Sydneys Lockdown 2.0 and how to make the most of it!

Semira Petelo — Posted on June 30th, 2021

If you're in another part of the world you've probably heard it ... If you're living in Sydney then you're living it but here we are going through our first lockdown of 2021 and our second lockdown since the world pandemic! Luckily this time around companies now have the infrustructure for their employees to work at home. 

For some, working at home is relatively easy. Especially for those who only have adults living in their household. For some they have young families or maybe even elderly relatives/friends they need to take care of. All in all it results in the same question ... how am i going to be productive in the middle of this lockdown with my kids/ parents/ partner or friends distracting me!? 

Be easy on yourself, if you havent put a routine in place then we suggest you make one today and try to stick to it...

First rule of this routine is BE FLEXIBLE. It's not easy, we know. You're cooped up all day and still trying to stay productive.  Second rule, make sure you have difinitive times. There's nothing worse then saying you'll do something and don't. You need to commit to when you start, when you finish and when you'll have you're break during the day.  Third rule, communicate your expectation with anyone who will be at home with you. Let them know you're times and what you'll be able to do in your breaks. We're lucky, we got rid of the travel times to and from work so you theoretically should have more time to finish tasks (note: 'theoretically'!) Fourth rule, Time chunks. This method will be your best friend. Working at home can be the most productive time. Chunk your collaborative calls and hard tasks in the morning. BREAK. Small tasks in the early afternoon. BREAK. Then the boring meetings in the late afternoon before you .... FINISH. 

There's your day ... before we know it we'll be back out of lockdown and rushing back in to our cities! 

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Australia facing tech skills shortage!

Semira Petelo — Posted on June 15th, 2021

Australia is facing a significant technology skills shortage in the years ahead that threatens to constrain economic growth and hold the industry back from reaching its true potential, according to ACS.

The latest ACS Digital Pulse Report, prepared for the industry body by Deloitte, found that an estimated 60,000 more IT workers will be needed per year over the next five years. But in 2019, only 7000 students graduated with an IT degree.

According to the report, Australia’s technology workforce grew by 33,400 in 2020 despite the impact of COVID-19 and the economic climate, reaching a new high of 805,525. This represents a 4.3% increase in just one year, compared to an average growth of just 1.3% across all professional industries.

While enrolments to undergraduate and postgraduate IT degrees have grown by an average of 9% over the past three years, much of this is coming from international students, and the rate of growth is not sufficient to keep up with demand, the report found.

The report predicts that employers will demand over 520,000 more qualified ICT staff in 2026 compared to 2019.

Notably, despite the overall IT workforce increasing in 2020, the number of ICT job postings fell by 19.5%, perhaps in part due to the larger supply of ICT workers left looking for work as a result of the pandemic — meaning companies needed to run fewer job ads to fill the roles they needed, the report adds.

Analysis of job listings shows that the most in demand skills in 2020 include software programming — including SQL, Java, DevOps and Python skills — and computer networking.

Another analysis, conducted by Burning Glass, found that in 2019 and 2020 employees demanded skills across seven key categories — baseline digital skills; software programming; computer networking; data analysis; digital design marketing; machining manufacturing; and customer relationship management (CRM).

The report also predicts that the rise of AI will see Australia require an AI specialist workforce of between 32,000 and 161,000.

Gender parity could contribute billions to the economy

The 2021 report also shows that Australia’s technology sector is making painfully slow progress in its goal of achieving gender parity in employment.

Despite all the industry efforts to address the disparity, women currently make up only 29% of all positions in the technology workforce, compared to the 48% in similar occupations in the overall professional, scientific and technical services (PST) industry.

Since 2015, the proportion of women in technology has been improving by just 0.75% per year. At this rate it would take 66 years to reach this 48% level, the report states.

It found that women currently are most strongly represented in admin and logistics (41%) and management (34%) roles, but are least represented in trade roles, where they account for just 16% of employees.

Improving gender parity in the sector would have significant benefits for the Australian economy, the report projects.

It estimates that increasing gender diversity in the technology workforce would grow Australia’s economy by $1.8 billion every year on average, over the next 20 years.

It estimates the net present value of increasing diversity in technology to be an $11 billion opportunity for the overall economy.

In employment terms, improving parity would create nearly 5000 full-time equivalent jobs on average, according to estimates.

“In fact, if the technology sector were to reach the target level of 47.5% female participation, Australia’s economy could be as much as $21 billion larger every year, with more than 47,000 additional FTE employees,” the report states.

ACS and Deloitte have included a series of recommendations for improving gender diversity in technology.

These include promoting best practices around attracting, retaining and recruiting talent; increasing access and exposure to technology-based subject matter throughout the education system; and improving access to flexible work arrangements for employees.

The report also recommends the introduction of life-long learning courses for the technology workforce; adopting board diversity goals; and setting up mentoring programs for women in the industry.


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Two Trends in the Recruitment World 2021!

Semira Petelo — Posted on June 4th, 2021

This time last year we were in the midst of a global lockdown, the lucky individuals who were still working went on to work from home but we saw the employment market take a nosedive with no new job postings as the uncertainty of the pandemic shut down the market. 

As we’re approaching EOFY, we watch the recruitment world flourish as companies are looking to bring on new hires for the additional work. Australia is finally on the up and up in the job market. 


As we move from first to fifth gear there are two trends that are really shaping recruitment this year;


1. Recruiters are looking at new candidate pipelines 

In 2020 the biggest job boards used in Australia, SEEK and Indeed took a plummet compared to their 2019 numbers. Not because their system had changed but simply because there were no jobs that needed the mass application. 


The job ad volumes are slowly recovering from their 2020 numbers but the job posting costs on sites like these have increased to try and recover lost profits from 2020. Not only does this put some friction within an organisation as employees have to seek budget approval but inputs pressure to keep on budget! 


This turns to the aid of recruiters. To be successful as a recruiter you need to be able to get resourceful. It really is about who you know and being able to fully utilise the candidate pool and contacts. Talent pooling and having a great pipeline of candidates to pull from is as important as ever. For once, the statement “It’s who you know not what you know” is accurate. 


2. Flexible working conditions 

Before COVID-19 happened the idea of having employees working at home 5 days a week was unimaginable to the majority. After the world shut down and there was no other alternative, the biggest companies needed to be quick to adapt and adapt they did! Within the week of shutting down the big corps had WHS policies set for home, home offices deployed and if they weren’t already everyone integrated on to systems like MS Teams to be able to work as if they never left the office. 


What does that mean for recruitment today? Well, working at home has become the new norm. Although people like coming into the office a couple of days a week. The idea of commuting for 5 days is a distant thought. Companies offering flexible working conditions would find that they are able to attract a far better recruitment pool understanding the needs of today’s workers. 


A great recruiters’ job is to find out the needs of both the company and the candidate. The best way to do this. Build your relationships, the better your recruiter understands your needs the quicker they can find a great fit whether you are the job seeker or the placer. 





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5 product tips for working from home

Paul O'Shaughnessy — Posted on May 4th, 2020

Five things to consider during a WFH period:

1. Keep to your regular office working schedule as closely as possible.

Yes, it is tempting to roll out of bed into a video conference meeting with pillow lines on your face…but that isn’t conducive to putting your best foot forward in the company.

Get up, and start your day as normal.

The bonus here is you’ll be able to allocate ‘commute time’ to sit and read that book you’ve had on your bedside table for months and/or grab a proper breakfast that’ll have you up and firing.

2. Minimise possible distractions from your temporary workspace

This is crucial for productivity.

As all seasoned remote workers understand, it is easy to get distracted when you’re at home, but mastering this will see your productivity soar. In fact, productivity of remote workers can increase from 4.4% all the way up to 13%!

This can be explained by the reduced break time and sick days, plus a more comfortable working environment. This could be your chance to shine in your company.

3. Separate workspace from personal space

It can be hard living and working in the same space, but make it easier for yourself to relax when appropriate, and switch on when necessary.

By drawing a dividing line between the space in which you plan to work, and the rest of the doldrum you’re inhabiting out of work hours, you’ll be less tempted to ‘just reply to one more email’ or conversely, avoid ‘just one more episode of Tiger king.

Pack up or leave the workspace when you clock off and don’t sit back down until you’re ready to get in the zone.

4. Communicate with your team

Set lines of communication and appropriate channels for information as a team. To be fair, this should probably already be done (thank you HR), but if not, a WFH period without this will unravel a project quicker than a virus unravels our fragile existence…

It’s likely that you’ll be using some new tools for online collaboration, yes they can be confusing, but that’ll take a hard 3 minutes to figure out and you’ll be feeling like a tech guru in no time.

Video-conferencing tools are critical when working from home. Be a champion of the idea that your usual Friday drinks don’t have to fall by the wayside, grab a drink and join your team on a video call to debrief and relax.

5. Get out of the house!

We’re lucky here in Sydney that our weather is fairly mild year-round. It’s easy to forget about the outside world if you’re stuck in the house day-in day-out during a WFH period.

Now, we’re certainly not telling you to traipse around Perth spreading germs if you’re meant to be in self-isolation but to feel the wind on your face and sun on your skin will brighten anyone’s day. Just do it in an appropriate manner for your personal circumstance.

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FUTURE of Technology – Girls Programming Network workshop 

Leah Cerinich — Posted on October 16th, 2017

FUTURE on Technology – GPN workshop 


I need to quite honest here, I had no idea what I wanted to do while I was in high school – I managed to change my mind 10000 times when it came to choosing the “ideal career choice” 


It amazes me to see so many students who have an idea of what they want to do & have made a choice to pursue software development as their career choice! It’s awesome! When I was their age, I literally had no idea! 


Yesterday gave me the opportunity to attend the Girls Programming Network workshop as a mentor. 


The morning started off with tutors signing up and introducing each other. I was invited by one of my clients who emphasises everything that Girls programming network represents. 


The day started off with dividing the students into beginner, intermediate and advanced groups by playing games – The students had to answer technical questions in Python. Some of the students were so intelligent it was amazing to witness.


My role was to assist as a tutor in the beginner’s class where the students had build a game in Python v 3 (very like angry birds) I even learnt a lot myself in the process!


The collaboration between the students was phenomenal. It’s an amazing feeling when you get together to solve a problem! 


Whilst on our lunch break I was chatting to school students asking them WHY they have attended the workshop and WHY they find software development so interesting – Majority of them said they like it because they love Maths and solving problems. 


Later in the afternoon, the girls divided into 2 groups, the programming involved non-computer activities because we had to keep the students engaged. 


Honestly I can say that this experience has been amazing and I have learnt a lot throughout the day & a big thanks to Macquarie Group, Atlassian and Freelancer and many more organisations for sponsoring a great day! 


I can’t wait for the next workshop – BRING IT ON! So many young females who aspire to be in work in tech. #girlpower 


See you in February GPN ☺  

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No financial targets at MAP- Changing the way agency recruitment is done!

Paul O'Shaughnessy — Posted on July 16th, 2017

At MAP we have 3 main core values.

"Always do the right thing no matter what" "Our purpose is to always align somebody that is the right path/journey to their personal drivers" "Innovation, challenge the conventional recruitment model"

This may sound cliché but our number 1 value is "Always do the right thing no matter what" we have built a trusted agency brand around this belief.

Another core value is that we never influence to our financial gain. We listen to what people want, not what MAP want. Our purpose is to help align somebody to the right path.

Innovation, we have adopted new thinking processes, we feel the recruitment industry is flawed, So we have ran with an approach that isn’t being used in the current Australian recruitment industry and to our knowledge the world.

We have eradicated recruitment sales targets which has had a huge impact on both candidates and client experience when working with MAP. We have took away the pressure that often has a huge effect on the way recruiters perform and the decisions they make. It was a huge risk, it was the unknown but its helped MAP form and build some very strong partnerships with both customers and talent. Most importantly it focused our recruitment services on providing an awesome experience for all involved in the process.

We have changed our whole commercial sales incentive model, in the recruitment industry sales incentives are given against a financial target, recruiters are incentivised and motivated to hit individual sales targets for the agency. This is their main driver; financial gain, commissions and team incentives instead of doing their main purpose, which should be helping somebody to MAP their career goals and help change their day to day life for the better. Instead of “I need to hit MY sales target”.

We naturally by default have values like transparency, honesty, flexibility, partnership which all results in MAP being a trusted digital recruitment agency partner.

As recruiters, it’s important to align people on the path to success, a journey that is personable to them. The job of a recruiter should not be simply placing people making commission, this is how we feel the recruitment industry is flawed and countless times people get burned by recruiters.

That will not happen with MAP. It’s very personal to us, we are always honest at all times and we will assess if this is potentially the right career path to take and provide advice/opportunities around that. We feel we have a duty of care to align people on the right path to success and we take the responsibility of this duty of care very seriously.

Hence the reason for our company slogan; "Success is a journey, we create the MAP"

For MAP, it’s all about innovation and challenging the way conventional recruitment is done. We are looking forward to the future and implementing more innovative recruitment processes.

Finally, I know most of you are thinking, well how do you incentivise recruiters, we do incentivise and give bonuses but this is purely based on customer satisfaction (hiring manager and talent) through the MAP customer survey.

We want our team and agency to be focussing on is this right for the person and the company hiring rather than will this placement hit my target.

Trailing this new commercial model has undoubtably improved customer satisfaction across the board, which I believe is driven from my consultants going into a search with less pressure resulting in a more relaxed attitude and focusing , allowing all attention to be on the end goal "putting people on the right career path".

All of our team are open for a chat or a coffee anytime ... check out our specialist areas with Digital Recruitment on our website. 

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Growth hacking - the new buzz word for startups?

Leah Cerinich — Posted on February 2nd, 2017

Growth hacking - the new buzz word for startups?


Growth hacking is a process of RAPID experimentation across various marketing channels to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow business. 


So…What is a hacker?? Normally you would associate the word ‘criminal’ with the word hacker but in hindsight, hackers are not just criminals… they are creative individuals and will always come up with innovative ways to attract a specific audience. 


Growth hacking is very multi - functional. Many growth hackers have introduced other elements to the definition - such as vitality, email, social media, SEO and finally digital marketing.


So, how does it apply to recruitment?


Recruiters are marketers... marketers need to experiment with different tactics to create brand awareness and recognition.


What's the strategy? 


As digital talent agent what do we need to do to be ahead of the game…? Ding Ding…. Some serious Growth Hacking!!!


Growth hacking the unconventional way of viral marketing! At MAP Talent we have some ace ideas to reach out to market across various social medial platforms...shhh it’s a secret and in the making for now.


So, to be a successful recruiter/ marketer you always need to apply ‘unconventional’ marketing strategy to attract and retain customers: 


Content creation and blogging - guest posting and endorsements (be crazy/ a little unconventional – but within context) 

Use visuals and infographics

Forums and meetup – be involved with your market 

Lead generation - emails emails emails – always follow up with phone calls, emails and messages.


The list goes on. Be creative! 


Over all, recruitment is in the ‘digital phase’ and with the way tech is booming at the moment… growth hacking is only AT THE START of the digital adventure! 


Check out MAP Talents website for more blog posts -

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New Year New Me - Maps New Starter - Leah Cerinich

Leah Cerinich — Posted on January 9th, 2017

New Year New Me 


I started my career in IT infrastructure recruitment and I really thought “this is not for me!" I am not one to back down from a challenge, so I gave it a go. However, I’ve always been a very creative person whether it was photography, sketching, designing, acting, dancing – you name it, I’ve tried it!


I enrolled myself in an IT course and in the past 6 months, I’ve decided to start front end coding - html5, CSS3, because really there is an art form to it!


So, I thought how amazing would it be if I could recruit within the tech and creative space – Digital Recruitment. It was my calling!


A few months ago, I decided it’s time for a change. I was so daunted by the fact that I had to go through the whole interview process again, meeting new companies, faces and of course answering those dreadful stock standard interview questions.


But, I managed to build the courage to say…”it’s time to start a new chapter in my life” and I followed through on that. 


I met with so many digital recruitment agencies, but only one agency really caught my attention...


So, I took the plunge and attended the first interview – “WOW, I really like these guys!”. A week later I attended the second interview – “OK, now I can definitely see myself working for this agency”.


A day later, I got the job. WINNING AT LIFE RIGHT NOW!


I’m super keen to start recruiting in the digital space at MAP Talent, these guys know the digital market inside and out and I can’t wait to be specialising in the UI Design & Development space.


So, if you’re a client looking for star quality talent or a candidate ready to take your next step in your career – let’s chat (Preferably with a coffee) ☺ 


Feel free to email  or add us on LinkedIn or Twitter


Peace x 

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Paul O'Shaughnessy — Posted on November 30th, 2016

For all those who know me well, they know that I believe there is lots of symmetry between football (team sports in general), project delivery teams and recruitment sales teams; pretty much my world away of my beautiful wife and children.

Having been a pro footballer for 6 years, a specialist recruiter in the project services space for 10, I would be a fool not to see many similarities.

I state with confidence that in football, like project delivery teams and recruitment sales teams "Collectively you are only as good as your weakest player!” Think about that for a moment.... :-) And when I say this, I mean attitude towards the team’s culture, goals, leader and peers NOT skills or ability. 

I have found the English premiership this season and the France Euro 2016 fascinating to say the least. The hardworking team ethic is returning to top level football and the evidence is there that the small clubs and the players outside of the superstars can achieve success.

Let’s start with the EPL, Leicester City FC completed one of the most remarkable stories in the history of English football by winning the Premier League title. Written off as relegation candidates at the start of the season, when the bookmakers made Leicester 5000-1 outsiders, to go to be crowned champions. Amazingly, many team members had previously been rejected from former clubs at some point in their career on ability basis, only to join Leicester, and form a strong, victorious team.

It is an incredible tale on so many levels, not least the fact that Leicester were nearly relegated from the premier league last season. In fact they spent 140 days at the bottom of the table and looked set for an immediate return to the Championship until they won seven of their last nine matches under the previous manager Nigel Pearson to climb clear of the bottom three.

A new manager came in, a highly experienced football manager, a manager who had managed football teams across the globe, but a manager who had never been crowned a league winner. The bookies made him favorite for the 1st manager to lose their job in premiership season but with his experience he quickly changed the team philosophy and psychology.  

So how did a team of rejects and a former non-league striker win one of the most prestigious and notoriously competitive football leagues in world football?

And why are we seeing in the Euro 2016 tournament victories like Iceland beating England, like Wales reaching the final stages of the tournament after convincingly beating one of the tournament favourites, Belgium?

My opinion is that there are 3 fundamental elements that successful teams are getting right as a philosophy, they are working on some core team basics to ensure extraordinary results and I believe any Project delivery team and sales recruitment team can do to ensure outstanding performance.



“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard” – In Project Teams and Sales teams, you if don’t work hard you get left behind, it’s that simple! We all know the saying “work smarter, not harder” whilst this much is true, but what if you work hard and you work smart? As long as you have a strong work ethic and a desire to be the hardest worker in the room you’ll always produce good results. On the football pitch, teams with significantly less talent and ability, can achieve more by working harder than the competition. The evidence is there, Leicester FC, Wales and Iceland have demonstrated that a team with less talent can win by working harder and working together.



Togetherness, never ‘give up’ attitude, when the chips are down the collective team picks each other up. In all the Project teams I have recruited for in the past 10 years, every Project or Program will face challenges, no project or program runs smoothly but the best teams pull through and pull through quickly, saving time, resources and energy to ensure project delivery (Victory)



In my opinion this needs to be set by the leader and the players/team members will follow. The manager in Football, Project Delivery Teams, Sales Teams should never demonstrate anything less than absolute belief that the team, CAN and WILL achieve the victory, delivery or sales target. The manager of the Wales national team Chris Coleman stated early on in the competition to the media, that Wales and his collective team have great capability, a team spirit so strong that they are at the Euro 2016 tournament to compete, he stated that “we are not here to just enjoy the fact that Wales have never been in a major tournament, we are here to compete, I believe this group of players can achieve great things". I have interviewed many different leaders in Project/ Program Delivery, in recruitment and had some wonderful football managers and the very best leaders give the team, the belief they CAN and WILL achieve results as a TEAM.  They install this belief and the team members follow and over time they create a strong culture. They NEVER vocally mention the teams weaknesses to the team members instead they focus on strengths and always vocally convey that message to the group and individual team members. Even if she/he feels that there is a lack of experience, a lack of talent, they focus on believe, the attitude and development of team members/players to do better.


Of course there are other important elements like identifying key strengths and identifying the best position on the field or best responsibilities in the delivery team, or best duties in a sales recruitment team. (Picking the right person in the right role) and strategy (game plan), I will most likely will do in one of my other blogs but get the basic team culture/philosophy right and the results will follow. 

If the leader focuses on getting the above team philosophy right and there is 1 or 2 players, team members or recruiters who just don’t come to the table and have no desire to do so (And again, I stress that this shouldn’t be a talent level call, I mean attitudes towards the above) and they don’t want to contribute to the team and are having a negative effect then a tough call has to be made. In football Sir Alex Ferguson made more tough calls than most other managers, like releasing David Beckham at the height of his footballing ability and fame, or Roy Keane when he publicly turned on his players in the media, or Jaap Stam when he negatively commented certain team members at United such as the Neville brothers in his auto biography book release. For the most successful football manager of all time it was all about the above and always about putting his collective team, club (company) and team spirit (culture) 1st before any individual, even if they have performed so well in the past (as we all know this can happen). 

As an aspiring inspirational leader, Map Talent is about to embark on a journey of growth and as the leader I will be modelling the above but also immersing myself in continued personal leadership development. Please wish me all the best! Hope you enjoyed my 1st ever blog... :-)  



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Interaction Design - what is it?

Luke O'Shaughnessy — Posted on November 29th, 2016

Hello, as most who know me I am very passionate about the market I find talent in. The latest craze is cool interactive design so I decided to do some research into Interaction design and share it with my network. 

Interaction Design has origins from web and graphic design, but has grown into a realm of its own. Far from merely working with text and pictures, interaction designers are now responsible for creating every element on the screen that a user might swipe, click, tap, or type: in short, the interactions of an experience

What is Interaction Design?

Interaction Design (IxD) defines the structure and behavior of interactive systems. Interaction designers strive to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services that they use, from computers to mobile devices to appliances and beyond. Our practices are evolving with the world.

The Interaction Design Association (IxDA)

Interaction design began the day the first screen was designed to hold more than static copy. Everything from a button to a link to a form field is part of interaction design. Over the past several decades, a number of books have been released that explain facets of interaction design, and explore the myriad ways it intersects and overlaps with experience design.

Interaction design has evolved to facilitate interactions between people and their environment. Unlike user experience design, which accounts for all user-facing aspects of a system, interaction designers are only concerned with the specific interactions between a users and a screen. Of course, in practice things are never so crisply delineated.

Common Methodologies

Although interaction design spans myriad types of web and mobile applications and sites, there are certain methodologies that all designers rely on. We’ll explore some of the more common methodologies here: goal-driven design, usability, the five dimensions, cognitive psychology, and human interface guidelines.

Goal-Driven Design

Goal-driven design was popularized by Alan Cooper, in his book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity, published in 1999. Alan defines goal-driven design as design that holds problem solving as a highest priority. In other words, goal-driven design focuses first and foremost on satisfying specific needs and desires of the end-user, as opposed to older methods of design, which focused on what capabilities were available on the technology side of things.

Today, some of the points Alan brings up seem obvious, since designers rarely select interactions based solely on development constraints. However, at its heart, the methodology is all about satisfying the end-user’s needs and wants, which is just as necessary today as it ever was.

The process involved in goal-driven design, according to Alan, requires five shifts in the way we think as interaction designers.

Design first; program second. In other words, goal-driven design begins with considerations for how users interact (and how things look!), rather than beginning with technical considerations. Separate responsibility for design from responsibility for programming.This refers to the necessity of having an interaction designer who can champion the end-user, without worrying about the technical constraints. A designer should be able to trust his or her developer to handle the technical aspects; in fact Alan Cooper suggests that to do otherwise places the designer in a conflict of interest. Hold designers responsible for product quality and user satisfaction.Though stakeholders or clients will have their own objectives, the interaction designer has a responsibility to the person on the other side of the screen. Define one specific user for your product. This particular idea has developed into something that is now more commonly associated with user research: personas. Yet Alan reminds us to connect personas back to the product, and constantly ask: where will this person use this? Who is he or she? What does he or she want to accomplish? Work in teams of two. Lastly, interaction designers should never work in a silo. Collaboration with others, which Alan Cooper calls a “design communicator,” is key. Though the design communicator Alan envisioned in 1999 was typically a copywriter intended to provide marketing copy for products, today that has expanded to include a project manager, content strategist, information architect, and many others.

Hope you enjoyed my share! All Interactive designers contact me, you are in HIGH demand! :-) 



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Beginners guide to UX research

Luke O'Shaughnessy — Posted on May 28th, 2016

When I started in recruitment 6 years User experience definition was in its infancy, not its the talk of the digital town but still to many and to my suprise some humans actually don't know what it is yet! So here's a share to the Beninners guide to UX research, hope it's useful. 

In an industry devoted to the people who use our products, services, and applications, research is paramount. We ask questions. We take notes. We learn everything we can about the target audience, and then iteratively test our work throughout the design process.

UX research—or as it’s sometimes called, design research—serves many purposes throughout the design process. It helps us identify and prove or disprove our assumptions, find commonalities across our target audience members, and recognize their needs, goals, and mental models. Overall, research informs our work, improves our understanding, and validates our decisions.

What is UX research?

UX research encompasses a variety of investigative methods used to add context and insight to the design process. Unlike other sub-fields of UX, research did not develop out of some other field or fields. It merely translated from other forms of research. In other words, UX practitioners have borrowed many techniques from academics, scientists, market researchers, and others. However, there are still types of research that are fairly unique to the UX world.

The main goal of design research is to inform the design process from the perspective of the end user. It is research that prevents us from designing for one user: ourselves. It’s fairly well accepted that the purpose of UX or user-centered design is to design with the end-user in mind, and it’s research that tells us who that person is, in what context they’ll use this product or service, and what they need from us.

With that in mind, research has two parts: gathering data, and synthesizing that data in order to improve usability. At the start of the project, design research is focused on learning about project requirements from stakeholders, and learning about the needs and goals of the end users. Researchers will conduct interviews, collect surveys, observe prospects or current users, and review existing literature, data, or analytics. Then, iteratively throughout the design process, the research focus shifts to usability and sentiment. Researchers may conduct usability tests or A/B tests, interview users about the process, and generally test assumptions that will improve the designs.

Young, Indi. 2008. Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior. New York: Rosenfeld Media.

We can also divide UX research methods into two camps: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative research is any research that can be measured numerically. It answers questions such as “how many people clicked here” or “what percentage of users are able to find the call to action?” It’s valuable in understanding statistical likelihoods and what is happening on a site or in an app. Qualitative research is sometimes called “soft” research. It helps us understand why people do the things they do, and often takes the form of interviews or conversations. Common questions include “why didn’t people see the call to action” and “what else did people notice on the page?”

Though researchers may specialize in specific types of interviews or tests, most are capable of conducting a wide variety of techniques. All researchers collect the valuable information that allows us to design in an informed, contextual, user-centered manner.

Common Methodologies

The various types of UX research range from in-person interviews to unmoderated A/B tests (and everything in between), though they are consistent in that they all stem from the same key methodologies: observation, understanding, and analysis.


The first step to conducting research is learning to observe the world around us. Much like beginning photographers, beginning researchers need to learn how to see. They need to notice nervous tics that may signal that their interviewees are stressed or uncertain, and pick up on seemingly minor references that may reflect long-held beliefs or thoughts that should be further probed.

Observation may seem like a simple skill, but it can be clouded by unconscious biases—which everyone has. Design researchers train themselves to observe and take notes so that they can later find patterns across seemingly diverse groups of people.


Much like observation, understanding is something we do all the time in our daily lives. We strive to understand our coworkers, our families, and our friends, often trying to grasp a point of contention or an unfamiliar concept. But for UX researchers, understanding has less to do with disagreements, and more to do with mental models.

A mental model is the image that someone has in their mind when they think of a particular phrase or situation. For example, if someone owns an SUV, their mental model of “car” will likely differ from the mental model of the owner of a smart car. The mental model informs the decisions we make; in the case of the car owners, when asked “how long does it take to drive to Winnipeg,” their answers will vary based on the gas mileage their vehicles get, among other things.

Design researchers need to understand the mental models of the people they interview or test, for two reasons. First, we all speak in shorthand at times. Researchers must recognize that shorthand based on the mental model of the speaker. Second, if the researcher can accurately identify the user’s mental model, he or she can share this information with the design team, and design to accommodate the model.


Research on its own can be valuable, but in order to use the insights to inform design, it needs to be analyzed and ultimately presented to a larger team. Analysis is the process by which the researcher identifies patterns in the research, proposes possible rationale or solutions, and makes recommendations.

Some analysis techniques include creating personas or scenarios, describing mental models, or providing charts and graphs that represent statistics and user behaviors. Although the techniques described here are focused predominantly on conducting research, it’s important to remember that research is only valuable if it is shared. It does no one any good when it’s locked away in a cabinet, or forgotten in the excitement of design.

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How visual design makes for great UX

Luke O'Shaughnessy — Posted on May 24th, 2016

Love this. MASSIVE fan of talented visual designers that makes epic user experience.

It doesn’t sound right, the idea that visual design could be as or more important than usability. But it shouldn’t surprise us. Humans are attracted to things and people they find aesthetically pleasing, to the point that studies have shown that both adults and children are more likely to trust someone they find attractive. The same theory seems to be true of apps and sites: people are more likely to give an attractive application the benefit of the doubt.

In this article we’ll look at why people prefer attractive interfaces, what it says about us as humans, and how we as UX practitioners can use this knowledge to create better user experiences.

What is attraction?

Before we discuss aesthetics in UX, there’s a question we need to answer. What does it mean for a thing to be objectively attractive? It is, quite literally, a question for the ages. Philosophers going as far back as Pythagoras have asked what beauty is, with Pythagorean followers determining that beauty is “a manifestation of harmonious, mathematical relations such as the golden section.” Many mathematician philosophers have since attempted to quantify beauty.

Voltaire, on the other hand, argued that beauty is impossible to define, perhaps giving rise to the statement “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Empiricists follow this belief, seeing beauty as akin to pleasure, and as reflective of the person who sees the beauty as the thing that is beautiful.

There are scientists who believe that the things we find aesthetically pleasing are those that are healthiest for us. Thus, illness makes people look “unattractive,” and things like berries, which are good for us, are also things we find visually pleasing. There are significant holes in that theory (just think of beautiful poisonous frogs), but there may be merit in it.

Alternatively, some argue that beauty comes from societal and cultural attitudes. Consider the fact that in the United States, most children watch Disney films at a young age, reinforcing the idea that witches and evildoers are ugly, and heroes and heroines are beautiful, but it goes deeper than that. Plenty of fashion items, facial hair trends, even body shapes are deemed attractive now, influenced heavily by the media surrounding us daily; in ten years, those same trends will seem embarrassing or sad. As cultural attitudes change, so does how that culture defines beauty.

Let’s translate that to UX design. There may be certain interactions or site elements that we feel are attractive because we associate them with usability. At the same time, there are web trends and visual assets that may seem attractive now, but won’t hold the same pull in a few months or years. For example, there was a time that comic sans was the font of choice, and flash splash pages were a symbol of a well-designed site.

Visual Design in UX

With the understanding that there is no one “perfectly beautiful” aesthetic, we can now delve into the role of visual design in UX. After all, it’s far more than merely making things pretty.

User experience design incorporates interaction design and user interface design, thus focusing on communication. Visual design sits right in the middle, incorporating static images and visuals with the purpose of improving communication and usability.

Visual design can actually make a huge difference in the way users see a screen (pun intended). It’s even possible that users have come to expect more from visually attractive screens: better functionality, more usable, and more human.


Hope you enjoyed my share! 



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Apple Watch vs Fitbit?

Luke O'Shaughnessy — Posted on May 19th, 2016

For Apple watch all day..but too many Fit Blaze... what do you prefer?

Here's the Basics

The Fitbit Blaze is aimed at style-conscious consumers who want to track the usual fitness metrics but also want other capabilities, such as reading text messages, viewing their calendar and controlling the music on a paired smartphone.

The Apple Watch is designed to "be an essential part of who you are," according to Apple's website. It has all of the usual fitness tracking and can keep you on track for your appointments, advise you when you may need an umbrella or show you a text message from a friend, among other features.


Both wearables offer changeable bands, including higher-end options that allow both devices to transform from something you'd wear at the gym into a device that can easily be styled with business attire.


To charge the Fitbit Blaze, pop the screen out from the band, insert the device into a charging cradle and plug it into a USB port. Apple's process is more seamless, allowing users attach a magnetic charging cable to the back of the Apple Watch to gain power from either an outlet or a USB port.

Fitbit Blaze's Winning Feature

Where Fitbit comes out on top is battery life. The Blaze can go as much as five days without needing to charge, whereas the Apple Watch has a battery life of around 18 hours, according to Apple. Bear in mind, how you use your watch and the available features will have an effect on its battery.

While the Blaze won't have the rich app ecosystem Apple Watch owners enjoy, the wearable costs a lot less than the Apple Watch Sport, making it ideal for people who are just looking for a stylish wearable offering fitness and daily communication capabilities.

Apple Watch's Winning Feature

The Apple Watch stands out because of its rich ecosystem of apps and the flow of new ones becoming available. Developers have created new experiences for the wrist, allowing users to do everything from ordering an Uber to checking Twitter to controlling their Internet-connected home.

Bottom Line

The Fitbit Blaze is ideal for someone looking for a fitness tracker and a basic personal assistant that doesn't require nightly charging. If budget isn't an issue ... and you're looking for a wearable to fully integrate into your routine ... then the Apple Watch is the way to go! 

Hope you enjoyed my share. 



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Virtual Reality is coming fast - are you ready?

Luke O'Shaughnessy — Posted on May 12th, 2016

Virtual reality isn't some far-fetched science fiction concept anymore. It's a real thing thanks to (what else?) our smartphones. But VR may not work quite how you expect.

The idea of virtual reality is that you trick your senses into thinking you're in a world other than the one you're physically in. VR accomplishes this with a headset, which tackles the visual aspect, and a pair of headphones for audio. The headset may have its own display (like the Oculus Rift) or it may use your smartphone as its brains and screen (like the Samsung Gear VR andGoogle Cardboard). Google Cardboard-style headsets are the cheapest and most common way to view VR right now. 

Normally, when you're watching video on your phone, it doesn't matter where you put it — the video stays the same. With VR, the position of your phone determines what you see on screen. Using sensors, such as a gyroscope (which measures rotational movements), a VR device allows you to "look" around the virtual landscape surrounding you, in 360 degrees, as you turn your head.

But what you see in VR is only half of the experience. Depending on what you're looking at, it can be cool on its own; but usually, you need surround-sound audio cues to make the experience feel real. With a pair of headphones on, you can get immersive audio that instructs you where to look in your virtual world — just like sounds do in real life. Using headphones paired with Dolby Atmos for VR, for example, a loud thunk "behind" may tell you to turn around; or if a person speaking is speaking to your left, you'll turn to look towards them. 

More and more app developers, filmmakers, and game designers are creating content for VR. The reasons you'd view virtual reality are as varied as why you'd view video. It might be for entertainment — for a game, movie, or concert experience. It could be to experience a news story. You could use it to teach a skill or to simulate an on-the-job experience.

Put it this way it WILL change everything!!! And I can't wait to see the possibilities! 

Hope you enjoyed reading my share.



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