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dark green background collage of floating thumbnails showcasing user interface details and image of Ceara Crawshaw speaking in the middle


In response to a huge demand for training for software developers, Canadian user experience* (UX) studio Pencil & Paper has created the first design course validated by developers themselves, (launch date: September 15th, 2021).

Design SOS teaches developers, who are often tasked with UX, fundamental concepts and strategies they can apply to any project they face — from website development to phone apps to heavy-duty software applications. The course is markedly different from the glut of intensive boot camps and expensive certifications on the market.

We wanted to make UX design content accessible and relevant, giving developers immediate wins and not overkill the content they have to sift through” explained Pencil & Paper Founder and CEO Ceara Crawshaw. “We created this course just like we create good UX: with intensive user testing of a select group of users (in this case, developers).

With extensive experience in designing complex software (Biotech, FinTech), startups and Employee UX, Ms. Crawshaw has positioned her Victoria, BC-based company as an industry leader in the booming field of UX design. She has seen the field grow rapidly as consumers demand increasingly smooth, human-centred tech experiences. It’s a positive trend for IT, but it puts added pressure on the software developers coding the applications.

This course speaks to a greater vision for infusing user-centred practices throughout the world of technology: 

UX design is the heart and soul of excellent digital experiences like you find in products like Headspace. The tech industry has found itself in trouble many times from creating user experiences which are unhealthy. This is because of ignorance about the importance of human beings, and prioritization of immediate (and not long term) business goals. This is our contribution to creating a tech culture which puts users at the centre of everything starting from the code we write.”  – Ceara Crawshaw, CEO Pencil & Paper.

We’re seeing a new brand of ‘UX-minded developers’ who are thoughtful about user experience and enable a huge amount of business growth,” said Ms. Crawshaw. “It’s time to support them with efficient, cost-effective training and, in doing so, bring our software building workflows out of the dark ages.

How the course was made 

  • Validated initial Business Model Canvas and landing page through user testing with developers and team leads
  • Beta tester group created 2021 with 22 developers from GitLab, Stocksy, Billi, Mazumago, Workday & Garmin
  • Live sessions run with beta group where quantitative and qualitative research was conducted 
  • Video shot at Victoria, BC coworking hotspot, KWENCH

More about the company

The Pencil & Paper is a fully remote, distributed and female team based out of Victoria, BC with team members in Vancouver, Montreal & Berlin. They are defining new best practices for consumer and enterprise software design across industries as well as optimizing the design workflows of product teams. The company is shifting its business model: creating the world’s enterprise UX repository, new SAAS products and investment in scaling startups.

About Ceara Crawshaw

  • UVIC biology grad turned designer
  • Transitioned to UX from science communications in London UK
  • Transitioned to tech in Montreal then Victoria
  • Founded P&P 3 years ago, specialized in creating UX for complex software (Biotech, FinTech), startups and employee UX.
  • Created P&P team of all women from Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Montreal & Berlin

Key aspects of the course

  • Completely customized visual (clickable course examples)
  • Diagnosis process for design problems 
  • UI best practices 
  • Improve Interactions

Press contact: info@pencilandpaper.ca

*User experience AKA “UX” is a design field used in technology, throughout the private sector and government, which uses ‘user testing’ and other research to enhance user friendliness and utility. Read more