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The last month I have been plowing through a lot of material regarding user experiences and I as I was trying to find out if I was mysterious it dawned on me. Successful interaction design is caring about and loving the users!

Book Cover
Seductive Interaction Design book cover



Stephen Andersson spends a whole book discussing Seductive Interaction Design. The same qualities that goes for people also goes for applications. Are we attractive, easy to understand, can we be trusted, do we care about how we appear? All topped with a bit of mystery and surprise and some humour. I really enjoyed the way design is put into context. It was entertaining and a learning experience. Note to self - I must be more mysterious!


My tester colleagues talk about Charisma testing whch goes along the same lines. What matters when we decide what to buy - our feelings decide!




Having recently re-read Steve Krug's book Don't make me think I reflect on the fact that people are lazy and want immediate action. I really do not want to have to read any manuals, nor do I want to redo anything. Just make it really easy for me to understand what I am supposed to do and I will gladly do it! The whole point is that I want a user to do something and the more I can hep them the easier it will be for them to accomplish their goal. And in the end - my goal is that users manage to reach their goals.

Just think about it. If the user understands, he will not bother the support function with questions, nor will we have to remind him to fulfill what we failed to do the first time. It is, or should be, one of the primary goals for business to make highly usable products. Better conversion, fwer support issues, better data. Less waste if you like Lean language. More money in the end, and money rules - right!


Lean Comic
Lean comic


I spent a few hours today watching Luke Wroblewskijs excellent series on UX design And again, love thy user! If you design for mobile - make the buttons clickable. If research shows that the top part of the screen is the hardest to reach - why put our main navigation there? If fields are optional - why bother? No really, if we know that the success rate declines with each additional field... Give me help when I need it, in-time-help. So many good things in this short series, you´d better watch them all yourself.

So how come most IT-projects I have been involved in and have discussed with my colleagues still think that the user experience is less important that the technical parts? It´s like an optional dessert after a hearty meal on potatoes and java code?

Nah, I think this is about to change. In ten years (less I hope but do not believe) we will look back and be amazed how we could even consider letting some stuff out the door that we really in our hearts knew would make our potential users wriggle in pain while trying to accomplish their daily tasks.

Performance is crucial - I have removed a lot of heavy loading material from my site, using lazy load and super cache - still I think it feels too slow. Not good for the user experience.

Have a great summer, I really care about you my devoted readers that´s why I added links and gave you tips on where to find interesting information.

I wrote a paper some time ago on the powers of visual problem solving. This has now become an e-book thanks to the cooperation of EuroSTAR conferences. The book can be downloaded from the EuroSTAR website. I have also made it available on my own site. As usual no registration or fee is asked for.

Happy reading!


Visual problem solving is a powerful method for problem solving. Have a go at the paper Using your visual super powers.

I recently gave a tutorial on test design with a strong focus on visual problem solving. Part of the class material is an essay on how visual problem solving can help us understand and solve probems in a collaborative manner. The method literally puts us all on the same page.

Visual Problem Solving
Visual Problem Solving

I am not saying that this is the whole truth but a very powerful tool in order to focus on three of our main challenges namely:

  • UX - user always in focus
  • Collaboration - aiding us working together
  • Consensus - helping us agree on what we model together

Using Your Visual Super Powers Ryber

This is the first official version but I aim to further develop the material so I am happy to get comments from my readers.



A friend of mine is a software developer. He is of the passionate kind that really cares about the code he writes. I have the utmost respect for him. When he talks about coding, I listen. We had lunch the other day and he mentioned the book Clean Code by Uncle Bob Martin. In his opinion this should be mandatory reading for all developers. Since I am always hungry for valuable learning I ordered the book. I spent the last two days reading it. OK, I admit, I am not a developer and I have not written a lot of code but none the less I found it interesting.

Clean code is about how to be a professional developer. You can be great at coding stuff but it is different to be professional. The difference is that you do not only solve a problem but you solve with code that it easy to read for others which means maintainable. Interesting idea that comments should be avoided most of the time. The code should be so clear that it tells you what it does when you read through it. Good naming, simple functions, no duplication, indentations, clean unit tests as well. If you do not follow these practices your code will be a mess. Hard to read, lots of bugs, hard to update. In this view all automated tests is programming as well!

This leads me to the following conclusions: many people write code but few do it professionally. If you want to be a professional programmer – you have to practice hard and really want to become one. Constantly refactoring and writing tests takes a lot of effort, if you give up - the code will deteriorate fast. Automating testing is really an integrated part of development. Contrary to some popular belief, I don’t think you can just take any tester and assign them the task of automating the manual tests they are doing today, neither is it a good idea to ask them to write the unit tests. This is really writing code as well, and writing code professionally requires you to really want to write good code.

I work with a couple of really skilled developers at the moment. They know the technical stuff, they care about their code. When they tell us that they will not deliver new functions this week because they need to refactor and fix a lot of small bugs, we tester applaude! However I notice a lot that most developers have a hard time seeing the whole picture. They are very focused on solving the problems at hand and do it well technically. A nice user interface and the ability of seeing the whole picture is much lower priority than creating working code. Now I respect that, and they respect that we testers find a lot of bugs that they do not notice. I think it would be a really poor choice to make tester code and developers test more. The strength of our team is that we are good at different things. I really think the idea of everyone being able to do everything is a misunderstanding. I think it is very beneficial if developers can handle different types of coding and that testers can handle different types of testing. But that is not the same thing as everyone beeing a developer.

Both developers and testers need to become more professional. If I was a developer I would read Clean Code and do all the exercises and I would give a copy of that book to all my colleagues. Now I am a tester so I read the book to understand what developers go through. I also hand out copies of my own book on test design to members of my projects so they can understand testing better. I read about Lean, Kanban and Scrum so I understand what is happening in the agile world of today. I am really surprised and disappointed that most project managers don’t seem to care about that new stuff called Scrum when they are supposed to manage a Scrum project on some level. I learn about Effect mapping so I can help making the users happy.

Professional developers are the core of all software projects, but so are the testers. Without one or the other we will fail. Those who believe that all testing can be automated have totally missed the point, those who believe that automating testing is a waste of time have also missed the point. Both are needed but they have a very different focus. Manual testing can never make the code clean – only developers can do that using other techniques. Good manual testing will give invaluable information in order to make the application useful – help the user solve their problem!

And yes, I am really looking forward to our upcoming conferences this spring. SWET peer conference in March and Let’s test in May. The latter one open for the public. Let is discuss and bring software development one step further ahead towards real professionalism!


This is the future of testing if you ask me. I am very happy to see the number of testers in Sweden standing up saying that Exploratory testing was the solution to their testing problems. For the first time we have a true exploratory peer conference called SWET - Swedish Exploratory Testers in October 2010. The attending people have all tried Rapid Testing according to the context-driven school and gotten hooked. Now you have the chance to listen to what James has to say. It may confuse you, bother you, amuse you. I am pretty sure it will make you think about what you are doing. To me it is much more than just testing - it is about thinking, problem solving, questioning and philosophy.

After a long and cold winter this is the chance for you to collect energy and get a boost before summer. Join the context-driven community!

Now open for registration.