Design Critique: Products for PeopleAuthor: Timothy Keirnan
20 Oct 2018

Design Critique: Products for People

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Encouraging usable designs for a better customer experience.

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    DC130 Interview: Giles Colborne, Author of Simple and Usable 2nd Edition

    Author Giles Colborne returns to Design Critique to talk with Tim Keirnan about the new second edition of Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design.

    Simple and Usable is one of the best books on UX we've owned in our careers. The contents are simple and usable just as the title promises, and this is one book that both practitioners and stakeholders will benefit from reading.

    Giles and Tim talk for 40 minutes about various topics including

    • Giles' career having progressed along with the UX profession across the decades, moving from basic website design to service design to organizational design.
    • The physical design of the book reflects the theme, and the publisher did not stray from the successful book design of the first edition.
    • How "get out of the office" is still of prime importance today and the crucial importance of field research with our users.
    • Types of users Giles has observed in his career: experts, willing adopters, mainstreamers.
    • The seductive danger of relying on expert users in our designs.
    • How Alan Cooper's method of Personas has been undermined by some practitioners' use of person-less personas when they haven't even talked with or observed actual users. How this risks the integrity of the design profession as much as a user-less usability test would.
    • Working with stakeholders on design projects. Being teacher or facilitator as opposed to "persuader".
    • Don't rush into design. Understanding what's core takes time.

    Simple and Usable can be found at its entry on publisher Pearson/NewRiders site.

  • Posted on 20 Aug 2018

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    DC129 Critique: Milwaukee Vertical Toolbox

    Mike Velasco joins Tim Keirnan for a critique of the Milwaukee 13" Jobsite Work Box. This tool box is oriented vertically in contrast with conventional tool box designs, which provides both advantages and disadvantages. While Mike enjoys the design and uses his tool box regularly, Tim has not been as impressed despite the numerous positives of the product's design and construction. This is why we do the show! Good designs of even "simple" products like a tool box cannot always please every user; people are so different.

    As usual, we structure our critique around the following points:
    * Encounter
    * Decision
    * Purchase
    * Initial Impression (out of the box)
    * Longitudinal review

    You can find the tool box at Milwaukee's site here:

    Note that product photography usually involves very bright lighting, and in this case Tim was not expecting the interior to be as dark as  the product photos appeared. The photo on the Design Critique blog page is not using a flash for a more accurate representation of what a user sees when looking into the box for tools along the bottom.

  • Posted on 10 Jun 2018

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    DC128 Interview: Gene Duarte, Industrial Designer at Mychanic

    Industrial designer Gene Duarte joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about the Pod Light and the Blade Multi Light, two of Gene's designs for Mychanic. As Head of Product Development, Gene tells the story behind the designs of these two creative and usable reinterpretations of the shop light. Tim has used them successfully for ten months and explains why they serve his needs in the garage and the house so well. Well done, Mychanic

    You can find Gene's Pod Light and Blade MultiLight at

    In the photo above, the magnetic base of the Pod Light is shown with the paint-safe sticker showing. Also, note the packaging of the Pod Light with the included batteries clearly obvious.

  • Posted on 25 Apr 2018

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    Update: Molly Fuller Design's Indiegogo Campaign

    Molly Fuller from episode 127 returns to tell us about her Indiegogo campaign to fund development of more stylish and affordable compression clothing for teens with autism and sensory disorders. Check it out at


  • Posted on 11 Apr 2018

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    DC127 Interview: Molly Fuller on Medical Fashion Design

    Molly Fuller joins Tim Keirnan to discuss creating stylish clothing for teens with autism spectrum disorder or other sensory needs. Her clothing designs use compression as a form of deep pressure for comfort and relaxation.
    Medical clothing does not have to look “medical” and she tells us about her interest in fashion design in school, and her tying it together with her career in medical service design, including working at the famous Mayo Clinic.

    You can learn more about Molly and her products at

    Molly is "on tour" this March and April! You can see her at the following events:
    March 25th - 30th: National Alliance for Caregiving, San Francisco, CA
    April 10th: Design of Medical Devices Conference, UM Minneapolis
    April 14th: Fraser Walk for Autism, Mall of America, Minneapolis
    April 21st: Pickin for Autism, Amsterdam Bar, St. Paul

  • Posted on 21 Mar 2018


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