Companies House Beta .GOV Service

Companies House have some really good UX on their own website and as a limited company director I have no issues filing anything so it was excitement that I stumbled across their new .GOV Beta service!

So how is it?

Uhhhh, it has a few issues… Continue reading “Companies House Beta .GOV Service”


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:


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!

Vodafone episode #8883732

I have no 4G access on my phone and I don’t know why. I went to the Vodafone website and there was some restriction switched on. When I switched it off Vodafone asked me to confirm my age.

And then I got this screen:


Couple questions:

  • Why force a transaction for something that doesn’t cost anything?
  • What the fuck?

Still no 4G access. Vodafone 0/10 would not recommend.

Vodafone’s fun mobile SIM installation game


As many visitors to my once not-world-famous or nearly-award-winning blog will know I really love Vodafone and its myriad UX failure. So it was the utmost of sadness that I lost my SIM card playing underwater tennis hockey.

But that’s OK cos Vodafone sent me another!


And I want you to pay extra special attention to the layout and amount of digits on that card cos it’s going to be very relevant in a bit!

Let’s trot off to Vodafone’s website and see how we can activate this bitch!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 09.46.18

I think this page was hidden under a million layers of information architecture and I can’t recall exactly how I found it but it asks me what kind of customer I am and because I am a pay monthly customer I click ‘Pay monthly’ which brings this screen up:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 09.39.14

So eh right how am I meant to receive the code when I am here to activate my goddam SIM card to, you know, make my phone become able to receive things like activation codes LOL (and I don’t care if you can see my number, I’m lonely; call me)Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 09.39.39

Didn’t get your code? No shit! But at least you give me the option to go through a couple steps to get to this online form:Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 09.40.48

Pay very special attention to the New SIM serial number fields which are five sets of four  and now recall what’s on my new SIM card:


3 rows of 5 and one row of 4 alpha numeric.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 09.41.44

So when you try and enter your SIM number it doesn’t fit or accept the letter G. Oh Vodafone! You tricky pranksters!

I am defeat! Much losses! In the end, I had to phone customer services who seem to have the correct validation form on their servers, ‘natch.

But what do you think? Vodafone customer? Think they’re amazeballs? Hook me up on twitter.