A consultant, I ask ya!

Had my first (informal) consultation as a user experience designer today. By that I mean I had a chat with the MD of a new startup that provides parking payment by text message, who happens to be a customer in the pub I work in! We were chatting about my exams, and what it is exactly that I do… (Mobile phones, power tools, household appliances, you know, designing that kind of stuff) and he asked me about signage. (I thought he said silage) he clarified, and I went on to explain about how we did graphics last year, instructions for wiring a plug without using text. He proceeded to tell how his device worked: you’re at the carpark, no coins. You go over to the machine, you send a text with how long you want to pay for to the mobile number displayed, And presto! The ticket is printed. Its charged to your phone, and you won’t get clamped.

This is a retrofit to existing machines, the blue ones you see in car parks with the green button you push for tickets. The challenge he told me isn’t the technology, its rolling them out to town councils (36 in Ireland)
Where it really comes in handy is for business reps, who may have 15 different places to visit, therefore 15 tickets, and the accountant has to trawl through the mountain of receipts of every rep every week.
He asked me if I’d have a look at the signage because the guy who was putting it together was a graphic designer, and he needed to be sure it works from a follow the instructions point of view.
And that’s how I landed my first consultation.

Part of our Contemporary Design Culture course is an essay, where we discuss an aspect of design. We were given a list of topics, and I chose to come up with my own title. I chatted with Adam de Eyto, our course director about some ideas I had about the casing music used to come in, and how we’re losing that art form because digital music doesn’t come with a package. We also chatted about the artefact value of music players, how having something physical increases the value and enjoyment and interaction with the music.

The essay is due tomorrow, and I’m almost done, but I have a little ways to go still by way of image procurement, and referencing.

I’ll leave you with this TV advert for Eircom, which nicely demonstrates the fun possibilities stemming solely from the packaging of the music.