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

If you’re trying to adopt user-centred design in your project, the source of future failure can often boil down to the team not having solved any real user problems. Yes everyone is talking good words about being user-first, but are you being user-centred? …

UX Research

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

Somewhere in the evolution of user-centred design (what we called it before UX), the humble UX review seems to have fallen out of favour. I get the best results with my clients when I regularly review designs in addition to carrying out user research.

In this post I’m going to…


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

There’s a school of thought in UX research where usability testing is a practice which should be mostly left to product teams to do for themselves, freeing UX researchers up to concentrate on ‘more important’ work.

For some researchers this is so they can more in-context observation instead, which is…

I have kinda stumbled into doing a series of usability testing tips on LinkedIn. I did two and they were quite popular, so now I’m compelled to keep going. I’m going to use this post to collate them all by linking to each of the posts on LinkedIn.

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

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.

If you would like my help to improve your product decisions, then get in touch.


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

Guerrilla usability tests are the staple diet of the tech startup. They grab people wherever they can and stick their product in front of those people to get feedback.

Startups should often move quickly on from this and do a bit more deliberate research with more specific types of people…


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

As we begin each new year, we are subjected to the routine predictions about what the year, and indeed decade, will bring in terms of technology. …


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…


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.

I was recently reminded of one of the many arguments which seem to polarise design discussion online. The reminder came in the form of a Medium post titled Data-driven design is killing our instincts.

In the post, the author argues that an over-reliance on data in favour of design instinct…

David Hamill

Independent UX consultant | www.upux.biz

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