Best Strategy Games for iPhone and iPad

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April 19th 2017

Typography Project Features Edible Letters Neatly Carved Out Of Real Foods

April 19th 2017

Want Better UX? Change the Conversation.

Asking the right questions for better user experiences

If you’ve ever been a user experience designer, you’ve probably heard people say something like this when starting a new project:

  • We want to make it delightful and easy to use.

  • We need to do some user research.

  • We want to improve our onboarding process.

  • We think it needs a walkthrough for new users.

  • We want a persona/photoshop mockup/wireframe/landing page/insert deliverable here.

All of these statements are absolutely useless. Why? Because none of them help you decide what to work on or how to improve a product.

So, the next time somebody introduces a UX project by asking for a specific deliverable or by giving vague instructions to “make it better,” you need to change the conversation.

You can do that by asking the following questions:

  • Who is the target user for this product or feature?

  • What problem are you trying to solve for those users?

  • What business need are you trying to fulfill with this project?

  • What metric are you trying to move?

  • Why do you think that solving this particular user problem will move that metric?

I know you want it to be delightful. But what metric does it move? — Tweet This

How Do These Questions Help Users?

The most important thing about these questions is that they help you define three things that are critical to a successful design project:

1. The problem you are trying to solve

2. The reason you are trying to solve it

3. The way you will know if you’ve succeeded

Of course you want a better design. How will you know if you’ve succeeded? — Tweet This

Design without these elements isn’t really user experience design. It’s just drawing pictures. Design is about solving real problems, both for users and for the business. In fact, at its best, design is about solving problems for the business (for example, generating revenue or improving retention) by solving problems for the user (for example, offering something somebody wants to buy or helping make their lives better).

Design should solve problems for your business by solving problems for your user. — Tweet This

By knowing the answer to these questions, you are far more likely to build a product that users want to use and that improves key metrics for your company.

How Do These Questions Help Designers?

Answering these questions can be incredibly helpful for individual designers. When we ask these questions, we reframe the project to give the designer far more freedom to solve problems, which is, after all, the fun part of the job.

Instead of being told “change the onboarding flow” or “create a tutorial walkthrough,” we get asked to “improve the 10 day activation metric for new users.”

As designers, we get to create our own hypotheses about how we will improve that metric rather than simply implementing someone else’s vision.

More importantly, we can understand when our designs were successful, because we have a specific metric against which we can measure our results. This kind of direct feedback can make us better designers.

How Do These Questions Help Engineers?

These questions can be incredibly useful for defining the scope of a project, which has a very real impact on engineering. For example, poorly defined projects are particularly susceptible to scope creep.

After all, if you don’t have a very solid idea of the problem you’re trying to solve or the metric you’re trying to move, it’s very easy to justify adding “just one more thing.” But when you have a clearly defined problem, it’s easy to push back on new feature requests that don’t contribute directly to solving that problem.

What to Do If They Can’t Answer Those Questions

The first few times you try to change the conversation, you may get push back. You’ll get clients or product managers or engineers who simply can’t answer these questions. Keep asking them.

If people can’t answer the questions, you need to help them get the answers before you start work on the project. Otherwise, you’re shortchanging your users, your company, your team, and yourself.

Like the post? Please recommend it!

Also, there are lots more at Users Know. There’s even a book called UX for Lean Startups that you might like.

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February 21st 2017

From vision to reality. Creating a new hotel.


Back in 2011 I worked with branding agency Winkreative who had been approached by property developer José Antonio Uva. Winkreative were tasked with helping communicate his vision for the transformation of an estate in Portugal’s Alentejo region. The estate, São Lourenço do Barrocal had been in his family for over a century and was to become a destination for modern country living. This journey was just beginning —the estate was standing in ruin—but it would culminate in the opening of the hotel at the start of 2016 five years later.

September 12th 2016

WWDC 2016 announcement effects on design

We all watched WWDC 2016 with anticipation of what new things Apple might be releasing this year. Below is our summary of notable new developments that we can take advantage of and clients should be aware of for future projects.

Apple Watch
Watch OS is getting a big update in version 3 with some refreshing changes to how the OS operates, speeding up frequently used and now docked apps which should increase user engagement. This should open up new possibilities for clients considering building or updating a watch app. If you already have a watch app you’ll need to make some minor updates to optimise for this use case.

Watch OS 3 at WWDC 2016

July 7th 2016

Apple makes iWork suite free for everyone

April 19th 2017

‘Photo Pod’ Is The Great Umbrella-Alte

April 19th 2017

Stuck to Unstuck; getting our own website design project moving

Working on your own website can be one of the hardest things for a design agency to do. I even recorded a podcast about how difficult this can be. Our old site was showing its age and as a business we’d moved on – we needed something that better represented who we are and what we do today. We tried kickstarting the process several times over the past year or two and fell into the trap of always beginning with the user interface case studies. We felt that we lacked the ability to tell our own story. On each attempt we always stalled as we lacked a cohesive communication strategy for how to write about ourselves.

Old website design to new (more…)

September 23rd 2016

User testing a product in Madagascar

To some, Madagascar can conjure fairytale images of unspoiled landscapes filled with characters from Dreamworks movies. A lot has changed in the 88 million years since the island broke away from the prehistoric African subcontinent. In recent decades the republic state has gone through several economic and political crises which has left Madagascar one of the poorest countries in the world. Approximately 69% of the population lives below the poverty line threshold of one dollar per day.


August 23rd 2016

Universal Clipboard at WWDC 2016

Last night (GMT) Apple put on it’s WWDC 2016 event, and as always we were watching with eagle eyes to see what new features and innovations Apple is planning to release this autumn. One of the featured demos for the newly titled macOS was ‘Universal Clipboard’. I wrote a post back in September 2015 wishing for such a feature and we mocked up how we saw the ideal implementation of this panning out.



June 14th 2016