Research Interview Masterclass

This year I have been lucky enough to collaborate with the amazing Homaxi Irani to develop a new workshop on conducting research interviews with users and customers. User interviews are an invaluable tool early in any project to ‘get a read’ on the product vision and validate some of the key assumptions underlying it with real users and customers.

We have run the workshop twice now at Academy Xi in Melbourne in April and June 2018 and received heaps of positive feedback.

I was surprised when we sat down to map it all out by just how much stuff we wanted to squeeze into this 1-day workshop! We worked hard to find balance theory, practice and (my favourite bit) sharing our war-stories. Teaching gives me an opportunity to reflect back on past experiences and crystallise what I’ve learned from them – and what I’ll do better next time!

Get in touch if you’re interested in running this, or any other training workshops for your team!

Scenario Based Design at UXSG 2016

UXSG 2016I’m very honoured that my Scenario Based Design workshop has been accepted for UXSG in Singapore in September this year.

Come along if you’d like to learn how Scenarios and stories in general can enhance your user experience design practice.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with old friends and new in one of my favourite cities.

Shane presenting at UXINDIA2015

Action shot from the Scenario Based Design workshop at UXindia 2015

From User Experience to Employee Experience – Talks in Canberra and Melbourne

I’ll be speaking at the ServiceNow user groups in Canberra and Melbourne in March about “Employee Experience”.

While user experiences for consumer websites and apps routinely strive for user experiences that go beyond “merely usable”, too often organisations deploy software tools that, while “usable”, miss the opportunity to engage and empower their employees. I’ll be talking about how to go “beyond usable”.

Emplyee Experience - Attributes of good toolsHere’s the blurb…

When you look at the apps on your phone, and then at your enterprise software applications, does it make you sad?

The software applications we require people to use at work can have a significant impact on how employees experience their jobs, and yet the state of enterprise software design seems to have stagnated in recent years. While business applications are still struggling just to be usable, consumer applications (like the ones on your phone) have moved beyond mere usability to focus on creating user engagement.

In this short talk we’ll cover how to apply some basics principles of human behaviour and psychology to create software applications that your staff want to use, not just have to use.

Details here:

Thanks to the guys at UXC KEYSTONE for asking me to present.

Scenario Based Design workshop at UXIndia

UX India

I’m very honoured to have been asked to deliver a workshop on Scenario Based Design at UXIndia in Bangalore in October.

My workshop is on Monday the 5th of October. Here’s the blurb:

When we design new user experiences we change the things people do, or the way people do things – we change behaviour. However, if we want to change people’s behaviour, then we need to be able to envision, share, refine and validate those new behaviours in the full context of users’ lives. That’s where scenarios come in.

Scenarios are stories that describe people living with our products. By drawing on our shared cultural tradition of storytelling, scenarios provide a compelling, insightful and approachable way to understand issues of context, motivation, usability and emotional response in our products. They are our first designs.

In this workshop you’ll learn to create scenarios and other types of stories to identify product opportunities, form design hypotheses and focus the design and evaluation of new user experiences. Drawing on your existing ability to tell a story (trust me!), we’ll cover character development, motivation, internal dialog and story arc – all in the context of creating great user experiences.

In this hands-on workshop you will spend time trying story-telling techniques and sharing your experiences. See for yourself how valuable – and fun – it is to integrate scenarios into your user experience design practice.

Why write in prose?

This will be my first trip to India, so I will try to squeeze in a little sightseeing too…

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:


Cross platform mobile apps for Laing O’Rourke

iAwardsCongratulations to Readify on winning the 2015 Queensland iAward in the Industrial & Resources category recently for their work on Laing O’Rourke’s “Our People” application. We’re proud to have been responsible for user experience design for Our People, which is a cross-platform internal productivity app running on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.

Working with Readify and Laing O’Rourke’s internal team, we were responsible for conceptual design, interaction and visual design as well as design production across the three platforms.

Our People is one of a number of initiatives we’ve worked on with Readify and Laing O’Rouke over the last few years, including designs for mobile and web applications, development of application style guides, discovery workshops and UX design process facilitation.

Our People app screenshots

Our People for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone

Laing O’Rourke’s has embraced the idea of “employee experience” and has embarked on a fast-paced program to provide “consumer quality” productivity tools to its staff around the world.

Congratulations Readify and Laing O’Rourke.

Our contributions to Our People included:
• User profiling and conceptual design workshops
• Design exploration and wireframes
• Moodboards
• Visual and interaction design
• Asset production
• Style guide creation

You can read more on the Microsoft Customer Stories site.

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,