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Milton Keynes

UI and UX in the real world.



Having worked on the coal face of product design. I have seen how UI and UX decision making can affect the success or failure of a product first hand. Some of my biggest successes have been where during the creation of product briefs and development I have listened more and talked less. The bigger failures were, in hindsight a combination of being led by internal interpretations of external customer feedback, or adapting a product to be “better” by diverting features or design elements because the input came from some one who knew more than myself about a particular design element, but they in turn knew nothing about customer expectations.


I think in the last 20 years the “if you build it they will come” attitude has grown, most likely from the success of combination technology such as the integration of cameras, GPS and similar things into things like our phones and cars. But the reality is that the success of some bigger brands has in my opinion stifled the creativity of some brands, especially those who chase the competition offering 1 more megapixel, or a nanosecond faster speed in what they do instead of looking at the bigger picture of technology integration.


When I wrote my University Dissertation, I was inspired to wax lyrical about Milton Keynes, the place I grew up and where a seemingly utopian mixture of planned development, open spaces, congestion free grid road network and sprawling network of cycle routes made for a perfect UI and UX delivery in the real world.

When I returned from the University of Leeds with my degree I was shocked to see that in the short time I had been away elements of the “plan” had been eroded, Traffic lights throttling the flow of traffic at roundabouts and at grade crossings introduced on what were supposed to be pedestrian free and safe road networks.

Milton Keynes like any business simply grew, expanded, and evolved and with more people, bigger infrastructure and more and more middle management introducing their opinion and supposition into the changes that were made as the city grew.


I suppose the lesson here, if there is one is that as a business be careful when introducing change and if you are going to use 3rd party developers (literally property developers in this case) that you have a clear and concise Design Brief and ensure that the parameters of what is and what is not acceptable and enforce them as you progress on your business journey. Deviation from the brief makes your product less cohesive, affects the User interface and experiences changing your value proposition.


If you, or your business are looking to evolve and review your products or services or create a strategy for the future in general. Dig out and dust off your last plans and blueprints, and the ones before and ask… “If I was the person using this, is it better than what we delivered before, or are we being driven towards being the same as other businesses, for the sake of convenience and cost.”




From the Author:

Having worked as a Product Director and lived in Milton Keynes most of my adult life I have seen remarkable comparisons in the way the "New City" has evolved and the way businesses operate. The biggest difference is that correcting the course of UI and UX of a product inside a business is easier than trying to change the course of a city's evolution.

If your business would like support in re-drawing its product map, or even simply auditing your current product offerings against the values and expectations of your customers. I would love to hear from you to try and find ways to develop a stronger and more sustainable future for your brand.



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