“What is UX” for Startups

I’m at a startup, as Head of UX, shaping a product that’s launching next week, and helping the team find ways of working that make them be more productive and feel more empowered. One of the challenges with the otherwise small and jovial company, is that there is already a silo: Marketing. What’s wrong with […] continue reading »

How to win at UX

UX is trendy, and we should all rejoice… Except UXers often work to unrealistic expectations, (“make this product user-friendly in 8 weeks”) try to solve non-existent problems (“build that team a dashboard with metrics XYZ”), and are seldom allowed time to do real research or work as a team (“we don’t have time for that, […] continue reading »

Why are UX take home tasks so crap?

The UX industry suffers from a delusion: that the take-home task is a good way to understand what each candidate for a job is capable of. This isn’t 100% wrong, but it sure as hell is flawed!! I’ve written about why I think this is flawed, included some examples of – REAL – good and […] continue reading »

How BA failed at maths, humanity, and service design

I’ve been on FOUR BA flights since 27th December 2016. This only matters because the last one was a VERY different experience from the first three. The first two were First Class (we used avios, sit back down), and awesome. On my last and fourth one, however, I discovered BA’s new policy of not serving […] continue reading »

Sketchbook Mondays: Cup sleeve and card holder

One of the problems I’ve always had is that I my hands are hyper-sensitive to heat. In itself this is small, but in 2017, I decided to stop having milky coffees. I’ve never digested milk very well, and it was time to stop it again. So it would be mostly americanos for me in 2017! […] continue reading »

Three ways to get some user testing done in group workshops

I’ve just spent six weeks on a completely insane project. The aspect I want to write about is how this insane project had no scope for (or understanding of) user testing, even though we needed to do some. And this article is about three “hacks” I devised to get some user feedback regardless of what […] continue reading »

Two heads are better than one

I’ve been working with someone. This is note-worthy, because I have mostly worked alone. Most companies today think that one UX Architect is enough to fix All The Things going wrong in a project. We are UX co-leads on a Big Fat Software Rewrite project. On our first day, a Monday, we were told that […] continue reading »

Weekend project: Digitising weather reports!

Weekend project. Digitising #weather reports so I can have LEDs helping me dress every day (instead of the cognitive load of numbers & remembering what yesterday was like) #UX #design #electronics #informationDesign #watercolourpencils Image first posted on instagram. It all started with the London weather being a little bit nuts. One day was summer, the […] continue reading »

A diagram of the UX Architecture / Design process 

Some months ago, I was working at a lovely software development place that specialises in the hospitality industry. Over there, I was part of a development team that worked on a series of mobile-first web-based task-centred apps. And I was the only person who “did” UX… This is a short-ish story of why I now […] continue reading »

Should developers think for themselves?

I just had a weird conversation with a colleague in our standup meeting. We have a new developer who joined recently and is specialised in working on a particular platform. My colleague argues that if we send the dev my UX wireframes for the improvements, which are made in the sketchy style of balsamiq, he […] continue reading »

“an Agile user story is ready when…” definitions (comic strip version!)

In my most recent job, we are working in Agile. This is something I am unfamiliar with and am having fun learning about. Possibly too much fun. Today, we had people stopping on their way to places just to look at our team’s definitions of “ready”. The chipmunk (I attempted a kitten) asking for comments […] continue reading »

documenting responsive web design for CMS authors

This is a page out of a series of specs I wrote for a particular set of websites that use RWD (Responsive Web Design). It was created for the CMS authors and for the devs. It illustrates the behaviour of the title-text-image-moreButton block on various screen sizes, after it was built on a CMS with […] continue reading »

how I used UX principles to organise my wardrobe

The basis of User Experience is “who is the user” and “what do they need”. I have applied these principles to my wardrobe. Here’s how. primary wardrobe usage: getting dressed for what the day holds I use my wardrobe for getting dressed in the mornings, and for putting clothes away in the evenings (or after […] continue reading »

how I fixed Vogue’s Fashion Night Out #FNO

Ok, so I didn’t fix it. I just did something slightly OCD only for me. My friend saw what I’d done, loved it, and encouraged me to tell the story and the vision of what FNO could, some day, have. what is FNO? A few weeks ago was the much-anticipated Vogue’s Fashion Night Out. The […] continue reading »

why I call myself a “UX Architect”.

People with my skills have been called UI designers, business analysts, information architects, interaction designers and a few other things besides. This is confusing and tiring. I have chosen “UX Architect”, and I have a reason. Firstly, “UX” stands for user experience, and is an offshoot of Human-Computer Interaction. My choice of “UX Architect” is […] continue reading »

war of the museums: British Museum vs Royal Academy

This is, of course, an unfair fight. The British Museum has long brought a knife to a gun fight. A tradition in history, documenting, archiving, and an obvious affinity for achaeology must have served them well from the 1800s… But when it comes to designing exhibits, in 2014, I think they could use some help. […] continue reading »

The ethics of web design: do we have any?

What makes someone an expert? A wise woman once told me that you are an expert “when others come to you for answers”. Well. It does take a little bit more: such as the ability to answer questions, repeatedly, correctly, memorably. There is a requirement to educate, surprise and spread knowledge and skills. Do that […] continue reading »

I need a Paul Smith shirt: mobile app for shopping malls

What if you owned a big mall, say out in Kent, and you had a website that existed, but that you weren’t sure was very helpful? Maybe your stores listing was confusing. I’d love to poke around a mall’s google analytics data! Look at failed searches, where users quit, what they type in… Treasure trove […] continue reading »

what the arrow inside your textbox means (on a 3×3 grid)

I was drawing up a UI (surprised?), and somehow started thinking about where I should put the little arrow in my box of text. That caused me to pause, and think. UX Architects overthink… and then blog about it, it’s terrible. But maybe it will be useful some day. So I concluded that the little […] continue reading »

in praise of mindmaps, for parties, requirements, and xmas

When was the last time you were thinking (and thinking, and thinking) about a project that needed doing, and you had several ideas, things to progress, things to read up on, people to talk to about certain topics, and functions you wanted your system to perform… except… there was no rhyme or reason to how […] continue reading »

Make them beautiful! Make them free! Publishers, the reading paradigm is shifting!

This week, a good friend of mine is releasing a new book. I am dying to read it, and he’s already got a copy for me, which is amazing. Thing is… I’ll never carry a hardcover around now that I have a kindle to read from. And I don’t want to pay double for books […] continue reading »

my ideal todo list would have 4 dimensions

I wrote recently about time-boxing, and that got me to thinking that productivity isn’t just about shoving things into a calendar. It’s also about making the most of the time you’ve got, limiting context-switching, and remembering what needs to get done. After quite a bit of pondering, I concluded that my ideal todo list would […] continue reading »

timeboxing tomatoes – or what is timeboxing and why is it good?

timeboxing tomatoes The pomodoro “italian for tomato” technique had me giggling for a bit, before I read on – thank you wikipedia :Pomodoro technique – and found out it was a desperate student cramming for exams who decided to focus his attention using a tomato-shaped kitchen timer. “Let the first stone be cast…”. So we’ve […] continue reading »

The UX of 21st century tv series

I love stories. And television series are lovely little drip-fed stories with the same characters, new gags, amusing plot twists, that go on and on for 12 hours each season… but are released on an arbitrary weekly schedule and time! They’re the television equivalent of Harry Potter, Kushiel’s Dart triple-trilogy, the classic The Three Musketeers […] continue reading »

Theatre Director website – sketches

A friend of a friend needs a website. She’s an award-winning theatre director and professor in the USA, so her website needs to convey her experience and vision. I asked her why she does what she does, why she has chosen to direct, and she said that she loves telling stories, showing relationships about people, […] continue reading »

can web design be free?

If I am stuck with a budget of next-to-nothing, can I still design for the web at the level I normally deliver? Can, ultimately, web design be free? “adobe” is web-design for “wealthy” I have been fortunate enough to work on Adobe products for most of my web designing life, so creating lovely interactive buttons, […] continue reading »

reusable html-css container for IBM Connections

At work, we have a regular "broadcast" and want a consistent look So I'm testing out setting up a pre-fabricated html-with-css container for a newsletter sort of thing that is broadcast on a regular basis. I have created a container which you can copy from lower down on this post. If you paste its contents […] continue reading »

Here are the insides of my notebook. How do you work?

My friend Peter Warwick-Mahoney, web developer extraordinaire (and a fairly awesome human, too) just tweeted about how a lot of his work starts on the back of an envelope, challenging the twittersphere to reply “how do _you_ work?”. I love learning about how people get things done, and quite fancied writing a reply longer than […] continue reading »

Curses and blessings of PowerPoint

One of the strongest features of powerpoint is also one of its weaknesses. Slide masters. The ability to set up a consistent layout and format goes to pot when that format cannot be edited from its context of use. Ever tried fixing alignment on a slide when you can’t see the content? Then you haven’t […] continue reading »

And then there was Prezi

I’m sure you’ve heard of Prezi. If you hadn’t until this week, then perhaps this lovely one about the US elections will have caught your eye. Election Results Prezi on Prezi What makes prezi cool Nice flow to items shown, making it incredibly refreshing compared to slide decks, a legacy of the sixties Easy to […] continue reading »

UX Design verticals

While learning more about my discipline (user experience architecture), I discovered that I may have been mislabeling myself. There is a taxonomy matrix of skills / roles that has been developed by MethodBrain, and it doesn’t quite agree with what I thought was applicable. It is worth marking out the items on it that I […] continue reading »

How *you* can improve IBM Lotus Connections search

If I had a penny for the number of times I’ve heard “send me the link” or “I need to bookmark this”… I’d have a whole lot of coins the vending machines won’t accept! Jokes aside, we need to talk about search. Give me two minutes of your time today, and I’ll save you ten […] continue reading »

You can shop, but only with IE, says Marks & Spencer

It all began with a simple tweet. Marks and Spencer advertised Autumn outfit ideas, and posted the link to a page with a nice scrolling gallery. Looked like flash. It wasn’t, it’s designed in HTML/CSS, making it in theory very accessible. I browsed the gallery quickly, all items popped up as “out of stock” when […] continue reading »

SW_trains and Waterloo’s Olympic prep

London’s Waterloo station is getting ready for the Olympics. Today I noticed the absolutely huge panels covering the ticket machines. They’re nice, bright, visible from a distance, and -my favourite part- actually showcase a massive ticket! Instant recognition factor for anyone who’s seen a south west trains ticket before! I’m thinking it will also come […] continue reading »