Cognitive Ink

Cognitive Ink

I've recently joined forces with co founder Anna Roosen to form Cognitive Ink, a specialist service and user experience (UX) design company.

Concept To Tray table: Airline Food As Experience Design

Most of us at some time or another have had an airline meal of some sort another set down on our tray tables. Depending on the airline, flight time, seat class and a certain amount of luck the experience can be survivable, pleasant or terrible. A simplistic response to a terrible meal would be to propose that the person who created the meal should given some pretty negative feedback. Maybe they can think up something better next time then a greasy chicken thigh stir fry with a limpid cheesecake for desert (speaking from personal bitter experience. It's not the photo above by the way). If the meals on a particular airline are exceptionally bad, then we might expect the person responsible to be fired. 

You Are A Fat Informavore

You are a fat informavore and your information consumption may be the end of your sanity.

Need To Think? Goodbye Internet.

I was doing some sketching, when I became distracted by Wired (or was it Gizmodo?). Either way, I promised myself only a 'five minute' look. Two hours later... Still no sketch. My new rule of thumb? Any networked information system is great for research but awful for production. It's no surprise. Apparently it takes 25 minutes from when you check your email to when you regain focus. So did I get back to my sketching? Actually, I wrote this post instead. Sigh.

Imagine A Radical Future

The iPhone 5 is being called 'evolutionary' rather then 'revolutionary'. Assuming an understanding of how we create evolutionary optimization, I want to know how we create truly revolutionary thinking. I suggest we imagine new contexts by looking at an invented past as well as new technologies into the future.

Distraction By Design


Where are all the Human Factors engineers when you need them. Especially in the design of dynamic control interfaces. One on the most common dynamic control interfaces is the humble, but ever so prevalent, car dashboard. Driving is fundamentally a dynamic control task, with tens if not hundreds of perceptual adjustments and reassessments occurring constantly.


Heading, Possible collisions, Conditions and usually be assessed by looking outside the car.

Velocity, the most crucial of all numerical variables, is accurately measured by the speedometer and is often the largest and most visible gauge on the drivers dashboard.

So why is the radio portion of the dashboard so big and bright? Granted, the massive glowing panel can be darkened, but not by default.


Is it more dangerous to have a non-essential panel dark by default versus highly visible (but potentially distracting)?




2011. A Year In Review

2011.  A Year In Review - The Selfish World

Like Vladimir and Estragon, I am still waiting (as in Waiting For Godot. I am a shameless wikipediar). Unlike that futile twosome, I am still waiting for the technological - social - political - biological - emergent singularity. When all human kind terms into one nebulous happy-fest. 

When human becomes robotic and robots become human. When information becomes the truly universal currency. When green and tech integrate in a way previously unforeseeable. When technology is inspired by biology. 

When speed of thought exceeds the speed of light (okay, bit far there).  

I suspect I will be waiting for a while yet. I'm not sure if the myriad of technological changes reflected on people, society and the world at large has actually changed some of the fundamental psychological constructs. As much as I would hope otherwise, I think we are still an intrinsically self-interested species. Focused on our own needs and our own small temporal window. Perhaps this is more true now then previously. 

Have I sipped at the cup of negative thinking? Perhaps. There are rays of sunshine amidst the clouds. The interwebs have connected people to people and people to causes more efficiently then ever before. A revolution is the new startup. 

What I have seen of old Europe implies a different legacy, parks and churches that took hundreds of years to complete. Finished by the great grand-children of the original masons. I always suspected the Freemasons existed as an organisation to give identity and meaning to the man in the middle. Who did not start the project and would not live to see its completion. They had vision. Hundred year plans (Hundred year wars as well). 

What power could we leverage if we focused on more then the immediate application of these amazing tools and concepts to long term goals. I think many of the problems may not have an immediate solution. But we want it now. Vast sweeps of our lives are conditioned to that, the immediate delivery of goods and services. The asymptotic shaving of minutes and seconds away from the time it takes for us to be satiated. 

However. Some things take time. We need to learn to act now for tomorrow.

My Magazine Ignores Touch Input

I'm sure this video has done the rounds, but for me, it is so personal. I am young enough to enjoy the technological revolution and old enough to just remember the first home computers.

Watching this little girl struggle with printed matter seems an amazing portent of the next 10 years.

Shellshock. Whiplash. Overload.

What a month or so. Give me half a chance I am sure I will be sitting on a park bench somewhere in 50 years time reminiscing about the two months from September to October '11, 'them were big ones'.

Demibooks, the company I co-founded reached a funding milestone.

There was the release of an apparently deflating iPhone 4S. However, the rush of sales that proved many a pundit wrong or irrelevant. The iPhone 4S is selling like the proverbial hotcakes. It may have something to do with the super sexy Siri (Hal 9000's little sister). The age of the talkative machine is coming and no one knows where it well end (as long as it doesn't end like it does in the movies!)

An IT industry rocked by the news of Steve Jobs death, something that seemed unexpectedly and perhaps irrationally to affect the world at large. A single death that had a much deeper impact on those working in user experience and design.

For a company that appears to scorn the classic UX techniques, they sure produce a vast number of incredible technological hits that in turn create large scale social change. Devices that have pushed experience into the frontal lobes of technologists worldwide.

The Kindle Fire, the first tablet (other then the iPad) that seems to hit a sweet spot of gear + content.

Apple and Samsung take it to the patent ring to duke it out.

Facebook Timeline. Your Life digitized in one long timeline.

Technologies like Tumblr, Twitter, Blogger, Facebook mobilizing civilian armies worldwide to protest socio-economic inequality. Protesters using twitter as a political platform (again) when occupying Wall Street.

Meanwhile, the cynical could argue that the froth of high-technology and social movement has done little to address truly wicked problems, like a famine threatening to break out in the Sudan.

Truly a month made of equal parts joy, sadness, devastation and hope.

Demibooks Funded By EDC

Really great news this morning. Demibooks, the company I co-founded has received funding from EDC, the Education Development Company, a publisher out of the US. This is really exciting news for Demibooks, expect more news on the horizon!

"thrilled to share the news that Education Development Corporation (EDC), has made an  investment in Demibooks. EDC is the parent corporation of one of our publisher customers, Kane Miller Books. With this strategic relationship in place we hope to continue improving our Composer platform and offer additional services to our publisher and self-publishing customers"


Announcing Demibooks Composer

Demibooks, the company I co-founded, has reached a major milestone. We have released the first iPad based tool for creating interactive books. 

We call it, 'Demibooks Composer'. 

It is an exciting opportunity to democratize the creation of interactive books.

Composer represents a significant number of months design and development work with the Demibooks Team, and an extensive beta program with a core collaboration group of authors and illustrators.

Let the interactive books roll on...

Download it now on the App Store, join the User Community and use PrintShop to publish your book apps to the App Store.