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Collage of hands drawing a musical score with shapes and symbols

Design and music intersect in many areas; fashion, art, filmmaking and set design, yet one relatively obscure but staggeringly creative area is in the design of graphic notation used by composers. Graphic notation is one side that is relatively unknown outside the sometimes rarefied world of orchestral and experimental music.

This is the story of a novel and powerful way to visualise your user’s journey, and a traumatising childhood gaming experience.

We are inveterate storytellers, ‘who create our own identities around a story’ says philosopher Owen Flanagan. It seems appropriate that story (without the definitive article) is an excellent design thinking tool.

Task and user flows are ubiquitous industry-standard design tools, yet they lack the human factor, leading to a less…

Shadow doesn’t get as much love as other design elements, such as cool colour palettes or super sexy shapes, but it is vital in communicating interaction.

Collage of different layers of coloured files.

Plato gave shadows a bad name. Alright, look, I may be stretching this a little, but bear with me. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato contended shadows mislead people about the true nature of reality, setting up a distrust of darkness and shadows. …

How Alphonse Chapanis, a young psychologist, saved the lives of WWII pilots through clever design.

Collage of Alphonso Chapanis and B-17 bomber

As the massive B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ touched down after a long day of combat, the pilot flicked the control to drop his speed as he had always done. Within seconds, the massive plane collapsed onto the tarmac, skidding and screaming on its fuselage.

These accidents were to happen with increasing…

Listening is a vital UX skill we can all get better at, and a chatbot experiment from the 1960s teaches us how.

Collage of two women talking and listening

Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist at MIT, created the first natural language computer program called ELIZA in 1964, a precursor to the chatbot we put up with today. A person would type their question in to a terminal and ELIZA would magically come back with a response on the screen…

Designers should not be mere decorators, but have an understanding of language and microcopy, a crucial design skill, now more than ever.

Look at these two images

14 hugely interesting and educational podcasts on design, creativity and psychology to fill any learning void.

Quirky illsutation of a man wearing headphones receiving podcasts by radar

Are you perennially challenged to get any reading done? Are you the type that wakes up each morning with a book stuck to your face after only one page?

Podcasts might be the answer. Although they don’t have the tactile feel of paper, they can have the nail biting tension…

Steve Job’s challenge to the engineers of the first iPad keyboard is an excellent lesson to us all.

Collage of Steve Jobs scanning an iPad

Yes, it’s another Steve Jobs tribute, but this is good, trust me. Steve Jobs believed in stripping away non-essential choices when making products easier to use and learn over time. Sounds obvious now, and it has become the opening chat up line for any discerning product designer and manager. …

I joined Twitter 10 years ago and today, I wilfully pressed the deactivate button.

Poof! @_davidhall was dead as a dodo. #GoodBye was the cold parting tweet it presented me with. It had promptly flipped me the bird.

Twitter was part of my daily ritual. Wake, shower, Twitter. Drive, park…

David Hall

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