UX is a Product, not a Process


Thanks to Dano Szuc and UX Hong Kong for inviting me to speak at UX Salon in Hong Kong on September 2.

Here’s the blurb:

“After many years of practical application, the User Experience Design lifecycle is reasonably well understood. While we do continue to explore and adopt new techniques, the core process and the activities involved are generally agreed upon and practiced consistently. This makes it tempting to make claims like: “unless you are doing X,Y,Z” you are NOT doing good User Experience Design. While such statements are dangerous enough, they can lead us to another, more dangerous conclusion: “IF you are doing X,Y,Z THEN you are doing good User Experience Design”. I’d like to talk about the risks of this type of thinking and remind us that there is a difference between CREATING User Experiences, and “DOING” User Experience.”

Details here: https://www.eventbrite.hk/e/ux-is-a-product-not-a-process-tickets-18109762788


20 Tips for Selling UX to Clients

Team members in a meeting

20 Tips for Selling UX to Clients

In this UX Mastery article, 20 UXers (including me) provide their tips for selling UX to clients.

20 Tips for Selling UX to Clients

My tip is all about the importance of having a clear project plan.

Particularly when adopting user experience design activities for the first time, it helps to have a plan which shows how the planned activities lead to an end result. This gives stakeholders a sense of control and confidence.

UX teams can often be reticent to make their plan highly visible, since plans inevitably change. The trick is to remember that your plan is a ‘living document’, and to make sure other stakeholders understand that from the outset.


2013 at Automatic Studio

In 2013 at Automatic Studio we worked on no less than 17 products, contributed to two Australian Design Awards and wrote our first exam…

2013: 17 products, 2 Australian Design Awards, 2 exams

Windows 8 UX Exam and Workshops

This year we created the official Microsoft classroom workshops and exam for Windows 8 user experience design – our first exam.

…And other Microsoft stuff

We also continued to work on a variety of projects for the Microsoft platforms.

Ticketek, Virgin Australia and My QuitBuddy Windows Phone appsThese included Ticketek, Virgin Australia and My QuitBuddy for Windows Phone, as well as Ticketek, Virgin Australia, Westpac and MYOB for Windows 8.

Westpack, MYOB, Virgin Australia and Ticketek Widows 8 apps

…Which brings us to training and presentations

Speaking of Microsoft, Shane also travelled to Thailand to deliver training workshops for Windows Phone and Windows 8 User Experience, as well as speaking at TechEd and at #appfest in Sydney.

Shane also ran workshops on animation at UX Australia and UX New Zealand, as well as speaking about our Cochlear work at UX New Zealand.

…Speaking of Cochlear

Cochlear were once again an important client for us in 2013. Cochlear released its new CR230 Remote Assistant for hearing implant recipients – so we were FINALLY able to show the user interface designs we have been working on since 2010.

Cochlear CR210 and CR230

Also this year, Cochlear received Australian International Design Awards for two other products – for CR110 Remote Assistant Fitting and the CR120 Intraoperative Remote Assistant. The CR120 also won an award at the Medical Design Excellence Awards in the USA. Congratulations to Cochlear and their partners. We’re proud to have contributed to the user interface for both these products also.


In the web space, we worked with Amberdew Interaction Design on some exciting innovations for Telstra’s internal intranet which are currently under development. We also helped the folks at PropertyTree with their mobile web interface.

Mentoring, Coaching and Rapid Reviews

We have also continued our work mentoring and coaching software development teams as they build their own user experience skills. Clients this year have included teams at TSA, Blueshift and Altech UEC.

This is one area we are looking to expand in 2014: User Experience Design – Team Mentoring.

The Team

Automatic Studio is a small group of UX Designers and Researchers who love working together. This year, all of the above was achieved by:
• Shane Morris (Principal Consultant and ‘boss’)
• Matt Morphett (Principal Consultant)
• Stephen Kotz (UX design)
• Jack Hsu (Graphic and UX design)
• Nhung Nguyen (UX research and design)


Thanks to all our clients and partners who made 2013 grouse. We look forward to working with you to make more great digital products and services in 2014.

Featured in “Everyday UX”

Luke and Matt over at UX Mastery have produced their first book: “Everyday UX“.

Shane pictured in "Everyday UX"

Shane working so fast the camera cannot capture him. Note mop – that’s working from home for you.

The book features a series of interviews with experienced User Experience practitioners, including me (Shane) as well as many of our friends and colleagues.

For people starting out in User Experience, the book provides great insight into how user experience folk work, and what the heck it is they do all day (Hi Mum!). Also, for freelancers like myself who often work alone or in small teams, the book provides a welcome (and reassuring?) look at how other professionals approach their work. I especially enjoyed the comparative stationery.

Congratulations on the first book guys,

OUR WORK: SBS On Demand and Carsales Videos (Partial Credit)

Microsoft Australia has recently uploaded several videos to YouTube highlighting Windows 8 Applications. We had a hand in two of those… carsales-sbs

Carsales: Windows 8: The Download – Carsales
SBS On Demand: Windows 8: The Download – SBS on Demand

We worked on the conceptual design, navigation and interaction model for the Carsales app with the Carsales team. Final design and implementation was carried out by Carsales’ internal team.

We also collaborated with Xamling on the initial navigation and information architecture work for SBS On Demand. Alex from Xamling completed the interaction and visual design.

Move it AND use it – UX Australia workshop

Motion design is becoming an increasing part of our work at Automatic Studio. Once considered ‘evil’, animation and transitions are now ‘first class citizens’ in the interaction designer’s toolkit.

Since none of us has formal training in animation or motion design, we’ve had to learn a lot, often by trial and error, as we design and specify our most recent applications.

As such, I decided to pull together what we’re learning, and what we’ve learned from others, into a workshop – which I’m glad to announce has just been accepted for the UX Australia conference in Melbourne in August.

More details to follow, but if anyone has any suggestions or requests for what we should cover, let us know!


Microsoft #appfest and Chris Bernard Windows UX day in Sydney

Design keynote at #appfest

Shane Morris will be keynoting Microsoft’s #appfest in Sydney on 16-17th of February. We’ll talk about the importance of tackling design up-front when building a Windows 8 or Windows Phone app. We’ll walk through some simple design tips and activities that will get you started for the 2 days of hacking. Shane will then hang around for the two days to help with design tips and guidance.

UX Day with Chris Bernard

On the Friday before the #appfest Chris Bernard will also be leading an all-day User Experience day for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. So come along to get a head start on your design for #appfest, or just to hear from one of Microsoft’s best design thinkers.


Details and registration at: #Appfest Sydney – February 15th – 17th 2013

2012 at Automatic Studio

2012 has been a year of growth and recognition at Automatic Studio. It’s worth pausing to reflect on all that’s happened…


In 2012 we continued to work closely with Microsoft. Shane spoke at Microsoft events in Australia and Singapore, as well as speaking about the new “Windows Design Language” at WebDU, Mobile Monday, XDDN, Yow and UX Australia. We also completed a number of Windows Phone and Windows 8 projects for Australian and U.S. clients.

Windows Phone

Our 2012 Windows Phone projects

Our Windows Phone highlight for the year was the release of the Qantas app. Building on our concept of a ‘smart boarding pass’, we worked with Nick Randolph at Built To Roam, Microsoft and Qantas’ design and development teams to produce an app which has gained admirers around the world and which was awarded two Australian Mobile Awards in 2012.

Also released this year were our Windows Phone designs for:

  • NAB (with NAB, Built To Roam and Odecee),
  • Pizza Hut Australia / New Zealand (with Pizza Hut and Altaine) and
  • Dimmi (with Dimmi, Nokia and Built To Roam).
  • Joy FM

We also have 3 Windows Phone applications for U.S. clients currently in production.

Windows 8

Of course, 2012 was the year of Windows 8. We were nominated by Microsoft Australia as an official Windows 8 UX Design partner, and we were pleased to have worked on a number of launch applications for Windows 8:

And we also have two more Windows 8 applications in the pipeline at the moment… Stay tuned!


Of course, not all our work is on the Microsoft platform, and we were delighted to continue providing user experience design services to Cochlear, our longest running client. In 2012 we branched out from on-screen and device design to also help Cochlear with analog experiences, including user support materials, packaging and educational posters.

Unfortunately we still aren’t able to share most of our work with Cochlear, but Matt and Shane were honoured to be selected to present on our design journey at Interaction 12 in Dublin early in the year.


Of course, the Internet is an important part of our work.

2012 saw the launch of our interaction design for South East Water’s Water Quality Website (with South East Water, Soul Solutions and Xamling). We also worked on an upcoming mobile web application for a new Sydney-based client.

Training and Mentoring

Passing on our skills and experience in designing digital products is a key reason clients choose to work with Automatic Studio.

This year we developed two new training courses on user experience design for Windows Phone and Windows 8, which we delivered in Australia and Singapore.

Shane also spoke on the importance of prototyping at Oredev in Sweden in November, on agile UX at Agile Australia, and at the Travel Appy conference in Sydney.

Welcome, too, to our new UX mentoring client: Brisbane-based TSA Software Solutions.

Phew, how do we get all this done?

Despite all this great work. Automatic Studio remains a small team of User Experience designers and researchers. This year’s amazing work was contributed by:

  • Shane Morris (Principal Consultant and ‘boss’)
  • Matt Morphett (Principal Consultant)
  • Jack Hsu (Graphic and UX design)
  • Nhung Nguyen (UX research and design, as well as designer of our client Christmas present)
  • Stephen Kotz (UX design)
  • …with a brief cameo by Matt Magain (UX design)


Thanks to all our clients, colleagues, collaborators and competitors for keeping us at the top of our game in 2012. We look forward to more growth and more client successes in 2013!