Category: Web & UI


Project Quantum was a collaboration between Firstcom and the Research and Development division at Glen Dimplex International to create the next generation of smart-grid heating systems. Having spent years perfecting and implementing the technical infrastructure, Glen Dimplex turned to us to develop a sleek a intuitive interface that would turn these innovations into a viable product to sell to Energy Companies. After a series of meetings in which we ascertained the goals and intentions of the users, I developed a series of sketches highlighting the key interface screens, which soon became a UI prototype. It became apparent that many tasks – such as tweaking individual settings on radiator systems in a single house or even a whole block – would become mind-numbingly repetitive for the user very quickly. As such, I developed a set of tools that allowed them to customise settings and save templates, as well as applying them at an apartment and estate wide level.

Project Quantum was unveiled to the public in December 2012, and demonstrated to the Irish Taoiseach.


Aercap are the worlds leading leaser of modern Aircraft with over €12 billion in assets, and customers on every continent. In early 2012, Firstcom were invited to Amsterdam to work on a project to revamp their archaic website, and develop something to make them look like the robust international presence that they are. Working to tight deadlines, we quickly developed a strong interactive wireframe which was quickly iterated upon via Skype conferences and a number of further trips to their International HQ in Amsterdam. Enhanced by HTML5 and jQuery, we ensured the site would work across multiple formats and have an array of rich features, such as rotatable 3D models of the aircraft, and an interactive timeline. Instead of developing the site responsively, it was decided that the goals of the user on mobiles was sufficiently different to require a dedicated mobile site with a separate structure.

Mapping the Future

When First Advertising decided it needed to reboot itself, we needed to create a site that reflected the company’s new emphasis and philosophy. It was designed from the outset to be responsive but also structured in a way that emphasises one of our four core services; digital, identity, advertising and marketing. The transformation of the company however was not just cosmetic. It was a the culmination of a three year process in reorienting how the company thought about it approached developing websites and online marketing. Through a new methodological and philosophical outlook that I guided the company towards, they are now in a stronger position than most of competitors to cope with the ever changing digital landscape, and crucially in a great position to find new opportunities for their clients.

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.

Information Architecture

System Dynamics deliver a broad range of IT solutions so diverse and customisable that when we first spoke to them, the multitude of services confused even themselves. This perplexion manifested as a labyrinthine website that made liberal use of the word “solutions” preceded by various adjectives, but communicating no real information. Before even beginning to attempt a wireframe or design, I spent a week reading everything I could about the company and their services and talking to the staff, before boiling it all down to key audiences and a number of key products. This IA work then proved a useful starting point for System Dynamics to clarify and refine their own thinking, resulting in a website that reflects their products and services in a much more concise, streamlined and usable form.


These designs were done in preparation for an interview with Casual Games giant Popcap. I made several designs for new plants for the classic “Plants vs. Zombies”. I also wireframed a new website that incorporated a geolocation based Game called “Popcap adventures” that featured “quests” that could only be completed by going to locations with other Popcap fans. Unlockable goodies included artwork and new content in games.


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.

Glen Dimplex Design

Glen Dimplex is a titan in the world of Irish manufacturing. A family owned company, they are also a truly global presence, owning dozens of household appliance brands worldwide. Their previous site, however, gave no indication of their real stature, and as such, our goal was to portray them as an important international player. The Information Architecture work here needed to pick apart companies and brands, which often overlapped and could potentially give rise to confusion (Morphy Richards, for example, is both a brand and a company). Using different layouts and use of imagery for both, we managed to make obvious which companies used which brands, and made it hard to confuse the two. The finished site, by making intelligent use of globe graphics and photos of major cities in which they had offices, gave an instant impression of their worldwide scope.


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