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Random tips and tricks I have found useful along the way.

User Research

About Users

  • Scientists can be a tricky user group to work with. Use "real" data when presenting concepts rather than abstract data concepts.
  • Seniors and their penchant for full and polite sentences. Careful what language you use and how you design search interfaces.


  • Here is a User Consent Form I use with my research participants.
  • The Market Research Society provides some excellent guidelines for vulnerable participants.


Image credit: "Pen and Paper" by Dinuraj K CC-BY-2.0

Design Resources

My favourite tools are pen and paper. But, things get more complicated when the designing in teams. I have found the following resources useful.


  • Upper Case - why it's not such a good idea.
  • Coblis the colour blindness checker

Content Tools

I wish had discovered the Hemingway app alot earlier! It makes me consider my sentence structures and provides a helpful readability rating.

Design Tools

  • Flaticon has a range of free icons.
  • Invision is my favourite communication and collaboration tool when communication designs.
  • Figma design seems like a great collaborative design tool. Design online and share comments with your design team and stakeholders.
  • Sketch is currently my favourite design tool. Great re-use of patterns using Symbols. Only for Mac though!
    • AdobeXD is a neat tool and I like the way they visualise the mobile wireframes alongside desktop.
    • ForeUI is a tool that looks interesting and is on my todo list as a wire framing tool.

Evaluation Resources

Usability Testing

Silverback was my favourite application for this but it is currently not working on my Mac. So I had to turn to a new application call "Screencast-O-Matic" which has worked well so far. Payment is on a yearly subscription:

Use this free software tool to merge different video and audio - Open Broadcast Software.

How to remotely record on a Mac (the cheap way)

So you want to run a remote usability test or interview. You would like to record the session so that you can clip the best bits to show your team. How do you do this on a Mac?

  1. Setup your virtual meeting room. I have a preference for GotoMeeting but in actual fact any virtual meeting room software may work provided they have recording functionality. Once the meeting is started use the record option on GotoMeeting which will record the screen and audio.
  2. On a Mac you need to route your output audio into Soundflower and then setup your recording software to record all sound from Soundflower.
  3. Use a screen recorder to record the webcam and then merge all the video and audio.

Mobile Usability Testing

I have successfully used Reflector from Air Squirrels. It allows me to cast anything on an android or  IPhone to a second screen which is useful. Of course you ar still missing the users hands and facial interactions. For that I install a camera and then merge the video.