What are brands thinking?

It’s no secret that the pandemic has significantly increased online transactions whilst also having a huge negative impact on bricks and mortar stores. The BBC here reports on ‘Tesco profits surge as online orders double‘ whilst Aldi, which hasn’t had online ordering so far, is now being driven at least to trial it.

It’s not only supermarkets that have been affected, and with the growth in numbers come people who are less used to online commerce, or who have different needs and perspectives — which is maybe why they weren’t already online.

In their Digital Trends Survey, eConsultancy asked brands…


I have often been asked how I go about persuading sceptical stakeholders (which I’ll abbreviate to SSH) that UX practices including research are the right thing to do — and that they are effective. The alternative is usually touted as either ‘just draw what I’m telling you’ or ‘if you’re so good at this why do you have to take all this time and money to figure out what to do’.

I’ll say right up front that the single most effective method that I’ve found is to get the SSH to attend some user research in person. The SSH will…


Photo by jcomp — www.freepik.com

Call me an old romantic if you want but I would have hoped after all this time of interaction design that some of the more basic usability issues wouldn’t crop up so often — and wouldn’t appear in places where designers really ought to know better. I’ve picked on a few examples here that I just happen to have encountered recently.

I’m asked from time to time who I think is doing really good design and usability and to be honest I struggle a bit. That’s because when things work well you don’t notice. …


There are many people who can ask questions and get answers by analysing a set of numbers or by interviewing the users of a product. There are fewer people who know what the right questions are that will deliver a deeper level of actionable insight.

I recently read a book called ‘Everybody lies’ by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Most of it is a fascinating insight into what lessons can be learned from a really intelligent analysis of Google searches. The contention is that whilst people modify their answers in interviews and on questionnaires to put themselves in a good light they tell…


When paying by card for an online purchase some sites recognise the type of card from the number. Others ask you what type of card you are using. Here’s a typical dropdown menu asking the customer to specify the type of card.

There’s no apparent order to the list of items — it seems that someone doesn’t really think it matters. However, for those who have a Mastercard credit card there are two issues.

Firstly, since users typically have the attention span of a gnat some people are likely to just register the word ‘Mastercard’ on the first line and…


I’ve recruited a lot of people — mostly but not exclusively UX/UI designers and researchers. Over time, unsurprisingly, I’ve evolved my approach and whilst I didn’t start with them, did adopt competency-based questions as the mainstay of my interviews.

Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page — when I talk about ‘competency-based’ I mean questions along the lines of ‘Can you think of a time when…’, and then you ask for a time when the candidate dealt with an uncooperative colleague, or did their best work etc.

The rationale behind such questions is that evidence of past behaviour…


When critiquing or explaining a design it can be useful to reference principles — they provide a North Star that you can fall back on when short of ideas, and give a level of consistency to your work. They are not generally a tool for innovation and you can still produce an unusable design when trying to follow them, although it’s harder than if you don’t have principles. A colleague who was once asking for them thought that they could provide an algorithm to generate a design, or be definitive about whether a given design was the ‘right’ one. …


Some years ago at British Airways there was a project to design an interface for a new in-flight entertainment system. My then-colleague and friend Mike Lock was project managing. Mike is the real godfather of digital usability at British Airways. Whilst I set up and developed the UX, Design and Research team, I did so off the back of what Mike had already done to sow the seeds of awareness and need. He says I’m too modest, but I call it as I see it.

For the design of the IFE interface a small number of companies had been asked…


With apologies to many hard-working responsive and ethical recruiters and companies.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to apply for the role of xxxx on behalf of my dog Lexi. I attach her cv and photograph. I know that you don’t normally ask for photos and that to discriminate on looks is probably illegal, but she is very cute. I would expect you to be entirely professional about this, but if you do get to meet her I can provide treats for you to give her and she will be your friend and lick you.

You may be a little surprised that…


Why should I care if companies and organisations can collect information about me across the Internet? Let’s be clear, I’m not for a moment advocating a lack of control or transparency. I do think that it should be compulsory for anyone collecting my data to let me know what they are collecting and how they are going to use it. I think I should have control over what can be collected and how it is used and that there should be significant penalties for anyone who abuses the rules. It is also incumbent on data collectors to hold the information…

Nick Gassman

Was UX/Design/Research/Analytics Manager at British Airways, now looking for the next opportunity. I'm interested in most things, and think most people are ok

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