Over my career my job title has mostly been that of UX designer, which is what I have become known for online through my writing. However I’ve always been tinkering with side projects and new ideas. In particular I have an interest in creating and selling products, be they physical or digital (or a bit of both), which I’ve gradually done more and more.
Down the years this website has featured these projects at different times – only for them to disappear as I've moved on. Now I have created the below archive as I think it’s interesting to see my changing areas of focus, the themes I have returned to and remixed, and the interesting failures.
You can get in touch directly by emailing me here (if you're emailing to ask about a backlink or writing an article for this site I won’t respond as I don’t offer either).
Or if you ever visit where I'm based – the lovely Malmesbury – do let me know and we can say hello. It's a small town but known as the home of a flying monk (about a millennium ago) and Dyson (since the 90s).
This began life in 2018 as Malmesbury Card Co when I created some greeting cards of the town I had just moved to, inspired by vintage travel posters. They proved popular and in mid-2019 I evolved it into Cotswold Poster Co, with an aim to design posters for as many towns and villages in the area as possible. This project has brought together a love of product-creation, traditional graphic design, and UX design in creating an effective online store.
It’s a small but growing business that by the end of 2020 has taken up the majority of my time. I have bootstrapped it myself and it has been in profit since the start of 2020. To date I have sold over 4,000 products and they’re stocked in several shops. It also aims to be highly sustainable and environmentally beneficial.
This was effectively a website built for a client but my first for a charity and more of a passion project. My wife is a trustee of these dinosaur statues that are close to our hearts as both an important scientific and historic landmarks very close to where we used to live in South East London. With me creating the framework, she has created the content for an in-depth online resource covering everything you need to know about the statues.
This was inspired by an article I wrote on Medium/UX Collective about how to write a good user testing report, which went somewhat viral (over 50,000 views). I took reports and documents that I was using in my freelance consulting work and created template versions that I made available to buy, figuring other designers might find them useful. They’ve been pretty popular and to date they have made over 750 sales.
This began life in 2016 as a series of free guides about lean research on my website, which I released over several months. In 2018 I combined them into a Kindle book for easier reading. The online guides provided popular with several topping Google for the relevant search results and getting decent traffic. I continued to keep the guides up to date and updated the ebook to a 2nd edition with the latest content in 2020.
A one-day workshop I taught a few times for the JAM conference. This taught everything I had learned about doing effective user research to a product management audience.
An attempt at turning my 3 hour data-driven workshop into an online video course, built around the evidence-based redesign framework I had developed. I had wanted to do this for a while but creating the actual videos was a lot more work than I expected and not something I particularly enjoyed! It made about 100 sales but got average ratings so I made it free after about 9 months. It’s now gone on to reach thousands of people.
My first move to create a proper printed book (I hired my friend Nam for book design). This built on learnings from my earlier books to teach guidelines that aimed to be as useful and easy-to-reference as possible. As well as a paperback I also released it on Kindle, PDF, and audiobook and the first edition sold nearly 500 copies and picked up positive reviews.
I improved on it a lot with a second edition (more guidelines, clearer writing, further reading links) and this hit 1,000 sales in 18 months, The Kindle edition has been a bestseller in a few charts, and the book maintains a strong 4.7/5 rating on Amazon.
My second PDF ebook turned something I had just learned (mobile app design) into something for others to learn from. A strong structure means I think it continues to be useful but using lots of screen grabs meant the specifics dated quite quickly. It was only available on my website and didn’t sell many, probably because I otherwise didn’t write much about app design. It’s now available for free here.
My first attempt at writing my own ebook, following Nathan Barry’s Authority formula closely with a PDF version and a premium version with videos. It was primarily about how to use Google Analytics in UX design work but in hindsight it wasn’t particularly in-depth, lacked a strong structure, and dated fairly quickly as the software changed. It sold OK for about a year, which encouraged me to think there was potential in this self-publishing idea.
At the beginning of 2015 I set out on my freelance career as a consultant UX designer, working on specific projects for clients. I worked in-house for a few companies but I was able to pick up international clients as well as London-based ones. This enabled me to realise I could be effective remotely and I was fully remote by mid-2017 when I left London to move to countryside life in Malmesbury.
I would research existing sites and run user testing before wireframing new designs. I worked with many exciting growing start-ups as my connections were in this area and I quickly specialised in ecommerce. This deep experience led to work with bigger clients, all the way up to the likes of Jimmy Choo. I more or less wrapped up my consultancy at the end of 2020 as I move on to growing my own product business.
My second self-created workshop was this 1.5 hour one providing advice on designing for ecommerce that I also taught 17 times. This evolved a lot over the years as my thinking did and as I wrote my ecommerce book. In the end only one or two slides remained from how I first taught it.
I was also twice the lead instructor on General Assembly’s 12-week part-time UX design course in 2015/16.
The first bit of teaching I did was with General Assembly when they first launched in London and it took the form of this 3 hour workshop I created. It started off being mainly about analytics but I got less comfortable with the rigid idea of being ‘data-driven’ so it evolved to be as much about qualitative forms of research. I taught it 17 times in total. It went on to be developed into my evidence-based guides and my online course.
This started off with doing a logo and web design for a friend who created this site to provide printable PDF bingo cards. I have gone on to design several new features and evolved the flow of the site to incorporate virtual bingo. It has grown and grown over the years, and has been impressively popular during 2020’s global coronavirus lockdowns.
Whilst at onefinestay myself and the Head of Product created small events to help us explore what the role of Product Manager actually entailed. We did about five of these ‘fireside chat’ style evenings with other PMs and titled them Prodcraft. The brand lived on for a couple of years as an email newsletter where I curated five interesting product-related articles every week and it got about 350 subscribers from London start-up folk.
I designed my own Christmas cards for four years, each year with a different theme. It was nothing particularly special but the idea of designing greeting cards would be something I would return to.
At the end of 2011 I left the BBC with an aim to get involved in the exciting start-up scene that was emerging in East London. I got a job with onefinestay, a kind of high-end Airbnb and who were about 30 people at the time. I was part of some rapid growth as by the time I left there were over 300 staff and they had offices in Paris, New York, and LA.
I started as a UX designer and my responsibilities grew to be the Product Manager of the front-end website, which was where I began accumulating ecommerce knowledge. I bridged the marketing and tech teams and it was an incredible learning opportunity to work alongside some very smart people.
A solid idea that solved a need for me and a couple of friends – an online database of pubs in the UK that showed live football. It got good traffic during 2012 and 2014 international tournaments and made a bit of money from ads but never really had the potential to be anything too big.
They began as a freelance client but became a lot more as I made 5 or 6 redesigns of the site for this very popular football podcast over the course of a decade. I also regularly added and removed various sections as it rapidly changed (including short-lived things like Pete’s Friday Club). Creating these sites pushed my coding knowledge a lot. At one point I would also publish my own weekly football infographics on there. I got to know the lads well and even accompanied them to Kiev for Euro 2012.
A side project created with a colleague at BBC World Service. It solved the problem of them not having any live footage or text commentary for the 2010 football World Cup by using match stats data to give a picture of a game. It went on to be used by some language services for Premier League matches the following season too and we created something similar for the cricket too.
A fun idea that I did with my girlfriend (now wife) for about a 18 months to help us explore some of the less known parts of this big city. This blog featured descriptions and ratings of our dates in a different part of London beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
A podcast about cool/interesting/weird stuff that my co-host (a fellow BBC UX designer) Chris and I found on the web. It was recorded after-hours in BBC meeting rooms and only got a few listeners, but we had fun using our colleagues as guests, and we were doing it well ahead of the podcast boom. I built the website for it which was my first use of the ExpressionEngine CMS – something I’ve used ever since.
I moved to London in 2008 for a year of being a trainee UX designer – a job that catapulted me into a career of designing for the web. I spent that first year moving around a few teams and it was an amazing place to learn user-centred design in what must have then been the UK’s largest team of UX designers and IAs.
I then got a full time position at the World Service, where I worked on developing news sites for different languages and got to work with an array of talented folk from around the world. The whole three years was a great grounding in how to design high quality, usable digital products.
Homemade hand stencilled and printed t-shirts. I made about 30 of them over a summer, with the high concept approach of releasing a new one each weekday, and managed to sell about half. The idea was very limited as I wasn’t making them in different sizes! It was my first go with (very early) Shopify and a foray into ecommerce – something I would come back to in a much bigger way.
This post-uni collective of designers existed very briefly as we only did a couple of projects under that banner. However we did a lot of work around the practicalities of freelancing and working with clients, which resulted in some useful documents and guidelines.
My first foray into sustainability-focussed design and something that taught me a lot about creating printed products and web design. This started as a second-year university magazine project promoting environmentally-friendly living but encompassed so much more. We also spent a day promoting Buy Nothing Day (getting us featured on Adbusters) amongst other bits of activism and ran a club night to raise funds for the printing of the mag. We developed a funky website and involved journalism students to create a bigger second edition.