Matt Gemmell

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Collage of photos of Matt speaking at events

Photos are copyright Chuck Toporek and Geri Coady, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

I’m available on a limited basis for speaking engagements worldwide, including presenting at conferences and holding workshops.

I’m an experienced public speaker, and my primary topics of focus are software usability, user interface and interaction design, and accessibility. I’m especially interested in the iPad, iPhone and Mac platforms, and multi-touch interfaces and devices.

If you’d like me to speak at your event, please contact me via email - you can reach me at matt at this domain, or you can find my contact details here.

Who is Matt Gemmell?

I’m an iPad, iPhone and Mac OS X developer specialising in user experience. I run my own business, Instinctive Code, and I’m an invited speaker at industry conferences worldwide.

I’ve written hundreds of articles on development, user experience, interface design and technology here at, and my clients include everyone from independent developers to Apple and other Fortune 500 companies.

You can find out more about me below, and on my About page (which also contains my full contact details).


I most enjoy speaking about user-focused aspects of the software lifecycle, including everything from tailoring an application’s feature-set, to intuitive interaction design and even designing and developing custom GUI controls. I try to pitch my sessions such that they will be enjoyed and understood by technical and non-technical audiences alike. I particularly enjoy delivering opening or closing keynote presentations.

For workshops, I favour guided collaborative discussion of user interface and interaction issues currently being faced by the workshop’s attendees, with implementation details taking second place to best principles.

Past topics covered include: designing software for portable and/or touch-screen devices, designing & developing custom controls, making mistakes impossible, how to present lists, the problem of showing “no value”, consistency vs user experience, live editing, contextual inspectors, cross-platform UI optimisation, choosing features for 1.0, when to update your application, user testing and feedback, soft landings (the first-launch experience), when to use custom UI, handling feature-requests, help systems, software analytics, and plenty of others.

Speaking at your event

I’d be pleased to speak at your event or your company, anywhere in the world. I can deliver any length of session, and I recommend allowing at least half an hour, and ideally 45 minutes. Please contact me as far in advance as possible, because my speaking calendar can fill up quickly!

To attend your event, I have a few standard conditions:

  1. I ask that you arrange and pay for travel (including between airport and hotel) and accommodation for myself and my wife (a fellow developer and Computing Scientist), and provide complimentary entry to the event.

  2. My speaking rate is €1,000, to cover the time and effort involved in preparing and rehearsing a presentation, and attending your event. If no speaker is receiving a fee, I’ll usually waive mine too.

  3. If you are recording the event and later selling the recordings, a reasonable royalty percentage is requested for any recordings I’m featured in. This doesn’t apply to recordings distributed for free, as long as they’re not for profit-making purposes.

I’ll be happy to discuss your specific needs; please do get in touch.


You can watch videos of some of my past presentations using the links below.

Update: The video files below are temporarily unavailable due to a site redesign by their host. As soon as they’re back up, I’ll link to them again!

Magazine and newspaper articles

I’ve written, contributed to and been interviewed for articles in various industry magazines, including Computer Arts, .net magazine, MacFormat, MacUser UK and others. I also write the Dev Zone section (developer-focused opinion pieces and tutorials) in every issue of Tap! magazine (@TapMagUK).

I also wrote The Guardian’s review of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.


I recorded several segments for The MDN Show podcast, entitled “The World According to Gemmell”. You can listen to past podcasts on iTunes to get a feel for the sort of material I often cover (and indeed to acclimatise yourself to my Scottish accent).


Below is a selection of representative feedback from audience members of my past presentations and attendees of my workshops.

A useful summary to remind designers not to be tempted by the “dark side” and keep users in mind. It contained genuinely useful tips and also set the tone nicely for the rest of the day.

Another great talk at #nsconf by @mattgemmell awesome....

Hilarious talk by @mattgemmell

Hmm @mattgemmell 's talk is working on multiple levels, I'm in physical pain with laughter.

Thinking everyone has something to learn from @mattgemmell's session. Loving it.

Amazingly kicking it, @mattgemmell is totally making us laugh, but like, almost cry so much we laugh.... - this bloke is awesome...

@mattgemmell entertaining the crowd and educating through reverse psychology... or is he??

Mr. @mattgemmell just presented a most humorous and delightful session on user experience

Honestly, here we go:
  1. You knew your audience and presented them with pertinent material.
  2. Your slides were well crafted yet they were not your presentation, you were.
  3. The entire session had great pacing and delivery (telling me that you practiced and honed it for quite a while).
  4. You were clearly passionate about the subject matter and that came through to the audience.
All in all it was an excellent job.
Excellent talk on "Making Mistakes Impossible".
Awesome keynote talk by Matt Gemmell on making the user experience better.
No surprise, Matt Gemmell rocked the house!
Matt Gemmell's talk has been an amazing perspective "focuser". Will definitely take this presentation to heart in my work.
This morning's keynote by Matt Gemmell was excellent. Great material for designing a good UI.
I was very happy with the workshop, which covered a lot of ground. ... (It) definitely served its purpose, providing lots of food for thought.
Thanks again for your participation in NSConference. I wasn't sure what exactly would happen in your session but it far exceeded my expectations. Certainly, I knew we were going to discuss UI but the concepts you presented in both your talk and the workshop encouraged, validated and, most importantly, challenged each of us in our work. I think most of us in that room have tried to give attention to good design, but I had never had it distilled and presented so succinctly before. I hope you'll take pleasure when you start to see software put those principles in action: meet expectations, avoid mistakes, remove consequences. ... I hope to put all this into practice as I design my future apps and I hope you'll get a chuckle to see the default plus/minus control disappear. As far as feedback on the day's format, I thought it brought out great ideas. You got us started thinking and then the interchange of ideas from all the people was excellent. I look forward to the opportunity to participate again with something beautiful to show off.
The Matt Gemmell talk was pretty damn awesome.
And Matt Gemmell delivers an outstanding presentation!
The initial section about the iPad was fantastic and really very useful. When might seem obvious to you probably isn't to most developers (myself included) so having a discussion about designing apps for the iPad was wonderful. You managed to bring everything into focus and pointed out a lot of areas for us to consider and be aware of. All really great stuff. I also enjoyed the constructive criticism and feedback element of the workshop. Obviously it was of great help to those that had submitted things for you to discuss but it also worked really well for the rest of us too because the discussions around each submission were informative and made us all think about the various issues involved. ... Overall it was a great workshop and I think it worked really well. Just being able to bounce ideas off you and hear your thoughts on things was extremely valuable and useful.
I really enjoyed the workshop and got a lot out of it.
I came to Matt's workshop on Sunday. I found it very useful, the people were friendly (even to someone with a Windows laptop!), the venue was great and it was all very well organized. I can only imagine how much hard work goes into organizing something like this. Thanks!