Daniel Braithwaite

Design manager at M&S.com and founder at Styleposte.com.

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There is no such thing as UX Design

Controversial statement?

Yes, also a stolen statement - taken from a recent excellent article by Peter Merholtz on the origins of ‘UX’ design and why it is not relevant to burden a single team with the label ‘UX’ anymore.

You can’t design an experience. Well at least no one outside of perhaps an authoritarian regime can honestly say they that by the power of their thoughts, people will act - exactly and accordingly.

We can design process and interface, this is a discrete skill and a deliverable and is performed by designers. You get many types of designers - visual, interaction, information, but in effect they are designers. In a way, we’re kind of all designers - as Jeffery Zeldman puts it:

“We are all designers. You may call yourself a front-end developer, but if you spend hours shaving half-seconds off an interaction, that’s user experience and you, my friend, are a designer. If

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The UX Design team at M&S are big fans of the Google Ventures design blog, we try to quote the contributors by name daily, and we particularly like the top tips.

Like many design teams we have created a version of their 5 day design sprint and look to use this process, or a variation of the process whenever we need to collectively address a big design challenge.

Photo 23-10-2014 11 56 07.jpg

The 5 day design sprint is very compressed and intense to start with but the nature of participants diaries means we are often asked to combine multiple days into 1 or skip sections and days altogether.

Many design purists would say no to this at all costs but in our organisation, compromise is often the best way to get something done (as in most aspects of life).

It is important though to be very clear about the limitations and potential pitfalls of the process.

We recently aimed to cover 3 days in just one day…


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Like many agile teams, we use a set of principles to articulate our goals, encourage consistency and help us create an experience that is unique, owned and 100% M&S.

To coincide with the recent new brand introduction, it feels like an appropriate time to share ours.

We innovate through simple problem solving*

*i.e. we don’t innovate through bad uses of technology (simple solutions are usually best)

We innovate the customer experience through removing complexity from the shopping journey and using features and technology appropriately.

  • Linear page flows
  • Avoiding feature duplication
  • Efficient task completion
  • Design for user need, not fad or technology

We design Intuitive interfaces that follow established patterns*

*i.e. we don’t ‘break the rules’ for the sake of it

We follow proven patterns and metaphors to create an experience that our customers immediately understand and feel

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