User-centred design solves organisational problems by solving user problems. Is your team really doing that?

A Kawaii picture of a broken tooth
  1. Mistaking organisational problems for user problems
  2. Inventing problems users don’t have

1. No focus on user problems at all

Despite having the intent to be better for users, many projects will go through the motions of a user-centred process without sufficient focus on defining the real user…

UX Research

Most of the time, the designs I test with users, could have benefited from a UX review at an earlier stage.

A Kawaii illustration of a microscope

What is an expert review?

In an expert UX review, an experienced UX practitioner, applies the understanding they have gained from past user observation, to give the designer advice about their designs. …


Short videos on single subjects


or how user-centricity fades in growing tech companies


Observing behaviour is how you build the instinct to understand it.

I’m a hypocrite

I should start by admitting that I had the discussion only this week about getting another person to run usability tests in order…

  1. “What’s going to happen if you click this?”
  2. Humanising your observers
  3. Hypotheses about other users
  4. Learning your introduction by heart
  5. The tale of two prototypes
  6. Observation room rules
  7. Screener questions for unmoderated tests
  8. Distance yourself from the design
  9. Prototypes should be consistent and realistic

About the author

I’m David Hamill. I help organisations take better decisions through lean but meaningful UX research. If you liked this post, you can read some more below.


Many startups are hooked on guerrilla research methods which aren’t healthy for them in the medium-long term.

  1. It’s an approach…


A mindset which confines innovation efforts to failed proof-of-concepts, crappy chatbots and Alexa skills nobody needs.

A strategy cliché

As far as over-used business clichés go, few match the re-purposing of the Wayne Gretzky's quote…

“Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been”

Steve Jobs used it, and therefore so do many who aspire to…


When something in your analytics stands out as being odd, then it might be worth investigating further.

Belgian cycle racing

The retired American cycle racer Joe Parkin, wrote a book titled A Dog in a Hat, about his time racing in Belgian as a professional cyclist. The book’s title comes from a phrase used to refer to a rider who was obviously doping. The rider who would normally be struggling to keep up in races, was suddenly the strongest. This was said to be a dog with a hat on.


You don’t need to prove the benefit of every design decision you take. But you’re not a psychic design super-hero, so use evidence where it exists.

Psyduck has psychic powers (and only when he’s confused). You don’t.

David Hamill

Independent UX consultant | www.upux.biz

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