I am a UX Designer, creator of Design Meltdown and the author of six web design books. Several times per year you can find me speaking at conferences on various topics.

UX Job Roles Presentation

Posted on: September 21st, 2015 by patrick


My presentation from the HOW Interactive Conference in San Francisco (September 2015).

Download the PDF or view it on Slide Share.

HOW Interactive Design Conference 2015 (and promo code)

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by patrick



TLDNR: Use promo code "MCNEIL50" to save an extra $50

I am really excited to be a part of the HOW Interactive Design Conference advisory board again this year. It is a remarkable privilege to help shape the contents of events that hundreds will attend and learn from. A key difference to the events this year is that each of the three events are intended to have a different focus.

San Francisco - User Experience & Interaction Design

More and more designers are being asked to take on new skill sets. UX Design is one of those. This event is specifically designed to help traditional designers embrace this exciting line of work. Want to discover how research can change the way you work and bring tremendous value to your projects? This is the place for you.

Chicago - Stories from the field

In Chicago the emphasis is on real life case studies in the interactive design world. Even wonder how things get done? What kinds of process people use? Or how to organize a project? Get meaningful insights from incredible designers that will pull back the curtain and reveal their best tricks.

Boston - Visual Design & Technology

The marriage of design and technology is a union that continues to be extremely exciting. With design at the forefront of the technology it is increasingly important for designers to continue to expand their knowledge. This event is tailored to deepened you understanding of technology as it impacts visual design. Even better it is 100% targeted at traditional designers; you won't get lost in a sea of acronyms here, but rather targeted and helpful sessions that address the key topics in our industry.

Use promo code: MCNEIL50 (and save $50)

If you would like to attend it doesn't hurt to save a few dollars. My friends at HOW have given me a promo code good for $50 off. Combine this with the early bird rate (register by July 31st) and you save $350. Be sure to use promo code: MCNEIL50


I can't say enough about how excited I am about these events. I genuinely hope to see you at one of them!

Vannevar Bush + Chasing New Technology

Posted on: December 15th, 2014 by patrick



In 1945, Vannevar Bush’s watershed article, “As We May Think” was published in the Atlantic Monthly. Here he forecasts many technologies that wouldn’t show up for fifty years or more. In particular he predicts a personal device he calls the “Memex,” which would store all of an individual’s books, records and communications. It would allow the user to consult that information with “exceeding speed and flexibility.” Although his thorough description is far from the reality of today, the core idea is crystal clear: We do have personal computers and phones that not only store all of our personal information and communications, but they grant us access to more information than Bush ever imagined.

 Read the full article on PrintMag.com


Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by patrick



Trends are the sort of thing that come and go, we all know that. At times we even start to consider the fall of a brand new design trend because we know the trend will eventually be a thing of the past. And yet, in the moment of the trend it would seem that it perfectly represents the time. I have been writing about web design trends since 2007, and I can honestly say that every trend seemed appropriate for the time. That is to say, trends never feel forced, they always feel great, like a perfect form that seems to represent the best that we have to offer.

And this brings us to today, not tomorrow, or yesterday. What is the state of trendy design as it stands today. I want to briefly look at 3 different visual design trends that are the “go-to” styles right now...

Read the full article on WebDesignerDepot.com


3 Essential Editorial Design Tips for Interactive Designers

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by patrick


I am getting back in the saddle and starting to write a lot again. This piece was just posted to HOWDesign.com. I think it is particularly interesting to see how Editorial Design can influence and inspire Interactive Design.

Online editorial design has had brief moments in the limelight, as with the New York Times Snow Fall article of 2012 (In fact, the New York Times is doing amazing work in this area as evidenced in this lovely collection). Everyone pretty much agreed that the results of this particular project were pretty much amazing. This project certainly was an interesting exploration of what modern, interactive editorial design could be. And there have been many other explorations along the same lines.

- Read the full article at: http://www.howdesign.com/web-design-resources-technology/taking-inspiration-editorial-design-tips/


UX Methods as presented at FOWD 2014

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by patrick


As promised here is a link to view all of the slides from my session on Practical UX Methods. Many thanks to all that attended!

Introducing BootInspect for Bootstrap

Posted on: October 24th, 2014 by patrick


(Jump straight to the BootInspect Github page)

A few semesters back I was teaching my web design course where the students learn to code HTML and CSS. One component of this course is that they learn to make responsive sites using Bootstrap. The biggest problem students had was understanding how the columns were changing based on the various screen sizes. With this in mind we would put background colors on column containers so we could visualize what was happening.

This process became rather tiresome and I looked for a better solution. I hacked together some CSS and jQuery that would inspect the page and mark the page with visual tags showing the bootstrap containers at work. Shown here is an example of how this looks in practice:


In this image you can see that the blue outline shows the container, the red shows the row and each column is outlined in green. Also you will notice the tags in the top right corner of each column indicating the size it is set to.

In preparation for a Bootstrap workshop I am conducting at the Future of Web Design conference in November I decided I would formalize this tool and share it with the world.

I have found this to be a priceless tool when teaching bootstrap. Interestingly I have also found that it is equally useful when I am building my own sites using Bootstrap.

Visit the BootInspect Github project page to see how to put it to work and to get the latest version etc.

I hope you enjoy it. Please do let me know what you think of it!

Introducing the all new Design Meltdown

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by patrick


Visit Design Meltdown

I am very happy to announce that Design Meltdown is back in business. After many years of being dormant I have completely rebuilt and updated the site. After extensive user research I have settled in on a structure and approach radically different from the sites blog style roots. The focus is still on collecting samples based on various attributes. However, instead of browsing single sample sets you can quickly browse the various topics as most of the samples are cross listed. I think you will find the new interface fast and fun to use.

Visit the new site, and let me know what you think.


Today I did a three hour workshop at the Univ. of IL Web Conference. It was a whopper of a session packed with a lot of material. I promised to post the PDF, so here it is.

Full PDF of the session.

My new course: An Introduction to UX Design

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by patrick


I am pleased to say that my new course, An Introduction to UX Design,  through HOW Deisgn University is set to launch in about two weeks. I made a quick video to describe what the course contains and who might be interested in taking it. I hope you join me for this four week adventure in the world of UX design!

If you want to register head over to the HOW U. site.