Hey team,

When pilots approach a runway to land, there’s a clear decision point. At around 200ft altitude, you need to be able to see the runway to continue the approach. If not, then you must immediately ascend and try the landing again.

This decision point is so important that some planes will announce it by voice. The on-board computer will make a loud “DECIDE” call as it counts down the distance to the runway. (You can watch an example on YouTube).

At this stage, the pilot in charge has only a few seconds to make a decision, which will…

This is a first of a series of regular emails I started sending out to my design team at Inviqa to help spark curiosity. I’ll keep posting them as they go out in my Medium publication Hello Team.

Hello team,

A few weeks ago I was watching a video from a recent rocket launch, taking astronauts to the International Space Station.

They showed the inside of the astronauts’ capsule, and I spotted something surprising. There was something that looked like a kitchen timer strapped on their dashboard.

I asked a friend who’s a space geek, and to my surprise he…

A few weeks ago on the train, an advert caught my eye:

“Get a smart meter and you could save enough energy for 115 hot baths”

Sounds impressive, right? In fact the website of Smart Energy GB, the industry body tasked with coordinating the roll out of smart electricity & gas meters in the UK, has in the past made exciting claims like:

On average a household with a smart meter saves two percent on their energy bills a year, or 354kWh. That may not sound like much, but it’s enough energy to have 115 hot baths or to listen to your favorite song on a tablet every day for 35 years.

While it’s…

Based on a talk I gave at the Boring Conference VIII, 5 May 2018 at Conway Hall, London.

It all started with an accident.

One day, coming back from work, I got into the lift in my block of flats, and got off at the wrong floor. How did this happen?

Our building has two identical lifts. Identical, except for two different control panels with completely different button placement:

What do people do with Alexa in their living room? How do they speak to Siri in their car? Voice interactions are harder for researchers to observe than many other interfaces. They often happen in private spaces, at unpredictable times and might only last a few seconds.

At a recent Research Thing meetup, we got to meet some of the researchers trying to make a dent in this space. Read on to find out what they said, and sign up for our Webcredible voice event if your organisation is thinking of making a foray into voice.

Alexa, how do I make dinner?

Tom Walker from the…

I want to take you for a trip to the dark side. More specifically, the evil world of “dark patterns” — things you can put in your design to trick and manipulate users.

For example, trying to instil a fake sense of urgency — like this offer that seems to be “expiring soon” but keeps popping up in your inbox every week.

Expiring … forever!

Or this cancellation page from Beer52 (my favourite monthly beer delivery service) which does everything it can to stop you from closing your account, including getting you to skip your next delivery, changing your delivery frequency, or forcing…

Over the last year, we’ve been living the future of home automation in our household. It all started last Christmas, when I bought one of these remote-controlled sockets so I can easily switch on and off the christmas tree lights.

Remote Controlled Mains Sockets from Maplin (cost: £4–6 per socket)

I quickly found out that a few people had already reversed-engineered the wireless signals used by this socket/remote control combination and had already created libraries to send signals through an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

I had a Raspberry Pi lying around (cost ~£20), so all I had to do was to plug in a cheap 433MHz transmitter module (cost less…

One good headline feature, lots of missed opportunities & basic design mistakes …

Before we start, a full disclosure

  • When the London Cycle Hire scheme launched in 2010, I launched one of the first 3rd party iPhone apps around cycle hire, which I’ve been developing and maintaining ever since. Even though I make a small amount of money by selling this app on the App Store, it certainly hasn’t made me rich, nor is it likely to do so — it’s just a side project.
  • My day job involves designing websites & apps. I don’t generally like to critique other people’s work without knowing the context…

Hint: it’s not just about fitness tracking

Apple have spoken a lot about the Apple Watch fitness tracking capabilities. However, most of us who ride a bike every day aren’t fitness fanatics and couldn’t give a toss about our average cycling pace and calories burnt.

Fortunately, there are a few other good reasons why the cyclist in me is excited about the Apple Watch.

1. Keeping an eye on things without taking your phone out

The man who popularised wristwatches, Alberto Santos-Dumont, was an aviation pioneer. …

Have you ever given up answering an online survey because it frustrated you with irrelevant questions.

Here’s how to make sure your survey respondents don’t give up too.

While leading UX projects, I sometimes have to plan online surveys (or persuade people not to run an online survey when I think that it won’t produce any helpful results).

So when I come across a website or email that prompts me to take a survey, I’ll often click on the link and attempt to go through the survey to see if I can learn from a good example or if I’m going to start banging my head against a wall. Most often, it’s the latter and a few days ago it was one of those days.

A charitable organisation…

Alexander Baxevanis

Experience Design Director & Creative Generalist at @Inviqa. Cyclist, Photographer, Husband of @aniamendrek & Flâneur. Creator of @LDNfilmphoto, @cyclehireapp

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