Damage Report!
Damage Report!

Damage Report!

To Do
Published on November 12, 2020
So here’s the situation: as I said in the last post, I have a bit of a problem where I start more things than I finish. Today I’m going to air out the dirty laundry, so to speak, and do an audit of sorts. This is just going to be a list of all the projects that I have on the go, along with their status and a short description. The only criteria for inclusion is that it can’t be something that I find boring, and it has to last at least a full day.


What: A tool that generates a name for a design system based on the values that are important to you and your team. It’s supposed to have the look and feel of a big ol’ steam-powered contraption! 🏭Status: It works, but the design is ugly (I programmed it directly without having a real design phase). The redesign is already in progress!


What: A sister project for the Design System Name Generator. It’s a web-app that lets you visually rank different words based on the values it makes you think of. For example, the word “hug” would probably rank highly in kindness. It uses the same core UI as the name generator.Status: It works, but the design is ugly. Also there’s like 200 words in the database that need to be tagged, and that’s kind of time-consuming. This will be released alongside the name generator.


What: Nicky Case started a movement of sorts around something called explorable explanations. Essentially it’s a way to tell a story or teach something that’s highly interactive, and leverages the power of tech. I wanted people to be able to experience what it actually means to be a devsigner, so I came up with a scenario with lots of fun animations and interactions based on the Explorables format. I also wanted to challenge myself to doing everything in pure Javascript. This was a mistake.Status: The script is written (though likely a bit outdated), and the programming is probably about 40% done. I over-estimated the complexity of making complex animations and interactions purely using Javascript. It works, but it’s extremely labour-intensive, and I think I should improve my dev skills before going further with the initial idea. The design could use some more polish as well.


What: This is the project that got me into the tech space in the first place. Compass is a quantified-self app whose goal is to help you find balance in your life. At it’s core, the app is just a glanceable dashboard that lets you visualise anything that you have data on. If I can get it to the level I want it to be, it will allow you to offload nearly any kind of thought-process that requires sifting through lots of data. There’s some really cool systems-design and architecture challenges in this project, as well as some big UX ones.Status: The Android version of the app still works (somehow) but it’s painfully outdated and ugly. Also, I haven’t programmed any Java in 4 years. My plan is to start from scratch and make a web version. There is no need to make a native app for what I want to do.


What: A design focused intro-level React workshop that I made for some co-workers and never ended up using. Status: This is already built! I literally just have to find some people who are interested in the workshop, and see if the format is effective. I could publish this right now!


What: I moved into a huge loft last year, and as a result faced a very big interior design challenge. before the move, I ended up learning SketchUp, and modelled the entire place in 3D. I consider it to be one of my most successful design projects. Sadly, I no longer live there, but the place still inspires me to this day.Status: The SketchUp file is done, and I have lots of photos + video of the finished result. I just need to write up something about it!


What: Have you heard of rubber duck debugging? What about Stack overflow? This site is just a rubber duck that squeeks. That is all. Also, stackoverflow ended up stealing this idea for April Fool’s one year! 😱Status: Everything is done. The new design has been online for months. I just need to write about it!


What: Basically, I just want to prove some STM social-media managers wrong. They claim, after I complained numerous times on Twitter about missing my transfer by half a second, that it is impossible to synchronise the Montreal metro trains to optimize for transfers. They are wrong, and I am willing to go to great lengths to prove it.Status: I made a powerpoint for a work social event where I proved that my theory has merit, and it’s definitely possible to increase the number of seamless transfers within the metro network.


What: I made a drawing a few years ago and turned it into a cool shirt. My shop got taken down because Spreadshirt doesn’t understand fair-use. Status: I need to find the original graphic and a service that will do print-on-demand. Then write about it!


What: When I was mentoring for Technovation, I came up with some little open-ended projects to help the girls flex their coding muscles in fun and creative ways. Rather than copying tutorials, it’s a lot more engaging for kids to do things like “make a mini-game” or “draw your favourite character” and figure out how to do it along the way. The ideas I came up with are also great for anyone learning fron-end web development.Status: The first set of practice projects and starting instructions are already made! What’s missing is some example code, to 1. test out the concepts that haven’t been tested yet, and 2. provide hints for anyone who’s lost.


What: 100 day challenges are a lot of fun, and you learn a lot. I’d love to do the 100 days of code. 100 Days of design could be interesting too, though my day-job is already pretty design-heavy. This could work well with drawing tooStatus: Just an idea for now.


What: This is one of the frontend practice projects: “make your favourite Pokemon in CSS”. Status: It’s done, and on my Codepen. Once again, I need to write about it!


What: The blog is currently just a WordPress theme that was OK-I-Guess, and a custom colour palette that I came up with. I’d like to redesign the whole blog, and restructure confusedretriever.com to include 4 main sections: the blog, a portfolio, hosted projects, and a contact page. I’d also like to ditch WordPress if I can, because it’s a pain to deal with. Status: I’m in the process of redesigning it. I’ve already come up with the concept and the core of the artistic direction. I’m being picky about some interactive elements, so it’s making it a pretty challenging design.


What: Every few weeks I tweet Lose It!’s social media team to make some sort of product improvement suggestion. At this point it would be more effective to just do a design case-study in Figma and send it to them. Lose It! is a food tracking app that I use to track macros and balance the fact that I eat excessive amounts of OREOs.Status: It’s just an idea at this point.


What: Ok, this is going to sound dumb, but I noticed that my cat’s ears are the most perfect bezier curves! So I figured, why not make a site where you upload a photo of your cat, and using some handles or sliders or whatever, you mould a cubic-bezier to the shape of one of your cat’s ears! Then it outputs the value of the catbic-bezier, which you can use in your CSS! Status: Just an idea, but a very fun one!


What: I had this oddly specific architecture dream, where my brain came up with the idea for a building that I now feel compelled to design. There’s a square concrete staircase that spirals up at least 3 floors, a giant skylight at the top, and lots of plants. I want to live there.Status: I made a first sketch of this fictitious place that I will live in one day… mostly just to capture the memory of the dream so that I can build on it later.


What: Logike is a puzzle game that requires logic to solve. I used this project to learn React, and I’m really proud of the JavaScript I wrote for it. That being said, it’s a code project, and it never had a proper design phase. I want to make something that’s significantly more polished and that really showcases my devsign skillset. Status: It’s available online now. I already wrote about it extensively. I haven’t started a redesign.


What: Another interior design project, but this time it’s for where I live now! Same idea: I’m going to make a 3D model, design everything, then make it happen 🙌Status: Already started the 3D modelling and most of the important furniture has been purchased.


What: One of the old tenants for my new apartment left me a nice gift in the storage locker: A Proform 738 workout bench, along with 260lbs of plates! This bench can be inclined, declined, or flat. There’s a rack to bench-press, a preacher curl pad, an attachment to do leg extensions or leg-curls and maybe even seated-calf-raises by the looks of it! The catch? The storage locker floor is somewhat damp, and some of the metal pieces were left directly on the floor. As a result, some of them are quite rusty, though structurally intact. I’ve made it my mission to bring this bench back to life, and then get totally ripped 💪Status: I bought some wire brush attachements for my drill and scrubbed off most of the rust. Next I need to melt off the rest with vinegar, scrub it down again, get some rust paint to cover the bare metal, and maybe order some new foam pads because they still smell like basement.
And that is it! Those are all the things I have on the go in some way or another. In the process of writing this, I learned that I’ve kept a surprising amount of creative projects to myself, and I’m not entirely sure why. There’s definitely something to look into there 🤔