User experience is the responsibility of everyone in the team.

We don’t have a UX Team. If the problem with your service is that the servers are slow and the UX Team can’t change that, then they aren’t in control of the user experience and they shouldn’t be called the user experience team.

Words are as much the interface as design.

UK Government Digital Service

This matches absolutely with something that I have been thinking about recently - specifically that User Experience (UX) as a discipline (and project planning line item) is a very artificial classification, and that whilst it may be beneficial to have team members who are specifically employed as UX experts, the “User Experience” should be considered as a holistic element of any project which encompasses everything from the information architecture through the visual design and front-end code and out to the back-end service interactions.

UX is not just about drawing grey boxes for visual designers to colour in and describing user journeys for developers to build - every single facet of digital design and development is contributing in some part to the user experience.

Expect a slightly more well-formed post on this subject very soon…

Advertising agencies aren’t in the business of creatively solving problems, they’re in the business of using communications to solve business problems… you don’t ask a communications/marketing/advertising agency to solve the root problem. You’ve already decided to solve it with communications.

How smart are your “smart” devices?

There’s been some interesting thinking coming out of Dan Hon’s thoroughly excellent daily email newsletter recently around what “smart” devices really are, and I’m inclined to agree with a lot of the thoughts in this particular post.

For me, “smartness” in devices is only really going to come about fully when they become frictionless and nigh-on ubiquitous - that is to say, when they do not require any specific dedication of conscious attention, time or management in order to do their thing. Their intelligence will be manifested by their lack of need for conscious human attention and shepherding rather than their possession of buttons and shiny screens for us to paw at.

As I noted in my recent link to Tom Coates’ recent #foocamp session writeup, there is currently a rush to develop “smart” or “connected” devices, but no really sense of any compelling or coherent ecosystem to bring it all together in a human-accessible way.

…some kind of concierge experience combined with a lot of physical interfaces roughly like we operate with today was what people wanted. But the general fear was that we’d end up with a bunch of dashboards and silo’d apps in perpetuity and ad infinitum…

Sure, there are smart devices for all manner of tasks or purposes, but there’s nothing yet that brings them together in a way that non-geek humans can understand, empathise or connect with.

This also ties in with Dan’s ongoing crusade for empathy in technology - smart devices not only need to do their smart “thing” (whatever that may be), but they need to either be so utterly self-contained and autonomic that they need no direct interaction or to provide the kind of affordances that allow humans to intrinsically understand and interact with them naturally.


Egg Minder wirelessly connects to your mobile device to track the number of eggs you have and tell you when they’re going bad. In-tray LED lights indicate the oldest egg, while push notifications alert you when you’re running low. Check Egg Minder while at the store; you’ll never be in a scramble for a good egg again.

Clever use of technology, or a solution in search of a problem? My money is on option B…

(Reblogged from bashford)
When technology reaches that level of invisibility in our lives, that’s our ultimate goal. It vanishes into our lives. It says: ‘you don’t have to do the work, I’ll do the work.’

Astro Teller, Google X

Truly integrated technology becomes invisible - take driving a car, for example - once you’ve been doing it for a while it becomes almost autonomic, and you stop thinking about the processes and interfaces involved.

That’s one reason why I hate pretty much every Augmented Reality implementation I’ve ever seen - you have to hold a slab of technology up in front of you, and it’s just disruptive, distracting and distancing rather than immersive.

What we want, in a sense, are people who know less and less about more and more.

Rich DeVaul, Google X

I would love to work at Google X - the notion of a group of polymaths brainstorming truly radical solutions to big problems is like catnip for my brain!