User Interviews are the foundation to UX Design. Here are 10 great tips to become a pro at user interviews and gain the most insightful data.
Colorado Has My Heart
Colorado has my heart and it always will. It is the place that I think of when I say “home.” Lately my art has really been inspired by my love for Colorado. I have lived all over the world and it still is the place that I want to be. I especially miss Colorado in the winter because snowboarding is a passion of mine. The mountains are my home and living in Maryland has renewed my love for my home. My recent pieces definitely reflect how much I miss having an awesome view as I shred the gnar. I drew this last night and wanted to share it with you, my awesome readers.
My Colorado Inspired Art
The piece above is a self-portrait. I have never finished a self-portrait because I find it is difficult to make an accurate portrayal of myself due to my self-critical nature. Vector art is a bit more forgiving when it comes to details. It was a lot easier to not get caught up on all the small details that I tend to agonize over. The title is “Hannah the Colorado Girl” because I feel like I accurately embody what a true Colorado native is. A fun girl that is obsessed with spending her time in the mountains and enjoying God’s creation. The snowboard has the logos of my favorite resorts and I wear that color combination when I ride (it used to be teal and pink).
I have created a few other pieces this week too, which are based on the same Colorado theme. These pieces can be found below and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.
I find it fascinating that when you look at an artist’s pieces, you can see a glimpse into their heart and mind. Their inspiration tells a story about what their heart is feeling and lately my inspiration has been fixated on what I miss most, Colorado… HOME. All of these graphics were done this week and when I look at them I reflect on what I miss most in my life. Colorado, mountains, close friends, snowboarding, familiarity, and being outside.
This week has shown me how much snowboarding has impacted my life. There is nothing like getting lost in the trees in the backcountry, stopping to take a break, and watching the snow fall around you. The peacefulness of just taking it all in and being thankful for being alive to experience it. It’s moments like these that make me the most thankful about life.
Do you have a happy place? Is there somewhere you go to either physically or mentally when times are rough? What does that place look like? What are you doing? Share in the comments below.
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Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. This quote by Jim Hendrix really speaks to me because I feel like everyone has so much to say these days, but very few people are good listeners. Everyone wants to speak about their knowledge and just how much of it they have. I find it so self-serving to always talk, but to never listen to others around you. People are just waiting for their next opportunity to say something without taking in what the other person is telling them. Public service announcement… not everything is about you.
Pause & Absorb Your Surroundings
Take a beat and absorb the world around you. Listen to a new and different perspective. Absorb more knowledge by listening to the great minds that surround you. Realize that there are other ideas that are just as effective as your own. Reach the understanding that the ability to utilize group knowledge will empower you to do amazing things.
Diversity of Ideas & Perspectives
I think it’s important to encourage a diversity of ideas, but first that requires acknowledging the value of people with varying experiences. These varying experiences allows people to view things through different contextual lenses. Listening to other perspectives is like stepping into someone else’s shoes and seeing the world through their eyes. It enables you to empathize with their feelings and opinions.
Empathy is probably the most important ingredient to a good listener, which is why it’s important to have empathy as a designer (especially a UX designer). As a designer you need to be able to empathize with your users. Designers need to understand their pain points, struggles, and goals. It’s how we gain insight into how to create the best solution for our users. All of the insight is gained through LISTENING.
If you listen, it’s amazing what people will tell you. Next time you get into an Uber and your driver decides to be a chatty Cathy, instead of rolling your eyes and making it awkward, I encourage you to practice your listening skills. I have some of the most interesting and unique conversations with my Uber drivers. Also, I now have the ability to turn a grumpy driver into someone that cheerfully shares his story with me and smiles while he/she does it. Talk about skills! After hearing a unique and different perspective, I leave feeling enriched and wiser. I walk away from that conversation feeling more connected to the world and the people in it.
Listening is how we connect with the world and creating these connections is how we unite as a community and start utilizing “group-thinking” in very advantageous ways that can change the world.
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Fall is in the air! I drew this today because I was inspired by the fact fall is here. Isn’t it beautiful? I have made a point to focus on my art more lately and I am pleased with the results. I love this piece and I feel that timing is perfect.
Feeling the crisp air on my skin feels so wonderful. I love sweater weather and the fact that it is finally here means that the scorching heat has finally faded away. Living in Washington DC isn’t my dream location, but it’s quite nice during the fall. The humidity has subsided finally and it’s actually enjoyable to be outside. Halloween is just around the corner. What are you do doing to celebrate the change of season? What is your Halloween costume this year? Comment below!
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Seville (or Sevilla depending on who you ask) is one of my favorite places in Spain. It’s truly a magical place. It’s the perfect mix of old and new. Seville’s city is full of amazing food, breathtaking architecture, and rich history. You could wander around for hours and you would be continuously amazed by what you would find. In Seville, there is never a dull moment, but it helps to know where to wander to.
1. Alcázar of Seville
Alcázar of Seville, or Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, is one of the top destinations in Seville. It is an old Moorish palace that was constructed in the 14th century. It features amazing geometric tile work from the 16th century. I am truly in love with the traditional Moorish sacred geometric patterns that are found throughout the palace. This intricate palace features Muslim influenced Mudéjar architecture and is a must-see destination.
I would give yourself multiple hours to wander through the palace, the beautiful courtyards, and exquisite gardens. Every nook and cranny is dripping in moorish detail. The beauty is in the details and around every corner. There are tons of benches and alcoves to sit and rest your feet as you take in your surroundings.
I would recommend getting your tickets ahead of time because the lines can get pretty long. My husband stood in a long line while I hid in the shade because it was so hot. There is very little relief from the scorching sun while waiting in line. Learn from our mistake and get your tickets ahead of time.
2. Plaza de España
We found this plaza by accident while wandering around and I am so glad that we came across it. This famous square was built for the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. The neo-mudéjar architecture features beautiful ceramic tiled rails and benches, a semi-circular brick building that encloses the plaza, and beautiful arched bridges that reach across the small canal that flows through the perimeter.
Intricate detail on all the tile surrounding me was captivating and was truly romantic to stroll around the plaza with my husband at sunset.
It’s gorgeous and totally worth stopping by. Give yourself at least an hour to take in all the scenery. During some parts of the day, you can rent a gondola boat or row boat to ride through the canal. It was closed when we arrived, so I can’t give you many details about what it would be like to rent one. I personally didn’t feel like the canal was large enough to make it worthwhile, but I might be wrong.
3. Seville Cathedral
Seville Cathedral was magnificent. This cathedral is the largest cathedral in the world and is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus himself. Love him or hate him, he is a notable explorer of his time and the Spanish people are very proud of him and his accomplishments. His coffin is hoisted in the air by large statues in the middle of the cathedral interior. The gothic architecture is typical for its time period, but the cathedral is massive.
There are many small rooms that adjoin the main sanctuary that hold many gilded artifacts. Although there are several types of guided tours available, but I’m typically the type that likes to wander through on my own. There are many spires and certain paid tour packages that allow you to walk among them.
The main tower (Giralda Bell Tower) is worth the climb. It’s a long way up the spiral staircase to the bell tower. The views on the way up are worth the hike. It affords many views of the cathedral itself and an expansive view of the sprawling city. I really enjoyed our visit and this is one of the most impressive cathedrals that I have been to.
4. Metropol Parasol
Metropol Parasol is one of the most unique architectural features I have ever seen. They remind me of umbrellas or mushrooms that are composed of a grid. You can pay to go to the top to take in the views and have a drink/snack. There is a unique walkway that lets you walk across the structures while you take in the panoramic views of the city.
5.Enjoy all the yummy food!
Seville is known for all of their amazing tapas and there are tapas restaurants all around you. And don’t forget all the gelato! I loved all the different food choices. Just be careful about all that salt from the cured ham. I definitely had more than I should have and was super bloated for most of my trip. haha
I hope you love Seville, Spain as much I do!
Over the last couple years Google has sponsored the Grow with Google Scholarship with Udacity. It’s a scholarship that offers two different tracks of learning. The first track is Front-End Web Development and the second is Android Development. I was one of the lucky recipients of the Front-End Web Development scholarships.
The First Grow with Google Challenge Scholarship
The application for the scholarship opened in November 2017 and they announced the recipients on January 10, 2018. The first portion of the scholarship was awarded to 15,000 people and I was lucky to be one of those people. They had over 100,000 people apply to the beginner front-end web developer track and they selected 15,000 people. That’s 15%. Honestly, as long as you were motivated to learn and demonstrated that eagerness in your application, they gave you this opportunity. I really don’t believe it was super selective, but this is where the challenge only begins.
The challenge scholarship was sponsored by Google, but the coursework was conducted through an online school called Udacity. They allotted the recipients 3 months to finish the course at their own pace. The Udacity scholarship team and Google then evaluated all the recipients on their progress, their graded assignments, quizes and projects, and the individual contribution to their Slack channel. They wanted students that were willing to facilitate a cooperative learning environment where people learned to work together and help one another.
Based on your progress, aptitude, and how well you did on the projects, they then selected 1,500 people to receive the full Nanodegree scholarship from Udacity. This extension of the first part of the curriculum teaches you ES6 JavaScipt technologies, React, Angular, and different techniques to produce production quality code. I was chosen to be 1 of the 1,500 people chosen across the globe to get this scholarship and I am super thrilled! Thank you GOOGLE AND UDACITY!!!
Beginner Front-End Web Development Curriculum
The final project was to create a Pixel Art Maker. This project challenged me in so many different ways and taught me a lot about myself. I went the extra mile by creating my own graphics, sidebar navigation, and gave it a totally different experience than the original project outlines called for. I believe that it was my project that helped me stand out enough to be chosen for the full nanodegree scholarship through Udacity.
Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree
I just finished my Front-End Nanodegree! Thank you Udacity and Google for this wonderful opportunity and for believing in my ability. I truly enjoyed the courses and I definitely learned a ton!
The nanodegree curriculum expanded on previous curriculum of the challenge scholarship and included Angular, Ember, React, JSX, Design Principles, and how to create production-level programming projects.
It truly was an awesome experience and I’m forever grateful.
Udacity does a wonderful job in preparing their students. They even offer career services that help with your resumé, cover letter, and they host “Career Month” where they offer advice and provide resources. The courses were very informational and engaging. I would recommend their curriculum to anyone interested in learning about programming.
<3 you Google and Udacity!
The Incredible Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Sagrada Familia is on many people’s lists as a must-see for a very good reason. Sagrada Familia has very unique and intricate architecture and will knock your socks off. This unique basilica began construction in 1882 and is still undergoing construction today. The famous local architect, Antoni Gaudi, is the primary designer of Sagrada Familia’s unique architecture. Although Sagrada Familia isn’t finished, it’s still worth your effort to plan a visit to marvel at this amazing basilica. This location is a very high-traffic destination for tourists, therefore it is crucial to plan ahead to ensure a smooth travel itinerary.
History of the Construction & Antoni Gaudi
Sagrada Familia began construction in 1882 under architect Francisco Paula de Villar, who resigned only one year later. Antoni Gaudi, a local architect from the Catalan region, took over as principle architect soon thereafter. Gaudi spent the majority of his life working on this amazing basilica, which became his passion project. His design combines both Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudi passed away in 1926, leaving behind a Sagrada Familia that was only 15-25% finished. The construction continued on until it was interrupted in 1936 by the Spanish Civil War. Many of the original plans and models were destroyed by the Catalan Anarchists during that time.
Once the project restarted, the residents of Barcelona demanded that the original Gaudi vision and designs were prioritized as the project continued, therefore subsequent architects have made an effort to remain faithful to the original designs while including modern adaptations. A large effort was made to recreate the historic plans from the surviving remnants of Gaudi’s plans that were found after the war. With a long list of architects and artists that have contributed to the creation of this magnificent church, Sagrada Familia is truly a collaboration of many amazing & creative artists.
Art in Every Nook and Cranny
The outside of this enormous church is covered in intricately designed sculptures that decorate the fantastical façades. These sculptures reflect a more modern perspective and were created by J. Busquets, Etsuro Sotoo, and the controversial Josep Maria Subirachs. These sculptures can be found EVERYWHERE throughout the church. It is important to allow yourself enough time to adequately appreciate all the details. Be sure to look at all the doors, walls, ceiling, and floors. There isn’t a dull surface in the entire structure. The fact that it still remains unfinished after 136 years doesn’t seem unreasonable after you relish in all the details that it has to offer.
Although modern technology has enabled quicker planning, design renderings, and computations, progress is quite slow due to funding. Sagrada Familia doesn’t receive any funding from the government or any official church resources. Funding for this project is completely private and comes from ticket sales and donations, which is the leading cause for its slow progress. It is anticipated that the building will be completed by 2026—the centenary of Gaudí’s death. Someday, I hope to return after its completion to experience the finished product.
Plan a Stress-free Visit to Sagrada Familia
This location is a busy tourist attraction. People come from far and wide to marvel at this historic building for its unique architecture and art. Due to the high foot traffic, it’s crucial to plan ahead. There are lots of people, long lines, and limited space, which is why I would encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance to cut down on the waiting time. You should purchase your ticket from the official website directly as soon as you plan your Barcelona itinerary.
Important & Helpful Information:
Purchase your ticket online at the official website at least 24 hours before your planned visit.
- Here is a link to where you can buy your tickets.
- Ticket prices range from 15-29 Euros, depending on what package you decide on.
- General admission only includes the main areas of the church.
- You will need to purchase an upgraded ticket to go into the spires.
- They offer 2 types of guided tours:
- Audio-guided tour
- About 45 minutes long
- Guide attended tour
- About 50 minutes long
- Audio-guided tour
- More people means it will be more difficult to avoid photobombers in your photographs.
- Here is a link to the hours of operation. Keep in mind that the hours vary depending on the time of year.
- Sale of tickets finishes 30 minutes before closing time.
- Special event accommodations can change their normal hours of operation. Make sure to plan ahead and confirm that they are operating on normal business hours before arriving.
Allow yourself about 2-3 hours for the visit.
- The tours last close to an hour, but you want to account for time wandering around on your own to take pictures and take in all the small details. This will also help account for any waiting time for the lines and bathroom breaks.
Know the Rules! Make sure you are allowed inside.
- Here is a list of the most important rules to make note of, but here is a link to a list of their posted rules.
- It’s important to remember that this is a religious place of worship and therefore it’s important to be as respectful as possible.
- No tripods or professional photography equipment is allowed without prior consent from their press department.
- They will check your bags during their security screening process, so try to avoid packing items that could raise red flags.
- Keep your ticket on you at all times as any of the staff can ask to see it at anytime
- No food or drink is allowed inside the building
- There are no photos allowed in any of their services
- No hats are allowed inside the nave or the museum except for religious, health or belief-related reasons.
- As it is a Catholic church, visitors must dress appropriately, following these restrictions:
- Shoes are mandatory
- No see-through clothing
- Tops must cover the shoulders
- No plunging necklines or exposed backs or bellies
- Shorts and skirts must come down to at least mid-thigh
Unused tickets are refundable
- As long as you purchased the ticket directly from the authorized dealer or Sagrada Familia, you are protected by their refund policy.
- You have up to 30 days to request a refund on unused tickets via email (found on their website). This will protect you from any unforeseen schedule conflicts.
Overall Experience & Recommendations
We really enjoyed our visit at Sagrada Familia! I would recommend this activity to anyone traveling to Barcelona. It’s an experience that stands out from our other visits to other cathedrals and churches in Europe. You will never see anything quite like it and it truly lives up to the hype.
My Clothing Choice
I wore a sleeveless shirt during our visit, but brought a shawl to cover my shoulders just in case. My bare shoulders didn’t seem to offend anyone. They didn’t seem too strict in comparison to some other cathedrals we have visited… BUT it’s important that you know that they could prevent you from entering if you are showing too much skin. What can I say… I’m a rule breaker at times, but I’m always prepared to comply if necessary. I get it, the warm weather can make it uncomfortable to dress like a nun, so the key is to always be prepared. Bring a light shawl or sweater to avoid any mishaps with entry or sudden weather changes. There is no point in jeopardizing your fun adventure just to break a few rules.
We were not able to visit the spires because we were running on a tight schedule that day and I really feel like we missed out on some incredible views from above. I totally recommend you do the upgrade for the spires, so please learn from our mistake, BUT a general admission ticket is still worth it if you are on a budget or if you don’t have a ton of time.
Check Out the Basement
The main level has a ton to explore, but be sure to check out the lower levels of the church. This is where you will find all the juicy details about the history of the church, its creator, and the designs/inspirations. If you enjoy museums and learning, then you will enjoy the curated exhibits found in this area.
We took the metro to the Sagrada Familia station to get there and I think it’s the best way to get there. The metro is quite convenient and the stop is close to the basilica. Sagrada Familia is located in the heart of Barcelona where it is very busy and difficult to find parking, therefore it’s best to avoid driving there if possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate my readers and their support! I do my best to provide useful and informative content and I didn’t receive any kick-backs for this article. Hopefully sharing my fun adventure with you was informative and helps some of you plan your own adventure to visit this awesome place. I hope you choose to return to my blog and read about some other fun topics. I’d love for us to connect, so please feel free to contact me, comment below, and please subscribe to get the latest updates from yours truly.
Was this article helpful to you? Have you been to Sagrada Familia? What were your favorite parts?
I love sharing my adventures with you! Until next time!