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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 research


Here’s a thought. We talk a lot about “putting users at the heart of out thinking”. More than this, we need to find ways to put more heart into our thinking. We need empathy.

Empathy is a difficult concept to get hold of. Here’s the best way I’ve found to explain it. Continue reading…

UXPA – The State of UX

Last Thursday (19th April) I took part in a UXPA event about the state of User Experience (UX). I was joined on a panel by others representing different areas of industry – private business (Michael Lock – Experian), public Agency (Daniel Harris – Fjord) and Startup (Anna Dahlström – byflock). Continue reading…

It seemed to test okay

I’m making the case that the most dangerous phrase in a design process is “it seemed to test okay”.

If it didn’t solve a problem than why it is there? If it doesn’t help people get something done – the thing the product is intended for – then it could just be getting in the way. Continue reading…

Speaking roundup

Last month I spoke at UX Riga in Latvia. You can watch the film of my talk online – Delivering User Experience for Government Services. The slides are here.

This talk included new material and examples from recent work with the Department for Work and Pensions. Continue reading…

Getting closer to context and extremes in product design

I drive a 2007 Citreon Picasso. It’s a functional car that suits my family.

When the clocks change I never reset the time on the dashboard in British summertime. This is because I can’t work out the dashboard controls. I’ve tried a few times but given up. Continue reading…

Big trucks and user research


Image — Peter Mooney

In his book Antifragile, Nassim Talib writes about using data to solve problems:

…people want more data to solve ‘problems’ …we have never had more data than we have now, yet have less predictability than ever. More data – such as paying attention to the eye colours of the people around when crossing the street can make you miss a big truck.

Continue reading…

The last 12 months

12 months is a long time, but a year later I’m wondering where the time has gone.

Last September I left FreeAgent – a company I really enjoyed working for. I was there 2 years, did a crazy commute and learnt a lot about researching, designing, and building great products. Continue reading…