Over the years, I’ve experimented with many different techniques for time- and task-management; I’ve read several books and far too many articles, experimented with virtually every app on the market, and at one stage even embarked on a project to build my own web application to manage my projects. (Sadly, like so many other side projects, it currently languishes in mockup hell, never to be seen again.)

Nowadays, I’m happily using Wunderlist, which does almost everything I need. In conjunction with a few regular routines and practices, right now I’m feeling more productive and organised than ever before. …


The original Spectrum loading screen for Twin Kingdom Valley.

One day in 1984, when I was ten years old, my parents purchased our first computer and changed the course of my life.

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a wildly popular home computer in the UK. Invented by Sir Clive Sinclair, it launched in the early 1980s; some even later trumpeted it as being responsible for “launching the UK IT industry.” It certainly launched me on a (admittedly circuitous) path to my current career. The programming and design, though, came much later — for me, the real revolution came in the form of games. …


This article has been edited by the author (Dec 14).

When I started working at Booking.com, almost twelve years ago, I’m certain that my CV was less than perfect, and my portfolio could have been better. Luckily my interviewers overlooked those minor imperfections, and a few years later I found myself reviewing resumes for hiring new designers.

During my time reviewing almost every single CV that passed across our desks, we hired some great people and interviewed many other amazing designers who weren’t quite right for us (or chose not to take up our offer). …


What are you thinking about, tram driver? What thoughts fill your mind as you trace the same route, over and over, corner after corner, there and back again ad infinitum until the working day is over and you can go home, only to return to pick up the same track tomorrow?

What do you see?

Surely you must see the same people every day, locked into their own routine just as you remain trapped in yours; walking or standing or waiting, weighted down by overburdened bags or grasping tight to the hand of a small child, pushing a bicycle with…


The Conversions@Google conference, an annual event hosted at their Dublin HQ, is aimed at advertisers — but that doesn’t mean you can’t sneak a little design in there as well.

Booking.com’s Director of Design, Stuart Frisby, shared what we have learned over the years about building a culture focused on testing, the non-design skills we look for in designers, and why he’s almost always wrong:

If you’d like to experience this culture first hand, Booking.com is currently hiring for several design roles, including:

You can find a full list of current open positions on workingatbooking.com.


When I look back over the last year, one area in particular stands out as needing improvement. Both at work, where I’d let a wide range of extra-curricular activity slowly drift away until I was doing little beyond my immediate team’s scope; and at home, when after six months of intense work on a first draft my output slowed to nearly nothing in the latter half of the year.

Towards the end of the year, I resolved to address this petering out of productivity. …


As I grow older, I increasingly often find myself indulging in nostalgic reminiscences, reliving periods of my life and reflecting on the multitude of decisions that led me to my present situation. One such recent reflection concerned the series of events that triggered my decision to pursue a career in web design, and it struck me as sufficiently interesting to share.

At some point in what must have been 1999, aged twenty-four or thereabouts, I travelled across America for three days on a Greyhound bus, accompanied by the sort of oddballs who think that riding for 3,000 miles on a…


Edinburgh from the castle (source: Library of Congress)

When one arrives into Edinburgh from the west, the city slowly grows out of the ground before you. Squat houses with flat roofs cluster in ones and twos along the roadway, numbers nailed to their lintels, as if they aspire to one day grow taller. The populated land here is sparse, and from the top deck of a bus it is possible to see, at intervals, far across the valley. …


Everyone who starts working at Booking.com gets the technology talk. “We don’t want to hold you back,” they say. “We don’t want to restrict your creativity. You’re free to use whatever software you need to get the job done — we’re so relaxed about your technology choices we’ll even let you choose between a MacBook and a Dell!”

So there you are, on your first day, sitting at your new desk and clutching a brand new MacBook (what? I prefer shiny things), trying to decide what to install first. Because it’s true — we don’t care what code editor you prefer, whether you’re an Outlook person or a Thunderbird person; Photoshop or Sketch, Powerpoint or Keynote, GitHub or the command line… We really don’t care. Productivity is the priority.

And for the first few weeks (maybe even the first few months), that’s great. In fact, it’s awesome. But when you’re working in a department of over 1,000 people…


It started with an earthquake.

“Oh, that’s great,” said Clem, spreading out her arms as if she could pin down the great tectonic plate below us with a full body slam. We were sitting, the four of us, on the field of grass next to the 101, Crissy Field spread out below us like a blanket. Looking down to the bay, I could make out the small black dots of dog walkers and joggers, standing in frozen shock or crouching next to panicked animals as the earth continued to rumble.

“Look at that,” Mike said, gesturing with his chin. We…

Matthew Pennell

Senior designer for Booking.com. Designer, developer, writer, reader, feminist, atheist, optimist. I believe there is goo in everyone.

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