Dean and not heard

Originally published on spiked. The Democratic Party contest to find a challenger to George W Bush for the November US presidential elections is well under way. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry stormed ahead of his rivals this week, winning Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, North Dakota and New Mexico in the ‘Super Seven Tuesday’ caucuses and primaries, held Continue Reading

‘Ethnography’ exposed

Originally published on spiked. The saying goes: ‘In order to understand a man, first you must walk a mile in his shoes.’ This Christmas, Boots CEO Richard Baker has been doing just that, by turning himself into a shelf-stacker. According to Charlie Dawson of The Foundation, a ‘customer driven management consultancy’, the key is to Continue Reading

What iCan can’t do

Originally published on spiked. UK home secretary David Blunkett has suggested setting up ‘community advocates’ to deal with unaccountable policing (1). Apparently the police want the public’s ideas, support and sympathy. If you’re not interested in tackling crime, what about chewing gum stuck on the pavement, or litter in your local area? Thanks to a Continue Reading

Dark-sky thinking

Originally published on spiked. ‘What is the future of creativity?’, asked the prestigiously titled World Creative Forum in London recently (1). The inaugural gathering in the hi-tech offices of Bloomberg brought together an international list of designers, artists, businessmen and scientists to debate the impact of creativity on society and business. This was a pertinent Continue Reading

Blog-standard politics

Originally published on spiked. For 24 hours last weekend, British Labour MP Tom Watson invited web users to suggest ideas for government policy. Billed as a ’24-hour blogathon’, Watson used his blog – an online journal – to kickstart debates on the issues that ‘matter most to us’ (or to those who can be bothered Continue Reading

‘A mob for no reason’

Originally published on spiked. A new craze has taken off among technology geeks. Keen to demonstrate how information technology (IT) can bring people together, some individuals are causing spontaneous gatherings to occur in the strangest of places, for the strangest of reasons. On 17 June, a self-styled ‘mob’ of two-hundred people gathered around a large Continue Reading

Social software – get real

Originally published on spiked For the moment, discussion of social software is confined to the digerati and switched-on social policy think-tanks. It is likely to spread further afield, since talking up the potential of networks and mobile technology is now seen as a panacea for the ills of the downtrodden IT industry. The key idea Continue Reading

Excuse-ability

Originally published on spiked. The internet services industry often worries about how to keep customers loyal. Websites might be fun to use, but do they succeed? Will the customer make the right choices, and come back again and again? It is a problem that’s made worse by the fact that everybody focuses on the customer, Continue Reading

What use for usability?

Originally published in Cre@at magazine (sadly now defunct). Go to Railtrack’s website (www.railtrack.co.uk). There, the most essential feature to you and me – the timetable – is an easy-to-miss button with a murky typeface. In fact, it looks like an ad. Now key in your destination station. You often don’t find anything. But is redesigning Continue Reading

User Experience 2001/2002

Originally published on Usability News. Report back from User Experience 2001/2002 Conference, organised by the Nielsen Norman Group. The four day conference addressed a wide range of subjects, including content, information architecture, interaction design and usability, and took a decidedly practical, back-to-basics tone with workshops run by leading industry experts including Jeffery Veen, Louis Rosenfeld, Continue Reading