Category: Design

Responsive Design

Ireland’s oldest shopping centre, Firstcom (in its previous incarnation as BBC Advertising) had worked with The Square Tallaght since its construction in the early 1990s. When The Square went into administration in 2011, Firstcom were only one of two vendors kept on by the new regime, who had been tasked with turning around the flailing enterprise. Our continued relationship was conditional, however, on producing a “world class” website for the renewed centre.

Having had innovative new ideas quashed in previous years, this was just the opportunity we had been waiting for. Allocated a generous budget, we first set out to conduct research into what users currently thought of the site. This led us to a number of revelations that would guide the emphasis and structure of the new interface. Instead of just becoming a dry directory of stores, the site was to become a hub for the Tallaght community; something mirrored in the physical reconstructions in the centre itself. The site was to become a way-finding tool that matched identically those in the centre, and means to communicating all of the latest offers and sales; something woven throughout the site in the maps and store pages. Furthermore, our data also showed us that a growing proportion of the traffic was coming from mobile devices; leading us to devise the new site to be responsive in its inception, and have downloadable maps that could be used offline.

A year after launch, with a combination of on-the-ground encouragement to get stores to use the new site, and ongoing work in the real of Facebook promotions, we saw the very tangible result of a 15% increase in footfall.

Watch my interview regarding the User Research conducted at The Square

Watch Square Centre Director Jack Martin discuss his relationship with FirstCom

Startup Weekend

In March 2012, I attended the second annual Startup Weekend at Google’s European HQ in Dublin. Originally pitching my ideas for evolutionary history explorer Deep Time; I ended up working with the team of Stephen McManus to devise a gamified, team based game to teach entrepreneurship skills; Appace (now called Riptide Academy). Working closely with with Microsoft developer Hrishikesh Ballal, I devised both the game structure and a three minute presentation of the “world” screen; which I drew, designed and animated within 54 hours before presenting to the rest of the attendees on Sunday evening.

AppAce Games Basic Concept from FinalContext on Vimeo.


This design was done for former Googler Benoit Curdy as part of a UI consultation for his fledgeling public speaking analytics tool “Vocalytics”.

Deep Time

Deep Time will be to evolutionary history what Google Earth is to geography. Our goal is to build the definitive tool for organising, managing and interfacing with information about natural history both as a means for the lay audience to comprehend the theory of evolution, and a tool for the broader scientific community to manage this vast wealth of data behind it. The ultimate goal is to catalogue all life that exists, or has ever existed.

Irish Deposits Design

Firstcom’s goal in Irish Deposits was not just to make a site advertising the company, but create an interactive tool that is useful to their clients. By interviewing some customers, we found that what they really wanted was not just to know deposit rates, but to see how they had changed from week to week, in order to make informed decisions without having to mess about with spreadsheets. Built with a combination of HTML4 and customised jQuery, the comparison tool I devised shows instantly the best rates on a week by week bases, and allows the user to dig deeper to see trends should they so wish.


This piece was created in collaboration with Irish poet Steve Downes to illustrate his new online collection, Urbania. The idea was to capture the mood of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, so I researched some of the early concept art from to movie and found some interesting montage work on which I based this piece.


The Subway Cowgate was a notorious Edinburgh nightclub that hosted a wide variety of nightclubs and bands. My challenge was both to update the logo (which was essentially a rip-off of the Sub-Pop logo) and devise a look that fitted with all of the various nightclub styles (including Indie, Punk, Electro, Pop and Metal).


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