Design Critique: Products For People



Encouraging usable designs for a better customer experience.


  • DC80: Calculating ROI for Usability at Ford Motor Company with Chad Esselink

    01/07/2011 Duration: 55min

    Time for another wordcast episode, this time on ROI. Chad Esselink from the Ford Motor Company joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion on calculating return on investment for UX projects and forming a usability team. While at Ford, Chad used case studies backed with return on investment calculations to get buy-in from his superiors to create the Creative Design & Usability team.We all think we know about usability's ability to cut costs, but Chad tells us that increased throughput is just as important (and quite different). When should we use one and not the other while attempting to persuade executives that usability pays for itself and more?Throughput. Cost cutting. Know the difference! And no, I'm not going to tell you in the show notes, you have to listen.

  • DC79 Interview: Author Giles Colborne on Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

    29/04/2011 Duration: 48min

    Author Giles Colborne from CX Partners joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about his book Simple And Usable: Web, Mobile and Interaction Design. To quote the back cover:"Simplicity is a discipline that can be learned. This book shows you how with humor, powerful examples, quotes, and case studies. You'll learn to strip away complexity by organizing, removing, hiding, and displacing. And you'll discover how to create focused, elegant user experiences that people will love."Here is Giles' website for the book:www.simpleandusable.comDoes Giles' voice sound familiar? It should! I had him on the show back in 2006 after the UPA international conference that year. Episode 18, in fact:

  • DC78 Interview: UPA Body of Knowledge Project with Carol Smith

    01/04/2011 Duration: 17min

    Tim interviews Carol Smith about the Usability Professionals Association's body of knowledge project. Carol led Michigan UPA members in a body of knowledge work day hosted at the offices of Tec-Ed, Inc., in Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 26, 2011.If you would like to assist us in developing the UPA body of knowledge for our profession, contact Carol atproject at     (substitute the @ symbol for " at ", no spaces before or after)See the body of knowledge project at can find listener Yannig Roth's blog at

  • DC77 Wordcast: Structured Design Review

    26/02/2011 Duration: 32min

    Davin Granroth joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of a structured design review method. This way to critique a design obtains maximum useful feedback with minimum pain to people's feelings. Tim refers to it now as "The Granroth Review Method" but Davin is quick to thank some writing professors at Michigan State University for the concept, which Davin has adapted well to our UX professional needs.You can read about this method over at Davin's blog: can read about Sugru, a clay-like fixit and "mechanical hacking" material, attheir very well-done and fun website:http://sugru.comFinally, here's a link to Red Green, whom I referred to in the closing minute:

  • DC76 Interview: Author Nelson Soken on Innovation and UX

    20/01/2011 Duration: 53min

    Dr. Nelson Soken, co-author of Lead the Pack: Sparking Innovation that Drives Customers Wild, joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of the book and its principles. At the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society annual meeting in 2009, Dr. Nelson Soken delivered the keynote presentation to the Product Design technical group based on his book. Tim like it so much he bought the book and is now proud to interview Dr. Soken on Design Critique.User experience research and design concepts underlie a majority of the book's themes and this episode is valuable for anyone doing human factors or UX work in support of product design. As Dr. Soken emphasizes, people and our relationships to them in the workplace are a very big part of innovating.You can find the book at: addition to the "Contact the Authors" link at the above website, you can also find the authors at their LinkedIn pages. Just log in to your LinkedIn account and search their names:Nelson SokenWill Wengert

  • DC75 Longitudinal Review: Sennheiser Ruins The PX-100 Headphones

    24/12/2010 Duration: 29min

    The ultimate longitudinal review, five years in the making. Sennheiser has changed their once-terrific PX-100 headphones for the worse. We don't often do negative reviews on Design Critique, but it's useful to analyze how a great user experience can disappoint after several years ownership. Reliability is the Achilles heel of the PX-100 and now it's even worse with brittle plastic, reduced cushioning, and wickedly tight pressure through the headband. In other news, Tim has a chapter in the new UX Storytellers book, which is free for download, and a blog post for Altitude Inc. We have email from two, count 'em TWO, listeners. All this in under 30 minutes.Interesting PX-100 reviews for the PX-100 and PX-100 MkII can be found at's chapter in UX Storytellers, UX Professional Buys a Car, can be found at http://uxstorytellers.blogs

  • DC74 Interview: Peter Morville on Search Patterns from IUE2010

    10/11/2010 Duration: 30min

    Peter Morville joins Timothy Keirnan to discuss the keynote presentation at Internet User Experience 2010 and his new book, Search Patterns, co-written with Jeffrey Callendar.You can find Peter at his company's website: his blog is at

  • DC73 Interview: Mark Phillips on Project Management at IUE2010

    11/10/2010 Duration: 43min

    Mark Phillips from Vertabase joins Tim Keirnan at Internet User Experience 2010 to talk about project management's effects on design. Mark's session at IUE was called "Connecting Pixels, Bytes, and Dollars: How Designers, Developers, and Clients Can Work Together."You can find Mark, and his blog, at and his email address is mark@vertabase.comMark recommends The PM Podcast

  • DC72 Interview: TechSmith on Designing Snagit for Macintosh

    28/08/2010 Duration: 40min

    Tim Keirnan interviews the design & development team for TechSmith's upcoming Snagit for Macintosh. Items discussed include: * How and why did TechSmith decide to do a version of their popular Snagit for the Mac OSX platform? * What is the design process of Snagit for Mac? * How is Snagit for Mac related to Snagit for Windows? * Why did TechSmith decide to try an open beta process and how is it helping their design process? So check it out before you listen, or while you listen. You can find the Snagit for Macintosh free beta at the following addresses:  

  • DC71 Five Year Anniversary Episode with Jared Spool of UIE

    07/08/2010 Duration: 43min

    Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering joins Tim Keirnan for Design Critique's 5th anniversary episode. That's FIVE years, folks! The guys discuss some favorite UX-related new media audio and video shows, debate the effectiveness of advertisements in new media shows, and generally engage in freewheeling talk that never takes itself too seriously. We close with a promo for UIE's User Interface 15 conference to be held in Cambridge, MA this November. Links:

  • Promo for Internet User Experience 2010

    24/06/2010 Duration: 15min

    Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus joins Tim Keirnan for a quick promo of the upcoming Internet User Experience 2010 conference, to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from July 24 - 28, 2010. To learn more about IUE2010 and to register, please visit

  • DC70b Interview: Pt 2 of Jeff Smith on Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies

    27/05/2010 Duration: 42min

    Jeff Smith of IBM's Hardware Experience Design Group presents part two of our "director's cut" of the presentation he gave at the 2009 HFES conference, "Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies". In part two, Jeff details the ways in which the following internal departments of employers and clients can help us get informal user feedback to supplement our primary data: * Marketing * Sales * Support * Test Engineers (QA) * Manufacturing Each of these areas can supply a user experience professional with invaluable insights and observations of customers/end users. Jeff tells us the promise and the limitations of using their data in our own work. Jeff's coauthors on the presentation were Daniel P. Kelaher and David T. Windell.

  • DC70a Interview: Pt 1 of Jeff Smith on Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies

    11/05/2010 Duration: 32min

    Jeff Smith of IBM's Hardware Experience Design Group presents a "director's cut" of the presentation he gave at the 2009 HFES conference. Tim liked it so much in San Antonio that he wanted to hear an expanded version on Design Critique so here it is, titled "Gathering User Feedback from Internal Sources to Supplement Formal Usability Studies". In part one, Jeff * Describes his job as a human factors engineer with IBM, * Tells his interpretation of the field combined with IBM's corporate values, * Discusses the essential nature of communication to both clients and coworkers * Shares his "elevator speech" of what he does for a living, and * Emphasizes the importance of field research if you're able to do it on a project. In part 2, Jeff will explain the methods of using internal sources to supplement formal user research. Jeff's coauthors on the presentation were Daniel P. Kelaher and David T. Windell.

  • DC69 Critique: Microsoft Zune players, Zune 4.0 software, and ZunePass

    30/04/2010 Duration: 58min

    If we were a commercial show, we'd sing something like "All we are saying is give Zune a chance." Computer programmer (and rumored private detective) Matt Hard joins Tim for a discussion of the user experience of Microsoft's Zune media players, Zune 4.0 software, and the Zune Pass music rental service. Born in ridicule, the Zune ecosystem has matured into something so good that Tim did not want to return Matt's kindly lent Zune8GB and ZuneHD players. Intrigued? Read on... * Both guys preferred the Zune flash player to their old iPod Nanos. Listen to find out why. * The ZuneHD has a terrific screen and touch user interface that Matt likes, but that Tim isn't so keen on. Listen to the reasons for their widely differing perspectives. * The Zune 4.0 software is terrific for music, but stinks for podcasts. Hear how a dreadful installation experience almost made Tim give up on even trying the Zune. * The Zune Pass service is more rent-to-own than rent, a great idea that was almost ruined by a terrible trial experie

  • DC68 Interview: Anne Gentle on the Social Web for Documentation

    15/04/2010 Duration: 01h01min

    Instructions are an integral part of the user experience of products and services. Anne Gentle from JustWriteClick joins Tim to talk about the social Web's impact on creating technical communication in the 21st century. You can download a free chapter from Anne's new book, Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, at Anne's blog is at

  • DC67 Interview: Silverback Utesting App and UX London 2010

    19/02/2010 Duration: 25min

    Andy Budd from ClearLeft joins Tim for a discussion about Silverback, a guerilla usability testing application for Macintosh computers. Andy also informs us about the upcoming UX London conference to be held in May of this year. You can find information about Silverback at You can find information about the UX London conference at

  • DC66 Critique: Waffle Iron

    27/01/2010 Duration: 59min

    Serena Rosenhan and her husband, Blair, join Tim for a critique of the Betty Crocker BC-1957 waffle iron. Part one of this episode is a very informal, out-of-the-box usability test recorded live in the Rosenhan kitchen on a sunny Saturday morning as Serena and Blair cooked brunch for Tim. Part two, which occurs around 42 minutes into the episode, was recorded several months later when Serena had used the waffle iron again and could join Tim via phone for a "longitudinal review" as we like to do here on Design Critique. Even something as simple as a waffle iron has numerous areas of needed improvement or, in the case of the vertical storage ability of this unit, areas of impressive innovation.

  • DC65b Three Iterations of Blog Redesign Discussed

    20/12/2009 Duration: 01h10min

    Colin from Canada returns to discuss his three iterations for the Design Critique  blog page redesign. Because this project is not "real" in a commercial sense, we tried three iterations with increasing levels of client involvement just to see how the designs might differ.Design 1 was purely from Colin's perspective as a listener to the show, wth no involvement from Tim.Design 2 was derived from Colin's interview questions that he'd normally ask an actual client.Design 3 included Tim's general vision of what he wants in the new page design, plus Colin's executing the details.Remember to see episode DC654a for the PDF file of Colin's three designs, or look at them on Colin's own website at Listener Tom from Maryland asks some very important questions about hackintoshing, end-user license agreements, and the poorly implemented and supported EFI-X module.The "Why Does Apple Allow Personal Hackintoshes" article is athttp:

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