Here’s a short fifteen minute video (and transcript) of an interview I did about accessibility and inclusive design. I quite like how it turned out!
Saturday, November 5th, 2022
Saturday, February 19th, 2022
This forthcoming podcast about design engineering sounds like my cup of tea!
Sunday, January 9th, 2022
From Patrick Tanguay:
A list of small micro-publishers — most of them run by one person — putting out great content through their websites, newsletters, and podcasts.
Tuesday, November 16th, 2021
Well, this is just wonderful! Jim has written copious notes after listening to my favourite episode of season three of the Clearleft podcast, measuring design:
I’m going to have to try really, really hard to not just copy/paste the entire transcript of this podcast. It‘s that good. Don’t miss it.
Monday, November 8th, 2021
Ten episodes of the Web History podcast
For over a year now I’ve been recording the audio versions of Jay Hoffman’s excellent Web History series on CSS Tricks.
We’re up to ten chapters now. The audio version of each chapter is between 30 and 40 minutes long. That’s around 400 minutes of my voice: a good six and a half hours of me narrating the history of the web. That’s like an audio book!
The story so far covers:
…with more to come.
That’ll give you plenty to listen to while you wait for the next season of the Clearleft podcast.
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021
Season three of the Clearleft podcast
Coaching. There was one question at the heart of this episode: what’s the difference between training, coaching, and mentoring? I got some great answers to that question, with some good stories along the way.
Design Engineering. It will come as no surprise that I really enjoyed this episode. This is a topic I think is growing in importance. The relevation for me was the way Trys framed it less as the intersection between design and development, and more about the gap between design and development. And remember we’re looking for a design engineer to join Clearleft.
Design Research. A really fun deep dive, thanks to Steph. I feel like this episode set things up for the next two episodes. Oh, and we’re also looking for a design researcher to join Clearleft.
Innovation. I had lots of great material to draw on here: a panel discussion, conference talks, and interviews. I really like the ensemble nature of the end result.
Measuring Design. My favourite episode of the season, and probably my favourite episode of the Clearleft podcast so far. This episode builds on a hot topic from UX Fest. And just this week, Andy published a blog post that continues the debate. If you only listen to one episode of the season, make it this one.
Design Principles. Needless to say, I enjoyed the heck out of this one. As a well-known nerd for design principles this felt kind of self-indulgent, but in the end there’s not much of me in it (thankfully). In fact it’s more like a case study of the work Clearleft did with Citizens Advice.
I also wrote a bit about each episode when they came out:
Six episodes might not sound like much, but it takes a lot of work to put a season together. It’s rewarding though. And I’m already looking forward to crafting the arc for season four. But that won’t be until the start of next year.
Wednesday, October 13th, 2021
Design principles on the Clearleft podcast
The final episode of season three of the Clearleft podcast is out. Ah, what a bittersweet feeling! On the hand it’s sad that the season has come to an end. But it feels good to look back at six great episodes all gathered together.
But for this podcast episode the focus is on one specific project. Clearleft worked with Citizens Advice on a recent project that ended up having design principles at the heart of it. It worked as a great focus for the episode, and a way of exploring design principles in general. As Katie put it, this about searching for principles for design principles.
Katie and Maite worked hard on nailing the design principles for the Citizens Advice project. I was able to get some of Maite’s time for her to talk me through it. I’ve also got some thoughts from my fellow Clearlefties Andy and Chris on the topic of design principles in general.
It’s nineteen minutes long and well worth a listen.
Wednesday, October 6th, 2021
Measuring design on the Clearleft podcast
There was a bit of a theme running through UX Fest earlier this year. On the one hand, there was all the talk of designers learning to speak the language of business (to get that coveted seat at the table), which means talking in numbers. But on the other hand, isn’t there a real danger in reducing user experience to numbers in a spreadsheet?
For this episode I put the narrative together using lots of snippets from different talks, not just from UX Fest but from previous Clearleft events too. I also got some good hot takes from my colleagues Chris, Andy, and Maite. Oh, and it opens with former US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. If you know, you know.
This episode comes in at 22 and a half minutes and I think it’s well worth your time. Have a listen.
This is the penultimate episode of season three. Just one more to go!
Wednesday, September 29th, 2021
Innovation on the Clearleft podcast
At the beginning of the episode, I think you can hear the scorn in my voice. Y’see, innovation is one of the words—like “disruptive”—that gets thrown around a lot and everyone assumes it only has positive connotations. But words like “innovative” and “disruptive” can be applied to endeavours that are not good for the world.
Bitcoin, for example, could rightly be described as innovative (and disruptive) but it’s also a planet-destroying ponzi scheme—like a lovechild of the trolley problem and the paperclip maximizer designed to generate the most amount of waste for the least amount of value.
So, yeah, I’m not a fan of innovation for innovation’s sake. But don’t worry. For this episode of the podcast I set my personal feelings to one side and let the episode act as a conduit for much smarter people.
The whole thing clocks in at 25 minutes but I think this episode might have the widest range of contributors yet. There are snippets from an internal Clearleft discussion, soundbites from a panel discussion, extracts from conference talks, as well as interviews with individuals. From Clearleft there’s Chris How, Andy Thornton, Jon Aizlewood and Lorenzo Ferronato. From the panel discussion there’s Janna Bastow, Matt Cooper-Wright, Dorota Biniecka and Akshan Ish. And from UX Fest there’s Radhika Dutt, Teresa Torres and Gregg Bernstein.
I happily defer to their expertise on this topic. Have a listen and hear what they have to say.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2021
Halfway through season three of the Clearleft podcast
Each season of the Clearleft podcast has six episodes. Three of the six episodes of the current season are available with another three still to come.
In case you missed them, the episodes of season three released so far are:
What’s the difference between training, coaching, and mentorship?
- Design Engineering
A role that sits at the intersection—or rather, the gap—between design and engineering.
- Design Research
The journey from evaluative research to generative research.
That’s quite a mixed bag. You might think that there’s no particular unifying to a season of the podcast.
Well, that’s kind of true. There’s no specific theme. But each season does have a meta-grouping.
At Clearleft, we think about our services in three interconnected categories: explore, create, and grow.
- “Explore” is all about the big strategic picture.
- “Create” is the nitty-gritty work of delivery.
- “Grow” is what connects those together.
Each season of the podcast focuses on one of those categories. This season it’s all about “explore” with a bit of “grow” thrown in.
The next three episodes of this season will double down on the big-picture thinking. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I’ll just remind you that if you’re not already subscribed to the Clearleft podcast, I highly recommend rectifying that situation.
And if you’re already subscribed …thank you. If you’re enjoying listening to it half as much as I’m enjoying making it, then I’m enjoying it twice as much as you.
Seriously though, if you like what you hear, please share it around. Drop a link to the Clearleft podcast into your work Slack channel or share it in a tweet.
Thank you for listening.
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021
Design research on the Clearleft podcast
Episode three is all about design research. I like the narrative structure of this. It’s a bit like a whodunnit, but it’s more like a whydunnit. The “why” question is “why aren’t companies hiring more researchers?”
The scene of the crime is this year’s UX Fest, where talks by both Teresa Torres and Gregg Bernstein uncovered the shocking lack of researchers. From there, I take up the investigation with Maite Otondo and Stephanie Troeth.
I won’t spoil it but by the end there’s an answer to the mystery.
I learned a lot along the way too. I realised how many axes of research there are. There’s qualitative research (stories, emotion, and context) and then there’s quantitative research (volume and data). But there’s also evualative research (testing a hyphothesis) and generative research (exploring a problem space before creating a solution). By my count that gives four possible combos: qualitative evaluative research, quantitative evaluative research, qualitative generative research, and quantitative generative research. Phew!
Steph was a terrific guest. Only a fraction of our conversation made it into the episode, but we chatted for ages.
And Maite kind of blew my mind too, especially when she was talking about the relationship between research and design and she said:
Research is about the present and design is about the future.
I’m going to use that quote again in a future episode. In fact, this episode on design research leads directly into the next two episodes. You won’t want to miss them. So if you’re not already subscribed to the Clearleft podcast, you should get on that, whether it’s via the RSS feed, Apple, Google, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts from.
Have a listen to this episode on design research and if you’re a researcher yourself, remember that unlike most companies we value research at Clearleft and that’s why we’re hiring another researcher right now. Come and work with us!
Wednesday, September 15th, 2021
Design engineering on the Clearleft podcast
I wrote about this role back in February. I think my fervour comes across in that post and you can probably hear it in the podcast episode too.
As ever, I end up asking the question, “So what exactly is insert topic of the podcast episode here?”
I’ve got some smart folks answering that question. There’s an excerpt from Tobias Ahlin’s talk at this year’s UX Fest. And when I interviewed Adekunle Oduye for a previous episode on prototyping, we also discussed design engineering so I pulled out the relevant bits. But the bulk of the episode features the voice of Trys Mudford.
As you can gather from the many posts on Trys’s blog, he has a lot to say on the topic of design engineering. Luckily for me, he says it all with a clear, articulate delivery—the perfect podcast guest!
This episode finishes with a call to action (oh, the synergy!). If, after listening to 23 minutes of discussion on design engineering, you find yourself thinking “Hey, I think I might be a design engineer!”, then you should definitely head along to this job opening at Clearleft:
We’re currently looking for a design-friendly front-end developer with demonstrable skills in pattern-based prototyping and production.
Have a listen to episode two of season three of the Clearleft podcast and if you like what you hear, come and join us!
Thursday, September 9th, 2021
This is a really nice write-up by Sydney of the chat we had on her podcast.
Wednesday, September 8th, 2021
I really enjoyed talking to Sydney Lai about progressive web apps, resilient web design, and all my other hobby horses.
Alas, there’s no transcript and I can’t find a direct link to the RSS feed or the individual audio file on the podcast website so it’s not huffduffable.
Coaching on the Clearleft podcast
The first episode is a nice gentle one to ease into things. It’s about coaching …and training …and mentorship. Basically I wanted to find out what the differences are between those three things.
But I must confess, there’s a commercial reason why this episode is coming out now. There’s a somewhat salesy promotion of an upcoming coaching programme with Julia Whitney. This is definitely the most overt marketing I’ve done on the Clearleft podcast, but if you listen to the episode, I think you’ll agree that it fits well with the theme.
Fear not, future episodes will not feature this level of cross-promotion. Far from it. You can expect some very revealing podcast episodes that pull no punches in getting under the skin of design at Clearleft.
Have a listen and hear for yourself.
Monday, September 6th, 2021
Season three of the Clearleft podcast
If you’re not already subscribed to the Clearleft podcast, you should probably remedy that. The third season is about to drop any day now.
Once again, the season will comprise six episodes released on a weekly schedule.
That’s a cadence I more or less picked at random, but I think it’s working out well. Six episodes are enough for the podcast to sustain your interest without overstaying its welcome. And by taking nice long breaks between seasons, you’re never going to end up with that podcast problem of having a backlog of episodes that you never seem to get around to listening to.
That said, if you did fancy going through the backlog, there’s a mere twelve episodes for you to catch up on. Six from season one and six from season two. None of the episodes are overly long. Again, I don’t want this podcast to overstay its welcome. I respect your time. A typical episode is somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes of multiple viewpoints and voices.
You can subscribe to the RSS feed or use whichever service you prefer to get your podcasts from: Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, Deezer, TuneIn, Castro, Pocket Casts, Player FM, or my own personal choice, Overcast.
Or you could just huffduff whichever episodes sound most appealing to you. But honestly, and I may be biased here, they’re all pretty darn great so I recommend subscribing.
If you subscribe now, then the episodes from season three will magically appear in your podcast software of choice. Again, I know I’m biased, but this is going to be an excellent season featuring some very smart folks sharing their stories.
Just to be clear, in case you haven’t listened to the Clearleft podcast before, this isn’t your usual podcast format. Yes, I interview people but I don’t release one interview per episode. Instead, each episode zeroes in one topic, and features different opinions from different people. It’s tight and snappy with no filler. That involves a lot of production and editing work, but I think it’s worth it for the end result.
Can you tell that I’m excited?
Thursday, August 19th, 2021
The transcript from the latest episode of the HTTP 203 podcast is well worth perusing.
- Internet Explorer halted development, no innovation. Would you say Safari is the new IE?
- There was loads of stuff missing. Is Safari the new IE?
- My early career was built on knowing the bugs in IE6 and how to solve them. Is Safari the new IE?
- Internet Explorer had a fairly cavalier attitude towards web standards. Is Safari the new IE?
- Back in the day that we had almost no communication whatsoever. Is Safari the new IE?
- Slow-release cycle. Is Safari the new IE?
Tuesday, August 17th, 2021
I was moaning about Safari recently. Specifically I was moaning about the ridiculous way that browser updates are tied to operating system updates.
But I felt bad bashing Safari. It felt like a pile-on. That’s because a lot of people have been venting their frustrations with Safari recently:
- Jorge Arango wrote Back to the Bad Old Days of the Web,
- Dave Rupert wrote One-offs and low-expectations with Safari,
- Perry Sun wrote For developers, Apple’s Safari is crap and outdated, and
- Tim Perry wrote Safari isn’t protecting the web, it’s killing it.
I think it’s good that people share their frustrations with browsers openly, although I agree with Baldur Bjarnason that’s good to avoid Kremlinology and the motivational fallacy when blogging about Apple.
It’s also not helpful to make claims like “Safari is the new Internet Explorer!” Unless, that is, you can back up the claim.
On a recent episode of the HTTP 203 podcast, Jake and Surma set out to test the claim that Safari is the new IE. They did it by examining Safari according to a number of different measurements and comparing it to the olden days of Internet Explorer. The result is a really fascinating trip down memory lane along with a very nuanced and even-handed critique of Safari.
And the verdict? Well, you’ll just to have to listen to the podcast episode.
If you’d rather read the transcript, tough luck. That’s a real shame because, like I said, it’s an excellent and measured assessment. I’d love to add it to the links section of my site, but I can’t do that in good conscience while it’s inaccessible to the Deaf community.
When I started the Clearleft podcast, it was a no-brainer to have transcripts of every episode. Not only does it make the content more widely available, but it also makes it easier for people to copy and paste choice quotes.
Still, I get it. A small plucky little operation like Google isn’t going to have the deep pockets of a massive corporation like Clearleft. But if Jake and Surma were to open up a tip jar, I’d throw some money in to get HTTP 203 transcribed (I recommend getting Tina Pham to do it—she’s great!).
I apologise for my note of sarcasm there. But I share because I care. It really is an excellent discussion; one that everyone should be able to access.
Some folks called us out for lacking transcripts for our podcasts. Fair point! So, here we go (and all future episodes will have transcripts)https://t.co/HmfwBvAicA— Jake Archibald (@jaffathecake) August 18, 2021
Friday, July 9th, 2021
An audio mix for every year of recorded sound, 1859 to the present.
Currently up to 1936.
Monday, May 10th, 2021
The Clearleft podcast is currently between seasons, but that’s not going to stop me from yapping on in audio files at any opportunity.
I’ve been continuing my audio narration of Jay Hoffman’s excellent Web History series over on CSS tricks. We’re eight chapters in already! That’s a good few hours of audio—each chapter is over half an hour long.
The latest chapter was a joy to narrate. It’s all about the history of CSS so I remember many of the events that are mentioned, like when Tantek saved the web by implenting doctype switching (seriously, I honestly believe that if that hadn’t happened, CSS wouldn’t have “won”). Eric is in there. And Molly. And Elika. And Chris. And Dave.
If you’re not completely sick of hearing my voice, you can also listen to the latest episode of the Object Oriented UX podcast with Sophia V. Prater. Our chat starts about eleven minutes into the episode and goes on for a good hour.
It was nice to be on the other side of the microphone, so to speak. The topic was Resilient Web Design but the conversation went in all sorts of directions.
I do enjoy a good natter. If you’ve got a podcast and you fancy having a chat, let me know.