Alastair Leith


Director of Useful Design, founder of founder of Vuo

Alastair has twenty something years experience in design including graphics, film VFX, music video, art direction and web. Coming across Quartz Composer (QC) on a OS X 10.5 install disk reignited his (mostly self-taught) childhood interest in programming as it combined graphics and coding using concept of reusable/patchable code modules that didn’t require to much coding knowledge to get started.

He’s deployed QC based applications and tools in various fields including custom visual effects for movie titles and live sporting stat graphical overlays and a visually appealing twitter-wall mixed onto video feeds displayed at sporting stadiums, for example the International Rugby series games hosted in stadiums around Australia. Since Facebook released it’s internally developed Origami extensions to QC, Alastair has been exploring the emergent specialisation of Product Design which focuses on the intersection of graphics and code for rapid prototyping of very expressive app interactions, without the costly and timely overhead of producing compiled native code installed to the device for each iteration or design concept variation and tangent.

Alastair is a founder of the Vuo visual programming application ( that attempts to solve some problems designed into the Quartz Composer paradigm and leapfrog QC into new visual coding language possibilities, including support for up to date OpenGL shaders and rendering.

YOW! West 2016 Perth

Prototyping with the Pros: An Introduction to Facebook’s Origami App Prototyping Toolset


Origami is a free set of extensions to Apple’s Quartz Composer developer tool that Facebook created to prototype all their app and website interactions. It allows for a tight loop of interaction and artwork iteration that precludes a need for text-language coding, but goes way beyond what customary wireframes and click-through prototypes can achieve.

Brave designers using Origami can become interaction coders for prototyping and testing purposes without writing a single line of code. This type of rich product feature prototyping is an emerging specialisation in app development circles known as Product Design.

Origami can export native iOS/Android/web code, providing animation specifications (dimension, durations, etc) in a language engineers can readily understand and easily transform into finished code. Getting designers and engineers on the same UI/UX page has never been easier.

Those who attend this demonstration of Origami will come away with a feel for:

  • the speed with which an app interaction prototype can be constructed;
  • how fun live coding a prototype can be;
  • the ease with which a prototype can be evolved;
  • how expressive and open Origami and QC are in terms of constructing new interaction ideas;
  • the tangible benefits in allowing designers to take more responsibility for application interaction design.