It’s been three weeks since my first day at Rypple and a lot has happened. I’ve grown out of bug killing to front-end development, mostly with Google Web Toolkit. And with my goal of learning about website design, it’s kind of nice not needing to think about database queries, routing and deployment – even if I do have knowledge about those things.

So far, I’ve been implementing redesigns, doing sketches and providing my own input into the user interface. One of our design consultants is Bill Scott, who worked on the Yahoo Pattern Library and NetFlix. Honestly, I didn’t recognize his name at first, but after looking at his work, I remember reading his UX Booth article and I recently bumped into a video of him in this blog post. Definitely interesting getting some insight from him.

I also got to set up my first in-house user testing, where a person would come to test Rypple’s usability. I could have been a bit more prepared, as I didn’t expect the tester to be 15 minutes early. Next time, I’ll set up the test environment before I head to lunch :). I also need to read Steve Krug’s book – Rocket Surgery Made Easy. Nevertheless, with Tihomir’s help, user testing was a success and we learned much about Rypple Coach and how new users perceive it. With this insight, I’ll be implementing improvements in preparation for next week’s user testing.

Looking back, it’s been really cool to focus on the design for the past few weeks. I began to look at design a bit differently because it’s top of my mind at work. I got little tidbits from Bill Scott’s design notes. I gained experience finding inspiration from other websites to influence my designs and learn design patterns. Most importantly, I feel more comfortable about suggesting to remove features that don’t matter, which is pretty daunting for a co-op. In a few weeks, you’ll see tags removed from goals.

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Steven is a co-op Developer at Rypple for Fall 2010, working to improve the user experience of Rypple. At the University of Waterloo, he is working to get a BCS in Computer Science and a Three-Year BES in Geography. Steven worked in various industries before Rypple; from Xtreme Labs to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. He also jumped into many subjects; from teaching to coding and urban planning to design. Throughout university, Steven transferred programs three times in the first two years of university, but he doesn't plan on staying in school longer than his peers.