2014 in review

A review of 2014, mostly rambling.

2014 started with the end of the design work we’d been working on with the Trainline. Trying to get the train and ticket selection page to be responsive was a huge challenge and we just only pulled it off.

With 48 hours in Bethesda, Maryland, USA for a meeting with my old friends Marriott I got the chance to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.

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I did a talk at IXDA Munich over the internet, a weird but fun experience and good to see Jakob Biesterfeldt in the audience.

February saw me heading to Shanghai, with my Marriott friends again.

Shanghai view

A breakfast of pork broth and sesame buns.

I’ve done a number of research and design projects in China. One of the key things we were looking at was text entry especially on mobile. It’s hard to type in English let alone Pinyin or freehand as it is in China. It takes around 50% longer to enter the same information. Design finding; design for click/touch and avoid text entry if at all possible.

It was also good to catch up with my university friend Jason Huang we talked UX in the UK and China and reminisce about our time in Bath.

From Shanghai it was straight to Tokyo, Japan. My first visit and somewhere I’d always wanted to go. If you ever get the chance go, it’s proper ace.


Akihabara district was all crazy tech and gaming arcades. The sound levels in the place were crazy and the games just nuts.

We saw the same issues with text entry in Japan. Japan uses three alphabets increasing the challenge of text entry. Same conclusion, avoid text entry if at all possible.

Back to the UK and March was all about Smashing Magazine’s conference in Oxford.

I ran a workshop on Psychology for Designers and told the world about my brief criminal past (more on that later). Seb and Val put on an ace laser show.

Late March was time for holiday. Seville and Cadiz in Andalusia. Seville is a beautiful place. We fell in love with the tiles everywhere:


And to Cadiz where I lived next to the beach an worked for a year as a teacher 13 years ago.

April was a quiet one. Well, bought a house.

May saw me back on a plane. 72 hours in Hong Kong. A planning and strategy meeting with my Marriott friends. Best of all I had time to meet up with Dan Szuc an Jo Wong and they kindly showed me Hong Kong’s beaches (who knew).

hong kong beach

June it was to Barcelona, another city I was lucky enough to live in. Some research on how Spanish research and buy travel products online and a chance to have a coffee in the square I lived in.


June was also the last Magic Lantern film event. We show special films in unique locations in Bristol. We showed Bedknobs and Broomsticks in a bed shop in Bedminster.

July saw me hosting a panel event as part of the UXPA annual conference. The subject was UX certification. Both for UX and other digital professionals. The conclusion, no certification for UX professionals please…

It was good to catch up with global UX friends at the conference as well as keeping an eye on the UX old guard.

Through this time I was working on a physical design project for Bristol City Council. They were well underway designing and planning a new drop in advice centre. I wrote about it on the Pasty Box.

What was interesting was using the same skills we familiar with in Digital and applying them to physical spaces. User research resulting in user flows, usability problems and a series or recommendations. We even suggested a floor plan. More on that later this month.

In August I rode to Amsterdam for charity. It was a great experience. I wrote about it here.

September was all about libraries. Bristol City Council were looking for some support to plan the future strategy of the city’s libraries. I helped run some research and gather opinions about what the future could hold. You can read the full report online. Bristol Libraries, Now and in the Future

Early October was the last Brooklyn Beta. I’d been to the previous four and met the smartest and nicest people on the internet. I wrote about Brooklyn Beta.

Late October and I was in Norway, speaking at the wonderful Webdagene conference.

Joe Leech UX speaker

I spoke about Psychology and the Perfect Design and launched the only Mexican Wave of my career. I also mentioned my criminal past (watch the video for 20 mins or so).

November and I was back in New York for Future of Web Design. I ran a workshop and spoke. I love FOWD and this was my second year speaking. A great conference. I also made the mistake of asking the audience to take a picture of me and, um, well…. At my count there are about 23 of those photos online.

December and I took my foot of the gas. I wrote a series of articles debunking some Psychology Myths and a love letter to WordPress on the Pastry Box.

If you are still reading this and you’re not my Mother, well done, oh and hi Mum. 2014 was a good year. 2015 is going to be a big year of change, two big announcements, watch this space. I’m also off to Norway and Las Vegas to speak at a couple of conferences. It could also be the year of Book II…

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