Joe Leech

Joe Leech, @mrjoe, Joe to his friends, is a Freelance User Experience Consultant working in Bristol, UK. He's been working in UX for 12 years with clients like Marriott, theTrainline and Disney. He's the author of Psychology for Designers.

Published Thoughts

It seems like only yesterday but it was 10 years ago we started this crazy thing together.

There was Blogger which was free but was held together with sellotape and string. Moveable Type was overly technical and you had to pay and LiveJournal was just plain crazy.

You were new, exciting and held the promise of free, easy web publishing. Sure you were a bit plain at first, you looked geeky, but what promise. We started something special together.

The tough times

Soon you were everywhere. All WordPress sites looked the same, that same theme. All blue gradient fills and Tahoma. Sure there were themes but they all looked the same. It was hard to make you look pretty.

You slowed down, performance suffered.

That time you got hacked and embarrassingly, Google emailed me and let me know! I felt betrayed. All that early promise. Then the spam problem, oh my the spam problem. But I stuck with you. Many of my friends didn’t, they moved on to the newest, prettiest thing.

Our relationship suffered, I had a fling with Typepad but I came back to you.

But then you wised up. Askimet for spam, toughening up, not so naive, so trusting of the internet. Asking friends to make plugins to protect you. The abundance of themes meant you always had a new look. You sped up, lost that bloat.

Our future together

I need you to do something, you are there. You adapt and in advance, think of my needs through the plethora of plugins. You play nicely with pretty much any service or API out there. Instagram, no problem, Twitter, easy, MailChimp, Buffer, the list continues. Through anything is possible. You opened my eyes to the possibilities of the IndieWeb.

Sure there are faster, leaner, cooler tools but you are quick enough, stable enough, happy and easy to use. You aren’t fancy and fly by night like easyCome.js or You with your desperately uncool but ubiquitous and simple PHP, you can be installed anywhere for pennies. You aren’t complex, powerful or lean, you are simple and easy to understand.

WordPress, you’ve always been there for me and I’m looking forward to our life together.

Don’t go changing.

Yours with affection,

Joe (mr)

From a conversation with Brad Frost and Amber Case on a wet Oslo evening on how we all love WordPress and struggle to understand why it has such a bad rep.

Inspired by Matt Mullenweg’s love-letter last year to WordPress.

(Edited December 16, 2014 at 8pm GMT fixed a typo)

I find the nature of my work changing.

Ten years ago it was all about designing meaningful digital interactions.

It was all new. We were designing novel digital interactions, solving problems that hadn’t been seen before – pathfinding in what we did.

We were limited by people sat down at home or in the office in front of a computer with a mouse and keyboard. But that was great because we had to figure out how to design digital interactions, limited horizons gave interaction designers a defined scope to work within and we did great things.

Five years ago that began to change. The iPhone and smartphones began to take hold. Interactions moved out from behind a desk into the world. Our horizons broadened. We began to design for touch, audio and low bandwidth. To design for the context our user was in be that on the bus or train or sat watching the TV and tweeting a sporting event. We had to adapt to changes in the way people lived their lives.

In the last year I’ve found myself designing for more than digital.

Designing a basic supply chain, delivering of physical goods and service expectations. Designing the movement of people and interactions in physical spaces. Designing a telephone call centre interaction; what should be computer based and what should be human.

Digital plays a part, but a limited part. The majority of interactions aren’t behind glass but are based in the physical world.

As interaction design matures we’ll find ourselves designing more than apps and websites. We’ll be designing holistic, real world experiences.

Exciting times ahead my friends.