My site has moved to

Hi there,

If you’re receiving this post by email, that means at some point you opted in to follow my blog.

I have just moved my site to be a self-hosted  You can find it here at the same top level URL:

However, in the move, the “follow” option appears to not come with.  So when I make new posts now, you won’t automatically get them by email.

A few things you can do:

1 – Check out my new site now and then.

2 – Sign up on my new MailChimp email list for occasional updates (less frequent than each post).

3 – Hook up with RSS.

Thanks and see you at the new site!


Avoiding the dreaded “email slalom” on mobile

When it comes to reading email on mobile (the world’s dominant platform), we’re all like over-amped weekend skiers schussing the blue runs.  All we want to do is go straight down as fast as possible.  Over and over.  What we do NOT want to do is have to decelerate and make a bunch of awkward wide turns all over the slope.  That’s no fun at all.

But that’s what email that has not been formatted correctly for mobile forces us to do.

Always be onboarding

This case study reimagines what onboarding could look like for Concept2’s SkiErg.

Once a customer buys your product – then what? The onboarding experience that follows should be as rich and engaging as everything that led up to that crucial vote of confidence. On its own, a standard sale is not the time to celebrate. Rather it’s a golden opportunity to stay focused on the much bigger prize that is still up for grabs: earning a repeat customer and product evangelist for life.


What could be.  Onboarding at Concept2.
What could be. Onboarding at Concept2.

Show them what you got

Whatever it is you do – show them in EVERYTHING you do.

Each customer communication is a chance to remind your audience what it is you do and reinforce the essence of your brand.  There is never a moment when the show is not on – never a minute when you want your audience to see that man with the crazy hair pulling levers behind a curtain.

Whether it’s answering the phone, checking a bag or printing out a ticket, every customer touchpoint is part of a larger story playing out.

When you join Seattle Art Museum, of course you get your membership card and a welcome letter.  At many places that might be all you get.  But at SAM you also get a little bit of what they do – which is art.

Simple but gorgeous onboarding materials let you know you’re in good hands.  As you handle the nicely printed paper and read the content, just like that – you’re taking in a private exhibit at your kitchen table.  The SAM brand has come to you.

Which makes it a lot more likely you’ll now go visit SAM.

Onboarding materials from Seattle Art Museum.

Better experience for The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest

In this case study I take a look at how playing the New Yorker cartoon caption contest could be improved to support wider participation and better overall experience.


To begin with the end – here’s my design:

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.09.27 PM


Typeface is all important to your design.

If text is involved, typeface is at the heart of the user experience.

In spoken language, the same sentence could come across very differently depending on accent.  Think of the range of tones between London, New York, Bombay, Dublin.

Which one does your brand speak in?

It’s the same for language we read.  Typeface creates the experience and should always be carefully considered.