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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.

All blog posts in design

Raise your expectations

A good rule of thumb.

Don’t accept the low expectations of your teams, clients, or the sector you work in.

Everyone has the opportunity to challenge what’s happening around them. This is whether you have permission to do so, or not.

Challenge people to do more with less. Continue reading…

The strange becoming familiar

How we quickly adapt to unfamiliar service models

I spend a lot of time in London and Manchester at the moment. Over the past few months I’ve started to notice the trend of new bike rental services — like Mobike.

I was in Manchester again last month and was reminded just how familiar it now feels to find these orange-tinted bicycles all over the city. Continue reading…

Quality conversations over process

Thinking about design as a series of conversations

Thoughts following this tweet, yesterday.

There is an often overlooked secret to making progress:

The quality of your conversations is as important as your process.

Process is an easier proposition to package, share and even sell to organisations in response to a set of problems that they’re setting out to solve. Continue reading…

Seniority in design

It’s no secret that design is an industry of inflated job titles, but what makes a designer ‘senior’?

For everyone, a certain level of professional practice is required.

Time invested in your craft helps shape what you do, but ultimately I think it’s about a maturity of how you think about and approach your work. Continue reading…

Digital as physical objects

In a world where so many of us carry screens in our pockets, does the world need more, and increasingly, larger screens in our public spaces?

Manchester Central Library

Manchester Central Library

This is a picture taken in Manchester Central Library.

There’s an increasingly amount of touch screen interfaces appearing in physical spaces which doesn’t feel very digital to me. Continue reading…

Estate agents. An example of a broken digital business model?

This article caught my attention last summer: one in five high street estate agents risk going bust.

We’re already seeing this play out with startups like Purple Bricks and HouseSimple establishing themselves.

There’s a lack of digital innovation from traditional estate agents. Continue reading…

Sticks in the ground for public services

Earlier this year I wrote about sticks in the ground. My belief that design has to be bold. It has to start with an idea.

It’s arrogant to think you can change the world. But it’s also necessary

I was reminded yesterday of some of the great examples of civic architecture we have in the UK. Continue reading…

Is digital destroying a generation?

In my last blog post I wrote about attention-driven design versus connection-driven design.

While thinking about this over the past few months, this article was particularly uncomfortable reading: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.

Continue reading…

Attention-driven design versus connection-driven design

Last week I wrote about the opportunity of designing for connection.

I‘d been inspired to think about this more recently after watching a TED talk by Tristan Harris: The manipulative tricks tech companies use to keep your attention.

Designing for attention is marketing, supporting a business model built on advertising. Continue reading…

Digital expectations of physical spaces

Do not disturb

Do not disturb (Image by lazylikewally)

The potential of digital is for your environment to be one step ahead of your experience.

In our virtual environments and interactions we expect a high level of control over how our individual preferences are handled relative to the situation or the context we’re dealing with. Continue reading…