Archive — Edinburgh

Note — 2019-11-14

IxDA Scotland logo

I’ll be speaking at the next IxDA Scotland community meetup about our user research with the Learn Foundations project.

Duncan’s talk will take us through how the University of Edinburgh’s User Experience Service has undertaken a comprehensive programme of user research supporting a project aimed at improving students’ experience accessing course materials digitally. Find out how they developed a programme of multiple user research methods to understand what students really need.

Time: Wednesday 4 December
Venue: Amazon Development Centre, 2–4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh

Full details about the IxDA community meetup event

Maybe see you there?

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Photo — 2019-11-09

Blurred-out photo of Labour leaflets that don't mention Labour

Received two big leaflets from our local Labour MP. But you have to get the microscope out to find out which party he’s from. Maybe it’s to practice looking for their votes.

Also, zero mention of Brexit-enabling Jeremy Corbyn.

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Photo — 2019-09-29

Queen Street Gardens (eastern district)

Since I was a child I’ve been intrigued by what lay behind the mysteriously secretive railings of Queen Street Gardens, one of Edinburgh New Town’s many private gardens.

Normally you need to be a resident of a neighbouring street to obtain a key to the gates. But for one weekend a year, on Doors Open Day, the gates are thrown open to the wider public.

Well, one of the gates is. When we arrived at the south side of Queen Street Gardens’ eastern district, we found it locked as normal. Walking further, we found a sign informing us to enter at the opposite side, at Abercromby Place. You mustn’t make it too easy to enter, after all.

Alex looking at the Nissen hut

Among the interesting things to see are the Nissen hut, originally used as a bomb shelter and now used as a shed.

Temple of Pluto

At the other end is the Temple of Pluto, a 1980s structure designed to disguise a gas pressure regulating station.

Pond in Queen Street Garden centre district

The central garden was also open. Most notable here is the pond and island, which is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson (who, as a child, lived on the adjacent Heriot Row) to write Treasure Island.

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Photo — 2019-08-18

Continuum by Bridget Riley

Continuum — Bridget Riley — on exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery.

It’s Bridget Riley’s only ever 3D work. Entering inside it, I perhaps understood why. It wasn’t quite tall enough to fully immerse me.

I highly recommend you visit this if you can. It is a very comprehensive exhibition of her career, spanning more than 70 years, including paintings from this year.

Bridget Riley study

The room containing her black-and-white works of the 1960s are of course a highlight. I am constantly in awe of how these static paintings can appear to be moving at great speed.

Bridget Riley studies

But I was also fascinated by the room containing her studies, where you can see her working out how to create these incredible mind-bending paintings.

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Photo — 2018-11-17

Me and Lauren after we completed the MoRun

This time last week, I ran the Edinburgh MoRun 5k with my friend and colleague Lauren Tormey. For a few hours only, I had a moustache. Definitely not my best look!

Me and my moustache

This is the first time I’ve entered a race. To my surprise, I finished 24th out of the 293 that entered the 5k race, with a time of 24:29. Not bad! Although I rather suspect this is because the serious runners had entered the 10k race. Or perhaps it was the aerodynamic benefits of having a moustache.

The route was the main road around Arthur’s Seat — a hilly route with 106 metres of climbing. So it felt pretty good to do my fastest run of the year here, as well as getting personal best times for a mile, a kilometre and a half kilometre (on the downhill bits of course, but still…).

To step up the challenge, people are suggesting I should start doing 10k runs. I’m not sure if I’m up for running regular 50 minute sessions to train for this… but watch this space.

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Photo — 2018-09-16

Louise, Alex, me and Jamie with our breads

Louise, Alex, me and Jamie with our breads

Alex and I took our friends Louise and Jamie to a bread making workshop as part of a wedding present.

Thank you to Colin at Bread in Fife, who led the class and was great fun to work with. Formerly based in Freuchie in Fife, he has since moved to Edinburgh — but remains called Bread in Fife.

We had fantastic fun making bread that we baked in a Dutch oven. We each had our own recipe to follow. I made a wholemeal loaf, Alex made a walnut boule, Louise made a white cob, and Jamie made a harvest loaf.

While waiting for the dough to prove, we made digestive biscuits. We also made a Russian bridie-like pie called a pirozhki, which contained an onion and egg filling.

Lunch for this week is sorted!

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Photo — 2018-08-04

Five Telegrams on the Usher Hall

Five Telegrams, Edinburgh International Festival 2018 opening event, by Anna Meredith and 59 Productions.

One of Edinburgh’s busiest roads was closed last night for this musical and visual work projected onto the Usher Hall. The sort of event that makes me really proud to live in Edinburgh.

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UX Scotland 2018 — my day-by-day notes

UX Scotland 2018 — my day-by-day notes

Some more follow-up to the UX Scotland conference, which I have published over on the University of Edinburgh Website Programme blog.

I set myself the challenge of writing a summary of each session I attended at UX Scotland, as a way of forming my own thoughts on each topic, and to make sure to follow up on everything I wanted to.

This resulting blog post is long. But I am sharing this on the basis that others might find it useful and seek to learn more about these topics, as I did.

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UX Scotland 2018 write up

UX Scotland 2018 write up

My colleagues and I have gathered together our thoughts on our highlights of the UX Scotland conference.

I am also in the process of writing up some further thoughts on most of the other sessions, which I will publish to the University Website Programme blog soon.

But in the meantime, find out about my top three sessions, and the things I intend to put into practice as a result of attending the conference.

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Photo — 2018-03-28

"Did you know that in Edinburgh, there are more statues of dogs than there are of women?"

“Did you know that in Edinburgh, there are more statues of dogs than there are of women?”

From Message from the Skies, the virtual walking tour run in Edinburgh during January.

The story for the walking tour was written by Val McDermid, and celebrated the work of Edinburgh’s literary women, many of whom are unsung compared to the men.

Message from the Skies at Greyfriars Kirkyard

The walking tour ended in Greyfriars Kirkyard, where these spectacular neon signs ensured that women writers had their name in lights.

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Photo — 2018-03-03

Miniature snowman following the Green Cross Code. ☃️🚦

Seen in Edinburgh on Thursday.

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Cars found trapped in Edinburgh’s ‘robot car park’ 15 years on

Cars found trapped in Edinburgh’s ‘robot car park’ 15 years on

This news story has blown my mind in so many ways.

Firstly, that in 2001 we had the technology to use robots to store cars in a car park.

Secondly, that someone thought to give it a try in Edinburgh.

Thirdly, that this building has existed in a very central location in my city for 15 years and I had no idea about it.

Fourthly, that this prominent location has remained unused for 13 years.

The ‘abandoned’ cars are just the icing on the cake. This is Wall-E territory (although it turns out they were in fact owned by the car park and used as test cars).

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