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Magical Design Thinking with UX Presto

by Jim McCool
4 min read
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A look at the mysterious world of UX Magic in the form of a screenplay depicting a meeting between a desperate product team and a mysterious figure.


Main Conference Room, Headquarters, MegaCorp Solutions Inc., Tuesday 3.05pm

The entire New Products team is gathered for a special meeting. Glum expressions and grim red-lined wall charts demonstrate how the team has fallen way behind schedule. Project Manager #Psycho Steve steps up to the podium to make an announcement.


Today, we have a special guest… A special guest who we hope is going to help get us back on track.

In the corner, a huddle of productivity coaches cheer loudly, embellished with a flourish of amateur dramatics.


Hooray! HOORAY! WaHOO!


So, please give a big MegaCorp Solutions team welcome… to Mr. UX Presto…!

An elegant figure in a top hat, white collar and tails steps forward and takes a bow.


UX Presto is going to work some of his fabulous UX magic on our designs… Now, stand back everybody.

UX Presto lifts his magic UX wand and taps lightly on the dull pile of dreary and blinkered business requirements on the desk top. He quietly murmurs a magical UX incantation.


Lorem ipsum, dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing, Harry Potteramus…

As if by magic, the dusty pile of documentation transforms into a shimmering set of interactive wireframes.

Transfixed, #Psycho Steve reaches out to touch the magical design specifications, and they beep, feebly. He gasps.


Yes! Touch-friendly! They’re responsive as well!

Like a kindly wise king surrounded by starving beggars, UX Presto smiles benignly at the applause. Then the magical UX specialist steps forward once more. Again he taps the design documentation with his magic UX wand. They twinkle and glisten.


LOOK!…Now they’re GOLD-PLATED!

UX Presto holds a white gloved finger to his tidily bearded mouth to signal for silence.

When he again has the full attention of the team, he swooshes his red-lined cape around himself in a silky gesture. There is a flash of bright light, a puff of white smoke, and suddenly #Psycho Steve finds himself holding a wealth of valuable ethnographic research.


This is AMAZING… He pulled it straight out of thin air!

#Psycho Steve swoons slightly. The Productivity Coaches gasp.


Gasp! This research data completely validates ALL our initial assumptions about user behaviour!

Next, UX Presto approaches Juan, the Lead Developer. Reaching casually behind Juan’s earhole, UX Presto pulls out a long knotted ribbon of technical constraints. He pulls and pulls and pulls until finally the immensely long line of problems breaks free.

Reaching behind Juan’s earhole, UX Presto pulls out a long knotted ribbon of technical constraints.

The productivity coaches screech, noisily.


Eeeek! Wicked!

Twirling the long line of knotty problems into an impromptu lasso, UX Presto sends them swirling towards the ceiling, where they magically transform into a fluttering flock of friendly white doves.


Yes folks, and they make excellent pies.

After a slight pause for the productivity coaches to compose themselves, #Psycho Steve pulls out his smartphone and pushes its volume setting up to maximum. He plays a very tinny drum roll.


UX Presto tells me that he will need a volunteer from the audience for his next, very dangerous, trick…

The team look at each other, anxiously.


Dreck Slowfoot, Legal & Redtape Compliance Manager, step forward please…

Dreck Slowfoot protests and attempts to hide behind the rest of the team.


But I… I mean, I never…You… you’re not going to saw me in half or anything…?


Excellent, excellent… Heh, heh, no of course, we’re not going to saw you in half… And a big thank you for being such a sport and taking part. Step up lively now, Dreck.

A curtain draws back to reveal a stoutly metal-framed Perspex cabinet. The cabinet is transparent, full of water, and bound by heavy steel chains.

UX Presto works nimbly to remove the chains and pull open the cabinet. He then gestures to his nervous volunteer.


Yep, that’s it, Dreck, just put your total trust in UX Presto and everything will be fine… Go right ahead…

Dreck moves forward nervously and lowers himself into the cabinet, until his mouth and nose are just above the waterline.

With exaggerated, theatrical, movements, UX Presto then replaces the heavy chains and clicks the padlocks closed with thick brass keys. Next, he pulls over an industrial welding unit and with a magical blue welding torch, seals the magical cabinet shut.

#Psycho Steve holds his phone aloft, with the tinny drum roll, rolling.


Please be calm, Ladies and Gentlemen. UX Presto needs absolute quiet while he fights against the clock to get Dreck free…

While #Psycho Steve holds the team’s attention, UX Presto disappears.


With only six and a half months to go before delivery of phase two, UX Presto will need every ounce of his magic powers to mentally move those locks… remotely.

The tinny drum roll continues.


While we wait in thrilling suspense for the almost unbearably tense finale, I suggest we go back to our desks and build those magical golden wireframes.

The drum roll stops. The thick curtain quietly closes and the magical cabinet is hidden.


For next week’s meeting, I’d advise those of a religious or a nervous disposition to bring a friend, or seek parental consent. We’ll be learning some of the dark arts of search engine optimization… So please bring along a black candle and a suitable sacrifice…


Image of magician courtesy Shutterstock.

post authorJim McCool

Jim McCool, Jim McCool is a Senior UX Consultant currently working in Sydney, Australia. He has been involved in UX for more than 15 years, working for major organizations like British Telecom, Vodafone, Symbian, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and various large financial organizations. Jim has worked as a builder, garbageman, journalist, and social researcher before becoming involved in the world of tech. He is married with three very smart kids and two reasonably dumb dogs. He enjoys the incredible beauty of the Australian landscape, and spends as much time camping in the bush as his busy schedule will allow.


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