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Thoughts on the UK’s Digital Strategy

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Thoughts on the UK’s Digital Strategy

Ed Vaizey, the UK’s digital economy minister, has asked for input on the government’s digital strategy by 19th January 2016. Following a dinner discussion in London with various interested parties, convened by Nico Macdonald under the auspices of ‘BIG POTATOES: The London Manifesto for Innovation’, I’m contributing the following thoughts and 7 recommendations. Please note that while the impetus was UK-centric, the gathering’s outlook was rather broader and may also interest those in the int…

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Imagining the antiquity of the present

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Imagining the antiquity of the present

Have you been to your bank recently?

It’s a lovely phrase that. Between the words you can almost smell the musty, well trodden carpet and faux wood panelled interior of little high street bank branches up and down the country.

Enjoy it while you can, for much that it implies is fading away.

‘Your bank’ suggests a permanent and monogamous relationship. What an alien concept that will be to new customers growing up in a world where monetary instruments exist solely in the virtual sph…

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Living with a Huawei Watch

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Living with a Huawei Watch

I don’t enjoy wearing a watch these days. My own – a heavy, analogue thing made of steel and sapphire glass – spends most of its time on my bedside table, gathering dust. It has the occasional outing when I remember I like the look of it peaking from a shirt cuff or so I can glance at tide times when I’m on the water and am unwilling to carry a fragile smartphone in the boat.

I am, therefore, an unlikely candidate to appreciate a smartwatch. However, I was eager to try the latest genera…

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UX of the Year 2015

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UX of the Year 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, I’ve chosen 5 of the most enduring memories I’ll take with me from another year of MEX research. Some are new and digital, others old and analogue; all have shaped the way I think about customer experience for our event programmes, client engagements and publishing.

Expanding the interaction canvas to multiple touchpoints
By TOPP

The notion of devices as individual UI silos is being replaced by interactions which unfold seamlessly across multiple touchpoin…

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Hiring, growth and the long-term cycle of user-centred design skills

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Hiring, growth and the long-term cycle of user-centred design skills

About once a day I receive an email from a contact, usually the head of UX at a larger company or the founder of a design agency, and it goes a little like this:

“Hi, it’s X. I’m struggling to hire someone who can ‘…insert various user-centred design skills here…’ Do you know anyone who can start in the next 2 weeks?”

I try to help where I can and am glad when I can make good matches. It is especially gratifying when it allows those early in their careers to grow into new…

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User story: the flustered customer and contactless payment

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User story: the flustered customer and contactless payment

This is a rural community. Queues form in the local store not because there are too many customers, but rather because what few customers there are stop for extended conversations about the weather. Outside, a pick-up truck sits with its engine idling, the keys left in the ignition. A few dead birds are scattered in the rusted metal back, but passers-by don’t give it a second glance – game season is in full swing at this time of year.

However, the most prominent sticker on the shop’s do…

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Big numbers & a feeling about connectivity

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Big numbers & a feeling about connectivity

Analyst reports are curious creatures. The utility of most, at least in the traditional sense, is constrained by their need to assess tomorrow’s unknowns through a frame of reference anchored in today’s industries. After all, it is clients wishing to defend successful businesses who tend to have the money to buy these things.

One from Gartner caught my eye recently. It tells us there will be 6.4 billion ‘connected things’ in use next year, rising to 20.8 billion by 2020. These are big numb…

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Making a case for the seductive promise of zero UI

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Making a case for the seductive promise of zero UI

Glacial is the only word for it. I pressed one of the blue buttons and waited. Somewhere in the mechanical heart of this relic I imagined cogs whirring and a rusted belt chain creaking into action. At length, something happened on the dot matrix-style LCD. Numbers appeared, which bore little or no resemblance to the transaction I was trying to execute, but according to the lengthy printed instructions, were the first of several steps required to pay this company for their service.

Some…

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Algorithms and a more plastic experience design

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Algorithms and a more plastic experience design

In a demonstration of how algorithms are playing an increasing role in determining user experience, hundreds of millions of Google customers are about to see a change to their voice search and dictation experience. This results not from a fresh set of visual branding tweaks or a further development of its in-app ‘material design’ philosophy, but from an evolution of the neural network techniques employed to process voice input.

“Today, we’re happy to announce we built even better neur…

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Announcing MEX/16 ‘The Unknown: Hidden paths to better UX’

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Announcing MEX/16 ‘The Unknown: Hidden paths to better UX’

The 16th edition combines the depth of MEX research with progressive facilitation to answer the biggest question of the digital future:

What are the new strategies and design methods to translate customer insight into next generation digital experiences?

The question transcends product categories, from smartphones to wearables, and industry verticals, from device manufacturers to design agencies. For more than 10 years, MEX has been the gathering place for the diverse network o…

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