What makes a good design critic?


While at CHI earlier this week, I went along to a session with the same title as this blog post. I was looking for some inspiration, something to take to a UDS (Ubuntu Developer Summit) session perhaps, something to turn into a blog post, food for thought. The session at CHI included a food critic, a restaurant designer, a food stylist, a chef and a user experience director; correction: the chef...

The process of certainty. And mojitos.


You know that feeling when you know someone very well and you buy them a present? You know they will love it and you are excited at the very thought of their delight? Part of you is a little scared though. A few butterflies in the stomach. What if I have misread? What if they don’t like it? I listened to someone speak recently who said that one thing he had learnt in his IT career was that...

Living beauty


Reading Roger Scruton’s essay in The Times made me think. I like that. The title of the article is ‘What has art got to do with beauty?’ – in a time of Turner prizes – a very interesting question I am sure you will agree. The article raises many interesting points and rather than dilute, I shall only address one of them at this time. This search for aesthetic order...

Do design? Do open source?


One evening a few months ago, Leisa and I had dinner and were chatting – as one does – about work and the challenges of design in the open source community. One outcome of the evening was Leisa going home and registering . It sat for a while. Then, last week, as we were chatting about my last blog post Leisa set up the ning thing, I cut and pasted my blog post in, few bits and pieces...

Thoughts on Inclusive Design


I was thinking about that phone I commented on recently and, in that context Inclusive Design and what it means. The reason I struggle with the phone and its intended audience is that it is limiting. When someone arrives in a foreign country where they don’t speak the language we may choose to start them off with some pictures and sign language, maybe an interpreter but ultimately we would...

It ain’t just about usability


These days I work in a User Research department. Ah, user research, I hear you say, that’s about usability! Well, yes, but that isn’t all it is. Here is a post from Leisa at Disambiguity in which she illustrates very clearly the way I see things. Creating something that people will use is a little more involved than worrying about whether or not they can use it. Creating a compelling...

User research? Nah!


I often feel that I am in a constant battle to persuade people that User Research is a good thing. There is this resistance. Why spend all that money when we can just make it and see if it works? How about this? You are lucky enough to have won a pot of cash and you decide you want to build yourself the perfect house. You go to the architect. “Not to worry” – says the architect...

Recipe for Innovation


I attended the NMK Beers and Innovation event last night. There was some quite lively debate, a few interesting bits and pieces and an opportunity for some thought. The headline was “Do agencies innovate” but most of the discussion was around what makes it hard to innovate. There were various thoughts; here are mine. Ingredients: Knowledge – in order to innovate one needs...

Design in a Global Village


The Voice and I have just returned from a little over 2 weeks in India. We had a great time. What struck me – again – is how much we like to think that with the ubiquitousness of the Internet we can design for a global market. Can we though? My own mental model of what is and isn’t allowed in a bank doesn’t stretch to a Kirpan but then I hadn’t ever been to India...

Worse than self-referential design is design for your mum


I have often sat in design workshops and user research debriefs with groups of people who can’t help but bring their mother in the equation. Pot kettle and black I hear you say (I quote mine repeatedly) and go as far as having a category for her on this very blog. Below is a picture of a phone from fitage.com. Do you like it? Do you think the 60+ person in your life would like it? I have...

About Author


Ivanka Majic works in technology. She was Head of Design for Ubuntu, service managed Digital Marketplace through to beta, was acting director of digital for the Labour Party. She lives and works in Brighton where she works with the council’s digital first team, does a bit of teaching at Sussex University, and works with her husband on projects like restaurantsbrighton.co.uk and the BRAVOs. She has also started a podcast with her friend Michael which you can listen to at grandpodcast.com.