Graham Odds

Graham Odds

I'm a technologist who delights in pushing at the boundaries of what is possible. As Chief Strategy Officer at Scott Logic, I worry about where we and the world we operate in are heading longer term. I'm often heard talking about social value and environmental impact, or getting nerdy about data visualisation.

Those involved in managing organisations' environmental impact often point to the 'supply chain challenge', that is, the difficulty of measuring the GHG emissions associated with suppliers' goods and services. But most businesses are themselves also suppliers, so if we're all waiting for our suppliers to answer the question before we can, then we're stuck in a deadlock. This post shares our first (probably imperfect) stab at trying to progress this issue.
So many companies – including Scott Logic – have created ‘one-size-fits-all’ working practices and cultures that are based on a range of assumptions about what ‘fits', while excluding swathes of people. I’m determined that we tackle this issue, and in this blog post I share our journey so far towards being as inclusive an employer as possible.
· Video
With APIs, Open Standards and modern tooling, the vision of GaaP is more readily achievable than ever before, but it requires a different understanding of the role of government — from master and commander to convener and enabler. In this talk, I bring to life why I believe APIs are key to establishing digital foundations that will enable us to better serve citizens' personalised needs at scale.
· Video
Our panel of experts — Jacqui Leggetter (Head of Integration (Deputy Director) at DWP), Kevin Dearing (Head of API Ecosystems at NatWest Group) and Benny Boye Johansen (Head of OpenAPI at Saxo Bank) — share success stories, lessons learnt and practical advice based on their experiences of using APIs as a strategic enabler and value generator.
Nothing is preventing your organisation from innovating today in order to keep pace with user expectations, because properly using APIs helps you escape from the bonds of your legacy estate.
· Video
Genuine digital transformation is not possible unless Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are embraced and understood across a whole organisation, rather than just within technical teams. In this webinar, I tried to start taking non-technical folk on that journey.
While APIs are nothing new, their technical nature means that their purposes and capabilities are rarely understood or championed by non-technical people in organisations, despite their huge significance in our digital world...
This white paper is designed to help you better understand the potential of the humble Application Programming Interface (API) in unlocking genuine digital transformation.
APIs "done properly" can be a significant strategic enabler, or even a whole new business proposition. This piece highlights some examples of this in action.
· Video
This webinar explored the potential of desktop container technologies to cultivate an integrated desktop ecosystem, and shares some techniques for taking a workflow-focused approach to software design.
We had a stand at the recent Service Design in Government conference and took the opportunity to gain some insight into the community, using LEGO! Here's what we did, why and the results.
Last week, designers from across the globe gathered for the annual Interaction conference. Here are some of my thoughts and takeaways from the event.
Inspired by a recent dot chart visualisation focusing on the change of a value in different circumstances, this blog post presents the same data visualised using a slopegraph and compares and contrasts the two forms.
· Video
Why don't we adopt responsive design on the desktop? In this talk I demonstrate the power and fresh challenge of applying responsive design to desktop productivity applications.
· Video
A talk from NUX5 where I explore conversational UIs and conversational commerce.
Despite all the excitement around chatbots, conversational UIs and conversational commerce, you need to take a step back and consider whether they could be appropriate for your services. This post weighs up the potential against the current reality and highlights aspects to consider.
This blog post highlights an awkward problem in one of the key building blocks of an automated conversational UI and suggests a few strategies for how to deal with it.
· Video
Conversational Commerce drastically re-imagines the way services are delivered to customers by moving interactions with them into chat, messaging or other natural language interfaces such as voice. The following video captures some of our initial thoughts on how this might apply to financial services.
I am often asked for recommended reading on design by people from all sorts of different backgrounds. My answers vary wildly depending on the person asking and the angle or topic I think might be most relevant to them. However, there are certain books that come up quite often so here are a rounded collection of recommendations. It may surprise some that only a handful of these books are actually about design but I strongly believe that you can learn as much, if not more, from outside the world of design. After all, analysing, understanding and repurposing are some of the most powerful skills for designers to hone.
Creating omni-channel experiences in enterprise is more often than not a challenge in terms of strategy and mindset rather than technology. This white paper outlines a twinned design and technical approach that ensures focus is squarely on users and the contexts within they use a system.
An outline of principles that will help you design more compelling data visualisations, from the respective strengths of various means for visually encoding values to the most appropriate patterns for conveying relationships.
Last week I spoke at and attended UX Scotland 2013, a new user experience design conference organised by Software Acumen. Over the course of 2 days, 31 sessions and roughly 130 delegates ensured that Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh was filled with ideas, discussion and enthusiasm. Overall, the conference was a definite success and I'm delighted to hear Software Acumen are already planning to repeat it next year.
In an attempt to see how powerful pure CSS can be these days I decided to try implementing some of my favourite visual illusions without any JavaScript. Not only was this good fun, I gained quite a few insights into the current state of CSS.
Some thoughts and concerns about adaptive systems, emphasising the necessity to seriously question any assumptions they operate under so that the benefits they might bring to the user experience of a product outweigh any frustrations or negativity.
Toob is a London Underground travel app for Windows 8 that I am designing and developing for CodeProject's App Innovation Contest. It is currently a work in progress but I have written an article introducing the application and going through some useful technical information for anyone interested in writing HTML5 applications for Windows 8.
A critical appraisal of my 'If Broad Habitats In The UK Were Clustered...' visualisation, highlighting some of its shortcomings and issues in the underlying data source that the 'pretty picture' does a good job of masking.
Intrigued by Mark Easton's question on Twitter, 'How much of Britain is built on?', and inspired by the associated article, The Great Urban Myth of Britain, I wanted to put the UK NEA's statement that '6.8% of the UK's land area is now classified as urban' into some kind of context that actually made sense to me.
This article considers a recent change to the BBC Weather site as an example of how overuse of information visualisation techniques and inconsistent design decisions can undermine what is otherwise an excellent content-first experience.
Last week I attended the UX London 2012 conference. This was my first public foray into the world of User Experience and it proved to be both educational and thought-provoking.
This article presents a concern I have regarding the development of infographics and shows an example of the kind of critical thinking I believe the world of infographics is unfortunately all too often missing.
Adobe has recently made a number of rather muddled announcements around Flash and Flex that have caused confusion and concern in the development community.
This article presents a critique of radar charts, a chart type commonly used to display multivariate data, higlighting how they are poorly designed to effectively communicate information in the underlying data, and presents a number of more effective alternatives.
Yesterday I spoke at the Flash On The Beach conference in Brighton as part of the Elevator Pitch session. I think the session went really well, with a great mixture of topics so (hopefully) everyone was suitably entertained.
For reasons best ignored I recently investigated the different ways in which static initialisation code can be run in Flex.
Yesterday I received the exciting news that I will be speaking at the fantastic Flash On The Beach conference in Brighton this September. As Europe's biggest annual Flash conference it brings together leading minds from all over the industry and focuses on design and development in equal share.
A look at the three big web technologies at the moment.
When meeting current and prospective clients the subject of web technology choice often arises. There has been a great deal of confusion and uncertainty out there, even before Microsoft's perceived change of stance with respect to Silverlight emerged.
In a previous post I presented a library of sparkline implementations for Flex 3.
This post introduces the Presentation Model (or MVVM) architectural pattern as one approach for creating "better" large-scale Flex applications.
This post follows on from the comparison of two Silverlight chart libraries.
An issue that can crop up with Flex applications is the lack of any log information to match up against users' bug reports.
Last week I attended a series of information visualisation workshops run by Stephen Few.
Contextual cues are frequently used in user interface design to communicate functionality and behaviour to the user, removing the need for the user to guess.
Sparklines are described by their inventor, Edward Tufte, as "data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics".
Microsoft have recently submitted US patent application 20090282325, entitled Sparklines in the Grid.
An oddness in default behaviour that can throw those new to Flex Charting is that segments in charts that should correspond to a data point are missing.
The number of frustrating decisions in Flex's charting API is minimal, but high up on my list is a strange decision that prevents developers from accessing information that is frequently desirable for custom data tips in stacked area, bar and column charts.
The ability to allow a user to save a Flex chart, or in fact any Flex UI component, as an image has popped up on my radar several times over the last few years.


Think workflow, not app
19 August 2020
IXDA Scotland Meetup – Nov 2019
13 November 2019
11 July 2019
FinJS London (May 2019)
21 May 2019
Techie Brekkie – UX design for complex systems
27 February 2019
CIO Connect
19 June 2018
NUX Camp Leeds
27 April 2018
24 October 2017
FinJS – London
13 June 2017
European Energy Trading CIO Forum
08 March 2017
Tech For Good
12 January 2017
Deutsche Bank design talk
11 October 2016
07 October 2016
AIB Innovation Talk
05 October 2016
UX Cambridge
14 September 2016
UX Scotland
08 June 2016
RBS Tech Stock
15 March 2016
RBI 2016
23 February 2016
RBS Tech Stock
10 November 2015
UX Cambridge
09 September 2015
Edinburgh UX Meetup
07 September 2015
UX Scotland
11 June 2015
DIBI 2014
11 November 2014
UX Scotland
21 June 2014
01 May 2014
UX Cambridge
04 September 2013
Reasons To Be Creative
02 September 2013
UX Scotland
20 June 2013
HTML5 It Just Got Real
14 May 2013
Flash On The Beach
14 September 2011