Holiday Inn Have a Weird Booking Engine

By weird, I mean one where you can’t book a hotel room. Continue reading “Holiday Inn Have a Weird Booking Engine”


How To Lose Friends And Alienate People

Taking time off from my Top Secret job designing rocket launch systems and lasers I stumbled across this ‘agency‘ and was super excited when they had a page that said thusly:

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 11.36.05

Alright! What do you expect Toptal?! I bet a super empowering message like “Toptal  expect you to be excited about UX and have really cool skillz and be a really cool person!” Continue reading “How To Lose Friends And Alienate People”

UX Of A Robot Restaurant

I was in Taiwan recently and I went to a sushi joint where one orders via a touchscreen interface. I took a few videos because I thought the interaction was good; one could very easily screw this kind of thing up, especially the state of ‘chosen something to eat but not confirmed the order’. I was thinking “how would I design that?”

Fairly straightforward design in the end: choose item > item placed in editable queue > confirm order.

The confirm order step is analogous to telling a waiter/ess what you want and is final and non-editable as it would be in real life.

Anyway, here we go:


The Burqa Ban Is Dumb

Boris Johnson was again in the news recently being all racist and stuff by talking to Steve ‘I’m not a Nazi’ Bannon about the Burqa like it was a post office or a ninja outfit. Or something. And it got me thinking about the Burqa and how I feel about it and how conflicted and illogical the whole debate seems to be right now.

A few thoughts:

It’s not the state’s right to tell me what I can and cannot wear

As much as I feel the hijab or burqa is a repressive symbol, and maybe because I just don’t recognise or understand it, or maybe I’m fearful of it, it’s not the state’s place to enforce how people dress. Lawmakers need to focus on positive aspects of change, rather than regressive laws that stigmatise a particular minority.

But folks will use it as a disguise to rob banks

No they won’t. Can you imagine the scene in the getaway car as Chris and Max approach the bank?

“Right, Max, let’s get the masks on! Max!! Max, what are you doing?”

“Well Chris, this face covering ban came into effect and we’re not allowed to cover our faces in public anymore”

“Oh no! Guess we’re screwed then. Driver, turn around!”

Bank robbers also wear wigs, lemon juice, dresses and Santa costumes. So let’s ban those too, aye? Prohibiting an item of clothing isn’t a deterrent to crime, nor will it stop criminals planning and committing offences.

It’s a choice

Over to redditor u/Pharmersmarket who writes:

I genuinely like wearing it. It makes me feel put together and confident in a weird way. Maybe because it does take a certain level of courage to visibly separate yourself from normal society. To start wearing a hijab I had to stop caring about what other people thought and now I can be proud of that. It definitely doesn’t stop street harassment, but men do treat you with a bit more respect. When I’m wearing a hijab it’s much easier not to care when I’m getting leered at because what exactly is he looking at? My face?

Shocking! There are rational, valid reasons why some want to wear particular types of clothing!

A ban might drive more muslims towards radicalism

There is evidence that prejudice against a certain cultural artefact reinforces perceptions of persecution and fuels grievances amongst minorities. This sounds like common sense; a burqa ban may have unintended consequences:

Previous research shows that indiscriminate or particularly harsh counterterrorism measures as a response to terrorist incident cause a backlash effect which leads to increase in terrorist activity. Researchers and security experts have also indicated that the burqa ban could lead to a similar counterproductive effect in alienating an already marginalised group of people even further and might serve as a radicalising factor in the long run. – source

And I dare say there are plenty other arguments for and against a burqa ban. But right now the debate is hampered by hysteria, lazy argument and ignorance.

Over to the comment section in The Sun where a frenzied ‘Frank’ is stomping his hooves into the keyboard:

Most civilized people living in a democracy, take offense at the sight of a mvslim woman wearing a bur’qa, niqab, hijab etc. because it’s a symbol of female op.pre.s.sion, su.b.mi.ssion & ‘ownership’ by males. It is as abhor.r.e.n.t to us as the sw.a.z.ti.ka — with all the same inher.en.t and is an ins.ul.t  to the memory of the brave sufragettes who fought for emancipation and freedom

Spelling and formatting kept intact.

But what do you think? For? Against? Dive into the comment section below!


I flew Ryanair and it was odd

I went to Sicily lately via Ryanair and got a seriously cheap air fare. But one thing I had to watch out for was all kinds of weird rules around baggage.

On their website one has to specify what luggage you want to bring onto the aircraft and there are different charging options depending on what you choose:

  • A: 1 small bag – no charge
  • B: 1 small bag plus bigger bag – £X
  • C: 1 small bag plus bigger bag – no charge BUT the bigger bag is taken at the departure gate and put in the hold

So what do you reckon happens?

Of course! Everyone chooses option C and carnage at departure ensues:


And on board, there is loads of space left:


And then after the flight more mayhem as the folks have to collect some bags off the tarmac (I think).


So what’s going on?

Users see two options: bring two bags and get charged or bring two bags and not get charged but have the extra bag put in the hold at departure. Of course they go for the latter, causing Ryanair some degree of extra work.

As Michael o Leary says:

“There are many flights where we’re now having to put 100 or 120 gate bags free of charge into the hold,” “If that continues to build, it’s something we may have to look at again.” – Source

No kidding!

So, what’s the solution for Ryanair? Maybe revert to the tried and tested drop bags at check-in downstairs? Attach the luggage to drones?

I dunno, maybe you have a better idea. Hook me up on Twitter if you do!

HMRC Have rebuilt their corporation tax submission thing


And it’s so much better, GDS pattern styling aside; a vast improvement.

Thing is, they’ve done something weird with the login that I definitely do not agree with:

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 10.04.03

All which I have written down somewhere and was trivial to find.

Next this screen:Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 10.04.16Wha??

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 10.04.26

I’ve worked on something similar for .GOV but it was to subvert the need for a password; users could just enter their user name and have a passcode sent directly to their registered phone. I’m not sure this is what HMRC are doing and it seems like an unnecessary level of security.

But I might be wrong. Twitter me @colmcq.


UPDATE: I’ve been fined £100 for not submitting my tax return. Oh do fuck off HMRC.


UPDATE 2: HMRC refunded me. GO HMRC!