Starting to Notice...

This is the start of my MSc journey, a digital innovation journey. A journey that I have chosen to take in an effort to better understand the needs of the people who use our digital products and how I can utilise my ideas to better improve their experiences with technology and the world itself.

One of the most interesting aspects of the first week came about simply by performing the task of watching the world and analysing how it was operating. The world is full of systems that were designed and implemented for humans to use. Unlike the natural world humans generally have to use some cognitive power to train and retrain their brains to use these systems.


Like a blurred view through a water laden window I never really stopped to assess how I interact with technology in my daily life, most of it my brain has trained itself to use in an unconscious manner, to work around it’s flaws without even noticing them anymore.

My experience with usability design and user experience is not limited in knowledge but I would say it is limited in scope - I’m not aware of the bigger picture, being a front end engineer I have come across and solved many UI and UX issues in web and mobile applications but these were limited in their impact.

Having had the chance to read some of Bill Moggridge this week I am starting to see the bigger picture, starting to train my brain to awaken from it’s slumber and to look out for the bigger picture. To look out for opportunities to design a whole experience for a user rather than just an interface.

I was equally intrigued reading Saul Greenberg & Bill Buxton and the potential for usability evaluation to be harmful if used incorrectly, without knowing it at the time I have been a party to the same processes that have enabled this negative impact where premature evaluation of our applications has led to innovative thinking being scrapped because it didn’t pass some predefined rules about company usability.

I decided to return to education to improve my understanding of the digital needs of our users, how to make sure what we are building is truly a better solution for them and the first week has been a very positive valuation of my decision.

I look forward to furthering my knowledge week by week.


Donal Rafferty

Forever learning, Software Engineer, CoderDojo mentor, Smurfit Business School student, Photographer

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