Featured in The Guardian

The Guardian UXWhat better way to start the year than a guest appearance in The Guardian!

They seem to have cut the photo in a way that looks like my head’s been chopped off, so erm, just ignore that and read what I say instead :)

Read the article and check out my chopped off head on the guardian.co.uk >>>


BBC Home page research and redesign

I conducted a quick piece of research on the BBC Home page as part of an event called BBC Connected. Did you know it’s the third most visited home page? Yet only a very small percent of visitors actually use it? As our research discovered, most people bypass the page completely, preferring to use the navigation bar or a direct url (usually saved as a bookmark). Here, we share our findings and a few of our design proposals to improve the user experience of the BBC Home page, in particular under-served audience(s).

How do you use the BBC website? Do you ever look at or click on items on the home page? Have you used it more or less since the last redesign? I’d love to hear about your experience. Share your story using the comment box below.

Research by Keepitusable.com


Keepitusable Shortlisted for 2 Business Awards

2012 salford business awards
You may or may not be aware that I run a Manchester UX and Usability Agency called Keepitusable (keepitusable.com). We started the business in late 2010 after lots of people told us we should! So, the business was built very much on our existing reputations as great designers and user researchers. I’m predominantly the lead on anything to do with users, research, psychology, ergonomics. Ricardo has more UX and UI design experience than anyone I know so he leads all our design and prototyping work.

Our magic is the unique mix of our skills and experience plus our equal male/female balance that gives us the ability to see things more completely from the audience’s perspective.

We’re really pleased to have made the final four for 2 Salford business awards; Rising Star and Entrepreneur. It was very competitive and we had to really prove the value of user experience during the interviews. This can be quite tough as any UXer will know! At first it was clear they thought we were developers or graphic designers which is understandable as people always try to make sense of something new by comparing it to what they already know – mental models anyone?

Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for us and hopefully we will win at least one of the awards. The finalists are incredibly diverse so it will be interesting to see who wins! 


I’m in the news…

salford university carnival

I’ve been featured on Creative Boom talking about the amazing Salford University Carnival held at Islington Mill this week. We had a great time! Below is an extract of the article and if you want to read more just head on over to Creative Boom.

Over a hundred Salford University graphic design students showcased their amazing work at Islington Mill yesterday in a fun carnival themed event organised in conjunction with Designers Northern Alliance.

Representatives from key Manchester and Salford agencies attended the event to inspire and look for the next generation of fresh talent. Keepitusable, Magnetic North, Design by Day, Eskimo Creative, and Code ComputerLove were just some of the industry experts to attend the event.

Lisa Duddington, co-founder of Keepitusable Salford’s first user experience design agency whose clients include the BBC, saw the event as a valuable opportunity to connect with and inspire the next generation of designers.

“It’s so exciting to be part of this event! We know how difficult it can be when you’re first starting your career, so we’re eager to help students and graduates to gain the valuable experience and knowledge they need to succeed in what is an incredibly competitive industry.

We have a fantastic relationship with Salford University and are proud to be able to offer both their students and graduates incredible opportunities to gain industry experience.”


10 Handy hints to check a ux agency or freelancer is genuine

As UX and usability become more well known, there is an unfortunate downside for clients and that is cowboys. These are people who have perhaps read a UX book and decide to set themselves up as experts. To help you spot the expert from the amateur i’ve created some handy hints. You don’t need to do all of these, just enough to satisfy you that the agency or freelancer knows their stuff and is genuine.

1. Check out their website Is it easy to use? Does it have clear call to actions? Are they using good copywrite? Does the layout of the text aid scanability? Is the navigation clear? Is the font readable? They should be practicing what they preach. If the site is badly designed, alarm bells should ring.

2. Read the About Us section Are they easily identifiable? (photo and name), Can you check their reputation and credibility via links to LinkedIn or Twitter? Read their experience closely – do they have professional qualifications and experience or are they a marketing company who have read a few books on the subject?

3. Check their Twitter posts Do they contribute to the world of usability by tweeting useful links? Do they help other people? Do they seem credible?

4. Check their Twitter followers Are they following and been followed by thousands of people? (they may have been on a mass following mission). Check who’s following them – if there are other agencies and usability professionals following them, they probably post good, knowledgeable tweets.

5. Read testimonials Get a feel for the type of person they are and how they work by what other clients thought.

6. Look at their previous work Ask to see their portfolio. This will give you a good idea of the standard of their work and what they are capable of.

7. Read their blog Owning and updating a blog deserves credit. It takes a lot of time and effort and shows it is important to them to give back to the profession. You can get a feel for the person and what they’re passionate about by what they write and the style they use.

8. Check their Facebook page How many people have joined their page? What have people posted on the wall?

9. Engage with them Email or talk to them. Prepare your questions if necessary.

10. Meet them Prepare your questions and more importantly see if you get along, after all, none of us want to work with people who we don’t click with.

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