Recent Posts

Longitudinal Review: 2009 MINI Cooper

The longitudinal review of Tim’s 2009 MINI Cooper is here! A car so unreliable that he had to get rid of it after only 2.5 years. Automotive human factors engineer Ken Mayer (cohost from our earlier Saturn SC2 car critique) returns to help Tim on this very detailed critique of the second generation MINI Cooper, a stunning mix of greatness and disaster (the car, we mean, not this critique). If you love cars, you’ll love this episode. We put the long in longitudinal product reviews!

Basically, the second generation (post-2006) MINI Cooper is a frustrating mix of unreliable components assembled unreliably. MINI refused for over a month to send Tim’s dealer a new piston and rod when those went bad at only 31K miles. The flaky electronics are infested with more gremlins than, uh…that movie named “Gremlins”. An addictively fun car such as the MINI almost makes you forgive its shoddy quality…almost but not quite. Tim broke his addiction and is now in MINI detox. Please pray for his recovery.

But there’s still a lot to praise about the things MINI got right in this car. Buckle up for a rollicking, passionate, detailed review that covers everything you want to know about a car that inspires passion, both positive and negative, in an era of unloveable, boring “familymobiles”.

Then join TrueDelta to tell the world about your car’s reliability. Write your own reviews for your car(s) to tell the world what you’ve enjoyed and disliked. Check it out right now at

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Critique: Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2

Tim critiques the Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere 2 portable speaker system for iPods, iPhones, and other sound-making gadgets. The Pure-Fi Anywhere was Logitech’s sequel to the highly successful mm50, which Tim and Alan reviewed way back in episode DC39.
This longitudinal review covers two years of experience using this product, including the new user interface, the industrial design that both delights and disappoints, the improved sound quality of the bass response, and a problem with the battery that we should all be upset about in consumer electronics.

Internet User Experience 2011 is coming to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this autumn! Check out what this terrific annual conference has to offer this year at

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6th Anniversary Episode with Dr. Susan Weinschenk on 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Sixth Anniversary Edition! Dr. Susan Weinschenk joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of her latest book, 100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People. Not just a collection of opinons, 100 Things… presents up-to-date research on the fundamentals that uderpin our work as UX professionals, while exposing several popular myths and misconceptions along the way.
Thanks for listening for six years! I’m proud of what Tom Brinck and I started back in the summer of 2005, and appreciate any and all feedback you send.

Susan’s blog is at

Her Twitter is

Check out the Colours In Cultures color wheel by David McCandless at

You can read Tim’s article about usability testing for entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurial America website at

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Interview: Calculating ROI for Usability at Ford Motor Company with Chad Esselink

Time for another wordcast episode, this time on ROI. Chad Esselink from the Ford Motor Company joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion on calculating return on investment for UX projects and forming a usability team. While at Ford, Chad used case studies backed with return on investment calculations to get buy-in from his superiors to create the Creative Design & Usability team.
We all think we know about usability’s ability to cut costs, but Chad tells us that increased throughput is just as important (and quite different). When should we use one and not the other while attempting to persuade executives that usability pays for itself and more?
Throughput. Cost cutting. Know the difference! And no, I’m not going to tell you in the show notes, you have to listen.

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Interview: Author Giles Colborne on Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

Author Giles Colborne from CX Partners joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion about his book Simple And Usable: Web, Mobile and Interaction Design. To quote the back cover:
“Simplicity is a discipline that can be learned. This book shows you how with humor, powerful examples, quotes, and case studies. You’ll learn to strip away complexity by organizing, removing, hiding, and displacing. And you’ll discover how to create focused, elegant user experiences that people will love.”

Here is Giles’ website for the book:

Does Giles’ voice sound familiar? It should! I had him on the show back in 2006 after the UPA international conference that year. Episode 18, in fact:

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Interview: UPA Body of Knowledge Project with Carol Smith

Tim interviews Carol Smith about the Usability Professionals Association’s body of knowledge project. Carol led Michigan UPA members in a body of knowledge work day hosted at the offices of Tec-Ed, Inc., in Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 26, 2011.

If you would like to assist us in developing the UPA body of knowledge for our profession, contact Carol at
project at     (substitute the @ symbol for ” at “, no spaces before or after)

See the body of knowledge project at

You can find listener Yannig Roth’s blog at

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Wordcast: Structured Design Review

Davin Granroth joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of a structured design review method. This way to critique a design obtains maximum useful feedback with minimum pain to people’s feelings. Tim refers to it now as “The Granroth Review Method” but Davin is quick to thank some writing professors at Michigan State University for the concept, which Davin has adapted well to our UX professional needs.

You can read about this method over at Davin’s blog:

You can read about Sugru, a clay-like fixit and “mechanical hacking” material, at
their very well-done and fun website:

Finally, here’s a link to Red Green, whom I referred to in the closing minute:

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Interview: Author Nelson Soken on Innovation and UX

Dr. Nelson Soken, co-author of Lead the Pack: Sparking Innovation that Drives Customers Wild, joins Tim Keirnan for a discussion of the book and its principles. At the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society annual meeting in 2009, Dr. Nelson Soken delivered the keynote presentation to the Product Design technical group based on his book. Tim like it so much he bought the book and is now proud to interview Dr. Soken on Design Critique.

User experience research and design concepts underlie a majority of the book’s themes and this episode is valuable for anyone doing human factors or UX work in support of product design. As Dr. Soken emphasizes, people and our relationships to them in the workplace are a very big part of innovating.

You can find the book at:

In addition to the “Contact the Authors” link at the above website, you can also find the authors at their LinkedIn pages. Just log in to your LinkedIn account and search their names:
Nelson Soken
Will Wengert

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Critique: Sennheiser Ruins Its PX-100 Headphones

The ultimate longitudinal review, five years in the making. Sennheiser has changed their once-terrific PX-100 headphones for the worse. We don’t often do negative reviews on Design Critique, but it’s useful to analyze how a great user experience can disappoint after several years ownership. Reliability is the Achilles heel of the PX-100 and now it’s even worse with brittle plastic, reduced cushioning, and wickedly tight pressure through the headband.
In other news, Tim has a chapter in the new UX Storytellers book, which is free for download, and a blog post for Altitude Inc. We have email from two, count ’em TWO, listeners. All this in under 30 minutes.

Interesting PX-100 reviews for the PX-100 and PX-100 MkII can be found at

Tim’s chapter in UX Storytellers, UX Professional Buys a Car, can be found at

Download the whole book and enjoy!

Tim’s “How User Experience Research Saved the Chevrolet Corvette” post on Altitude Inc.’s blog can be read at

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