Design Critique: Products for PeopleAuthor: Timothy Keirnan
24 Apr 2019

Design Critique: Products for People

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Encouraging usable designs for a better customer experience.

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    DC134 The Buzzwordification of UX (1 of ?)

    Keith Instone and Serena Rosenhan both return to the show for an episode about UX and "buzzwordification". The last 3-4 years have seen a big rise in the use UX terminology in the media and among coworkers. What are the advantages and disadvantages for UX practitioners now that UX has become popular beyond academia and professional societies? Tim Keirnan sets up the roundtable discussion and the wisdom pours out of these two veteran UX professionals.

    The fireplace crackling gets a bit loud at points but plying guests with food, drink, and fireplace ambience is part of our recording process. You can find Serena at

    You can find Keith at

  • Posted on 14 Mar 2019

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    DC133 Wordcast: Minimum Viable Product with Syed Ibrahim

    Syed Ibrahim returns to the show to talk with Tim about his side project,
    Syed's story of creating this web application is a terrific example of doing a minimum viable product. He candidly shares both advantages and disadvantages of releasing an MVP, and walks us through the details of having an idea, acting on it to create something that works at a basic level for a specific audience, and getting it out there to continue learning and enhancing it.
    You can find Syed at

    One of the best definitions of MVP is from Frank Robinson who created the term around 2000, see

  • Posted on 24 Feb 2019

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    DC132 Critique: Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower

    Ben Woods joins Tim Keirnan for a single point perspective on the Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower. Needing neither gasoline nor electricity, this lawnmower is completely powered by the user to cut the lawn.

    Ben discusses the values that led to his wanting this mower and his experience with it over several summer months of use. As usual we follow the critique structure to learn his experience with

    • Encounter
    • Decision
    • Purchase
    • Out of the Box
    • Longitudinal Use

    Ben can be found at


  • Posted on 16 Dec 2018

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    DC131 Interview: Fire Engine Design with Chief Dan Phillips

    Fire Department Chief Dan Phillips joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about designing the new fire engine for Plymouth Township, Michigan. How does a fire department decide which features are most needed, most wanted, and affordable for a given budget and for the the engine's coverage area?

    Unlike most passenger cars, a new fire engine is custom built and takes ten months to deliver. Their cost is over half a million US$. The pressure is on a department to get it right, because the service life of a fire engine is 15 years active duty and 5 additional years in reserve. The new engine balances several values:
    * Provide safety for the local citizens and their property
    * Provide safety of the firefighters who use the truck every day
    * Provide good financial stewardship of limited public resources to get the best solution for the budget.

    You can see our Public Safety Committee's short documentary videos on the obsolete current fire engines at

    Our first new fire engine is a Pierce Enforcer. Check out Pierce's website for the Enforcer and other models they make:

    Thank you to the men and women working in fire departments everywhere.

  • Posted on 28 Oct 2018

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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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