How do you take notes?

Note taking has evolved for me over the past couple of years. 

Whilst I used to write all my notes in my planner, this has transferred into digital notes in my iPhone both in the Notes and Reminder apps. My priority notes have also transferred to sticky notes as they help me action my priorities. My planner is now a physical copy of my digital calendar.

I've dabbled in note taking apps, but I've found that my iPhone for smaller notes and pages stored on my Drobo system is my preferred method of storage. Whilst I use Dropbox on a daily basis for accessing my files, leaving the larger documents to access in one place helps me keep focused. It also gives me the ability to pick and choose the drafts which I wish to share with others.

When it comes to notes on learning, I now like to colour coordinate action items (e.g. "Research this topic") amongst text. Previously I would write my notes in black and highlight each category in different colours. This is slowly turning into a more illustrated style as I am a visual learner.

A video posted by Ines Norman (@inesnorman) on

When at conferences I like to take a few notes per page with illustrations in between. I like to finish a page as soon as possible as it feels like a sense of achievement; I believe this is a tool often used in writing. That being said, I would love to explore mind mapping in an upcoming conference or meetup. I love seeing all the different mind maps on social media - I like how they are able to summarise the key points of a talk on one page whilst being illustrated and fascinating to look at.

Got any notetaking tips and tricks? 

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What does Design mean?

What does design mean to you? 

Design to me means problem solving. Design is function before aesthetic. 

Whilst design can be aesthetically pleasing, it must reflect the solution to a problem for the given target audience. It should never be about what you find personally appealing. 

What being a designer means to me:

1. Collaborating with others

Collaborating with others or co-creation gives me the opportunity to work in teams of people with different points of view. I believe that having different points of view are extremely important to creating a solution to a problem. A personal one-sided view does not factor others and their experiences; it is filled with assumptions and bias. 

2. Challenging my views 

Growing up I became accustomed to taking every word written in a school textbook literally. I struggled to define my own views and ask questions. Being a designer gives me the opportunity to research, analyse and develop an opinion, whilst learning about other views. It challenges the way that I perceive the world. 

3. Killing my babies

Through collaborating with others, or finding evidence (whether qualitative or quantitative) I learn that my "babies" do not works for others. My babies are simply my "inner artist" having a tantrum, and wanting complete control over a solution. Whilst at times I may feel uncomfortable not being in control, it is rewarding to see a succinct solution created from collaborating with others. Go teamwork!   


What does design mean to you, and what does being a designer mean to you? 

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Home Office Tour

It's officially been a year since we've moved into the new house! 

Everything is slowly coming together. There's been repairs, additions and the home office named Art Room & Beats Lab is finished. It's a little messy (the walls filled with inspirational images), but that helps how my art brain functions! 

The room started off with one desk and as an art room, but soon has also become a little music studio and gaming area. Here's a little tour: 

As you can see, I've been experimenting with paint lately. If you know a great resource or tutorial out there, give me a heads up! 

Have any good office organisational tips? 

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Tractor UX Course

This year i've been attending Tractor's User Experience course.

We're about to start our final project brief. But, here's some happy snaps of the journey so far:

User Journey Map

Affinity Mapping

Paper Prototype Wireframes

Cheeky snaps at Thirst studios' session of Ideation, Wireframes & Prototypes

Guinea pig for User Test demo at Symplicit

Practicing User Testing

We've learnt a lot of new tools, which i'll be using in my work. But, the thing that will stick with me (pun intended) the most is how sticky notes are so versatile, and can be used for everything!

Know any good UX tools, resources or books? 

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Where to source Stock Photography

The Internet is full of Stock Photography. 

Here's a key list of Stock Photography websites for 2016:

  1. Unsplash
  2. Gratisography 
  3. PicJumbo
  4. Pixabay
  5. IM Free
  6. Stocksnap
  7. NegativeSpace
  8. SplitShire
  9. Public Domain Archive 
  10. Kaboompics
  11. Startup Stock Photos
  12. Pexels
  13. FancyCrave 
  14. Magdeleine
  15. Picography 
  16. Ramurot
  17. IsoRepublic
  18. Albumarium

Use another great Stock Website? Let me know.

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How to be Organised

Being organised and managing my time helps me stay on top of my goals.

Here's a list of tools and tricks I use to stay on track.


For writing down my longer-term goals, I like to use Trello. Start by listing all your goals and divide them into Categories. List short term tasks in each goal to make it appear achieveable. Here's a newer board i've started recently; with my work boards, they're usually more in-depth with coloured labels (e.g. red = high priority) and descriptions. 


For daily tasks and weekly priorities, I use a planner (filofax). With the addition of coloured pages (from Kiddy Qualia) and sticky notes, it breaks down both personal and work priorities. The physical act of writing down tasks means i'm more likely to achieve them. On Monday morning i'll usually go through my calendar, add dates and tasks. By the end of the week, the pages are overflowing in writing. 

3. Yearly Overview Calendar

For public holidays, important dates and to have an overview of the year, I use a calendar board. The calendar board is usually quite blank in comparison to my physical planner; I write down key dates (at the beginning of that month) which I don't want to forget.


4. Sunrise or Google Calendar

For work meetings, I create meetings in Google Calendar and then view them in a monthly or weekly overview in Sunrise. I'm thinking about purchasing an Apple Watch to keep me more on track; when I tested it for a week, the calendar push-notifications were a useful feature for me. If you know of any other solutions, tweet me!

5. Folders

We have folders for Bills, Manuals & Warranties, Recipes and Property. Having assets and a range of products means you want to be able to track the warranty. I have a bad track record when it comes to receiving faulty products (I'm just lucky!), so when we purchase something, the receipt and the instructions gets placed in a folder; in individual plastic pockets. 



Whiteboard: For house related tasks, we have a whiteboard on the fridge. This way both my partner and I can stay on track of things we plan to set-up or upcoming events. 

To Do Lists: If i'm feeling overwhelmed, i'll write an individual To Do list to prioritise my tasks. 

iPhone Reminders: I ask Siri to remind me about things at certain times and dates. 

Coat Hangers: Instead of having a chair pile to sift through for clothes every day, if there's neatly hung clothes it makes the choice easier.

Buying in bulk: We have a huge fridge at home, which means we can store more food and go to the supermarket less.


Got any suggestions on how to stay organised?

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