Narrow Artificial Intelligence can seem overwhelming. AI is a complicated thing and is understandably filled with intimidating computational jargon. In this article I’m going to do something foolhardy, and that’s to tell you — the interaction designers — don’t panic. For our jobs, the basics of AI are probably simpler than you think. To make this case, I’m going to…

  • Provide concrete examples
  • List the inputs
  • List the outputs
  • List the implied basic interactions (the…

Like many people, the most recent peak of infections further convinced me that the pandemic wasn’t a summer thunderstorm, something we just needed to endure until it was over. This storm was the new normal. So when my editor told me the magazine had been invited to review a new dating service, called Crystal Clear, which promised to guarantee COVID-free dates, I jumped at the chance. So with every apology to Sra. García Márquez for the title, let me share with you some of what I experienced.

Joining the service was fairly standard, but in addition to the regular profile…

Or, what I wish teachers had explained to me before asking me to write any of it

I recall sitting in high school English class. Quatrain? Villanelle? Haiku? Why would anyone bother with this schtick? Sure, some of these poems talk about lofty things and have some pretty turns of phrases, but why wouldn’t these authors just say what they mean?

I was a dutiful student, so despite not understanding why, I would take whatever topic the teacher offered and push it through the meatgrinder of rhyme scheme and meter. The poems were, of course, terrible, contractual-obligation poetry. It took…

Because humans, let me start by saying unequivocally I do not advocate killing anyone. Again. Because humans, let me repeat that with emoji clap emphasis. I 👏 do 👏 not 👏 advocate 👏 killing 👏 anyone.

I’m not a likely guy to go viral. My topics are niche topics. My blog is a niche blog. My books are niche books. My talks are niche talks. I’m not often given to polemics, even though I know the marketing value it promises. The biggest thing I’d tweeted before had maybe 10,000 impressions. But wow, I do love a good bit of satire.

A first grader’s first science fair project

Broken LEGO creations are frustrating. It makes my LEGO-obsessed kid sad. How can he make his creations stronger? Can we identify the joins that are the strongest, or less likely to break when dropped from the height of a 7-year old’s hands?

For my son’s first science fair project, we sought to test the drop strengths of different joins between two 2x4 Lego bricks. We found some answers but wound up with others. In this post I share the story, and end with a request from Miles: Can anyone on the internet comment on the experiment, or help answer the…


A friend tagged me with the SynasthesiaMe-ification of his name, and said I might find it interesting. He was right. This post is the result of the first collision impact of me and that tool. (Thanks, Brett!)


If you haven’t heard about it yet, the author Bernadette Sheridan took her lifelong grapheme-color synesthesia experience—in which letters in names appear as colors—and created a tool that allows anyone to type their name and see the colors that result. She provides a great overview graphic of this process in her Medium post about it, titled “What Color Is Your Name? …

Have you heard this phrase bandied about? I have. And I have thoughts.

What does it mean? At first hearing, “AI is the UX” is a bit of poetry. AI is a big, vague, and shifting subject. UX is a big, vague, and shifting subject. So saying that one is the other feels weighty, like an important thing that we probably ought to understand. But seriously, what does it mean?

If I was to bring it down to more concrete terms about what it means in practice only requires changing one word.

Read: AI DOES the UX

And in doing so, the argument goes, AI will help businesses realize three major benefits.

For ten years I was part of a consultancy that was committed to Pair Design. I’m a big believer in this mode of working, and have evangelized it on stages and in an e-book that I co-authored with Gretchen Anderson. Hey, look, that book is available for free through O’Reilly.

The cover to the e-book I coauthored with Gretchen Anderson about Pair Design.

Anyway, in anecdotes, talks, and case studies, I’ve taken pains to explain the benefits of pair design, but it’s sometimes hard to imagine what it’s like in actual, day-to-day practice. So, one day in 2015 I approached my awesome design pair Jenea Hayes (she currently works with DesignIt, I currently…

Today, visual storytelling wunderkammern The Pudding released Ye Olde Mad-Lib Pub Crawl Generator, by Caitlyn Ralph @earthto_caitlyn and Jan Diehm @jadiehm. It will plot a most-efficient path between any of 41 pubs in Great Britain that share the same name, e.g. “Red Lion” or “Pig & Whistle.”

I was invited to speak at From Business to Buttons last year to speak about the Designing Agentive Technology book, but I was quite busy with parental leave for our infant daughter, so had to decline. Invitations can be like muscles — you use them or you lose them — so I wasn’t sure if I would, in fact, be invited back. But the inUse lead organizer Johan Berndtsson is a consummate pro, and sure enough, less than a year later I got the invitation and I was happy to accept. I love Sweden very much, and am happy to…

Chris Noessel

Chris is a 20+ year UX veteran, author, and public speaker. He delights in finding truffles in oubliettes. Tip me in coffee at

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