What They Use – Caleb Bell
What do we use at work? This series of posts interviews the Ushahidi staff about their methods of working and the tools they use. The profile of a different employee will be posted twice a week until we make our way through most or all of the staff!
“I’m inspired daily by the tremendously talented folks I work with.” – Caleb Bell
What’s your day to day at Ushahidi like?
The overall format is mostly the same from day to day. I usually start off by checking Email, Skype and Google reader. Then, I move on to various design and/or development tasks. Some examples: designing mockups & UI wireframes, processing bug fixes and updates to ushahidi.com or community.ushahidi.com, responding to various image/graphic related requests via email (for example, Ushahidi will be included in an exhibit at the MoMA soon… stay tuned!).
I also help out on the “company shwag” side of things so sometimes I’ll design and coordinate production of items like business cards, t-shirts and stickers.
How did you get involved in the software/tech space?
My foray into the software/tech space officially started after I read Designing With Web Standards by Jeffery Zeldman. Before that, I was just a “Gee, websites are cool and I like blinking HTML text” kind of guy… after that I became a “Let’s create websites that will still work 10 years from now and provide real value to human beings” kind of guy.
What are some of your favorite apps for work and how do you use them?
1Password: ‘Nuff said there. The most valuable piece of software I’ve ever purchased. // Photoshop: pixel wrangling & photo retouching. // Balsamiq: wireframes // Textmate/GitX/Terminal/Sequel Pro: coding & development // Omnigraffle: process flow diagrams. Illustrator: vector artwork // InDesign: anything that will be printed on paper.
What are some cool projects you’re working on right now at Ushahidi or; What excites you about your work right now?
I’m currently working on the user experience and user interface for SwiftMeme, our content discovery and analysis tool. What excites me is having the opportunity to shape the user experience of an app such that it is easy to understand and enjoyable to use.
What helps you make it through each day?
I’m inspired daily by the tremendously talented folks I work with… also, it’s motivating to see the steady stream of people around the world utilizing our software in new and interesting ways. I would also be lying if I didn’t acknowledge a freshly brewed cup of coffee helps too!
The one thing you can’t live without?
I’ll second what Ahmed said: God. I think I’d also have a hard time living without my lovely wife!