UX in Sales-Led Organisations

If you’re a designer joining a sales-led organisation, forget everything you know about putting UX into practice!

Product design and UX books, articles, courses, and other training materials typically assume you’re in a product-led, possibly B2C, environment. But the reality in a sales-led B2B SaaS company is starkly different, presenting unique challenges and opportunities.

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Design is a Team Sport

In the early stages of web design and later UX design, designers typically flew solo. They were either freelancing or were the only designer in their team or even the whole company.

Tools of that era reflected this solitude – designers would create mockups in PowerPoint and hand them over to developers, complete with specs about paddings, spacings, alignments, etc.

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Metrics for UX & Product Design Teams

Measuring success is one of the challenges in leading a modern Product Design team, which encompasses roles like Product Designer, UX Researcher, and UX Writer.

Knowing what to measure can be difficult. You can’t track everything. Even if you could, where do you get the data?

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Remote Collaboration in Product Design

Remote working has reshaped product design. As the Head of Product Design at a remote-first SAAS company, I’ve seen firsthand the ups and downs of remote collaboration. Despite some challenges, the benefits are clear, and I wouldn’t want to go back to a traditional office setup.

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A Book That Opened My Mind

Following my previous two posts (A Book That Inspired Me and A Book That Made Me Think), let me share another story about a book that has impacted my life and career.

Nearly 20 years ago, I stumbled upon Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” in a friend’s house.

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A Book That Made Me Think

In my role as a Head of Product Design, I’m passionate about making software more usable. I can trace this passion back to year 2000, when I was managing a design team on an online banking project in Edinburgh. To guide us, we hired a human computer interaction (HCI) consultant — loosely equivalent to what we now call a UX Researcher.

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A Book That Inspired Me

Twenty-odd years ago, I found myself in the transient space of an airport between business flights, where I chanced upon a book that would leave a lasting impact on my design career.

Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” sat unassumingly on a crowded bookshelf, raising my curiosity with its enigmatic cover and audacious claim, “The world’s best selling book by Paul Arden.”

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How to Create a Product Design Portfolio

Having built more than one design team over the years, I’ve sifted through numerous CVs and portfolios. Within seconds, I form a gut feeling about a designer that is usually validated as I review their work.

To help you make an outstanding first impression, here are my tips for crafting a compelling product design portfolio.

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How Children Explore Today’s World

Since my own childhood in the 1970s and 1980s, there’s been a significant change in how kids explore the world around them.

Back then, we would roam and play outdoors until darkness fell. If someone was needed at home, a sibling was sent to fetch them.

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The Rise of Indie Writers in an AI World

Independent writer competing in an AI world

It’s easy to think that writing created by AI might push independent authors out of the picture. But I believe it could do just the opposite. Hear me out!

The more AI writes, the more people might value stories only humans can tell. When AI-written content is everywhere, the personal touch of human writers could become a rare and valuable thing.

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Usability Testing Tips for Enterprise Software

While usability testing is now standard practice in consumer software development, enterprise software still poses challenges for those seeking to conduct usability testing, including

  • Limited pool of customers
  • Domain knowledge needed
  • Customer gatekeepers
  • Customer configurations, roles and permissions

Small pool of users

Enterprise software products typically have fewer users than consumer software products, so you’re likely to be recruiting from a limited pool.

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UX Guidelines for Error Handling

message not proximate
Not what you want to see!

Error handling is too often an overlooked aspect of UX design. Removing the pain from error experiences is critical because if a user encounters an error, they are probably already frustrated.

Error messages expose the interface. A well-designed interface becomes invisible; the user is not thinking about the interface but about her tasks. So

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Why Your App Will Probably Fail

When clients tell me they want to make an app, the question I ask is: why?

The potential rewards of creating a successful app are huge. The internet has recently crossed the mobile tipping point; in the US alone, adults now spend more time accessing digital media from their mobiles than from desktops.

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Designing for a Juicier Web

The first book I bought on web design, in 1998, was The Principles of Web Design by Jeffrey Veen. Jeff’s tips included how to create a striped web page background using by repeating a single-pixel GIF as a pattern in the HTML code (CSS hadn’t really caught on yet).

Today’s designers face different constrains and challenges.

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How I Made a Lo-Fi Smartphone Prototype


The video above shows a simple prototype for an Android Wear app, running on an an LG G watch R, which I created within a few hours of coming up with the concept — with ZERO CODING.


The idea of the app is to show the user the names (and faces) of other people attending a meeting.

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Usability — Just Fix It

jeff bezos

Initial client meeting…

Client: “We’d like you to conduct user testing of our website.”

Me: “Great.”

Client: (Laughs.) “And don’t worry. We’ve got thick skins. We want honest, open feedback.”

Later, in a worskshop to discuss the findings…

Me: The users I tested loved the “Try it Now FREE” button on the homepage.

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You’ve Done the Usability Testing, Now What?

The first thing you should fix - what's most broken and easily fixable.
The first thing you should fix – what’s most broken and easily fixable.

After you’ve done usability testing, or got user feedback of any kind, what should you work on? Most people prioritise low-hanging fruit. Clients ask me if there are “quick wins”.

But a better question to ask is “What is most broken?”

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Getting From Prototype to Product

I’ve written previous posts about how I use Balsamiq Mockups to create wireframes and prototypes, and my methods for usability testing.

But these are parts of a bigger process — to get from an idea to a finished website, application or software product.

My UX Process

When a new client engages me to work with them on a new design (or redesign) project, they are keen to know “What method did you use?”.

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How to Engage Clients in Usability Testing

UX Stencil © Todd Zazelenchuk & Elizabeth Boling.

Many of my clients have never previously carried out usability testing. Even when I tell them about how successful testing has been for my other clients, I can sense that they are nervous. For many people, usability testing feels like a step into the unknown.

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Infographics are Fun but Spreadsheets are Faster

I recently completed a fascinating usability study with the help of Dr. Stephan Weibelzahl and Sara Kyofuna at NCI in Dublin. Here is a report of our findings. NCI will be publishing an academic paper on the study.

Question: Are interactive infographics better than spreadsheets?

Study: In an eye-tracking study involving 32 participants, User Journeys (my company) and National College of Ireland compared two interactive infographics to their tabular data (spreadsheet) equivalents.

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How I Made a No-Code Android App

Last night I released Happy Shapes – a free Android game for kids.
Here is how it all came about.

Originally, I had the desire to create a software product. After months of wrangling with complex wireframes, I realised the development was going to cost $$$.

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No-one Reads the Terms and Conditions

I have read the terms and conditions; Untick the box if you do not not wish to sell your soul to Lucifer

Comedian Eddie Izzard has a funny routine about ticking the “I have read the terms and conditions” box.

“Even God,” quips Izzard, “has not read the terms and conditions!”

The terms and conditions tick-box is a charade. Companies know that users do not read the linked-to T&Cs, which are often many pages of legalese.

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Small Screens, Big Fingers

In the age of the smartphone, tablet, and other touch screen electronic devices, is this the end of the physical (non-virtual) keyboard?

I recently noticed a clue to the answer when shopping for a tablet device. Many of the manufacturers offered cases that came bundled with USB keyboards. 

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The Difference Between UX and Usability

users's hierarchy of needs: 1. functional (it works), 2. usable (it's easy to use), 3. pleasurable (it's fun to use)

People sometimes ask, “what’s the difference between user experience (UX) and usability?”. Let me try to explain, by borrowing from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Let us assume that the user of any software has three hierarchical types of needs:

1. The software must work; it must be functional.

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Mobile UX – Adapt to the User’s Screen Size

Updated: Oct 2023
I’ve noticed that many companies spend too much time and money on mobile apps; and not enough time considering their mobile web presence. With the rise of smartphones, mobile-responsive design is more than just a trend – it’s a necessity.

A critical principle to embrace is: adapt to the user’s screen size.

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How Good UX Improves Conversion Rates

When your website is not achieving its projected sales targets, your first instinct will probably be “get more traffic”.

But those striving to grow online sales tend to focus too much on generating new visitors, while neglecting the experience of visitors on the site.

As the old saying goes: You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

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The Usability of Infographics

Web designers everywhere are adding ‘infographics’ to their list of services. Here’s an infographic to illustrate the rise in infographics.

A decade ago, most websites betrayed a lack of understanding of basic usability principles; so it is with today’s infographics.

This was starkly evident when Smashing Magazine recently published  The Do’s And Don’ts Of Infographic Design:

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and produce a traditional bar graph or pie chart; nevertheless, always consider ways to dress it up…

The article was met with horror by the data visualization community.

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UX and Data Visualization Software

Data, data, everywhere. It comes from public bodies, social networks, personal devices, healthcare systems, media sources, etc. The technological revolution of the last two decades has cracked open wellsprings of data that never stop giving.

Data visualization will be an important craft/technology over the coming years.

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Inline Validation Made Easy


Update August 2015: Now HTML5 lets you validate forms without the need for any JavaScript. See: http://www.the-art-of-web.com/html/html5-form-validation/

Here’s the original article, for posterity:

One way of making web forms less painful is to use inline validation.

This jQuery plugin makes it easy for designers and developers to add inline validation to web-based forms.

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Why Wireframes Use Comic Sans

facebook wireframe
Wirefame of Facebook page created using Balsamiq

Update: Oct 2023 — UX Design has evolved a lot since I wrote this article but I’m keeping it here for posterity, to reflect my thinking at the time.

The Comic Sans font has often been derided as the font choice of amateurs, but it is useful for creating mockups.

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Old Blog, New Blog

Starting January 2011, I am adding new blog entries exclusively on this site.

You can still view my old blog Mediajunk.com, which I started back in 2002, on the Wayback machine (2002 to 2011). I no longer own that domain.

— Michael Heraghty

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