Link show

#54 James & Per become unicorns

A Link show. James and Per discuss three articles found during their digital travels.

We begin by talking about Deception and when does persuasive design become evil? Ethnographical research gets a run-through – too achedemic, or value for money? Finally we tackle the question: should designers code? Do we become pegasuses or unicorns?

(Listening time: 38 minutes)



Per: Hello and welcome to episode 54 of UX Podcast. You’re listening to me, Per Axbom.

James: And me James Royal-Lawson.

Per: And you will notice I did not scream hello.

James: No, you didn’t. We practiced before the show.

Per: Yeah. Well, I was thinking about it real hard now.

James:  You were.

Per: It is really difficult not to say hello loud because I’m so excited every time we record something.

James: Yeah, we’re so happy to be here.

Per: Lovely day in Stockholm. It’s a bit colder now going into August and I haven’t slept really well actually so I’m really tired this morning. I hope you will do most of the talking James.

James: As long as you’re not grumpy.

Per: I’m never grumpy.

James: Never grumpy?

Per: No.

James: No.

Per: I may slur and not talk very coherently but never, never, ever grumpy.

James: As far as kind of like building up buy-in for this episode, you’re doing a fantastic job there Per.

Per: Really? Aren’t I? What are we talking about today James?

James: Oh, well. Today is a link show.

View the full transcript

Per: Yes, finally! We haven’t done one in a while.

James: We haven’t done for a while. No, we’ve been quite wound up about certain topics. We’ve had a few topic shows and a few interviews including Brad Frost who’s in Sweden at the moment.

Per: Oh, yeah.

James: At this very moment. Not here with us. Unfortunately

Per: Right. He’s in Malmö.

James: Now, he is. Yeah. Also we’ve decided to throw together a link show. So we’ve got three links, articles to talk about today that we’ve found during our digital travels.

Per: Right.

James: As they are normally right?

Per: And we don’t agree with any of them apparently.

James: It would appear from our little chat this morning that we don’t agree.

Per: We are really hard to please.

James: Today we seem to be. See, see grumpy old men who haven’t slept. There we go. So which one is first?

Per: Let’s start off with deception.


James: This is How Deceptive Is Your Persuasive Design.

Per: Yeah, it’s an article by Chris Nodder on the UX Magazine and you know how we design stuff and we have gotten into the habit of realizing that we need to use all these psychological tactics and techniques for persuading people and we’ve in recent episodes talked about social proof and scarcity and all these different things.

James: And behavioural psychology.

Per: Yeah, peak-end theory and sometimes we get into the, well, insight that perhaps we’re not just persuading people. We’re also deceiving them and this is more notably in the field of ecommerce which neither you nor I really work with a lot James. But if you’re in ecommerce and you’re trying to get people to buy stuff then you want to get people to buy as much stuff as possible because you used all these techniques and I think …

James: There’s a business drive there that the business themselves want to convert everybody into customers.

Per: Right.

James: By and large.

Per: And I think the hotel business is really good at this., I mean you can find so many examples right there. There are not many rooms left. You have a special price offer that runs out in 10 minutes, stuff like that. So you really have to act now and buy or you lose a lot of the chance of making good deals. What they want you to feel. And Chris Nodder has some examples in his article as well. He starts off the Amazon example, where what’s actually an old bookstore technique that has been used pre-internet of course is having as few books in stock as possible of new releases so that they’re sold out really fast.

James: Yeah.

Per: So the example is that Amazon usually has something that says perhaps only nine left in stock which sort of gets …

James: Only one left in stock.

Per: Yeah, maybe, and it supposedly gives you an incentive to buy now because maybe you will not be able to buy one if you come back tomorrow to buy it.

James: Yeah, it’s the principle of scarcity there, that you think that something is scarce and that you need to get it now. Before it vanished.  He mentioned this as the Tom Sawyer effect.

Per: Right.

James: Which is from Mark Twain’s book where Tom Sawyer, as a punishment, he has to paint and polish the fence, to whitewash it and as a punishment – He thinks it’s a punishment. He thinks it’s a really dull job and he convinces – manages to convince his friends into thinking that painting the fence is a privilege. It’s something that is an honour and a privilege to do it and they weren’t all allowed to and that’s going to make some of it kind of jealous and make some – well, I really want to do that because we’re not allowed to do it. So he ends up charging them for the privilege of painting the fence because it is a privilege and they believe that. So he has deceived them and made some money from it.

Per: Right. And here’s where it really gets interesting. Is it wrong to deceive people in that way if they are happy, if they are happy doing it? Because that’s really interesting, what you’re saying if the people that he persuaded are still happy about paying to do – to paint the fence, then perhaps the deception was OK as long as …

James: As long as it lasts.

Per: As long as it lasts. They don’t find out about it later.

James: Exactly. Once they’re happy and they think that it bought an experience they have and they’re pleased with that …

Per: Right.

James: … the only time it comes to an end is when they found out the magic behind the deception. They did realize that it’s a punishment. This was actually not fun at all.

Per: Exactly. Which is really strange to have an experience where you’re thinking it’s fun and then to find out another detail later on and realize that, oh, that wasn’t fun. Even though you had the experience of fun, that’s – I haven’t thought about that a lot actually. But how can I change your perception of something that happened earlier that you really enjoyed?

James: Could we say that – well, you’re trying to buy airline tickets and you’re searching and you’re finding various prices and you think, “Should I go? Shouldn’t I?” and then you search again. Even though the prices have gone up a little bit and you say, “Oh, I will do it. I will buy it now before it goes up any further.” Buy your tickets. Yes, we’re going on that weekend to Paris now or whatever and then the next day, you read an article that explains that flight prices often go up when you search, if you don’t delete your cookies because they know you’re researching and artificially inflate the prices to panic you into buying it. Suddenly you get a bitter taste in your mouth and you think, “Oh, I’ve been cheated.”

Per: Exactly.

James: So you go from euphoria, the moment of purchase and then you’ve done a good deal, to crashing down when you’ve had the magic trick revealed.

Per: That’s an excellent example and this is where I start having trouble with Chris’ article as well is when he starts seeing that it’s OK to deceive people if it’s in their best interests.

James: That’s right.

Per: How could you possibly know? You need to have so much information about the needs and habits and desires of the person you’re selling to, that you have to be really, really certain that it is in their best interest that they buy this product from you or read whatever information or download or subscribe or whatever it is you’re trying to persuade them to do. But how can you really be sure that that’s in their best interest?  It’s a misnomer to me, you can’t really do that.

James: Now we’re still talking about the commerce, the transactional side of persuasion. You’ve got the service side of persuasion. When you provide information rather than – or even healthcare stuff, that side of things. Why does persuasion or deception in that side of the scale is hard to be relevant and good? Can you deceive people into making the right choice as opposed to the right purchase? See what I mean?

Per: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean and I think it’s Dan Ariely that has the example of people signing up for donor cards, donating their organs after their death.

James: Yeah.

Per: And that’s really different in different countries.

James: In some countries it’s default isn’t it?

Per: Yeah, and the reason is – yeah, what’s default on the form. If the default is that you actually donate, then it’s going to be higher. So you’re actually deceiving people to donate their organs which you would perhaps think that’s for a good cause. But in the end, are people aware of what they’re actually doing? If people aren’t aware, I mean how stupid can people be? Apparently, they are pretty stupid. We all are. I’m not saying the user is stupid but I’m saying we’re all ready to be deceived really.

James: I think that’s a good point. Most of our designs are trying to persuade people to do something and it makes me remember now Jesper Åström who we talked to in episode 39. A really clever guy  and we had a really good chat to him.

Per: Yes.

James: He said the other day that he actually feared for the free thinking of mankind because of how easy it is to manipulate people online.

Per: Right.

James: You can just change the font on a website and conversion rate goes up or you can make a tweak here and there and suddenly people are starting – I would say there’s only one book left and people buy it. Maybe just kind of worried about how little people think for themselves because of the various persuasion techniques we can use and do use to succeed online.

Per: That is really interesting. I mean then we can go back and talk about what is the school’s responsibility in all this. How do we teach people to interpret information online, to be wary of what they’re reading and when to buy stuff and how to interpret stuff online and I think that’s something that is – we’re on the breaking point of everything that’s happening online …

James: Social media and we had a case in the UK of social media bullying of a young girl who took her own life allegedly because of online bullying.

Per: We’ve had cases like that in Sweden.

James: Exactly, our court case in Gothenburg. Yeah, it’s a complex world and reading, judging – making an assessment of what you’re dealing with online, whether it’s a purchase and whether it’s social is a skill that – yeah, it needs to be developed…

Per: So it is pretty scary. So basically I think it comes back to what is the intention of the organization who owns the website. If their intention is to deceive you, then they’re doing it wrong. If their intention is they really, really believe that they have something good, then you can perhaps start to question. Is it OK for them to use all these techniques to actually think that you needed more or faster or now perhaps than you would otherwise?

James: We chatted briefly about this before the show. Deception and persuasion. Deception by definition is evil.

Per: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

James: If you’re deceiving someone, you’re hiding the truth whereas persuading is actually just arguing. Having an argument as such. I think the discussions are using techniques to kind of make people understand the benefits and understand that this is a worthwhile thing than trick them.

Per: Yeah.

James: So I think yeah, your persuasive design shouldn’t be deceptive because in the long run, that’s going to hurt you.

Per: But where do you draw the line of deceptive? When you change the wording of a button from “click here” to “buy now” and you realize that you get more leads or more buys with one text or with the other. Is one more deceptive than the other?

James: In that example… I wouldn’t probably class that as deception. Whereas the aeroplane,  the ticket, artificial inflation in terms of how many visits you’ve made or searches you’ve made, that’s deception.

Per: But there is stuff I work with everyday. I mean even copywriting. I know if I write something in a certain way or use storytelling, the more people are going to start listening and they will have more of a chance of actually persuading them to do what I want them to do.

James: Isn’t that good communication?

Per: It is good communication or it’s like people selling hair medicine like in the old West.

James: That’s snake oil. That’s different. That’s deception because it didn’t work.

Per: Hmm. True. But am I sure that what I’m selling is going to work for the person I’m selling it to?

James: Sure, if you’re open about the fact this is not for everyone. Oh, you’re right. It’s marketing in numbers.

Per: This is really hard.

James: It’s ageing cream on your – you know, 90 percent of women said this made their skin less wrinkly.

Per: I’m feeling really philosophical now. But he does I think – you should check out this article and also read some of the comments. I think they’re saying a bit of the stuff that we’re saying as well and he does have a diagram in there that we both actually like.

James: Yeah.

Per: I mean there are – of course there are shades of gray. It’s not black and white and I think that’s very apparent.

James: Yeah.

Per: So I mean if you have another take on this, I would love to hear it because I think this is a really interesting thing to dive into, deception or persuasion or something in between.

James: Design ethics. Time to move on.

Per: It is.


Per: Let’s move on to another UX Magazine article actually written by Jessica Weber and John Cheng. It’s called Making the Most of Ethnographic Research.

James: Yeah. So let’s start off with what’s ethnographic research Per?

Per: Ethnographic research is akin to GOOB, one of my favourite …

James: GOOB!

Per: GOOB.

James: You know, now you have to explain two things.

Per: I know, but that’s easier to explain. GOOB means “get out of the building” and ethnographic research means “go visit the gorillas”.

James: I like it.

Per: It means just go out and observe and draw conclusions from what you’re seeing and of course you don’t just go out …

James: I mean seeing people and communicating with groups of people and interaction.

Per: Right, ethnographic research can be done in so many different ways for so many different purposes. I mean you could be – to find a new market area but also to find out more about the type of target group that you’re actually selling to already. I think many people have heard about going to skate parks and researching the kids, observing the kids and understanding their lingo and what they’re talking about and that using what they say and their habits and their needs and desires and pleasures that they’re actually – well, I don’t know, communicating in the sense that they’re talking to each other and you as an observer can kind of draw conclusions from that and make better products for them and that’s the essence.

You’re trying to make something new, trying to make something better and you go out and observe people, to learn more about them and find out how could I – I don’t know – satisfy their needs in a different way and that sounds also – get ahead on my competition.

James: Well, in the article here it says “ethnographic research is all about discovery of the unknown, disproving assumptions about user behaviour and uncovering unexpected insights”. Now I reacted a little bit to that line because that meant – it sounded to me – it made it sound bad that ethnographic research might prove an assumption correct about user behaviour or might actually fail to uncover something new. And that’s not what it’s all about to me. It’s not just about the discovery of unknown or disproving if the assumptions are uncovering expected stuff. You can confirm things with this as well.

Per: Absolutely. For me, ethnographic research is about sitting down with people and in their natural environment. I mean that’s why I said go and visit the gorillas. It’s in their natural habitat and where they’re doing stuff and talk to them, observe them, get to know them and they won’t feel so self-aware about – like in a traditional usability study, people are very self-aware of their being evaluated or something is being evaluated and I had to give the right answers and stuff like that.

James: I thinking about the fruit now..

Per: Right, and you need to get to know people for them to actually feel confident enough to actually tell you what they really are doing or saying or acting like and what they’re using. I’ve actually done one of these studies like in a bank. I don’t know how much I can say right now but it’s a bank.

James: Don’t say.

Per: It’s a bank.

So I was sitting in a branch office with the other people and I was really – we were making a new intranet design and I sat down there with them for a full day. I was actually watching them take care of customers. People are walking in and I had just a note on my table saying that I wasn’t giving service that day so everybody just thought that I was an employee. I mean and they got really confident with me sitting there. I mean after a client walked out, I could bring up my table or my chair to their table and have a chat about how that went and maybe they told me something about – yeah, maybe I should have told them something about this other service we’re offering but I didn’t know where to find it on the intranet. So I didn’t sell them that.

That gave me a really great insight about how the intranet is supposed to help people sell but it wasn’t and the bank was losing a lot of business due to this. So that was getting the insights thanks to actually being out there for a day in their habitat and not just calling them up on the phone and interviewing them and I wouldn’t have found that out at all.

James: That sounds good because it was a day. It was quite a reasonable thing. It was insights. It was nicely packaged then. Both me and you, we believe in this kind of talk to the user and get out there. I mean we mentioned how many times during the couple of years of the show but this article got me a bit irritated about the fact that it was very, very academic and made me react against ethnographical research. I was like yeah, it may be challenging to get organizational buy-in to pursue ethnographic research because of its long time horizon for results, its cost and the perception that it may not deliver efficient results. I mean it’s impossible.

Per: They’re making a case against ethnographic research.

James: No one is going to buy that. I mean that’s just saying it’s kind of – it’s only kind of – the only right way of doing it is full year-long massive studies, academic studies where we truly get inside the head of the user and so on. I mean you can get a lot more action on that a lot quicker and a lot …

Per: You can.

James: You say if you spend the day and sat down there observing and you can get an awful lot of input.

Per: You can sit in a café or a hotel lobby and just observe people and draw conclusions from that.

James: I mean that …

Per: Yeah, they’re making it a lot more academic than it has to be. They’re putting up rules for how it has to be done and I don’t really agree with that and they’re making it seem a lot more complicated than it should be.

James: And making it sound like it’s only for large organizations.

Per: Right.

James: Who don’t care about return on investment. Oh, but unless you’re a start-up. I reckon a lot of time, you’re going to be better off testing or tweaking, iterating as far as return on investment goes than doing some of these lovely, deep, honest studies that potentially show that the company’s product is utterly useless.

Per: Yeah, I completely agree.

James: No one wants to buy that. No one wants to buy a survey that’s going to tell them that their entire product is useless, I guess.

Per: I think when we were in Portugal, I got the question, “How do we get started getting buy-in from managers on why UX is important?” and my most common answer to that question is get out. Talk to people. Make a video and show it to managers and that’s something that really dates back to our favourite session at UX Lx ever I think with gorilla research …

James: Oh, that was one of my favourites, yeah.

Per: With Russ Unger.

James: Yeah.

Per: And we actually did go out and just interview people and get videos and …

James: I can link to the film.

Per: Yeah, and just that, I mean that took half an hour and that’s one form of ethnographic research as well.

James: In a couple of shows ago when we talked about intranets, after Intranätverk, there we brought up the example of IKEA redoing the intranet. They went out and interviewed. They filmed employees from various different points of the world, asking what they wanted from a future intranet and they just got to speak for a minute and talking about what they wanted.

Per: Right.

James: Some of these things are not pure ethnographic research but I don’t think you need it a lot of the time.

Per: For me, there’s no pure anything.

James: No.

Per: They’re just different schools.

James: Yeah.

Per: And I mean if they’re going to make the case that this could be expensive and maybe not give results that you want, I mean that’s – you’re doing it wrong. You need to get results fast and the more results you get fast, the more buy-in you will get to make the longer studies. So starting out quick and dirty will give you management buy-in to do the better studies.

James: If you’ve got goals or you know what you’re trying to achieve with whatever digital product you’re working with and you can measure them, then whatever you’re doing, whatever you’ve got to do whether it’s research or tweets or whatever, if it brings you close to those goals or shows a rise in conversion of whatever you’re doing, then you’re doing it right.

Per: Yes.

James: Maybe not as right as something else but you’re obviously doing something more right than you were doing.

Per: I think we’re in complete agreement there.

James: Yeah.

Per: Moving on, I think.


Per: This is one you found I think. I love the title.

James: I found a response to this article first and then I went back and read this one which is interesting. But I thought we will use this one as the talking point.

Per: So the title is Unicorn, Shmunicorn – Be a Pegasus.

James: So we’re all clear on exactly what this is all about.

Per: Oh yeah, and it’s the blog of Wayne Greenwood, MC UX. Dropping Soft Science is its tagline. OK.

James: This is basically about – oh, should designers code?

Per: Right.

James: It’s a topic we’ve touched upon a few times before I think.

Per: I think so and mostly because both you and I James I think like code.

James: We do, although these days I wouldn’t say we’re coders.

Per: We’re not coders but we see the benefits of understanding code to achieve the goals that we want to achieve. If we don’t understand the code, there are some, I don’t know, some aspects of UX design or decisions that we’re not able to make unless we actually get into the nitty-gritty of what’s the best – I mean UX for me is balancing the technology, the business and the users. If you don’t understand …

James: It doesn’t even our little intro say that?

Per: Yeah, exactly, right. It does. If we don’t understand the technology, then we won’t be able to have the right tools to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish.

James: I think to back up a little bit to what the article is saying here, when saying that he doesn’t – he’s basically saying that unicorns are this mash-up between designers and coders, the one that can do both. So I suppose it’s one body that encompasses both scales and he thinks this is a step back in time to like the 80s and 90s where everyone was coders who were basically producing – doing the full job, producing the software and designing it as a consequence of the fact that they were coding it and shifting by making this combined – these unicorns, shifting your attention away from the user and back towards the technology. Which he says got us into the mess we’re in, in the first place.

Per: Right.

James: But I don’t agree with what – obviously what we’ve already said though. We don’t really agree with him. I don’t think we’re getting back into the same mess. I think it’s more that we were – we know how quickly and how much the whole branch has been evolving. I mean it’s so quick how we’re going forward and learning things. I think we were ignorant in the 90s. I don’t think it was – it wasn’t that we deliberately got ourselves in that mess. We were – the people doing software, when I was programming in the 90s, user experience, improving user experience was about fixing bugs.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah, because my boss was the one who decided what products we were making and he talked to them. He did some research by talking to his customers and things and found out what they wanted but for me, my view point is a programmer who effectively designed as well. If I improved it for the user, if I made it faster, if I made it less buggy.

Per: You had the requirement specifications and if it didn’t meet those requirements, it wasn’t useful.

James: Yeah, I don’t think we were going to get ourselves into a mess. That was what we – we did back then. We have moved on.

Per: But also I mean I was working with usability quite early on but even then usability at least when you were working in the online world, it was about where to place a button, something like that, getting closer to what we today term user experience…

James: Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the certain things. I mean HCI, human computer interaction, I mean you could study that.

Per: Right.

James: It was courses at university but it wasn’t really applied in the same – people doing the programming were maybe too young back then to have gone through those courses.

Per: And people weren’t asking for it.

James: I know. They’re were not interested. I wouldn’t think I would have a hell’s chance of being able to do something like that even if I’ve come out of university and gone into it. There wasn’t the understanding there. So we’ve moved on. We’re mature and I think as much as you can – you can focus most of your like on the user. You should, but you can’t get away from the technology.

Per: Right.

James: In the branch we’re dealing in, we’ve always – at the end of it, you’re always going to come back to technology. You can’t not. It’s fundamental.

Per: It’s what it’s based on.

James: Yeah.

Per: Yeah.

James: So by ignoring the code side of things, by ignoring how it’s implemented as a designer, you’re creating a silo for yourself and you’re distancing yourself from the end result.

Per: Right.

James: And there are situations where maybe that is fine. Innovation, conceptualization.

Per: Yeah. I mean there are times when you should actually stop thinking about the limitations and go wild, go crazy and think about what we really want to accomplish. What would be the dream scenario?

James: Yeah.

Per: But then after that, you always have to back up and say, “OK, so what can we do now?”

James: There’s a thud. We have to come back down to earth because we have to produce something.

Per: Right.

James: And …

Per: We have to accomplish something.

James: Yeah. And then you can’t ignore the technology because we’re going into it with the whole white elephant projects. You get into situations where you get to the point of implementation and someone goes, “You got to be kidding. You can’t do that.” For me it’s all about like how can you – it’s a bit like if you were a car designer, but refused to accept that wheels are round, so you end up designing a car with square wheels.

Per: Yeah.

James: I mean come on. You’re going to be thrown back straight. When it comes to the guys who are going to actually manufacture it, they’re going to say, “Don’t you know anything about designing cars?”

Per: Right.

James: I don’t think that falls into – you can’t – I don’t think we’re killing innovation by saying that you’ve got to design cars with round wheels because if you are designing a car, I think today I’m not going to expect that you understand a certain amount about cars, so that it’s going to move on when I try and drive it. The same thing with digital design or web design things. I’m going to expect that you a designer are going to understand a certain amount and we see it constantly where designers don’t understand enough and you end up with things that fail usability-wise, fail SEO-wise, fail conversion-wise.

Per: Bloated and huge and just haven’t thought about the complete experience. Just think about the visual experience. But I don’t think we’re saying that all designers need to code.

James: No.

Per: What we’re saying is that you need to be aware of it and then have an understanding for it and have the dialogue with the people who do understand the technology because that’s what I do. You need to bring – the whole team has to be there early on. It’s not a solo approach by a UX designer. You bring in everybody from the start. This is what we’re trying to accomplish, what our options and we start designing it and the technology people are there or you know enough about it yourself. You realize that OK, we can do it this way or that way. That way, the technology is going to cost 200,000 and that way it’s going to cost 20,000. Is it worth it for the user experience to go the more expensive way? That’s the way you balance it. Going through all those steps with every decision you’re making.

James: Yeah. Could you spin around towards, “Do coders need to design?”

Per: They need to have an – I mean I think we’re getting there. That’s my experience now is that they really have a respect for what I’m doing and I have respect for what they’re doing and I’ve been in situations where the coders have had better design suggestions than I have and you need to swallow your pride sometimes and realize, “Oh my god, if we do it that way, you’re right.” I mean most people have experienced designing stuff now. We’re doing these online services for a few years.

James: Yeah.

Per: And people have seen different solutions and people surf online and they take impression from other sites. So it’s not like you have that one and only solution because you’re the UX designer. A lot of the different competences in the organization have lots of ideas. So when he’s saying also that a company that doesn’t have a fulltime UX designer doesn’t understand the value of UX, that’s not true either because you can have that across the whole board and that’s what you really want and also the tagline of our show actually. Break down the silo.

James: Yes.

Per: UX is part of every role in the organization. It’s not just one person.

James: Yeah. If you ignore one aspect, you’re more likely to fail. I think now I’m just thinking again about future-friendly.

Per: Right.

James: Brad Frost, a coder by background but also a bit of a UX designer these days in what he does. Thinking about how we work with future-friendly responsive and the plethora of different screen sizes we’ve got. You as a designer who has no feeling and understanding for code or technology, you maybe will design a desktop website because that’s seemingly perfect in your world without any consideration of the fact there’s all the different technologies and screen sizes. How can you possibly be a great designer in that kind of multi-screen world without an understanding of the technology? A level which does get very close to coding, as in you would understand how it’s built inside. So yeah, again, we’re not saying that you need to be a coder but there has to be a proximity there, a closeness to your end medium.

Per: But I do feel maybe we’re being a bit hard on Wayne here as well because I think he has a fair point about – I mean you can go both ways. As a UX designer, if you want to develop, I mean you could either go into coding or I mean learn more about coding. I’m not saying you have to necessarily go into being a coder but you can also go the other way and approach management and see if you can actually be a more visionary employee, have a more visionary status where you actually take control of the whole situation, in which case you could actually be the person who understands that technology is important. But you have it on a higher management level and he’s making it really the case for that. A UX person could perhaps be a person who is of more value to the board than someone who works within the IT organization perhaps.

James: You’re right. He does admit. That is kind of – oh, closing the line there. There’s another space for the unicorn. Unfurl your wings and have the overhead view of the business instead and be a Pegasus. We can’t all – all UX can’t be Pegasus.

Per: No, but some can.

James: Absolutely. You need to get UX people higher up the chain and so on. But he’s saying don’t be a coder. Be a business analyst. It’s basically what he’s saying. Well, that isn’t going to directly produce better digital stuff. It’s part of the long term though but I don’t think it’s a fork where – I don’t think we should just shift everyone that way.

Per: No, absolutely not. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that as a UX designer, if you’re not getting people – oh you feel that nobody’s understanding you, then you have different ways to go and this is one of the ways to go. You can perhaps make a case for being – playing a more important part or role in the organization but I mean that takes some balls actually.

James: Well, I think it obviously takes the right organization as well.

Per: Yeah, it does very much so, and I think the only way – I actually have to come back then. The only way to get people to listen to you is to show results.

James: Yeah.

Per: If you’re not showing results, you’re not going to take this route anyway or you quit your job and do something else.

James: Yeah. Wayne here as well says if your company doesn’t feel that UX design is important to have a fulltime position, then he basically says don’t work for them.

Per: I want to change that and say if the company doesn’t feel that it’s important enough to have a UX person, then you’re doing it wrong. All right. Isn’t that true? I mean if you can’t show that you’re valuable, then you’re doing it wrong.

James: I agree with you to an extent but to me that’s the whole kind of – I think Wayne needs to work for a smaller company for a while because I work with lots of companies where they don’t even have a fulltime web person, let alone a fulltime UX person. It’s not like they don’t understand or appreciate UX. Maybe they just don’t have the budget for that or maybe they’re not mature enough as an organization to take on that role. It’s not a definition that says if you don’t have a UX-er, then clearly don’t understand UX. We’re not there yet. We’re not all multinationals. We’re teams of people working on stuff.

Per: No, true.

James: It’s a sliding scale.

Per: And it’s getting back to the really tough conflict of explaining how UX brings monetary value to an organization which often is really hard.

James: And for smaller organizations, it’s nigh on impossible when you enter the really small organizations to sell in multiple roles. You have to be multiple roles. You have to be the designer who can code because they’re not going to spend money on two people. They’re going to come to me or you or someone else and say, “Well, can you do that wordpress site?” So then it’s your responsibility to code a little bit and to think about the UX side of things and to analyze their business needs to make sure you package it all together.

Per: Sometimes if you understand the technology, it’s actually easier to make a case for how you can save money. So that actually makes it easier for you to sell and …

James: Yeah, improve results straight off. Yeah. So yeah, so next time round, you’re getting maybe more buy-in for the next step up in the UX because you’ve shown that just that little change can make that much. So maybe another change can make that much more.

Per: Yeah.

James: Persuasive.

Per: I think James we have to get you off to a meeting.

James: You’re right. I forgot to look at the time.

Per: Yeah.

James: Oh, blimey. No, I really do have to go to a meeting though.

Per: You’re in a rush. OK.

James: I’ve got to really rush now. Should I just throw the mic down and run.

Per: Yes.

James: You got the keys.

Per: James, remember to keep moving.

James: I’ll see you on the other side!

Hide the transcript

#50 James & Per begin with words

Separated by a hundred million square kilometres of Atlantic Ocean, James and Per bring you a link show featuring three articles we’ve found during our digital travels.

We start, as the article itself prescribes, by discussing content, words in particular. We then dovetail into Atomic Design and using chemistry as a conceptual metaphor for web design. Finally we look at persuasion profiling and how the psychology of persuasion could be used in our work with websites.

(Listening time: 32 minutes)



Per: Hello and welcome to episode 50 of UX Podcast. You’re listening to me, Per Axbom.

 James: And me, James Royal-Lawson. Fifty episodes!

 Per: Fifty episodes.

 James: Fifty.

 Per: Yes.

 James: Oh, 50 episodes.

View the full transcript

 Per: And to celebrate, I’m in the country of 50 states. In our efforts to actually produce this show during the summer as well and we find ourselves in different locations. So I’m set …

 James: Really different locations.

 Per: Really different locations. I just woke up actually. I’m up north in Michigan in a town called Charlevoix or Charlevoix if you speak French but Charlevoix in American English, in a quaint little hotel and I just sent my family to breakfast. I’ve been vacationing now for a week and a half up here. So I’ve been having fun. It has been really, really hot. It has been like 30 degrees Celsius, in the 80s if you’re speaking Fahrenheit and been having a good time and then James reminded me via Facebook we have to record the show and here we are.

James: I’ve kind of grabbed you now. You must be a week and a half into your holiday. Your brain must be like jelly because your body starts relaxing right now in hot temperatures, taking it easy and not working and things. So it’s going to be a real struggle getting anything useful out of you today.

Per: Do you think?

James: We will see.

Per: There’s no difference from my voice. But you haven’t left from vacation yet, have you?

James: No, I’m really busy today. I’ve got a deadline in two and a bit hours. Yeah. So I’ve been frantically producing a document. I’m actually trying to design a model for measuring usability. We can actually do a whole podcast about that. Oo, now there’s an idea.

Per: Excellent.

James: I mean model for measuring usability in a very limited number of hours based on stuff that already exists.

Per: Yeah, designing the model. Then actually using the model and writing up the report.

James: Frankly, I’m not – this particular model, I’m not using it and writing it up.

Per: Oh, OK.

James: Someone else will have the joy of doing that.

Per: Oh, excellent.

James: But as for me, it’s nearly 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I’ve been at this now for – actually I’ve been at this for like seven hours. Might as well just …

Per: You’re probably actually – I went to bed quite late so you were probably waking up when I went to bed.

James: Probably. So my brain is probably nearly as much jelly-like as yours but for a completely different reason.

Per: Oh, wow.

James: Anyhow, yeah, so today though we’ve got a link show.

Per: Yeah, to make it a bit easier on ourselves.

James: Yeah, not subjecting a third person to this time zone mayhem. The link shows means for those who don’t know is when we take –well, in this case, three articles that we found during our digital travels and talk about them a little bit.

Per: Yeah. And I think the theme of today is sort of going back to basics. I love it.

James: Oh, yeah. I like the way that these three articles interconnect and interplay. It’s quite a nice little threesome. Did I just say that?

Per: Yes, you did just say that. Oh my god.


Per: Anyway, I really love you found this – the first one we’re talking about. It’s called Words and it’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long while I must say. It’s just words basically on a webpage and it’s beautiful. It makes me cry almost.

James: It’s actually excellent. It’s sort of what you engage, just HTML with text on it. Only it has got the title “this is a webpage” and I mean I could – it’s almost like you want to read this one out. It’s one of those kinds of ones. But the gist of it is that this webpage, it’s just words. You’re reading them when you visit it and the most powerful tool on the web is still just words. I think what brings a smile to you. here and make sure you really think about this a lot is the bit where it says – he says, “I remember teaching my daughter to code HTML when she was eight. The first thing she wrote was a story about a squirrel,” which he has actually linked to the story.

She wasn’t writing HTML. She was sharing something with the world. She couldn’t believe that she could just write a story on the home computer and then publish it for the world to see. She didn’t care about HTML. She cared about sharing her stories.

Per: And the next line is actually one of my favourites also, “You are still reading,” and it’s down in the middle of the text.

James: Yeah.

Per: Yeah, it really does make a read and it has no fancy design and has no columns. It has nothing, no graphics.

James: No images.

Per: So yeah, it’s …

James: No distractions. It’s wonderful. It’s taking the essence of what the page is about and it’s sticking to it and it’s keeping you entertained, engaged, and on topic.

Per: Yeah. We’ve talked about those before about one-column layouts because you and me both like one-column layouts and this is like even more proof that yeah, that’s what we’re going for here because we just want everyone to just focus on the words, on the text. My one complaint with something like this and what it’s trying to prove may be that what really made the web like go mainstream is sort of graphics and the ability to help people understand stuff.

James: Do you reckon …

Per: I’m thinking the first graphics web browser Mosaic is what – well, made people – well, it was a real eye-opener I guess.

James: Wasn’t it bandwidth?

Per: No, no. Listen to that. We should play that like modem thing when it takes like 15 seconds.

James: But that’s fun. We have fun with it anyway. Without the bandwidth, we wouldn’t be able to do some of these designy, flashy things.


Per: … it all dovetails into one another, I think.

James: Yeah, you’re right. It does. But thinking back when we first started using the webinar in the 90s, back in ’94 on the first time I opened up a web browser and started searching for stuff, it was text. You searched for things in text and you went link to link. You hopped from link to link to find stuff often and they were text links, hyperlinks and you went to another text-based page. Occasionally you’d have a little crappy picture and so on because back in the 90s, there weren’t so many digital cameras. There wasn’t so many ways of getting content, digital imagery onto the web. It was all crappy icons if anything.

Per: Actually you sort of swore when you saw a picture because it took so long to download. You only saw the top part of the picture and then five minutes later you saw the whole picture.

James: You cursed the people who didn’t save their gifs interlaced.

Per: Yeah, exactly.

James: Oh, how the world was simple.

Per: Oh my god. Now we’re an old man again. OK.

James: Now we’re talking about responsive images and everything. The essence of this though is we don’t have to make things overcomplicated. Content is possibly – we talked about content being king or not. Context is king is what I like to say but the two interrelate.

Per: That’s another thing that actually I don’t like with this article is it has no date.

James: No.

Per: It has it in the text but not like you can find it when was it written. You have to read sort of into the text, didn’t know that it was written on June 20th.

James: Yeah.

Per: And it already has like 15 different translations as well. I love that.

James: I agree with you about the date, but you’re picking a little fault there and I do like the fact that it has inspired people to create their own language translations of the post. I also like the fact that he did a next step call to action as such on the end of the article. You can find it where to follow him, what’s his name, and then it says, “I’m writing a book. I’m building on building and launching things on the web,” and have the link to it there. The guy who wrote it by the way, is Justin Jackson.

Per: Right.

James: I will link to his Twitter page from the show notes. But content, I mean is it – you got to start with words and yeah, you do need to start with words, I think.

Per: I totally agree.

James: Or at least start with thinking about what you’re going to say and what you’re going to achieve.

Per: This is all back to the lorem ipsum or “lorem shitsum” as I call it, the fact that we always hire these agencies and they have placeholders for content which is often lorem ipsum content and we don’t really think about what we’re going to put into the content before we actually then – well, it’s too far gone. The graphics doesn’t fit with the content and so on.

James: It’s belittling your content.

Per: Yeah.

James: It’s from this first moment. It’s making the content less important than the template, the design and so on.

Per: Right, so the main point is actually making this that – start with the content. Make sure that you know what you’re going to say and then if you can find some way to support that probably with anything else, then do that. But if you can’t find anything to support it, then just stay with the content and text on a page because that’s what people want and that’s what people came for.

James: Yeah. And how many times have both me and you been involved in projects where you’ve had to – well, ruin a headline on a page or boxes on them because there’s not enough space for it in the design or you’ve had to take away paragraphs from text because it doesn’t fit.

Per: Oh, and the menus …

James: You’ve had to merge menu items or create submenus because there’s only space for, I don’t know, five menu items across the top.

Per: Yeah, exactly. We don’t care what people have to say. We care if it fits into this space over here.

James: Yeah, we prioritize designing something and we pay for the design. Then we’ve got to cram all our stuff into it. It is a topsy-turvy way of going about stuff really.

Per: Let’s move on.

James: Let’s move on.


Per: To Brad Frost.

James: That we like.

Per: Yes, we do.

James: Well, that I like. Sorry, I’m just saying things for both of us like we’re tweedledum and tweedledee.…


Per: Name of his post, Atomic Design, and you found this one as well James. I hadn’t actually seen it because I’m on vacation and …

James: You’re still reading stuff.

Per: Yeah, I am actually. He starts off with a quote there, “We’re not designing pages. We’re designing systems of components.” The article sort of goes into setting up different parts of a webpage, sort of like a periodic table of the elements with small components being the atoms and larger components being molecules and organisms and so on. I kind of like this the first time I read it. I kind of liked it.

James: Yeah.

Per: Having just read the Words article, I was wondering where are the words because I couldn’t find them. I don’t know where they were.

James: Exactly. I love this too, just the periodic table and the analogy with – yeah, like you said, chemistry and physics and the atoms, molecules, organisms, templates, pages being the building blocks of what we’re doing there. It looks wonderful and gives you one of those satisfying feelings when you read this and look at this.

Yeah. No this makes sense. You take the smallest component possible of the web, of HTML, and group these together in various different stages and ways to build a solution or a system or a site.

Per: Yeah.

James: So it’s a nice model and a nice way of working.

Per: It’s a way of thinking about – making sure to think about the small details and the small components as well as the big picture because sometimes we forget about the small components, I think.

James: Yes, and creating consistency.

Per: Yeah.

James: I had a flashback in reading it to gosh it’s another old man comment.. Some of the digital style guides that I was part of producing maybe 10 years or more ago.

Per: Yeah, exactly.

James: I mean I used to love producing those. At least back then we were building style guides built on the back of brand manuals. I chose a few that were – were down to this kind of atomic level you could say of – the molecular level where there was – we create examples of oh this is how – a right hand menu object should …


Per: I’ve done exactly the same and I think we called it design patterns. Well, based Yahoo who the made their design pattern library available a long time ago. So the design patterns became one of these buzzwords as well and that’s how I sold it into some companies that I put together and exactly as you were saying, I had an example. This is what a search box should look like. This is what a Submit button should look like. So those were the tiny components of the page and then it had this is what a table should look like which was a bit bigger and then perhaps this is what we use the right hand column for which was even bigger than part of the template.

James: We know that – well, consistency is an essential part of good usability or the user experience and this kind of atomic thinking helps maintain consistency, I think.

Per: Yeah, I agree.

James: But at the same time, exactly on the back of the Words article, this is – it’s not obvious from Brad’s article about the importance of words or micro content.

Per: Yeah, exactly.

James: I mean when you read it, I mean it’s clear that the words are reasonably important when you start getting into producing, what, molecules, as he calls them. The molecule here, an example would be – he announced that he has got a search group so you’ve got your field, your button and the heading above that collection and to be together, those three – three atoms I guess produce a molecule. See I’m hoofing – I’m kind of just winging this.

Per: Yeah. I know you are but I’m sort of interpreting it in the same way. I was thinking that’s almost too big of a molecule but whatever. The word in the button is search. That would be the atom and the whole button would be the molecule. You can interpret it however you want as long as you adhere to the principles of actually having smaller components build on bigger ones and staying consistent.

James: What you’re saying there is – well, in the atomic level, those three components, the label, the input and the button also have a textual atomic component.

Per: Yeah.

James: It’s like antimatter.

Per: We’re getting into physics now. I have no idea what I’m talking about.

James: I hope no one who understands physics it listening…

Per: Yeah.

James: We would get shot to death. But if you look at the end, there was also another – it gets really satisfying when you get into the templates and pages and we’re getting closer – worryingly close to lorem ipsum stuff towards the end of the article. But there’s a pattern lab and some of the comments, a good example of these patterns labs where they built collections of code snippets, ready-made code snippets that are built up into these – well, atomic groupings and we’re calling them pages and templates and so on which means you’re a step closer to putting in real content before you’ve gone too far.

So I think it is an excellent way of going forward so that you can at the same time bring in content that is real and real situations, real scenarios and actually produce something that’s going to work.

Per: Yeah. I like how he ends it as well with some further reading and how he actually realizes that this is something that he thought about a lot. Then he starts to search. After he wrote the article, he started to search and realized, “Well, other people have been thinking like this as well.” That’s like finding confirmation on that thinking in the right way and you’re on the right path and I sort of like that way of working actually and sharing the stuff that you found that really fits into the same type of thinking, the same line of thinking. Yeah.

James: Yeah. It was one of the further readings there. It was Responsive Deliverables by Dave Rupert. He talks about the idea of constructing tiny bootstraps for every client. I like that quote as well.

Per: Yeah.

James: But for those who don’t know what bootstraps are, bootstraps are these – kind of like development platforms, ready-made tweakable platforms for HTML that you can quickly create sites or prototypes and so on.

Per: Yeah, I’m a big fan of particularly the one that actually is called Bootstrap.

James: Yeah.

Per: I’ve been using it a lot over the past year.

James: And they’re good. So …

Per: Again, moving on I think actually. I need to go to breakfast.

James: It’s the hunger taking over.

Per: Yeah.


Per: The last one is something I wanted to include because I think it’s one of these buzzwords that are going to make the rounds over the next few months and perhaps it will make it into mainstream, perhaps not. But I already found there’s a conference that has been going on for six years around this. So maybe it’s not that new but again like – sort of like the – when we started talking about customer journey paths and stuff like that. All of that suddenly became the new thing in UX but it has been in use for well, 15 years at least, if you talk service design.

So this is something that’s really interesting and well, in UX, in the UX arena we really like to grab stuff from other areas as well and this is – persuasion profiling is really about psychology and …

James: That’s the first time you mention that, you need to explain a little bit Per about what we’re talking about.

Per: We’re talking about the article that this guy Michael Straker who wrote the blog post, he attended a virtual seminar or a webinar and it’s about persuasion profiling. It’s the subject of the seminar and persuasion or rather the psychology of persuasion which we’re really talking about can be subdivided into like popularized themes like authority. We tend to listen to authority figures and what they say.

So that’s one persuasion technique. It would show someone, an authority figure, telling you to do something and perhaps you would make people do that and we tend to do stuff that other people like us do and we commit to something. If we are given something, then we find a need to reciprocate and do something back and that’s one way to persuade people to do something as well. So there are various different techniques.

James: Social proof is one of the ones we’ve heard an awful lot of talk about in recent years where you follow – we show that other people have done something and then people just follow suit.

Per: Yeah. When you talk about persuasive technology, it’s really about designing to influence people’s attitudes and support positive behaviour change and you could argue a lot about the positive behaviour change because sometimes you just want to convert and that’s what this article is really about.

It’s conversion optimization, i.e. getting people to buy or do whatever you want them to do online and could persuasion profile help in that and persuasion profiling, building on these building blocks of persuasion and within the psychology, is finding out what your particular user groups or target groups or users or personas. This could even be – serve as a really good complement to personas, finding out which one of these persuasion techniques is the one that works the best for your particular target group and work with that.

The article really made me think about this is one way of finding out what you would A-B test perhaps. Different messages and content based on these different persuasion techniques and test different ones and make sure you’re using the one that works best over the whole site because you’re finding out what really works for your particular target group or your users.

James: Yeah. I think the article actually goes on to talk – well, it talks about each visitor more than …

Per: Yeah, and I’m not sure I really like that.

James: That was one of my worries on reading it, was that I know that it’s the optimist’s dream or the marketer’s dream that you have data on every individual visitor and you know what they’ve done and what they’re going to do and you can work on it. Yeah. But unfortunately, that causes lots of problems when it comes to integrity and privacy and so on in many countries and all kinds of laws that stop you from doing some of these kinds of suggestions.

One suggestion here was to build a persuasion profile for each visitor. We must follow the person around for a while …

Per: I didn’t really get what he means with that.

James: Well, it means tracking the individual on the website.

Per: Yeah. So you put cookies on the site and make sure if that person comes back, then you would use the same persuasion messages again.

James: Yeah, exactly. So you want to be careful though that you’re not tracking them in a personally identifiable way.

Per: Right. And we know this doesn’t work because we have so many different devices that we have logged on with and so on.

James: But because it does work when you’re an Amazon or Facebook or something. Then people are, or with an app. You’re logged in from …

Per: Oh, yeah.


James: In a logged-in environment, then profiling becomes a lot easier because you’ve got a database of stuff and you’ve already accepted terms and conditions that allow them to do this kind of profiling and going back to the last episode when we talked about terms and conditions and privacy. This is exactly the kind of thing that’s in there in these terms and conditions. So they want to be able to use your behaviour and data to analyze, to tweak and to sell you things.

Per: Yeah.

James: But for a website that has not got a log-in product or log-in side, then it gets more difficult and then down to an individual and you may be shouldn‘t but you can fall back to personas and try and group people and classify them and maybe you make use of variables and tagging in your analytics system to keep track of these and see what’s happening.

Per: Yeah. One of the reasons I actually wanted to include this article is because there has been a lot of discussions about the usefulness of personas in the UX community over the last year or so and people are adding this stuff. People have dogs and they have this type of job and it’s – well, you’re sort of trying to create empathy for a user and making – helping people who are developing the site whether they are UX designers or developers, whatever. Understand the needs and behaviours of that particular individual and then people are constantly asking, “Well, why did you include that specific bit of information?” I don’t know how to use that to actually make a design decision.

But the more we can include about it that actually helps us make design decisions, the better, and I think persuasion profiling is attaching to that something that we can actually show people, show even executives down to developers and show that we’re doing this because we’ve realized that people are persuaded in this particular way as long as we can get the right data out there.

James: You can’t go for too many persuasion techniques…

Per: Oh, yeah, exactly.


Per: Yeah.

James: the same time – that ties in what we know about and talk about, that you can’t have too many goals on a webpage.

Per: And you can’t design for everyone.

James: On a product. You can’t expect everyone is going to do every single goal on your page all the time and this is an extension of that. So a question there is, “Do you have a single goal for a webpage or do you have a single persuasion technique for a webpage but potentially multiple goals?” for example. So it’s an interesting aspect and maybe you could even create personas based on persuasion techniques.

Per: Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking, that you can actually use a persona, have a persuasion technique for that particular persona and make sure that – then you would understand that this is the reason they’re taking this design decision. We’re using that authority figure or we’re not using the authority figure because that person doesn’t respond to it.

James: Sometimes the – a secondary aspect would be the target group as such. You could build the base the personas first and foremost on persuasion technique, like social proof and then split that up into target groups within it.

Per: Yeah.

James: Oh god, sounds expensive Per.

Per: Well, you make assumptions. I think it’s always you have to make some assumptions and then you keep testing. You never like lock down the document, even a persona. I don’t think you should lock it down.

James: No.

Per: You need to be always discussing it, have it on the wall, and have all of the persuasion techniques on the wall. I mean this is good stuff for people to know about and talk about and have a meeting and think about. Well, if we talk about it this way, is that a good way of persuading people? Maybe not. We have all these other techniques that are available as well. If you have that on the wall as well, I love this – because it’s like the pop culture of persuasion profiling.


James: I think one way I would like to tie up all three of these articles is just reflect on the challenge of running a web presence and especially one that’s of a reasonable size because if you think of these three things we just discussed, words, the content, design or development of design, using the actual purchase and the way they’re going to fit into and then profiling, the underlying work to work out what the way users want and the way we want and how do we get them from there to here. You scale all of these three to a large site with thousands of pages and tens of thousands of visitors.

Per: Yeah.

James: That’s difficult, keeping track of all this and pulling it all together.

Per: It is, yeah. It’s a big job.

James: These are three highly interconnected – you used the expression “dovetailed” areas and if you don’t weave them in correctly, then it’s not going to work. It’s going to be suboptimal. There would be a compromise or a cost.

Per: And I’m going to have to say that whichever way you start, you have to start with the words anyway or the main message you want to get across.

James: You got to have a goal.

Per: Yeah. That’s always nice to end with. You have to have a goal.

James: It is and with that, you’ve got a very specific goal and that’s to eat breakfast.

Per: Yes. Yes, I do. I haven’t found the menu online so I’m going to go down and check.

James: Is that what you’ve been doing? While we’ve been talking, you’ve been searching for the menu. Focus, Per. Focus.

Per: I’m coming home in like another week and a half and it’s time to record again. Where will you be at?

James: Oh look, there’s have a quick look, it’s Thursday the 27th of June for anyone that’s still listening and still interested. Yeah. That means we’d be recording around about the 11th, 10th, 11th of July, episode 51. I’m here in Stockholm.

Per: Oh, wow.

James: And you’re over there. I think I will be here in Stockholm. Yeah, I might actually be at my summerhouse. We will see.

Per: We will see. That will be interesting.

James: It’s the one after that I think I’m in Spain.

Per: Yeah.

James: The police, they usually come out with reminders this time of year. Don’t tell everyone when and where you’re going to be on holiday. I just realized we’re sat here doing a podcast discussing to everyone.

Per: I stopped listening to the police actually.

James: I thought you were going to say you stopped listening to me …

Per: I haven’t heard yet of any example. Maybe our listeners have where somebody has posted that away on Facebook and then apparently burglars go into your house because they read your Facebook account, I don’t know, or Foursquare even.

James: On Twitter or Instagram.

Per: There are so many to choose from anyway. Everybody posts where they are.

James: Yeah. Anyway, on that note …

Per: I no longer have anything valuable anyway. OK.

James: It went last time …

Per: Should anyone be listening. Yeah, exactly. I already have that, my house burgled. OK. I guess we’re finishing off and I’m going to breakfast and you keep working on your deadline James. Ha Ha.

James: I will. Thank you.

Per: People, remember to keep moving.

James: And see you on the other side.

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#40 James & Per and The Cogheads

Spring has finally arrived in Stockholm. In this link-show James and Per discuss three articles they’ve recently stumbled upon. We discuss… the important of cognitive load when making simple products, websites and services. Why every start up needs a UX advisor – or why everyone needs a UX advisor. Finally we chat about Google’s new European cookie law compliance feature.

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#38 James & Per do some pruning

Once James has finished talking about gardening and pruning apple trees, we get on with a link show. We discuss three recent articles we’ve found on our travels. Google does some pruning of its own and sunsets Google Reader. Econsultancy published a list of 14 lousy web trends that are making a come back. Finally we take a look at some interesting and amusing banner ad statistics.

(Listening time: 38 minutes)


Episode 33: James and Per set design trends

In the first show of 2013, James and Per host a link show… with a single link. We talk our way through a recent blog post by Gannon Burgett where he lays out 13 design trends for 2013. We turn into grumpy old men about some of them, but find that we like and agree with some of the others!

(Listening time: 41 minutes)



Recording episode 33 of UX Podcast

James and Per recording episode 33.

Episode 30: James and Per detect their Mini

A linkshow – In episode 30 of UXPodcast James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom have a discussion based around two recent articles that they’ve found during their digital travels. This show’s topics are (roughly)…

  • Detecting the iPad Mini
  • Practical issues with cloud services

(Listening time: 30 minutes)


Episode 20: Per and James get beeped

A linkshow – In episode 20 of UXPodcast James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom discuss three recent articles that they’ve found during their digital travels, discuss them and swear a little. This episode’s topics are…

  • Social media marketing – Barclay’s Facebook Debacle
  • The agency model – It’s f*cked
  • Visual marketing – adding images to your content

(Listening time 28 minutes)


Episode 19: James and Per set your attributes

In this episode of UXPodcast James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom take three recent articles that they’ve stumbled upon during their digital travels and discuss them.

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Episode 9: Per and James hack your passw0rd

In this month’s episode of UXPodcast James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom take four recent finds from their digital travels and discuss them.

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