Photo by Hugo Rocha on Unsplash

2020 gave a lot of us some downtime. I know of teams who took hard lockdown to get their “house” in order and came out stronger, more organised and ready to hit the ground running, and once restrictions were lifted, did exactly that. Allowing a team some time away from the pressures of deadlines and client support can yield massive returns if used wisely.

Long before the year that shall not be named, I found myself a new product owner of a team that had just launched a new app. The next release was coming closer and there was not…


Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

One week into a nation-wide lockdown, and I’m enjoying the peace and quiet that this introverted, socially distanced life is allowing me. My mind is free of the everyday decisions of when the best time is to leave for work to avoid traffic, what to get from the shops on my way home, and where to have dinner, when not in the mood to cook. The quiet thinking that this time has afforded me is wonderful, and at the same time, frightening.

This is a frightening time of uncertainty, mainly because as a society we are treading unknown territory. The COVID-19 virus brings uncertainty and anxiety as we don’t yet fully understand how each of us may or may not be directly affected by a tragic case of infection, whether directly or indirectly. That is all very frightening, but it’s also still such a distant, abstract notion, that I try not to let my thoughts linger on it for too long.

What affects all of us more directly right now, is the economic implications of our government’s decision to impose a nation-wide…


Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Technical debt is the entropy that software accumulates over time, slowing down developers’ efforts when attempting to release usable, working software and burdening the team with constant user support issues. Technical debt is inevitably paid in user value. Technical Debt is therefore a user experience issue.

Technical debt accumulates when the right system design principles are not followed when developing software, this usually happens when a team is put under pressure to deliver quickly or when scope is not defined well from the start and teams are forced to keep adding features and functionality haphazardly.

User value is usually created…


Why I think companies fail to implement mature innovation practices

Photo by Mauricio Fanfa on Unsplash

Recently the State of Innovation Report was published by the National Advisory Council on Innovation in South Africa. I circulated the report to C-level leadership and I can’t say I’m surprised at the response. Before I elaborate on that, let me tel you a story of a tech founder I know.

He would get up at 4 in the morning, and start working through his emails and admin for the day from home. By 9 am he would arrive at work, and as he would dismount his motorcycle, one of his young employees would run up to meet him to…


By Minecraftpsyco — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Two years ago I faced one of my many existential crises as a UX Designer, panicked and decided I’d better get my head around this “VR thing”. With no more than just a very broad idea of what VR is, and the determination of a teenager at a school dance, I decided the best way to learn VR is to qualify myself in VR. What followed was a proposal to do a master’s degree and write a thesis on VR.

When working in tech, two years is a lifetime, and that’s exactly what it feels like. But before I get…


Is it just me, or is the role of the UX designer something of a Jekyll and Hyde affair?

Jekyll and Hyde illustration

One very important hat that we have to wear is to understand our users and create interfaces that solve real problems for them. The other hat, that I find myself wearing more often, is to convince business leaders, development teams and nay-sayers of the importance of UX. …


I’ve spent a year or two working for financial services corporates now. And what I can say without a doubt is I’ve learnt exactly what not to do if your goal is to have MANY happy clients. But this is not what this post is about, well not entirely. One day, during a quarterly update, among many statistics and some obligatory references to the company values, the CIO, who was leading the quarterly in this specific instance, steered the agenda to innovation. …


This weekend I came across a book published in 1997 called “101 Essential tips — Using the Internet”. The topics it covers range from What is the internet to How modems work. It explains meticulously how to install a modem on Windows 95 and the concept of email and How to decipher an email address. Later topics also cover IRC — Internet Relay Chat (remember those), how to configure the client program and running an IRC session.

This made me think. We, and by this I mean the average consumer of technology, the “man on the street”, worked so hard…


If your company designs business systems, you are sure to have a few BA’s (Business Analysts) walking the trenches. In some instances BA’s produce heavy documents which outline, in detail, the task flows and use cases even the user requirements in some cases. These are then passed along to the developers and out comes the software…somewhere along the line, they pass the software to UX to “make pretty”. And then off it goes into the great unknown, with unsuspecting users paying the price.

The curious case of the BA
BA’s gather the business requirements and have first contact with the stakeholders…


The first thing I was made aware of the when I entered the software development industry was the huge divide between designers and developers. This superstition has since lost prevalence, and I think it’s mainly due to designers becoming more specialised and understanding the technicalities coders deal with on a daily basis, better. However, the one disposition that still remains is the development team seemingly disregard or in some cases even ‘hate’ for users. There are some developers who would outright declare that they have no time for understanding users. …

Jani Rostoll

UX Designer, Scrum Product Owner and believer in the happiness we can share with the world.

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