John Cowen

John Cowen

User Experience • Design • Creativity

2014, My year in review


I've never done a year in review before - but what better time to start than 2014.

This isn't an exhaustive list of my year, but my personal selection of highlights.


Gro Store

If there's any reason this list is relatively short - Gro-Store is the reason why. A big chunk of my year has been dedicated to a complete redesign and rebuild of this online shop.

The Gro Company have a strong brand and one of the big challenges of this project was discovering ways of remaining true to the brand but also adapting it for better customer experiences when shopping online.

Almost immediately after realunching the site in English and French language versions, I was at work again on a German language version. And then, in late October, we launched an Australian version of the site.

Stop Hallucinating

Stop Hallucinating

In September I spoke at Digpen, a South West web developer conference - and gave a talk on the Creative Process. A copy of which is available toread on Medium.

I'm not a big fan of public speaking, but it is a great way of forcing you to fully develop ideas. And much as I do hate the presenting part, I love the research, writing and creating slides part of presentations.

Taylor Made

Taylor Made Training

In May I spent a few days in Bristol with a client giving them some advanced training on Expression Engine which they use to manage their website. I had a fun few days helping staff get to grips with managing their website content - and it proved to be an interesting UX research exercise understanding how website administrators struggle with certain aspects of the CMS, which will help me give better experiences to clients managing their own sites in future.

Around the same time my partner Natalie was giving some clients training in online marketing through her business Bilby Marketing. We decided there is a lot of demand for bespoke inhouse training sessions for businesses wanting to up the game of their inhouse digital teams. As a result I developed the idea of Taylor Made Training - which is dedicated to providing bespoke online training in website marketing and SEO for local businesses.

UX Games Workshop

In July I organised A UX Games Workshop. Twelve of us got together to spend a day trying out some UX techniques on an imaginary project, with the aim of exploring better methods of working with clients to understand new projects and techniques for encoraging creative thinking.

UX South West

UX South West

After running the UX Games workshop I realised there really is a lot of demand in Exeter and throughout the South West for more User Experience focussed events. So in October I found myself organising UX South West a day of talks and workshops from a number of UX professionals.

Other than the much more informal UX Games Workshop, I'd never organised an event before so was on a steep learning curve through the whole process. I was fortunate enough though to have some fantastic speaker proposals that generated lots of interest from UXers across the region.

I also wrote a quick review of UXSW just yesterday.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading.

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