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I want to break free

16 Apr

I have smoked exactly two thirds of my life: twenty-eight years. It’s high time I stopped. So I stopped.

It’s been only five days but that’s the longest I’ve achieved ever, so there is cause to celebrate.

The decision had been years in the making. Friends and family have persisted over the years and my son recently joined the lecturing bandwagon. I’m thankful because I was impervious! Much as they annoyed me, they were right and I knew it. Slowly I was getting closer to commitment: Quitting is the right thing to do, therefore submit.

I was brought closer to the decision last month by the prospect of tobacco deprivation at airports, during long flights –and basically of limited freedom to smoke–, as I prepared for a 24-hour or so journey to a two-day meeting, followed by a 24-hour or so journey back home. The actual trigger was the epiphany that struck me as I thought I was at last free to go smoke between two flights: that is not freedom, that is (nicotine) enslavement.

In “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking”, the book my good friend Amy gave me years ago, Allen Carr writes:

“It is […] slavery. We spend half our lives in situations in which society forbids us to smoke (churches, hospitals, schools, trains, theaters, and the like) or […] feeling deprived. The rest of our smoking lives is spent in situations where we are allowed to smoke, but wish we didn’t have to.”

I smoked my last cigarette Tuesday after dinner and patched up the next morning. I’ve got lozenges for when the craving is too intense but I don’t like them too much so don’t use them a lot.

The worse day was the day before I stopped.

I had made up my mind, purchased the patches and the lozenges at the pharmacy after picking up my son after school. I was still smoking as my pouch of tobacco was not yet empty –it took me another day to finish it as I let it drag on as much as possible by rolling thinner ones and smoking less.

The second worse day was the third. Possibly because I had not used a patch that morning. Good to know they are not selling squares of adhesive tape!

A couple parting thoughts:

  • Not lighting up is hard, but not as hard now that I have decided to stop.
  • Time goes quite slowly in the process.

In honour of World Usability (#WUD)

17 Nov
wud-logo-color
World Usability Day (#WUD), generally the second Thursday of November, aims at ensuring that services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use, and at celebrating and educating – celebrating the strides we have made in creating usable products and educating the masses about how usability impacts our daily lives. It is about making our world work better.

This year I attended with 40 or so others, FLUPA Nice The World Usability Day local meetup where Google’s Material Design was introduced, and a small workshop was held on visually designing wireframes.

I learned that 21% of the French population is in a situation of handicap (that is 23M people) and that 80% of handicaps are invisible. W3C was mentioned for its work on WCAG, but unfortunately not for its WAI tutorials or Developer tools.

Other useful snippets:

  • Digital accessibility is a vector of social integration.
  • My priority design principles include:
    • Visible elements
    • … including visible buttons using or or two words
    • Most important elements at the top
    • Similar types of information are grouped
    • Clear hierarchy of information
    • Consistency of UX throughout
    • Sufficient font size and colour contrast
    • 2 to 3 colours (that match, preferably although it’s a matter of taste)
    • 2 font types at most, maybe a third if used in a logotype
    • Short sentences
    • A little jargon as possible
    • Consistent usage of personal pronouns
  • Given that only a handful of frameworks appear to be used to create websites nowadays, people really need to be creative in order to stand out and be identifiable.
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