The year I discovered Sagmeister


Respect the Craft

Mind the Product event videos – not super recent but if you have great speakers who know their craft – much to takeaway: influencing processes, potentially implementation or just seeing how other teams do their thing.

Absolutely love Michelle You‘s presentation. Really open, honest and goes into great detail that allows a level of practical learning from her/Songkick product management process. (SK also have a blog – nice post on designing with data).

Some notes:

  • Modes: Optimising an existing product that’s live. Big bang product features or launches – shouldn’t happen that often. Brand new MVP discovery – you don’t know who your customer is and you don’t have a live product.
  • prioritisation and design-making get easier when goals are well defined. Most of the hard work….comes from breaking down a big..goal into smaller achievable sub-goals.
  • KPI can be broken down into themes or levers that influence that metric
  • Check the acquisition, activation, retention slide…
  • ‘Lean Analytics – Use data to build better start-up faster’: What makes up a good metric: Comparative – to be able to use the same metric for two sets of users, before and after or a/b test. Understandable – having it clear so it can be embedded in the team and easily referred to. Ratio/rate – so rather than total numbers of users, it is conversation rates or ratios – so that you can tell the difference between two things. Actionable – increase monthly users is not an actionable metric, it has got to be something that will change every day and will be sensitive to whatever you are shipping.
  • Example of this: Looking at your weight as a kpi – you want to lose 20lbs in 6 months as a long term kpi. But everyday you will be looking at how many miles you walked, how many calories you consumed – so things that you can control in the short-term that will impact into the longer term metric.
  • Process: take 5-10 themes for the main kpi. Discovery backlog – Experiment – Learning – Validated feature. Create the discovery backlog – idea generation – gamestorming format – use post-it notes (individually) then group them into categories or ideas. Work out the groups into an impact vs effort matrix – collaborative exercise (how much impact will it have vs expected effort involved)
  • Turn into an hypothesis – ‘if…then…because’ – ‘if we show you recommended concerts then you will more likely to buy a ticket because you will see more relevant events based on your tastes’ – So what we showed you before we showed everything in London if we personalise that list based on music you like then you will be probably be more likely to buy tickets.
  • Experimentation process: finding out if this what we should be building – so things like surveys, mock-up and click test, landing page tests, remote usability testing, user research. This will answer assumptions, prototypes, highest level of confidence that it will move the metric.
  • Use of split backlogs – validated features (70%), bugs, tech tasks/support (30%)
  • Meet once a week to prioritise for the next 2 weeks, tasks/stories from each board are selected to get moved into a main development board
  • Main dev board – Backlog: 2 weeks worth of user stories (always have some jfdi tasks). Next up: top 5 prioritised stories. In progress. Awaiting judgement – tests or features that need analysis on how it’s performed. Done.
  • Team dashboards – Review daily metrics dashboard every morning at stand-up. Weekly kpi email to the team tracking progress towards quarterly goals. Feature recap where we review the impact of individual features launched.



Filed under: Podcast / Seminars, UX design, , , ,

NHS.UK Alpha

NHS.UK Alpha – A project to ‘better digital and technology delivery to improve services to patients, to support new ways of providing care, to help save time and money to be spent on those most in need.’

Will read more into this – but on the face of it – looks like this will be the start of the NHS following in the steps of GOV.UK.

Filed under: UX design, ,


A little more reference on the purpose, approach and execution of this tool. From the BBC Internet Blog – Refreshing BBC Sport User Personas (by Christine Charnock) – from Christof Zurn a persona poster template (licensed under CreativeCommons) – and from a link from the BBC a couple of posts from Smashing Magazine (by Shlomo Goltz) – part 1 and part 2. Additionally on these posts are a great range of further resources and reference. Lots to read!


Filed under: Reference, UX design, , , , , , , ,

User research in the discovery phase

Nice diagram showing the stages of user research through discovery, alpha and beta – (via Leisa Reichelt ( – always insightful, and like the BBC happy to share ideas, approaches and best practice.


Filed under: Blogs, Reference, UX design, , ,

Government Service Design Manual

From what I can gather the Government Service Design Manual is the documentation, technical requirements and best practice guidance that supports the digital strategy. This area of site is so in-depth that to describe it as ‘off the hook’ would be an understatement…! Just as a for an example: here is the page on User needs…

Filed under: Design, UX design, , ,

User Experience and Design

BBC Internet Blog has some hidden gems that ‘somehow’ through a number of clicks has landed me in the work (kind of archived?) that they did on the redevelopment of the Sports section of the BBC website back in 2012. The is a collection of those fantastic posts – with a couple of other links and references they have cited in the development process.

Live Beyond Live (by Scott Byrne-Fraser): Understanding our audience, user personae, developing a UX vision, concept exploration, IA and navigations, design language, work packages, user testing.

5f53b85631fb58115e66a41de3437e3042a78b90 37add26aa6ee7adb6f7969c95d8cf758117bcf1bStrategy, User Testing, and Implementation (by Neil Hall): Technical strategy, validating the new design.

Design Sprints (by Dan Ramsden): ‘explore a range of ideas in a relatively short space of time’. Day 1: Understand; Day 2: Diverge; Day 3: Converge; Day 4: Prototype; Day 5: Test. Initially ‘read about the approach on the Google Ventures blog – The Product Design Sprint – A five-day recipe for start-ups‘.

p022twq6 p022txc0Government Digital Services Design Principles: Reference to help in the creation and evaluation process.

(Images from the various posts.)

Filed under: Design, UX design, , , , , , , , , ,

Global Experience Language – BBC

GEL aka Global Experience Language is the title that the Big British Castle use to define their ‘reference point for designing BBC services across Web, Mobile, iPTV and Tablet’. What in previous years would be called ‘online branding’ with an agency knocking together some visuals… this is User Experience driven design.


Filed under: Design, Read, Reference, UX design, , , ,

Litmus – responsive email

Litmus (State side company) have a wealth of resource, blog posts on best practice for creating emails (responsive or otherwise). Their post on responsive design (that comes with a handy infographic) was posted back in Sept 2013 – is worth checking out. As I go further into their site – there are more and more resources.

Have a look at their ‘Ultimate Guide to Email Image Blocking‘ – best practice regarding alt text and use of images. Resource page for email templates. Also and possibly the most useful are downloadable responsive email templates that have been created and tested already – a range to choose from – first on their list… created by Stamplia – and Litmus tested – templates with psd source files.

Filed under: Design, Email resources, Reference, UX design, , ,

Second Chance – Leo Burnett

Second Chance film aimed at employers and just asking that question of would you give an offender a second chance? Created by Leo Burnett UK for Business in the Community – a UK charity (I have to say never heard of..). From Leo Burnett’s own website – “the first ad ever to subvert the ‘Skip Ad’ function”.

Seen via D&AD In Book Nominations 2014 – Writing for Advertising.

Filed under: Design, Film, UX design, Writing, , , ,

Run That Town – Millipede

Run That Town – developed by Millipede. If you love stats, love playing apps then this is the game for you. All in all a nice creative way of making the census data more accessible. Nice touch is the change of voice from the youtube to the submitted awards – less Australian! Will it sway those judges?

Run That Town lets you take control of any Australian neighbourhood and challenges you to make planning decisions based on real Census data to boost your popularity, grow your town and keep the locals happy.

Designed to help Australians understand how Census data is used – how it can affect them and the area they live in – the game is the first of its kind to be released by a national statistical agency using real Census data.’

Words: Millipede. Seen via DandAD 2014 In Book nominations.


Filed under: Design, Infographics, UX design, , , , ,