Christmas Gift Guides: a sea of stereotypes and predictability

Xmas gift guideAs the start of December draws near, so the annual avalanche of Christmas Gift Guides arrives in every publication possible.

At some point during October (or even earlier), every magazine, newspaper or ecommerce website office around the country has the same inevitable meeting that results in some poor soul being commissioned to source the products for the gift guide.

More often that not, the guide is ‘helpfully’ split up into stereotypical categories, such as “Gifts for Him”, “Ideas for Her”, “For the awkward uncle”, which are simply an excuse to trot out the same sort of tat that appears every year.

There are two reasons why I find these utterly depressing: Continue reading

User testing can be an emotional experience


Anyone who’s spent any time working in digital will tell you the benefit of regular testing of your offering with real people.

They hopefully validate a number of theories, as well as piercing huge holes through long-held assumptions and occasionally throwing you curveballs you would never have foreseen under any circumstances.

But – for me – the most enduring part of user testing is to hear the personal stories of people who already do or are likely to use your product/site.

Working for a charity, you sometimes test with those who fit completely with your target user, but who may never have heard of you.

It’s at that point – occasionally – when your job seems completely worthwhile. Continue reading

Why removing Brighton’s parking meters is failing society


This is becoming a common sight across Brighton – parking meters being removed and drivers instead being encouraged to pay by phone or app.

The positive view is that it’s encouraging use of digital – something at which Brighton tends at the forefront.

However, more concerning is the impact removal of parking meters has on the less able. Continue reading