Evil by Design book published and selling well

My book – Evil by Design: Interaction design to lead us into temptation – was recently released, and it’s selling well. It covers the persuasive techniques that companies use to encourage customers to do things, and is useful whether you want to emulate those techniques or inoculate yourself against them.

It’s gathered praise from industry leaders such as Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman (who wrote the foreword), Bruce Tognazzini and Alan Cooper. Although it was written with UX professionals in mind, it is an easy read for anyone who enjoys finding out why we respond the way we do to sales messages and other persuasion.

You can find out all about it at evilbydesign.info or just go straight ahead and buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.


New site: Questionable Methods – fast, cheap UX techniques for lean and agile teams

Today is World Usability Day. To celebrate, I launched a new site www.questionablemethods.com full of Creative Commons licensed information for UX-curious development teams and user experience professionals.

  • Get your UX questions answered
  • Learn fast, cheap methods to make your product better

If you are on a UX-curious team without specialist usability stills, or if you are a usability person struggling to fit your techniques into a lean or agile development cycle, this site shows you discount/guerrilla variants of usability skills that will get you fast, cheap results.

The site contains lots of tips to save your team development time and money by building the product that users really want. You can learn highly practical design thinking methods that integrate user experience (UX) techniques into rapid iterative development cycles.

If you have questions that aren’t answered by the site, let me know. Audience participation is the key to making Questionable Methods work.

Balanced Team Conference – San Francisco

A couple of weeks back we ran a small but perfectly formed conference at Hot Studio in San Francisco to bring together practitioners and would-be practitioners to discuss ways of creating and maintaining balanced teams.

As was fitting for a conference discussing agile and UX integration, the program was created by the attendees. During registration we asked each attendee what they wanted to learn and what they could teach/share. We took all of the suggested topics and let attendees vote for the ones they wanted to see (using Google Moderator). After each chunk of sessions we had time for a fishbowl-style discussion where audience members interacted with the presenters in a highly interactive Q&A/conversation furthering manner.

It didn’t hurt that we had a large proportion of the brain trust in the agile/UX space gathered in the room. Every talk produced “aha” moments for the audience. The output was a set of resources that really show the state of the art in creating balanced teams.

I talked on UX Coaching. By involving every team member in user research, interface design, paper prototyping and user testing, UX people can move their individual focus to harder interface problems while giving the whole team an inherently deeper understanding of what they need to build, backed up by good user research data. It’s win-win for all team members.

Fast, easy usability tricks in Denmark

This wasn’t the first time I’ve presented in Denmark, but it was the most fun. A packed room of over 100 people came to hear about Fast, easy usability tricks for big product improvements (slides, PDF) at GOTO in Aarhus, a developer-centric conference that has never had a user experience track before.

That evening I also got roped in to meeting with the local HCI chapter to talk about discount mobile usability techniques. It was supposed to be an interactive discussion just prompted by my slides, but Danish reticence won out and so the sharing session turned into a monolog. Apologies to the audience members that I bullied into sharing their experiences :o)

Many thanks to Trifork, who hosted the conference, and especially to Janne Jul Jensen for inviting me to talk (and also giving a great talk herself). I was particularly impressed by the way the conference organizers collected attendee feedback after each session. A member of the conference crew would stand at the exit holding an iPhone showing one third of the screen red (with a frowny face), one third yellow (neutral face) and one third green (happy face). Audience members just had to touch the relevant third of the screen to “vote” on the session. I ended up with 91% green, 9% yellow, which tells me there’s room for more UX content at future GOTO conferences.