“The disciplined pursuit of less, but better.”
- Greg McKeown

Dear Marco

I’d like to apply for the positions of Interaction Designer and Software Engineer/Creative Coder. I attended the Open Studio at Open Design last year, was very impressed by the technology I saw and would love to work at Formula D interactive.

I’m an Interaction Designer and Computer Scientist with 11 years of experience in creating websites. I have been involved in every part of the digital production workflow. A few years ago I wanted to broaden my experience and so began a Masters in Interaction Design (my thesis is on “Music composition with Yoga”). My supervisor up until his departure from Cape Town was Jörn Messeter.

I have created interactive installations at the Cape Town Diamond Museum (using sound and visuals, with an Arduino and an X-Box Kinect), worked with mobile applications for iPhone, Android and Blackberry, and am familiar with User-Centered Design.

What I like about Formula D

Formula D plays with new technology so that it can find ways to use it for learning and social good. Your YouTube channel is inspiring! I’m drawn to every piece of tech which you’ve built.

You’ve made phicons. You use Participatory Design. You make tangible things and build interfaces that aren't just “moving pictures under glass” but are more tactile and more interesting. You tackle social problems, and are deeply interested in how people learn.

I like that you partner with people and organisations and participate in the wider design community.

Michael always has had an attitude of collaboration, which I appreciate (and which mirrors my own style). I saw this when I helped to plan and put together a talk by the Interaction Design Association Cape Town at Open Design 2013.

Formula D also works with international clients. You’ve partnered with MIT, which is exciting: I attended a workshop run by Dr Carlo Ratti (one of the MISTI faculty directors) when he was in Cape Town in 2012.

In short, I’m inspired by the work which Formula D does and your attitude of collaboration.

Why I want to work at Formula D

I’m a good match for both positions you’re looking for because of my extensive programming background, my experience with digital, and because I’m also an Interaction Designer. I’m constantly learning, and want to be in an environment where I’m helping create more tangible digital interactions. It's an exciting opportunity to work with and learn from established designers with a reputation for quality.

Making a difference

I relish the opportunity to be involved in more meaningful work. I care deeply about South Africa and the issues we face as a country, and believe that education is at the heart of making this nation better. While I’ve been involved in many interesting digital projects, none have had the potential for social impact that yours do.

Formula D is aware of the larger social context and wants to help bring about change. I would love to work in a context where mobile apps can make a difference to peoples’ lived experiences.

What can I offer Formula D?

I can offer Interaction Design and programming skills, as well as a systemic, technical approach to problem-solving. My default is towards collaboration and learning, and I play well in teams. I am an excellent technical interface with other developers, and can quality check code. I can learn Unity 3D and code prototypes (e.g. using the Kinect).

Here’s a 1 minute clip of the result of a problem Jörn set me: “How can digital technology support the cooking process?” I followed a User-Centered Design process, doing in-context video research by filming a friend making dinner, looking through the footage afterwards looking for any issues or opportunities, identifying 3 design openings, and eventually deciding to work with Google Glass. Since Interaction Design is more concerned with the effect of digital technology on peoples’ behaviour than simply building technology, the concept video below is more interested in seeing how Glass might be helpful to someone as they cook in their own kitchen.

It’s rough, but that’s part of Interaction Design: to try out designs which are potential solutions using the lowest fidelity and resolution prototype possible.

How else might I be valuable?

Formula D’s online presence is much smaller than I expected. I can help increase the online reach (and the potential of finding new clients) through more regular blogging, tweets, videos, and a podcast.

The website last had a design refresh in 2013 and could benefit from one, especially some thinking around how to better communicate how Formula D creates “rewarding and memorable interactive experiences.”

I attended a projection mapping workshop run by Telenoika, one of Europe’s top projection mapping outfits. I could imagine Formula D playing with projection mapping, as you are storytellers and the results can be mind-blowing. Jump around a bit in the video below and you’ll see what I mean. This is a 22 metre high building.

I look forward to chatting at 4pm on Tuesday.