Yearly Archives: 2011

Anatomy of a Hardware Usability Testing Rig

These days we all know how easy it is to record usability testing sessions on a desktop computer. You can use Silverback on a Mac ($69.95), Morae on PC ($1,495) or you can try one of the many other screen … Continue reading

Nick Disabato on Dark Patterns

You may have noticed things have gone really quiet on this blog lately – let me reassure you that it is still very much alive. I’ve been taking a short break to focus on some very cool projects at Clearleft, … Continue reading

Flipping pancakes: the value of competitor evaluation

A few days ago, a friend of mine told me a story about their first visit to IDEO. At one point in their tour they saw a dozen Design Researchers standing in a makeshift kitchen, each holding a different brand … Continue reading

The Swiss Cheese Model of System Accidents

James Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model of System Accidents is quite a useful way to to think about how failures can happen, even when you have multiple layers of “defence” in place. It’s been applied to things like aviation and medical … Continue reading

Clearleft is hiring, come work with us!

We’re hiring a Senior User Experience Designer, which would put you in the same role as James Box, Cennydd Bowles (who is leaving soon) and myself. As a newcomer to the company, I thought it’d be useful for me to … Continue reading

Dave Meslin on designing for intentional exclusion

Here’s a brief excerpt of Dave Meslin’s TEDx talk on The antidote to apathy: “You ever see one of these before? This is a newspaper ad. It’s a notice of a zoning application change for a new office building so … Continue reading

Alan Penn on Shop Floor Plan Design, Ikea, and Dark Patterns.

This talk by Professor Alan Penn of the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture is quite brilliant. He reveals loads of resonance between physical shop floorplan design and UI design for ecommerce, plus he explains exactly how Ikea employ Dark Patterns. … Continue reading

Observations versus Recommendations

I’ve noticed a fair few designers muddle up observations with recommendations when analysing user research findings. This can really screw up your design process, but thankfully it’s quite an easy one to avoid. It’s important to always state observations separately … Continue reading


Using a CAPTCHA is a way of announcing to the world that you’ve got a spam problem, that you don’t know how to deal with it, and that you’ve decided to offload the frustration of the problem onto your user-base. … Continue reading

Test your critical thinking skills…

Quite a few people in the UX industry have been moaning – myself included – about the demise of critical thinking, and the fact that people don’t question what they read before accepting it as solid fact, particularly if it … Continue reading