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

Computing communities

Originally published on spiked. A new report published by the Work Foundation, You Don’t Know Me But…: Social Capital and Social Software, argues that information technology can improve social cohesion. The report’s author, William Davies, hopes that new, technology-based tools can assist in rebuilding people’s social relationships – with other individuals, with institutions and with governments. 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

Leonardo made limited

Originally published on spiked. In his new book Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, design guru Ben Shneiderman calls upon us to consider Leonardo da Vinci’s achievements in combining mastery of art with scientific exploration. In his new book Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, design guru Ben Shneiderman calls upon Continue Reading


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 ( 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