Can you ac­tu­ally get any­thing done on the bus, train or plane? Seven de­sign­ers and de­vel­op­ers share their ex­pe­ri­ences

net magazine - - CONTENTS -

Our ex­perts share their in­sights on how they cope with work­ing on the go

Rob Fenech Free­lance web de­signer

I rarely work whilst trav­el­ling. I’m usu­ally con­nected to so many CDNs that not hav­ing sta­ble and con­sis­tent Wi-Fi can re­ally mess with my work­flow. Also, be­ing a pri­mar­ily front-end de­vel­oper, I like to have a few screens at any one time so I can quickly see what things look like on var­i­ous de­vices; it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for me to get into a good groove when I’m mov­ing be­tween desk­top views on my Mac­book Pro. For those rea­sons, I find it par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to work when I’m on the move.

An­to­nius Marie Ho­ge­brandt De­vel­oper, An­gry Cre­ative an­grycre­

It de­pends a lot on how I’m trav­el­ling. I pre­fer to go by train, since they’re more com­fort­able and roomier than both buses and cars (and cheaper and more ac­ces­si­ble than planes). The key things I need for work­ing are a ta­ble and good Wi-Fi, ei­ther via the train’s own ser­vice or via my phone. Most of my work in­volves us­ing a vir­tual ma­chine on my lap­top, so while I still need some way to con­nect to the var­i­ous ser­vices at work, I can work well any­where.

John Tay­lor Free­lance dig­i­tal de­signer john­tay­loron­

I of­ten work in Manch­ester and it’s im­pos­si­ble to work on pub­lic trans­port whilst trav­el­ling to and from the city cen­tre dur­ing rush hour, although it can lend it­self to do­ing re­search like read­ing, lis­ten­ing to pod­casts and watch­ing videos. On qui­eter jour­neys, I some­times do ad­min work like cor­re­spon­dence, book­keep­ing and in­voic­ing but this is rare. I can’t imag­ine try­ing to do any se­ri­ous de­sign or dev work whilst trav­el­ling, un­less it was some­thing sim­ple like an amend­ment or mi­nor up­date. There are too many dis­trac­tions and the prob­lems caused by over­crowd­ing are not con­ducive to an ef­fec­tive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Inayaili de León Pers­son Lead web de­signer, Canon­i­cal

I have RSI so I can’t (or shouldn’t!) do lap­top-based work on pub­lic trans­port. Be­cause of that, I use the time I spend trav­el­ling lis­ten­ing to pod­casts and ar­ti­cles. I fol­low lots of both work and non-work-re­lated pod­casts and I tend to lis­ten to the for­mer while com­mut­ing and on work trips. I also use In­stapa­per’s textto-speech fea­ture on my iPhone so I don’t hurt my neck read­ing on my phone. It’s made me ap­pre­ci­ate how im­por­tant it is to have well-writ­ten se­man­tic markup when cre­at­ing con­tent on­line!

Michael Vester­gaard Cre­ative de­vel­oper and in­ter­ac­tion de­signer ilike­to­

I al­ways feel great when I get work done on the train or at the air­port be­cause it’s like my time wasn’t wasted. But it can be a chal­lenge. I nor­mally plan ahead spe­cific an­i­ma­tions, pro­to­types or code snip­pets I need for new or on­go­ing projects. These might be mi­cro in­ter­ac­tions, text and im­age tran­si­tions or even drone for­ma­tions, such as our most re­cent launch for Ver­ity Stu­dios. This kind of work is eas­ier to pick up af­ter a dis­trac­tion or a longer break and dis­trac­tions such as noise, slow Wi-Fi, small screen and so on aren’t such a big deal.

Ben Read Web de­vel­oper, Zopa de­li­cious­

I some­times work dur­ing my 90-minute com­mute from Hert­ford­shire to Lon­don Bridge. I’m cur­rently work­ing on a project that ties in many dif­fer­ent ser­vices to one sin­gle static site us­ing Gatsby.js. I carry a backup bat­tery pack and typ­i­cally use data teth­er­ing from my phone but it’s tricky when you’re pulling data from an API and sud­denly the train goes into a tun­nel. I’ve run out of data twice this month be­cause I for­got to dis­con­nect the tether, then later ran ‘npm in­stall’. When you’ve got over 300 de­pen­den­cies to down­load that can hurt your al­lowance. I should prob­a­bly in­vest in an un­lim­ited data plan.

Sally L ait Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion con­sul­tant sal­ly­

It’s about tai­lor­ing your work to your sit­u­a­tion. If I know I’m go­ing have a patchy con­nec­tion, I’ll save up writ­ing tasks, use it as dis­trac­tion-free time to read or learn some­thing new. It’s im­por­tant to set your­self up right and down­load what you need in ad­vance. Also em­brace the change of scenery; be­ing in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions can work won­ders and give you a bit more en­ergy. Fi­nal tip: make sure it’s all op­tional. It’s very stress­ful to have to work and not be able to but nice to have it as an op­tion.

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