view of san francisco on a clear blue october day

generating focused ideas through practical empathy

there is endless diversity of human thinking styles (& endless opportunity)

analysis can be fun

If “research” is not your core job description getting started can be … doggone difficult

sunset with pond and mtns in the background, lawn in foreground

Eat, Smell, Prey

exploring an example problem space This case study aims to encourage you to get some problem-facing research started, using practical empathy and mental model diagrams. Researching the problem (as opposed to the solution) is a lot easier than you might… Read More

python script update

Several people have developed scripts to render a mental model diagram in a browser, based on data formatted in a spreadsheet. However, none of these scripts has been released to the public; all of them are internal to… Read More

marking a box as an “opposite” within a tower

Sometimes you have a summary that stands all by itself–there are no other voices like it, yet there are several voices saying the exact opposite. In this case, go ahead and group the solo voice with the others… Read More

indi presenting at ux poland

UX poland 2014 conference summary

I spent the 2014 UX Poland conference running around doing listening sessions with attendees about what concerns were on their minds at work, while simultaneously watching as many local presentations as I could. Then I did summaries and… Read More

why get a book signed?

When I was a new author, one of the more disorienting experiences was the first time someone came up to me with their copy of my book and asked me to sign it. I was happy to do… Read More

isn’t a mental model something else, not a diagram?

Frequently when people hear the phrase “mental model” they think of a narrow slice of Don Norman’s definition. In his book The Design of Everyday Things, right after discussing his example of the refrigerator/freezer controls, he writes this definition… Read More

pouring wine into the "glass" that appears between two other bottles

look at it another way

This article originally appeared in issue 267 of A List Apart in September 2008. Reprinted below. “Before you can solve a user’s problems, you must see them as that user sees them. Once you understand what drives people’s behavior, not… Read More