This is a presentation given by Matt Webb (of Schulze & Webb) to an audience of BBC designers, on 8 February 2006, as part of their annual Digital Futures 1-day conference. It’s the latest version of a Mind Hacks talk, relating material from the book to user interfaces, which I’ve given a number of times since the beginning of 2006.

It’s also worth me bringing up the same disclaimer as the one from page 13: I apologise in advance to any psychologists reading this. I’m doing the typical designer (and technologist) thing of taking a word or concept and twisting it so that it’s useful to me, but bears only slight resemblance to the original. That’s fine, but I thought I’d give warning.

I have these long-hand notes, by the way, because the talk was also submitted to signers on the stage, translating what I was saying. That itself was a new experience for me, and I was enormously impressed at their skill.

Before I get started, before I even start on my introduction slide, I want to try an experiment. It’s good having a captive audience, because I get to try these things.

I’ve asked [someone] to leave the room. They’ll come back in, in a second. I know this is going to sound a bit weird, but I hope everyone here has a pen.

I’d like this side of the room to, well. Put your pen in your mouth, sideways, so it stretches back your lips. Just kind of keep it there. Really, this’ll make sense in a minute. You on the other side, don’t laugh. I haven’t told you where you’re putting your pen yet.

Okay, this side of the room: put your pen under your nose and above your top lip. Okay? Keep it there.

Trust me for a couple of minutes, it just has to stay there. Keep it there? Okay, I’ll do my introductions, then I promise I’ll let you remove your pen. Humour me.

Matt Webb, S&W, posted 2006-04-13 (talk on 2006-02-08)