Small moments of joy in design

Forton Services Lancaster

Forton services, Lancaster

This is Forton services on the M6 motorway (highway) in the North of England. It always makes me smile.

It has an hexagonal concrete tower (grade II listed in 2012 according to Wikipedia). This was designed to look like an air traffic control tower originally housing an up market restaurant and sun deck with views to Morecambe bay. Continue reading…

Why we hire design specialists

What is the user need?

A relentless focus on the people we’re designing for.

At DWP Digital we hire specialists to help us deliver user-centred design. Up until now we’ve focussed on interaction design, content design, user research and front-end development. Continue reading…

The art of design leadership

Manipulating time and space - The Second Doctor

Manipulating space and time – The Second Doctor

Design leaders are still designers, but they design different things. Teams, processes, and culture – Kim Goodwin, Leading Design conference, London (2016)

Design leadership is making sure that other people have as much space and time to do their best possible work. Continue reading…

Culture is like good design…

It’s the things you’re prepared to notice.

It’s a million small actions or the individual details that someone choose to care about.

Design at its best frames the unusual and celebrates diversity. Its mistakes make it human. Continue reading…

The hard line of complexity

Image – hollidaypics

This is my prediction for what I’ll be thinking about and focussing on more in 2017.

We complicate things and we do so most of the time. All progress depends on finding ways to side step the complexity we create at every opportunity. Continue reading…

Having an opinion

Up until about 3 years ago I wasn’t a regular blogger.

I’ve come to realise that I was afraid to share anything that might sound too much like a personal opinion, especially if that meant people disagreeing with me.

As I’ve published more, my confidence to write and share what I really think has increased. Continue reading…


The problem with over testing, experience, and intuition

Designing something is about making a choice. Right or wrong.

There’s a common situation where teams become afraid to make decisions and they become paralysed by over-testing.

Barry Briggs shared his thoughts with me about this on Twitter earlier this year:

[I’ve] seen design teams paralysed by over-testing.

Continue reading…

The secrets of guerrilla communication

Communicating design to your colleagues is an important skill. I was reminded of this last week when visiting one of our offices and seeing Helena’s latest posters in all sorts of good places.

The trick is to focus your efforts anywhere that people stand around with nothing better to do than to read what’s in front of them. Continue reading…

Let’s pretend

Yesterday, I shared some quotes from Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Alex Williams and Nick Snick.

Here are some more thoughts about imaging the future.

The alternative as a utopian future

Science fiction has a good record of predicting the future. Continue reading…

Patterns of things that break

After my last blog post, Sharon shared a picture in response to the example that an escalator never breaks.


Image – Sharon Dale

Clearly this escalator is broken and it hasn’t become stairs.

It made me think about interventions.

The act of intervention

Sometimes we’re too quick to intervene. Continue reading…