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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

Latest blog posts

Hypotheses in user research and discovery

Back in 2015 I wrote ‘Everything is hypothesis-driven design’. It remains one of my most (and still frequently) read blog posts.

Something I’ve been thinking about more recently is how this translates to user research and ‘discovery’. 

A discovery should be focussed on research and learning. Continue reading…

The horizon and the next steps

In a design process there are two immediate things that matter*: Continue reading…

Seniority in design: proximity and closeness

As you become a more senior designer with responsibility for other designers, one of the challenges you will face is your personal closeness to ‘hands on’ design work.

As well as how close you are to the work, you will have to think about the proximity you have to those doing the hands on work when that isn’t you. Continue reading…

Learning to prototype is more important than learning to code

There’s still an ongoing debate about whether designers should learn to code. I think it’s more important that designers learn to prototype.

Prototyping doesn’t mean that you have to write code or build software.

A prototype should be the quickest, cheapest way you can find to learn about something, or to test an idea or hypothesis. Continue reading…

What’s on my bookshelf this winter/spring (2019)

I’m overdue a book list.

This is what I’ve been reading over the past few months (stretching back to the end of 2018). The rest of this list is books I’m planning to read over the next few months. Continue reading…

A design state of mind

What it means to move to a design mindset

A mindset is how we respond to the world around us. It acts as a center of gravity. It goes with you. It shapes who you are and what you do, wherever you are.

Billy Joel wrote the song ‘New York State of Mind’ after returning to New York City from LA. Continue reading…

The roundup. January (and some of February) 2019

I’m going to keep writing monthly roundups again this year. Time is always tight, but it’s good to reflect and to be able to look back on what I’ve been working on, and the places I’ve visited.

It’s been a busy start to the year at FutureGov (FG) – I’m about to go away for a couple of days on a family break as we’ve reached school half-term. Continue reading…

2018 – End of year review

I usually publish an end of year review (2015, 2016, 2017). This year I’ve been trying to write more regular monthly updates (all of which are here) so I’ll try to keep this shorter.

It’s been a year of change. From work (see November update), to family (see May update). Continue reading…

Ambiguity and design

Ambiguity is a key part of design. It points us to the uncomfortable gap between ‘what is’ and ‘what could be’ which is where I believe design adds most value.

As I described in my blog post ‘Seniority in design’ the more senior you get the more you will have to learn to handle ambiguity. Continue reading…

The roundup. November 2018

This is the first monthly roundup I’ve written since July. The summer, and moving into autumn, was an incredibly busy time with a new baby at home (see May 2018 update) and lots going on at work.

So let’s jump to November.

There has been a lot of change happening. Continue reading…