TLF Gems Newsletter May 2022

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

Checklists are a wildly underutilized technology.

Erika Hall

It's not an original thought, but it's interesting sometimes to reflect on the differences between the world we evolved to live in and the world we've built for ourselves. More often than not, our poor stone-age brains are simply unable to cope with the complexity of our 21st century lives, or bring to mind the knowledge we have amassed over the centuries.

Thoughtful design, which is more often than not about taking care with small and unexpected details, can be the key to helping humans cope. As our first link shows, something as simple as including a photograph of the patient with the scan sent to a radiologist can improve empathy and lead to more careful readings. Details matter!

If you'd ever like to get in touch with me to share your thoughts, ask me a question, or suggest a link, you can always find me on Twitter @shampshire or drop me an email on

Thanks for reading,


Here are 7 things we think are worth your time this month

Extreme Humanism

A great short PDF from Tom Peters with examples of the tiny details that can make a huge difference to human feelings and behaviour. This is such a big part of the customer experience, both directly and in terms of setting up the conditions for your people to create good experiences. "The tiniest of human touches can make mind-blowing differences in results..."

Read: Extreme Humanism

The Trouble Diamond

I really enjoyed this short post and accompanying graphic (which I found via Twitter - thanks Simon!) about an alternative view of the famous double diamond, emphasising the customers we may be ignoring or excluding in the way we do our discovery and design. "The more open and honest we can be about the fragile nature of design, the better we will become at mitigating harm."

Read: The Trouble Diamond

Reichheld, NPS, & Goodhart's Law

Interesting podcast interview with Fred Reichheld in which he explains, amongst other things, why linking bonuses to NPS is a bad idea. Goodhart's Law says that when a measure becomes a target, it stops being a good measure, and this is a good instance of that. As I always say, remember that what you want is not a high score, but a better customer experience! "...they've turned Net Promoter Score into a key performance indicator, and they link it to compensation of frontline employees, and get people into trouble if you're in the bottom decile, or bottom quartile, which destroys it."

Listen: Reichheld, NPS, & Goodhart's Law


When Google Chrome launched in 2008, they got the cartoonist Scott McLoud onboard to explain its features. This is a pitch-perfect parody of that document, a revealing look at how Chrome is tracking and using our data, and a passionate call to arms for something to be done about it. Eye-opening, to say the least. "For the everyday user, the Chrome browser therefore resembles a two-way mirror. You think you are browsing the web, when in reality Google and others are browsing you."

Read: Contrachrome

Designing Work People Love

Good article from Marcus Buckingham about the importance of finding work people love doing in itself, rather than relying on perks and gimmicks to attract people. We don't need to love everything we do, but we do need to love some of what we do (perhaps only around 20% of it). "To attract and retain the best people, we must redesign jobs around a simple but powerful concept: love for the content of the work itself."

Read: Designing Work People Love

Encodings in Visualisation

Quite a geeky one this, but a fascinating paper from Robert Kosara on the difference between the encodings we use when creating a chart (e.g. angle in a pie chart) and the encodings our audience may use to read it (e.g. area, arc length, etc.). There's a general point here, I think, about communication as as two-way,. collaborative, effort, rather than one-way transmission. "Encodings play a central role in visualization, but I believe our thinking about them is too simplistic."

Read: Encodings in Visualisation

Top Reads: The Checklist Manifesto

Checklists are a powerful and under-appreciated quality technique. If you want to make sure something is consistently done, and done right, then checklists may well be the best way to do it. You probably don't really need to read Atul Gawande's book to appreciate its message, but I recommend that you do because it is so brilliantly written. "...the problem we making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly."

Top Reads: The Checklist Manifesto