Hi, I’m Cathal.
I am a UX Designer from Newry.

I have spent the past six years studying Interaction design from branding and UX Design to graphic and Virtual Reality Design. I have experience working with both small and large businesses within Northern Ireland - BigRockDesigns and the Southern Regional College.

Me and part of my team at the SRC
Southern Regional College
- Foundation Degree in Science and Interactive Multimedia, 2017- 2019

Student at Ulster University
- Interaction Design,
2019 -present

Work based learning
- BigRockDesigns, Belfast,
January 2019 - June 2019

- The Southern Regional College, Newry,
January 2022 - June 2022
Project 1
Local Jobs, local Apprenticeships
During my time at the Business & Innovation Support team at the Southern Regional College, I was tasked with creating designs of many dimensions to advertise their Apprenticeship programme, to attract A-level students. These designs were advertised on their social media pages and physical billboards to be placed around the Newry area.

Many aspects such as the colours, for example, had to reflect the colour scheme of the Newry, Mourne and Down district councils. As a team, we all came to an agreement that the chosen design was the best.
March 2022
Idea Generation, Sketching, Prototyping and Designing
The Problem
The beginning of spring time is an important time for the Business Support & Innovation team at the Southern Regional College because by this stage A-level students should be looking at possible career routes to consider for their further education. The purpose of the Apprenticeship programme is to attract these students to do an Apprenticeship.

As a result, the team needed a designer to design posters and physical billboards on Illustrator, that will then be printed, to advertise the higher-level apprenticeships.

This is where I came in.
With every piece of design work I create, research is always the first stage. At this stage I was given a brief on what I needed to create and what it should include. But as this is my first time creating a poster for print, I began conducting research into the layout I will need to consider and the type of padding I will need to use around the border, so no logos or text gets cut off.

I also looked at banners and billboards on Pinterest to gather influence from, before sketching. Once I felt I had all I needed, I began sketching process.
In my opinion, sketching (no matter how bad of a drawer you are) is a very important stage which I feel many people leave out completely and instead go straight to the computer and begin designing on Illustrator. For me, drawing on paper allows me to see what idea I have in my head more clearly and what it really looks like..physically.

For this particular project, I had a handful of different design ideas which I sketched out, some of them appeared better in my mind and others were surprisingly nicer than I expected. Once I was contented with these, I took them into Canva to begin prototyping, to see what they were like digitally. This then led to the final design being chosen by the team.
Final Design
Using Canva is a great and easy way of creating designs digitally. For me, it is flexible and provides me with the opportunity to add extra elements to designs that I may have missed while sketching. From the list of different drafts, we as a team all agreed on this design.

We believed it was easy to read and was spacious enough for the content to be read at a quick glance. This was an important factor that influenced this design. From the beginning, these designs where to be displayed on billboards and social media platforms and because of that, the team needed a design that the target audience could read in a short time frame, as they would likely be driving past these billboards at a particular speed or quickly scrolling through social media.

In the end, the team and myself where happy with the outcome and the apprenticeship programme turned out to be a great success, with more A-level students applying for courses than previous years.
Myself standing with my designed billboard
Project 2
my mri
mymri is my final year project in Ulster University and it is essentially a Virtual Reality app for first-time users of MRI scans to prepare them for the process. The patient will be given a headset and motion controllers and they will witness what happens in an MRI scan first hand in the virtual world.

The reason I chose to create a VR app was because I wanted to do a project that was different from the majority of others in my course and go beyond my comfort zone. As well as this, I have always had a keen interest in Virtual Reality and was fascinated in how using simple elements can transport a user into a different world.
October 2022 - May 2023
Creator, Designer
Idea Generation, Researching, Sketching, Prototyping, Testing and Designing
The Problem
I am a person who isn’t new to the process of an MRI scan, having many of them conducted on me in my late teens. I am at the stage were having one no longer concerns me, but rather it is seen as a nuisance more than anything.

However, I can remember the first time I had one and how nervous I was and how withdrawing I felt from the idea of having one. It turned out that the process wasn’t as bad as I thought it would have been, so I was anxious for no reason. However, I wish that there were resources at the time to tell me about MRI scans and to better prepare me for the process, not realising how long it takes and how warm I get being inside the machine.

So, from looking back at this, I would like to create an app for first time users (like myself at one stage) to provide them with important information about the process, which I was never given, so that there is no need to feel anxious or worried about it.
The best thing about researching for MRI scans is that there is a unlimited amount of information about them on health service websites, like the NHS and private health sectors in America and so on...

I was lucky to stumble upon some very good statistics on people’s personal opinions about MRI scans and how it made them feel:

  • In one survey of 2,000 patients, 42% said they were afraid of MRI scans.
  • 1 in 7 people cancel their scans due to fear or anxiety.
  • 12% of MRI Scans are terminated or result in unclear images due to patient anxiety or movement.
  • Scanning failure rate in children are as high as 50% and 35% between 2 to 5 and 6 to 7 years
At this stage, I finally decided that I would create this app for VR and also had conducted some research about how I could go about doing this. So the next step was to sketch out possible ideas on paper for me to then take into Figma and see how it looks as a prototype. Figma has a great plugin called DraftXR that allows you to see what your screens look like in the virtual world.
Final Design
The next step was to finally create the app on Figma. This process involved creating a introductory page with my logo to welcome the user, then immediately after was the navigation section and finally the main sub-sections which the app is based on. As my audience involves elderly people, I would constantly remind myself of this so it would help me create an easy, straightforward guide for the user.

The whole process of creating this app was a long and at times challenging task. I ended up creating 292 individual frames, this was a very time consuming process for me. The reason for this was because the content had to be condensed as best as it could, without overwhelming the user. Especially with VR, if there is too much text for a person to read on one screen, I run the risk of possibly boring or angering the user. So I had to be careful. From this, one of the positives I take away from this project, is that it made me aware of such problems when designing for VR.

Once I had all my frames created and linked together, I now had to rely on the DraftXR plugin to convert my frames into VR screens. Surprisingly and unnecessarily, this was a stressful and aggravating process. Towards the end of the project, the plugin had difficulty linking the background images and the individual screens together within VR. But finally, after contacting the team, the issue was eventually sorted.
Project 3
Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Brochure
On placement with the Southern Regional College, I was tasked with creating a brochure highlighting the list of ILM courses the SRC provide for students and mature students. The brochure itself I created in Adobe InDesign, with all the information presented to me in a table. I was given a lot of flexibility to create it whatever way I thought was appropriate. The brochure was well received among the team and still to this day it is used on their website.
April 2022
Idea Generation, Researching, Sketching, Designing
The Problem
The SRC have been using an old, out-of-date word document to advert the ILM courses, so a change was well overdue. There were many courses that they no longer provided and things such as the entry requirements needed updated in the process. Overall, they needed a newer version/template.

It was then up to me to begin designing a better design.
Although there wasn’t much research involved with this particular task, I did however look at many brochures in places such as Pinterest and company websites to get some influence from, which was very helpful. This being my first brochure design, I spent my time carefully looking at the layout and images used in digital brochures. The colour scheme was already laid out as expected, orange, purple and blue for the SRC brand.

From the ideas I gathered, it was then time to start sketching it out on paper.
I was able to condense my ideas into one design which I decided on. I wanted to experiment with different shapes and as it is a brochure, there will be empty spaces in many places, so I wanted to fill these with shapes and colours. The hexagon was a interesting shape I saw in one particular design which I really liked. It differed from squares, circles and triangles. So I decided to use that while incorporating the brand colours.
Final Design
In the end, this was the final outcome. The main requirements involved the simplicity of the design and the how easy the content is to read for the user. So using images and tables was a great way, in my opinion to achieve this. I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to work on my InDesign skills and as it was my first ever brochure I created, it was really good practice for me.

And I hope it won’t be my last!
SRC ILM Brochure