Len Damico user experience design


Tuesday, Apple and U2 did what they thought was a really neat thing: They released U2's new album for free to everyone with an iTunes account. No purchase necessary… it just shows up in your iTunes library.

What a cool thing, right? The new album from one of the biggest acts in rock, for free!

Then, this happened.

Ignoring the cool kids tripping over themselves to proclaim their dislike of U2's music, there's a real issue here.

Let's think about all the cascading assumptions that go into thinking this is a good idea:

  • All 500m+ iTunes account holders know who (or what) U2 is

  • All 500m+ iTunes account holders like U2, or are at least not overtly hostile towards their music

  • All 500m+ iTunes account holders would want a new U2 album

  • All 500m+ iTunes account holders are comfortable with Apple inserting something they didn't ask for into their iTunes library

What started of as a cool idea in a boardroom breaks down because of flawed assumptions about the wants and needs of over 500 million (!!) users.

Coupled with the prevailing concerns about data security as companies increasingly ask us to put our trust in their clouds, and you've got a situation ripe for blowback.

The takeaway here from a user experience perspective is: Never assume.

Just to be plain and simple

Tim Cook:

We do things because they’re just and right. If you want me to make decisions that have a clear R.O.I., then you should get out of the stock, just to be plain and simple.

More punk rock and anti-establishment than anything Jobs ever did.


Users don't hate change. They hate you.

The overlay is a nasty “best practice” that is migrating from lazy app onboarding to sloppy web design.

If I never see another tip overlay again…


Mike Doughty, Yeah!

Ladies and gentlemen, please direct your browsers to www dot janine dot org.


Development Is Design

Brad Frost:

I specifically avoid calling myself a developer because people end up assuming that I can whip up some Ruby gems or normalize some databases. I’ve never had a computer science class. … I learned if/else statements, loops, variables, and more through jQuery (Gasp! Horror!). Almost all of the programming I’ve done is to manipulate something on a screen. While I’m slowly learning the fundamentals of programming, I wouldn’t dare call myself a programmer.

(Emphasis mine)


Developers are the autoworkers of our generation

Today, you can accomplish with $30/month on Shopify what took $500,000 in custom development ten years ago. WordPress does in fifteen minutes what once kept a freelancer busy for two months. Stripe dropped the cost of credit card integration by five-figures.

If this paragraph doesn’t make your blood run cold, even just for a moment…


Oh my god, don't make things for Everyone

Dan Sinker:

When you begin with “Everyone” you’re just stuck: How do you make any honest decisions? How do you solve any real problems? You don’t. You start to invent people and you start to invent their problems and it’s amazing because those people and those problems line up almost exactly with what you’re building and how you’re thinking about it—imagine that. Lying to yourself is amazing for productivity.

Real audience is hard. Solving real problems is fucking bananas. But it’s the only way you make something that lasts, because you made something that someone actually cared about.