Dexter and Darcety at Burnby Hall

A Personal Landmark

Last Sunday was a big day for me.

No, I didn’t win the lottery or attain clarity on the meaning of life (I’m sticking with 42).

We decided to take the twins (who are now 2 and a half) to a regular family haunt, Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington. So what was different about this visit? Well, within the Café area of the gardens is the very small Stewart Museum which is “dedicated to the travels of Major Percy Stewart and the 8 World Tours he undertook between 1906 and 1926”. I have a vested interest in this museum as I helped to design an interactive touchscreen kiosk whilst working for Continuum Group as their Interactive Designer around 6 years ago along with Simon Kendrew who developed it.

Knowing how D&D (the twins) are with touch screen technology (scarily good for their age) I thought it would be a great opportunity to see how they reacted to the ageing kiosk. I was simply stunned at how quickly they both interacted with it, pressing the buttons, opening up the skeuomorphically designed ‘journal’, watching the animated map of a Rhino hunt in Africa, listening to the audio and even touching the photographs to enlarge them. Admittedly they needed a little bit of help as the touchscreen isn’t quite as reactive as todays multi-touch capitative devices are, but nevertheless it was wonderful to watch.

What was even more wonderful though was the fact that they were both interacting with something I had designed. My work.

So where am I going with this? Well, as a web designer I love the speed of change but I’ve always struggled with the transitory nature of the web. You only need to look at my design output over the last 13 years to see that there’s very little remaining online, which naturally is a good thing as I cringe when I look back at them. Web design has come a very long way since I started professionally in 2001.  Seeing the twins interacting with my work gave me a very unexpected sense of pride though and I started thinking about how I could create more permanent work that they could enjoy (or choose to ignore).

I’ve often seen other web designers switching to pure graphic/print design and photography for side projects so maybe this is an avenue I should be proactively pursuing? In however many years time it would be incredible to be able to leave a legacy of work to my children for which they can be proud.

So watch this space. I’ve a few ideas which I need to play with as well some stalled side projects that need resurrecting – and this blog would be a great (although temporary) place to sound them out.

Having said that I’m always open to suggestions so feel free to leave a comment below if you’ve any ideas or if you have any thoughts about the temporary nature of the web.

Update JULY 21 2020:

It’s been a good few years since I wrote this post but I wanted to add an update to say that D&D are now 8 and still love playing with the interactives I designed for the Stewart Musem at Burnby Hall. (Very pleased they’re still working too!)

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