The women of Interaction 18

I posted this tweet the other day:

and got this tweet in response, a day later.

And I realised that I needed to just write the blog post that’s been uppermost in my mind since coming back from Lyon last week. 

And that is this.

I think it was part way through Day 2 when I realised, then tweeted this:

Because while there were also men who did amazing talks, and who I learned from, this is the first conference in my memory where there weren’t just one or two women. There were lots of women speaking. They weren’t all white. English wasn’t everyone’s first language. They came from far and wide, different backgrounds and had different skillsets and it was bloody _glorious_.

Representation matters. Seeing women up there, a lot of them, speaking and talking about the amazing work they’ve been doing gives other women (me included) hope that there really _are_ a galaxy of opportunities out there. To do amazing things. To have a big impact. To be seen. And heard. 

And that’s not nothing.

So here, without further ado, are some more kickass women, to add to your life. I make no apologies for the length of this post.

Holly Thorsen

Holly ran a workshop called Giving and Receiving Feedback, on the day before the conference. I learned a lot from this workshop and I’m still processing everything I’ve learned and how it fits in with the reading, thinking and learning I’ve been doing in this area over the last few months.

Cheryl Platz

Cheryl Platz - From Blank Page to World Stage on Vimeo

Cheryl had a tough job - to come on stage right after Alan Cooper’s barnstorming opening keynote. She kicked ass though, and I really enjoyed her talk.

Pauline Gourlet

Pauline Gourlet & Louis Eveillard - Design versioning: Perspectives on Situated Design on Vimeo

Along with Lous Eveillard, gave an interesting talk about designing in and for education.

Molly Lafferty

Molly Lafferty - TV is dead, long live TV! Crafting compelling living room experiences on Vimeo

Molly talked about the work that goes into crafting compelling living room experiences, and it was really interesting to see how the reality of various living rooms differed from their expectations.

Nina Lysbakken

Nina Lysbakken - The creative possibilities in designing for social media conversations on Vimeo

This was a really fascinating look into how changing the design of conversational spaces online could change the content of the conversations - something which I think will become increasingly important as organisations scrabble to correct the trolling/fake news/etc. state of public discourse online.

Joke Van Kerckhoven

Wouter Bridts & Joke Van Kerckhoven - Atypical user research for the Antwerp police force on Vimeo

I loved seeing how Joke (and her colleague Wouter) worked to figure out the best possible way of installing screens in Police patrol cars in Antwerp. This is the kind of research you always hope is done, but suspect is too expensive so isn’t done, leaving the people at the sharp end to come up with their own coping strategies.

Jessica Zhang

Jessica Zhang - Successfully delegating user research: Why, When and How on Vimeo

One of the most memorable posters to come out of GDS states that User Research is a team sport, and this talk gave some solid ways to try and level up non-researchers to increase the frequency, value and impact of user research across an organisation.

Tomomi Sasaki

Tomomi Sasaki & Milan Guenther - Design to Ignite — Design sprints for transformation at scale on Vimeo

I was really intrigued by this - ways to use design skills for even greater impact by designing the organisation, not just the product. Important, given the likelihood of organisations shipping their org chart.

Katja Forbes

Katja Forbes - You’re not a designer, you’re a coach on Vimeo

When Katja strode out on stage, I was reminded very strongly of Leisa Reichelt - in a really good way. This was a cracking, and highly relevant talk, which gave solid tools and techniques that can immediately be put into practice in daily work.

Anna Haverinen

Anna Haverinen, PhD - Tales from an anthropologist on Vimeo

Anna gave a fascinating look at how deep research influenced product development, and made me want to do way more research.

Yedan Qian

Yedan Qian - Embodied storytelling — Experiencing reality and empathy first-hand on Vimeo

Not particularly relevant to my day to day work, but this was absolutely fascinating anyway.

Kadambari Sahu

Charuvi Singhal & Kadambari Sahu - Sniffing out the differences on Vimeo

A literal sensory journey, via scent (we were given tiny bottles of scent to open up as she spoke). Mind-opening.

Eilidh Dickson

Eilidh Dickson & John Lynch - Demystifying design in the 21st century on Vimeo

Eilidh and John presented the results of research done with a number of people on the state of design as a field, at the moment. Lots to learn from this.

Hertje Brodersen

Hertje Brodersen - A pattern library for teamwork on Vimeo

The first of a pair of incredibly useful and relevant talks on teamwork and collaboration. This talk is well worth a watch.

Luciana Terceiro

Luciana Terceiro - Creating and developing at a distance — Away from the office but close to the heart on Vimeo

And if you work with distributed or remote teams, watch this one too.

Haiyan Zhang

Haiyan Zhang - Innovating technology for a diverse world on Vimeo

I saw Haiyan talk at Canvas Conference in Birmingham last October, and wished I had more tissues on hand. Watch this, but make sure you have tissues ready. It’s genuinely emotional to see the sheer impact that good design can have on individuals.

Anab Jain

Anab Jain - More-Than-Human Centred Design on Vimeo

I don’t even know how to describe this, just watch it.

Venetia Tay

Venetia Tay - Designing for the conscious chooser on Vimeo

Watch this talk, and then go fix your privacy settings on everything.

Flora McAndrew

Fiona Mc Andrew - Designing for privacy & ethics on Vimeo

Also thought-provoking on the privacy and ethics front.

Jennifer Kumura

Jennifer Kumura - Parenting a mind on Vimeo

I’d really have liked this to be longer, and been able to go into more detail about how you even begin to train an AI.

Leyla Acaroglu

Leyla Acaroglu - Design ethics and systems change on Vimeo

Wow. What to say about Leyla. At the end of an incredibly intense conference experience, she exploded onto the stage with so much energy that it just lifted the entire audience. I’m so glad I got to see this talk live. It was brilliant to be part of the shared experience of being there for this.

… and many more

But this isn’t all the women of #IxD18. There were many more who spoke, whose talks I wasn't able to attend. Or who weren't presenting and who I spoke to in the breaks. Or even, as I was reminded, were on the organising committee. Or who volunteered their time and energy to help make the conference run as smoothly as it did.

A twitter list

Where I could find twitter accounts, I added them to a list called The women of ixd18. You should totally follow it, and every woman on this list. I’ll also be going through and adding the twitter accounts, where I can find them, of the women on the organising committee. Of whom there were many.

Talks on vimeo

It is also very worth going through the list of Interaction 18 talks on vimeo, and watching them all.

A fresh start

I don’t remember what year I first went to the Lodge for Hogmanay. It might even have been 20 years ago. I went with my boyfriend of the time, and his family, and I was a little overwhelmed to be joining what was a family trip to stay with old friends.

 One of the very few photos I have from that time. Of crockery and tea towels and Teachers and clementines.   

One of the very few photos I have from that time. Of crockery and tea towels and Teachers and clementines.   

Theres a quote attributed to Maya Angelou that goes along the lines of

 “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I might not remember the precise date. But I do remember how I felt.  




and very well fed. 

I remember a house filled with laughter, people and whisky. I remember wondering if the house was a TARDIS, because it seemed to expand to accommodate any and all comers. I remember singing and drinking and coal fired and the bells. And I remember the most enormous fry up the next morning. With slices of fried Christmas cake (sans icing and marzipan). I remember the steak pies. That were huge. And never ending. And there always being enough to feed everyone and more. It felt magical.

I remember those things so vividly. That sense of togetherness. Of family and friends and hospitality.  

And I remember, when that relationship ended, feeling deeply sad that New Years would no longer feel like that. 

And somewhere deep inside I decided that if and when I could, that I would try to recreate that feeling in my own life. That I would work to make my home a welcoming place to friends and family. And their partners or paramours or persons of interest. That as far as we were able, we would welcome folk with open arms, good food and drink, and a clean, comfy bed if they needed or wanted it.

And for the last few years, we’ve managed it. Through the year, but especially at the turn of the year.

We host a Hogmanay party. There is always too much food and booze. But it works out ok in the end. Fried breakfast is available in the morning for those that want or need it. The Scottish kind. With black pudding and tattie scones. And fried fruit cake if we have any. And for lunch on New Year’s Day, in honour of the Lodge, I make a gigantic steak pie, and others arrive as the day goes on, and we sit down to steak pie (and often apple crumble for dessert) and it’s brill.  

My kitchen looks like a disaster area for 48 hours and I fear the knock on the door signalling an intervention from concerned recycling collection operatives, but it is worth it.

For family, and friends who are pretty much family, and for being together.  

And also for this.

 This year's steak pie

This year's steak pie

And so, for 2018, may the paths o'er which you wander be to you a joy each day…

and lang may yer lum reek! 

Using a website as a screensaver in OS X

Being a blog post mostly written as a reminder so that I can remember how I do this when I change machine the next time.

  1. Use Alastair Tse's WebViewScreensaver (new window) because Gavin Brock's WebSaver (new window) doesn't come with any installation instructions and there isn't an obvious .saver file or similar to double click (and who needs a helping of feeling stupid when trying to just have a pretty screen saver appear.
  2. Go into Security & Privacy in System Preferences to tell OS X that you really really do want to install the thing.
  3. Add What colour is it? or Design Quotes Display to the URL list. Or whatever site is currently rocking your world.
  4. Win.


Blogging Like It's 2000

Blogging in 2015 is a funny beast. When I began, in March 2000, there were an awful lot more personal blogs than any other kind. Nowadays, it's all about being a Lifestyle blog, or a Fashion blog or a M(o)ummy Blog or a whatever the hell blog. And I get it. Blogs are big business now, and how can you make money unless you're specific about your audience and what you offer them, but I miss the old personal blogs.

I miss writing a personal blog.

I miss writing.

I've tried so many times over the last few years to start blogging again, even creating separate blogs, but the truth is that I don't want to be limited by writing about just the one thing. I don't want a knitting blog, or a mummy blog, or a professional design blog, or a running blog, or a stationery blog, or a craft blog, or a nail blog. I just want a me blog.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to write. About whatever moves me, and not worry about audience or social media strategies or following any of what seem like the million rules that have sprung up about how to blog.

Why now? Well, I was a bit inspired by what Norm and Neil wrote this week about side projects, and accountability.

So here goes.

Things I didn't really understand before becoming a mum

Being up and awake before anyone else in the house is

I used to read these magazine or newspaper articles where some famous/successful/interesting woman would be interviewed and she'd say something along the lines of: 

"My favourite time of the day is first thing in the morning. I like to get up at [the crack of sparrowfart, or earlier] before everyone else gets up. It's so peaceful, and I can have that time to myself before the demands of the day kick in".

and I'd be thinking to myself how crazy she was, and that she could be sleeping!

Oh, how little I knew.

Since becoming a mother, I have a window of approximately 30 seconds in the morning, where, if all goes well, I can go back to sleep. Anything beyond that and it's too late. I'm up for the day. I didn't used to be like this. I sometimes really wish I wasn't like this.


There is something kind of magical about the peace and quiet in those early hours. The gift they give of being able to come in to yourself slowly. With a cup of tea and a book, or some knitting, or the breakfast you want, when you want it, without a tiny human hanging off your legs. To sit on the toilet without someone actually sitting on you. The time to be you. Not mum, not wife, not host. No demands, no conversation, no noise.


Hand cream

I knew about hand cream before I became a mum. And occasionally I bought some, thinking that I should really use it, but I never really did.

Then I became a mum and the hand-washing really started. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a dirty skank before. I washed my hands. I just didn't have the need to wash my hands quite so bloody much before.

Never mind washing that man right out of your hair - babies will make you wash that skin right offa your hands.

Hand cream. Bloody brilliant. Current fave: Neal's Yard Melissa Hand Cream.

Spa Days

Sure, they're nice and all, but you can get the same effect just having a bath and doing stuff at home, right?

That was before I knew that actually having the time to run a bath, get into it, have a soak, a read, a relax, uninterrupted for at least an hour, was likely to be rarer than hen's teeth.

Sometimes, I fantasise about running away to a Premier Inn for a night. Just so I can have a bloody bath and not have to sleep with one ear open, in case Junior needs me.

That you can't call in sick to being a mum

As I enter week 3 of the virus that keeps on giving, I'm reminded again that no matter what else is going on, I can't just retire to my bed with a box of Kleenex Balsam and all of netflix for days, until I feel better. That's not to say that MrP doesn't help - he does, but sometimes, only mummy will do. So unless I'm out of the house, I'm very very rarely entirely off duty.

I know this will get better as he gets older, but sometimes, when I'm feeling really really awful, I just want to hibernate and not have to deal with anyone else's needs.