Andy Budd ruined my life

Back in April 2008, I saw a presentation by Andy Budd at the Future of Web Design conference in London. This presentation, great as it was, ruined my life.

What the talk was about

The topic of Budd’s talk, Designing The User Experience Curve, was user experience in the wild and how by taking notice of user experience in real world situations could enable us to create better online experiences.

When you visit a hotel/shop/restaurant and there’s an aspect that is hard or confusing about using/receiving the provided service then it generates a less than optimal user experience and often you find yourself rejecting the idea of reusing that service in the future. Likewise, when you have a good experience, which can be triggered by any number of small things, you find yourself reusing that service in the future.

Sometimes that meal in the restaurant tastes just a little bit better when the waiter has built up a rapport with you and sometimes that hotel bed feels just a little bit lumpier when you’ve spent 20 minutes waiting at reception being ignored while you try to check-in.

So why did that inspiring talk ruin my life?

Ever since that fateful day, back in April 2008, I’ve found it impossible to do anything without judging the level of user experience I’m receiving – it’s made me notice far more when I’m getting a poor user experience e.g. whenever I:

  • walk into a shop and don’t receive any kind of greeting from a member of staff.
  • reach the till at the supermarket only to find that the special 2-for-1 offer doesn’t apply to my item.
  • sit down at a football ground and find myself squashed in like an animal.

In the past, these events washed over me a lot more but now I can’t ignore them.


Ultimately, this talk forced me to constantly think about user experience and this habit has definitely bled through to my professional life. So, really I should be extremely grateful that Andy Budd ruined my life because let’s face it, he didn’t at all.

View Andy’s talk (on vimeo)

Andy Budd – FOWD London 2008.

What about you?

Have you seen any conference talks or blog posts which have left a lasting impression on you and/or completely altered your way of thinking?

8 responses to “Andy Budd ruined my life”

  1. I completely agree that an obsession with the customer service you receive in the real world can ruin the moment. To achieve happiness, should we strive for ignorance and complacency?

  2. I saw that talk too Phil, it was a great talk as was Andy’s talk at @media last year, the analogies he refers to are always spot on.

    On the walking into a shop thing though, I don’t really want a greeting in the same way that I don’t want them to ask me if I need any help after 20 seconds of entering the shop. I think there’s a fine balance to be struck.

    Talks that have struck with me from the last year or two would be the one above, Jason Santa Maria at @media 2009, Colly at @media 2009 and Russell Davies at dConstruct 2009. Though saying that I can’t remember the names of them!

    • Out of the talks you mentioned Rich, I’ve sadly only seen Russell Davies’ from dConstruct 2009 and I 100% agree it was excellent.

      With regards to the shop example – I think it’s a fine line between the shop assistant being over-bearing and being welcoming – sometimes a smile is all it takes.

  3. I have a similar thing with designs the more I read about design the more I’m critical of everything, I look at fonts on everything I pick up menus, leaflets, magazines. I look at billboards in terms of colour palettes and layout!

  4. I saw that presentation too!

    There are a number of talks that have shaped the way I go about working but one in particular has to be Elliot Jay Stocks’ presentation at the same FOWD conference. It really inspired me to start experimenting more with design. At the moment that’s as far as I’ve got, this year I’m starting to push myself to put it into practice and get some stuff live! :)

  5. Great post phil, Id watched this video before and never took much notice but this time I took it all in. All I have to say is Andy Budd ruined my life too. I looked at where I work at thought about how do people experience us. From scratching off a wifi card to using the service. All the way through to user retention.

    Thanks for getting my attention back to this.

  6. Great article Phil! I really enjoy reading your blog.

    My way of thinking changed a lot after reading Naomi Klein’s book: “No Logo”.
    World seems like a sick place for me sometimes after reading that…

    greetings from argentina!