Design Critique: Products For People


Encouraging usable designs for a better customer experience.


  • DC144 Sunday Times Website Dark Pattern

    DC144 Sunday Times Website Dark Pattern

    08/08/2020 Duración: 14min

    This is a short episode on the dark pattern of not allowing a customer to leave a service without unnecessary effort. The Sunday Times website does not allow users to cancel their digital subscription on the site. It took a 15 minus chat online to accomplish what should take one minute and a couple clicks. Hear all about it and think about what decisions like this mean to an organization hell-bent on annoying customers. The Dark Patterns website referred to in this episode is at They do a really good job writing about and classifying  dark patterns. Thank-you, Harry Brignull and Alexander Darlington. The Sunday Times article on the French philosopher Levy is at

  • DC143 Interview: Kelly Goto on Universal Design and More

    DC143 Interview: Kelly Goto on Universal Design and More

    10/06/2020 Duración: 49min

    Kelly Goto, owner and principal of gotomedia and gotoresearch, joins Timothy Keirnan for a discussion about universal design and related topics. Dave M-R and Tim discussed Kelly's excellent 2018 article about professional terminology in episode 135 last year. Now she is on the show herself to cover a fun range of topics, including Universal Design, Inclusive Design, Accessibilty, Japanese design, and Designing for an aging population It's 45 minutes of serious discussion that doesn't take itself too seriously. Kelly provided the following links to continue the learning after you're done listening: (great story about Target in there -- it is a "design for all" store. ( a tech blog run by a friend / colleague of mine)

  • DC142 Critique: Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

    DC142 Critique: Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

    01/05/2020 Duración: 48min

    Larry Rusinsky returns to the show to help Tim critique the Bose QuietComfort 25 acoustic noise canceling headphones. The links referred to in the episode include: How Noise Canceling Headphones Work Comparison of the Bose QuietComfort 25 with the 35 Bose: Why Audiophiles Should Stop the Hate Bose Store Locator

  • DC141 Interview: Ladder Fire Truck Design with Chief Dan Phillips

    DC141 Interview: Ladder Fire Truck Design with Chief Dan Phillips

    23/02/2020 Duración: 01h33s

    Chief Phillips of the Plymouth Township Fire Department has the mind of a firefighter and the heart of a User Experience designer. Join him and Tim Keirnan for a sequel to our pumper truck design episode, this time to discuss the design of our  township's new ladder truck. How does the purpose of a ladder truck differ from a pumper truck? What did the fire department learn from ordering and using the pumper truck that improved their design of the new ladder truck? How is the human machine interface (HMI) of the ladder truck made to be as easy as possible for firefighters, including controlling the ladder and hoses and foam generator? Our discussion lasts 60 minutes and covers a wide range of anecdotes, from the scenes of emergency incidents, to the design specification reviews, to the shop floor of the Pierce factory where our truck was built.

  • DC140 Critique: Tesla Model 3

    DC140 Critique: Tesla Model 3

    20/12/2019 Duración: 01h16min

    Tesla Model 3 owners Ryan Malcolm and Syed Ibrahim join Tim Keirnan for a thorough critique of their cars while Tim moderates this ad-free, in-depth discussion. We follow the show's Critique by Values model to learn how Ryan and Syed experienced each of the phases of product experience: Encounter Decision Purchase Initial Use Longitudinal Use This is not a review of the car as much as it is a conversation about people's transportation needs and how the Model 3 fit into their current lives. Of course, aspects of the car are discussed throughout. As usual, we leave no stone unturned in a detailed, people-centered discussion unhindered by commercials. You can find Ryan at his YouTube channel, which includes track day footage of his Model 3: You can find Syed at his website at:

  • DC139 WordCast: Paul Fitts, his Law, and his List

    DC139 WordCast: Paul Fitts, his Law, and his List

    24/11/2019 Duración: 32min

    Dr. Rebecca Grier joins Tim Keirnan for a wordcast episode about Fitts' Law and Fitts' List. Who was Paul Fitts and how did this legendary psychologist impact our design professions to this day? In a beautiful bit of synchronicity, Wired magazine published this excellent article about Fitts and Chapanis solving a design problem on the B-17 Flying Fortress during WWII.: Dr. Grier recommends the following links to use in our understanding of Fitts' work: Yo

  • DC138 Conversation: The Buzzwordification of UX #2

    DC138 Conversation: The Buzzwordification of UX #2

    13/09/2019 Duración: 39min

    Jared Spool and Dana Chisnell join Tim Keirnan for a conversation about what Tim is calling the "buzzwordification" of UX. Has the increasing notoriety of this profession label helped us? Has it hindered us? Maybe it's a balance of pro and con. Maybe we just need to meet in a rental car in a parking garage somewhere in Dearborn and hash it out. Jared can be found at User Interface Engineering and the Center Centre school. Check the UIE site for his upcoming appearances in a city near you. Dana can be found at the Center for Civic Design. She is also, among many other wonderful things, the co-author of the legendary Handbook of Usability Testing 2nd Edition. She travels, too. Meet her if you can. This is the second in a series of indeterminate length. While not linked in any way beside the topic, you may also be interested in listening to the first conversation in the series with Serena Rosenhan and Keith Instone.

  • DC137 Critique: The Brilliant Mundane of the E-SDS KVM Switch

    DC137 Critique: The Brilliant Mundane of the E-SDS KVM Switch

    09/08/2019 Duración: 33min

    Mike Velasco joins Timothy Keirnan to critique the E-sds HDMI 2 Port KVM Switch Box. This item enables the use of two computers with a shared keyboard (K), video monitor (V), and mouse (M). The holistic excellence of this product is surprising. When a company does the mundane as well as this product, it shows what can be done with all details gotten right. From its excellent user interface, to its rugged build quality, to its beautiful packaging, to its well-written and well-illustrated documentation, E-SDS did everything right. This is what a good team can accomplish when value, rather than cost, is the focus for the customer. It also proves that goods made in China can be of terrific quality. Even the sales entry on is done extraordinarily well and ,while this show does not have nor want affiliate links, we’re going to put the Amazon link here so you can see how well the catalog entry was done. It has all the photos and text one would need to make a good decision.

  • DC136 Interview: Paul Axente on UX in Romania and Everywhere

    DC136 Interview: Paul Axente on UX in Romania and Everywhere

    30/06/2019 Duración: 56min

    Paul Axente, host of meetup group UX City and producer of the new Design Conversations podcast, joins Tim Keirnan for a wide-ranging discussion about UX in Romania and other topics, including: * UX City's purpose and meetings * Paul's unique route to a UX career * The Design Conversations podcast * Dark patterns in online retail * Concerns about Amazon's long-term effects on customers and communities * Paul's reservations about "corporate command" in the design process * Ethics of design * Customer experience of the video game industry (it's bad) but the promise of independent gaming companies who design for great games and for customers instead of only to make money. * The trap of people confusing tools with design skills. "What is the best tool for design? YOU are the best tool for design." If you are in Romania (and even if you're not!), look up UX City here: You can find the Design Conversations podcast in many places, including UX and

  • DC135 Our Profession Labels 2019 with Dave MR

    DC135 Our Profession Labels 2019 with Dave MR

    13/05/2019 Duración: 36min

    Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus returns to talk with Tim Keirnan about labels for our field. This continues our long-running friendly discussion about what we call our profession and why, and is there a difference--or should there be--between User Experience and Customer Experience? Dave appreciates the terminology differences whereas Tim wonders why we make such fine distinctions when at the root level we're all  "Designers of Stuff". Kelly Goto's excellent 2018 article: Jared Spool's excellent article published the day we recorded this episode. I think Jared's a mind reader! NOTE: Tim regrets interrupting Dave too much in a shocking lapse of bad hosting etiquette...he was hopped up on cough syrup at the time of this recording, which you can hear in his deep head cold voice breaking worse than Peter's in that episode of The Brady Bunch

  • DC134 The Buzzwordification of UX (1 of ?)

    DC134 The Buzzwordification of UX (1 of ?)

    14/03/2019 Duración: 01h04min

    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

  • DC133 Wordcast: Minimum Viable Product with Syed Ibrahim

    DC133 Wordcast: Minimum Viable Product with Syed Ibrahim

    24/02/2019 Duración: 41min

    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

  • DC132 Critique: Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower

    DC132 Critique: Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower

    16/12/2018 Duración: 44min

    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  

  • DC131 Interview: Fire Engine Design with Chief Dan Phillips

    DC131 Interview: Fire Engine Design with Chief Dan Phillips

    28/10/2018 Duración: 53min

    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

  • DC130 Interview: Giles Colborne, Author of Simple and Usable 2nd Edition

    DC130 Interview: Giles Colborne, Author of Simple and Usable 2nd Edition

    20/08/2018 Duración: 43min

    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 d

  • DC129 Critique: Milwaukee Vertical Toolbox

    DC129 Critique: Milwaukee Vertical Toolbox

    10/06/2018 Duración: 28min

    Mike Velasco joins Tim Keirnan for a critique of the Milwaukee 13" Jobsite Work Box. This tool box is oriented vertically in contrast with conventional tool box designs, which provides both advantages and disadvantages. While Mike enjoys the design and uses his tool box regularly, Tim has not been as impressed despite the numerous positives of the product's design and construction. This is why we do the show! Good designs of even "simple" products like a tool box cannot always please every user; people are so different. As usual, we structure our critique around the following points: * Encounter * Decision * Purchase * Initial Impression (out of the box) * Longitudinal review You can find the tool box at Milwaukee's site here: Note that product photography usually involves very bright lighting, and in this case Tim was not expecting the interior to be as dark as  the product photos appeared. The photo on the Design Critique blog page is not u

  • DC128 Interview: Gene Duarte, Industrial Designer at Mychanic

    DC128 Interview: Gene Duarte, Industrial Designer at Mychanic

    25/04/2018 Duración: 49min

    Industrial designer Gene Duarte joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about the Pod Light and the Blade Multi Light, two of Gene's designs for Mychanic. As Head of Product Development, Gene tells the story behind the designs of these two creative and usable reinterpretations of the shop light. Tim has used them successfully for ten months and explains why they serve his needs in the garage and the house so well. Well done, Mychanic You can find Gene's Pod Light and Blade MultiLight at In the photo above, the magnetic base of the Pod Light is shown with the paint-safe sticker showing. Also, note the packaging of the Pod Light with the included batteries clearly obvious.

  • Update: Molly Fuller Designs Indiegogo Campaign

    Update: Molly Fuller Design's Indiegogo Campaign

    11/04/2018 Duración: 04min

    Molly Fuller from episode 127 returns to tell us about her Indiegogo campaign to fund development of more stylish and affordable compression clothing for teens with autism and sensory disorders. Check it out at and

  • DC127 Interview: Molly Fuller on Medical Fashion Design

    DC127 Interview: Molly Fuller on Medical Fashion Design

    21/03/2018 Duración: 31min

    Molly Fuller joins Tim Keirnan to discuss creating stylish clothing for teens with autism spectrum disorder or other sensory needs. Her clothing designs use compression as a form of deep pressure for comfort and relaxation. Medical clothing does not have to look “medical” and she tells us about her interest in fashion design in school, and her tying it together with her career in medical service design, including working at the famous Mayo Clinic. You can learn more about Molly and her products at Molly is "on tour" this March and April! You can see her at the following events: March 25th - 30th: National Alliance for Caregiving, San Francisco, CA April 10th: Design of Medical Devices Conference, UM Minneapolis April 14th: Fraser Walk for Autism, Mall of America, Minneapolis April 21st: Pickin for Autism, Amsterdam Bar, St. Paul

  • Critique: Toro and Craftsman Snowblowers

    Critique: Toro and Craftsman Snowblowers

    28/02/2018 Duración: 53min

    Let it snow! This episode finds Tim and guest cohost Mike Velasco talking about the customer experience of snowblowers. Or snowthrowers. Tim relates his newbie snowblower customer experience with the Toro SnowMaster 724 QXE while Mike relates his long history with snowblowers in general and his Craftsman 881730. In a world where the word "innovation" is all too often misused by advertisers and Silicon Valley snake oil salespeople, the Toro is truly innovative. The light weight, the joystick for controlling the chute, the new design for moving the snow, the nimble handling, and the accelerator in its handle are unlike anything Tim found in other brands and models. Its speed is also impressive. As mentioned in the outro, the website is a terrific resource for learning about snowblowers, and also had a good review of the Toro.

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