though! It would be perfect to add a little art to my space since I don’t have a wall to hang things on.

An experience designers desk: a solid notebook, pretty pencils, tons of stickies, a motivational mug, a cute calendar, and a stylish ruler.

1. Leuchtturm1917 notebook2. Letter C Design pencils / 3. Super sticky Post-It Notes pack4. Click and Blossom Stuff Done mug / 5. Rifle Paper Co. Monarch Flip Calendar6. Paper Source Mint Ruler

What essentials go in your desk?

Happy Monday

Leap and the net will appear

One week to go in August! September is looking especially exciting for me…next week I’m starting a new job! I’m joining R/GA here in Portland as an experience designer and I am so. excited!

More exciting news: near the end of next month I’m teaching a two-day Intro to HTML & CSS class for the brand new Portland chapter of Girl Develop It. I can’t wait to help some awesome women make their first websites!

Also I wanted to direct you to Learn to Code with Me, a fantastic blog by Laurence Bradford who happens to be one of the nicest people on the ‘net. She interviewed me recently for her Women in Tech feature. Check out the rest of the blog if you’re a new programmer (or are code-curious) and want help and motivation to keep pushing through the bugs.

Okay okay I think that’s all my news. (Whatta month!) Here are a few articles I’ve enjoyed over the past week—use ’em to kick your brain on this morning.

Have a great Monday!

(illustration via Motivational Monday)

Happy Monday

What a weekend! I’m sitting in our new apartment, dog at my feet, boxes on all sides, thankful for our excellent wifi connection. These past few days was a whirlwind of moving but I think the worst is behind us. The rest of August is all about putting our new home together. Fun!

  • I’ve just discovered Moodboard, a quick way to curate and publish a collection of images. Looks like it might fill part of the Icebergs hole now that they’re shutting down.
  • Our new fridge isn’t magnet-friendly (insert sad emoji here!) but maybe you can make one of these 10 easy & adorable DIY magnets for me.
  • Have you explored Twitter’s Analytics tool yet? Blog Clarity has a great overview of how to access these handy metrics and a few ways to interpret the numbers.

(appropriate illustration via Zoe-Zoe Sheen on Dribbble)

Continuous learning with Gibbon

Continuous Learning with Gibbon on Miss Venn

Have you discovered Gibbon yet? It’s a still-young startup based in the Netherlands that is my new favorite learning app. Gibbon harnesses the amazing wealth of content already published online to power its peer-to-peer learning network.

There are a bunch of other options out there to help you learn. Some, like Treehouse, focus on tech and offer lessons in web design and development. Udemy offers classes in all sorts of things (including how to teach online courses!), but many of them cost money. Most of the services use videos and other rich media to attempt to replicate a classroom setting that caters to visual learners. The courses tend to be more formal and sometimes even scheduled as with the Stanford online courses.

Gibbon, on the other hand, is a more casual, “set it and forget it,” kind of learning experience. Once you choose topics that interest you and set how often you want to learn you don’t have to do anything else. Well, nothing besides actually learning! Gibbon will send you a daily, weekly, or monthly selection of readings from your chosen topics as a reminder to check in and read or watch something.

All the learnable content in Gibbon comes from its users, which is another reason I love it. Anyone can sign up and create a “playlist”, which is a topic full of educational content. For example, this User Experience Design from A-Z playlist is full of 99 articles about user experience, all curated specifically to take a learner from “what is UX?” to solving complex experience problems.

Gibbon figures out an approximate reading time for each “chapter” in a playlist which the system uses to build the reminder emails. Every morning I get an email with around 10 minutes of content in it. And because I subscribe to more than one playlist I sometimes get articles on different topics. I’ve been loving the wake up call! Each day I get a cup of coffee and settle in to spend 10 minutes focussed on learning. The articles are shown in a beautiful distraction-free view that let’s you read without wandering away. And the end of each playlist “chapter” has a big “Mark as Learned” button for a satisfying this-is-done feeling.

Gibbon - Playlist view
Gibbon - How much do you want to learn?
Gibbon - Article comments
Gibbon - Learning view
My Gibbon profile

What I’m Learning

My own profile is mostly full of design- and management-focussed playlists. Gibbon and I haven’t been close for that long but I’ve already found several articles to tuck away for reference later. “Jumping Through the Hurdles of Brainstorming” from Pete Sena’s Leadership playlist and “Dare to be Boring” from Gibbon co-founder Wouter de Bres’s Becoming a Better Designer playlist both resonated with me.

Gibbon is free to join as a learner or teacher, but paid plans are available for private playlists. I see a few interesting applications of the paid plans. Teachers could ask students to create playlists throughout a semester, for example, to help teach continuous learning. Or accelerator mentors could build playlists for specific teams to help them grow and succeed. So many options!

What are you learning?