Paper Prototype Usability Testing | August 30, 2003

I was up in London most of yesterday running a paper prototype usability test for an intranet project we're doing. If you're not sure what a paper prototype is, it's basically a paper version of a yet-to-be-built site. Paper prototypes can range from the very simplistic (often called low fidelity prototypes) to almost exact graphical representations of the site (often called high fidelity prototypes). For yesterdays test we were using fairly low fidelity prototypes which were little more than wireframes containing sample content.

Using paper prototypes to test a site is an extremely useful and practical thing to do. It's useful because it gives you a real insight into how people will use the final site, and always manages to throw up some really interesting and unexpected issues. If you're having a design dilemma, testing is often the best way to test your thinking. It's practical because paper prototypes are much quicker and easier to build than a real prototype, which means that testing can be done at a much earlier stage. This means you get user feedback much earlier in the process before you are too committed to a particular course of action.

Lo-fi prototypes are really good for testing general concepts early on in the design process. Because of their lack of design treatment, people tend to focus on bigger concepts like section naming, nav and user paths, rather than the look of the interface. Once the general concepts have been tested and refined, you can either test using hi-fi paper prototypes or possibly move straight to interactive prototypes.

Running a usability test using paper prototypes is actually very simple.You don't need a hi tech usability suite or anything flashy like that. Just a room with a desk, a notepad and possibly a video camera to record the users responses. Spend a bit of time planning the test. Work out what areas of the site you want to test and come up with suitable user tasks. Stick to a few core tasks 2-4 and aim for them to take between 30-45min in total. If possible, do a dry run with a friend/colleague before hand to make sure the timing works and you have everything you need.

Having a pre written script is a good idea. It should outline who you are, what you're doing and what you want from the test subject. You should explain that you are testing the the prototype not the user and encourage the user to talk aloud as much as possible. Explain that the moderator probably wont be able to answer questions during the test but there will be time afterwards to do this.

The moderators main job is to encourage the user to talk aloud and explain what they are doing. Use open questions like "what are you thinking" to encourage the user to think aloud. Often the user will ask question like "what does this button do" or "what should I do next". It's important not to prompt the user so you need to ask question back like "what do you think the button will do" or "If this were website what do you think you would do next". It's also a good idea to ask users why they did a certain action, what they expected to happen or what they understood by a certain term. This help clarify their thought processes much more.

The moderators job is also to take notes. However you tend only to notice the big things and it's often the small things that give away the users thought processes. As such I highly recommend using a video camera to record the sessions. For paper prototype tests I'll usually tape a folder or something to the desk and use this as the "computer screen", then focus the camera on this area. As long as the prototypes are on the folder you know that what the user does will be in shot. It sounds stupid but you must make sure you have enough tape for all the sessions and that you can plug your camera in and it will reach.

Being involved in testing is an extremely interesting experience. You'll be amazed when everybody understands things you thought would cause problems, and then don't get things which you thought would be obvious. You'll start to see that people don't actually read your carefully crafted headings and explanations. What they do is dive straight in and go for the first likely option they find. Only when they get stuck or make a wrong move do people actually start studying and reading things more. User testing is an amazingly enlightening process and one that more design teams should partake in.

Once the testing is over it's time to start the analysis. We create a table with the test subjects along the top and problems down the side. As we go thought the tapes, read our notes and look at the prototypes we will add problems down the side and then notes about how each user dealt with that problem. This way we can see if only one person experienced a problem of if it was more wide spread.

This information will be written up in a report which we give to the client, outlining the main issues and our recommendations on how to solve them. We'll use this information to amend the wireframes and inform the decisions we make in the design phase.

The whole process does take time. Usually around 3-5 person days. However it's well worth the effort. It allows us to test out concepts at a very early stage and prevents us from having to rework things latter on when change becomes much more costly. Testing gives us an amazing insight into how a site will actually be used and allows us to deliver a product that better meets user needs .Testing is also a lot of fun and being involved with usability tests can really help designers learn to build more intuitive and user friendly websites.

For more info on the subject of usability testing I'd highly recommend getting a copy of Don't Make Me Think! by Steve Krug.

Also worth a read is this usability testing pdf and presentation from Kelly Goto, author of Web Redesign Workflow That Works

Comments (2)

CSS, Web Standards and Accessibility | August 29, 2003

There have been some good articles and posts on various blogs of late about CSS, Web Standards and Accessibility. Here's a selection of some of the best ones.

Comments (0)

Nice Blogs! | August 29, 2003

For all you folks that haven't come across hicksdesign it's well worth a visit. The site is a beautiful example of CSS based design and should provide inspiration to us all.

Poking around in my comments I also came across this little gem from Jeff Croft. It's still under construction (aren't most blogs though?) but is already high on my reccomendations list.

Both these blogs have a few things in common. First off they both make use of overflow: auto to create a scrolling "frame like" area for the content. Normally frames and their ilk bug me but in both these instances I feel they work really well.

Both blogs also make really nice use of colour. They both use a combination of orange and green. Hicks Design going for the fresh, natural look which Jeff Croft uses solid blocks of saturated colour to good effect. I find most blogs (including this one) tend to be a little on the plain side so it's good to see bloggers making more use of colour.

Lastly they typography on both sites is really nice. The titles are clear, the text is well spaced and generally the posts are very easy to read. It's a small thing, but so few bloggers seem to think about how to display their posts. Good clear typography can make a huge amount of difference.

I'm always on the lookout for nicely designed blogs and CSS based sites, so if you know any good ones that aren't already on my links page, please let me know in the comments below.

Comments (9)

Usability testing, blogger social and London power cuts | August 29, 2003

I was looking forward to the first ever Brighton bloggers meet up last night. However I was up in London yesterday doing paper prototype usability testing for a client's extranet and ended up getting stuck in London's own mini blackout. Shame I missed the social and having a beer with the usual suspects. Still I had a lovely meal with my girlfriend at Busaba Ethai in Soho, and was glad that I fanally got back to Brighton in one piece.

Comments (0)

Eric Meyer on Floats | August 27, 2003

Eric Meyer has written an interesting article outlining a problem people often have with floats. Eric explains that in actual fact it's not a bug but the way floats are intended to work, and offers some useful solutions get round this issue.

Comments (1)

Another Altruistic Redesign | August 27, 2003

Paul Scrivens has created a standards compliant version of Google and ponders the pros and cons of this famous search engine converting to web standards.

Alltheweb converted their sites to a CSS based layout some time ago. For such a popular site, shaving even a few K off the file size would probably provide a big bandwidth saving. However alltheweb have gone one further providing themed skins and allowing you to create your own customisable stylesheet. Erik Bator worked on this design and talks briefly about the reasons alltheweb chose to use CSS and web standards.

Comments (0)

Dreamweaver MX 2004 | August 27, 2003

I've been using Dreamweaver to build websites for some time now. I started using it (like most people) as a WISIWYG editor, but these days I use it more as a glorified text editor. I tend to work mostly in code view however I occasionally use split view as it's often quicker to locate an element visually than having to scan through lines of HTML.

I think DWMX's code hinting is useful, I like the integrated ftp client and the site wide find and replace is also very useful. Most of these features can also be found in BBEdit (which I use occasionally) but I'm much more familiar with DWMX.

DWMX has pretty good CSS support although the design view usually chokes on my pure CSS layouts. Most of the time I have my CSS files open and edit them by hand. However occasionally I can't remember the syntax (or can't be bothered to type in a long style) so use the styles panel to input a style.

Macromedia have been hard at work on the new version of Dreamweaver and have been paying particular attention to CSS and accessibility. Obviously the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but it's good to see Macromedia is putting more effort into supporting web standards and accessibility.

Comments (2)

The value of design | August 22, 2003

In my expirience most people view design as a superficial thing. It's about making something look nice, be that a business card, a brochure or a website. This is why many web designers jump straight into Photoshop when they get a new commission, and why clients expect to see designs before any requirements have been set. People just don't get what design is really about.

Good design is much more than just making something look nice. It's about taking a considered approach to a design problem in order to find the best solution. A good designer will spend time learning about a project, finding out about the clients business objectives and trying to marry these up with the users goals. With a clear understanding of the issues at hands, and firm goals in mind, the designer can start crafting the most appropriate solution.

However all too often people rush into design, with the sole objective of creating something that looks nice. This is a fatally flawed approach as looks are extremely subjective. What one designer or client may love, the rest of your users may hate. Design decisions need to be made for strategic reasons, but without a clear strategy they are usually decided by personal preference. This leads to a design that may look nice, but fundamentally ignores the strategic needs of the business as well as the goals of the user.

As an industry we need to start educating the public about the value of design. We need to change peoples perception that design is simply about "look and feel", about colour and composition. Good design is about creating strategic solutions to business problems and needs to taken as seriously as any other business service.

Comments (8)

The Design Council | August 22, 2003

The UK's Design Council aims to help people and organisations understand and use design more effectively.

As part of this strategy they have an excellent About Design section on their site which focuses on design issues such as user centered design, information design, interaction design and inclusive (or accessible) design.

They also run a number of sister sites including the excellent Web design for business site. The aim of this site is to help small and medium businesses manage the process of designing a website. This includes information about setting requirements and writing a request for proposal (RFP), choosing a designer, developing the brief and finally building and reviewing the site. This seems like a great resource for potential clients and web designers alike.

Comments (2)

Whale Rider | August 20, 2003

On the subject of whales and the antipodes, if you only see one whale based film from New Zealand this year, I'd highly recommend Whale Rider. Set in a small costal community in New Zealand, it's a lovely movie about family, tradition and the Maori culture. The acting is superb, the cinematography beautiful and the story enchanting. It's no wonder people have been throwing awards at this movie. Well worth the price of the ticket!

Oh, and despite the really poor nav, the website is rather nice too!

Comments (2)

Stranger things happen at sea | August 20, 2003

They sure do!

Comments (0)

Flash Satay Experiment | August 19, 2003

Should you or shouldn't you use the Flash Satay method of embedding flash content?

What browsers does it work on and how many people will actually be serverd the flash movie correctly?

Fill in this poll and help answer that question.

Comments (0)

Creating form layouts using CSS | August 19, 2003

A while ago I read an article at A List Apart about creating form layouts using CSS that you would normally use tables for. It was a great little article, but I could never quite get it to work.

I was trying to lay out a form today using this method, but it kept breaking in IE 5.x on Mac. Basically it displayed fine on all other browsers, but on IE5 Mac each subsequent row was being indented slightly.

Here is an example of what was going on.

I tried playing around with clear div's (see previous post). I added a clear div inside each row to make sure the row actually took up space. Then I added a clear div after each row and for some reason this fixed the problem.

I'm not sure exactly what was going on here, and I really don't like the fact that the form is now stuffed full of nasty clear div's. However it works in IE5 on Mac which is one thing. If anybody knows a better way of getting it to work, please let me know.

Comments (11)

Clearing Floats | August 19, 2003

As most of you probably know, when you float an element it no longer takes up any space in the document flow, causing borders and background colours to behave strangely.

To get round this you need to add some content to the container element and set that content to have a clear: both; style. Most people do this by using either

<br class="clear" />


<div class="clear"> </div>

However I found a number of problems with both these methods. Firstly they both add extra vertical space. Often this is OK, but in precisely controlled layouts this is a problem. Using the <br /> also produced problems and I was told on the css-discuss list that you really need to use a block level element like a div to get it to work in all browsers.

While on my usual internet trawls I came across a site where the owner had tested a wide variety of methods designed not to produce extra whitespace. I'd love to give this guy a credit but I can't for the life of me track down the site. If I do i'll post up the details.

Basically instead of using a no breaking space inside a div, it was suggested that an empty comment tag was used instead.

<div class="clear"><!-- --></div>

And that the styles contained a height declaration as well.

.class {
  clear: both;
  heignt: 0;

This may not be news to some, but It's something I've never come across before and seems extremely useful. I know some people will see it as a bit of a hack and it could spark off the whole design vs semantic mark-up debate again. However there are times when you really need to use hacks and this one seem to be doing a good job so far.

Comments (3)

Intro to Flash SkillSwap | August 19, 2003

I've just come back from the latest SkillSwap event, and I have to say it went very well. Pete Barr-Watson of pixelfury gave an excellent "Introduction to Flash" talk and even I learnt a couple of new tricks.

For instance, when using the rectangle tool, If you click and drag to create a new shape, using the arrow keys before letting go of the mouse button will change the corner radius. Very neat. Pete also gave a very quick insight into how people like Kerb (the company Pete co-founded) create their great looking manga-esque characters using very simple shading techniques. For more info Pete wrote a recent article about the subject in Computer Arts Magazine (although I don't think its on their website just yet).

Pete has already expressed an interest in doing a more advanced flash talk, something which I'm very keen on. Also at the end of the month we've got a Search Engine Optimization talk by local SEO expert Rosie Freshwater, which I'm personally looking forward to. SEO is still considered by many people as black magic, so am expecting it to be a very interresting and popular talk.

So it seems that the SkillSwap idea is starting to take off. People are finding the talks very useful and I'm getting lot's of positive feedback. There seems to be enough people interested in giving a talk to keep things going for a while, and the more talks we do, the more interest they generate. Basically the SkillSwap concept seems to have a lot of potential and is definitely something I could see happening in other towns/cities with a strong web design community. So if anybody is interested in running a SkillSwap event in your local community, please feel free to add a comment to that end or drop me a line.

Comments (0)

Links-o-rama | August 17, 2003

I've spent the best part of today trawling though my bookmarks and creating this links page.

Comments (1)

ReUSEIT design competition | August 15, 2003

Hot on the heels of WThremix, the competition aimed at redesigning the W3C home page comes ReUSEIT.

ReUSEIT is a semi-official competition to redesign the Jakob Nielsen's site I say semi-official because Mr Nielsen is aware of the competition, but the winning desing won't actually be used on the site. It's simply an oppertunity for you to have a crack at redesigning a site you love/hate.

It's the idea of Bob Sawyer who has also very kindly asked me to be a judge.

Comments (0)

Google Does the Math | August 15, 2003

For all you folks that didn't know, you can now do sums on Google

Here is one I did eairlier.

It also knows various constants and can convert between different units.

Here is one somebody much smarter than me, did eairlier.

Comments (1)

More Altruistic Redesigns | August 14, 2003

Tom Gilder has done a good job of creating a standards compliant version of the Mozilla site.

In a similar vein, Douglas Bowman has turned his skills towards redesigning the new Yahoo search page.

The trend continues. Who will be next?

Comments (1)

How I Organize my Stylesheets | August 14, 2003

A couple of weeks ago there was a big discussion on css-discuss about how people structure their CSS files. Here is what I do.

First off I try to break my styles down into logical chunks. I'll have a basic stylesheet that I'll serve up to Netscape 4 and within this I'll import the more advanced style sheets. On a simple site this may just be a single stylesheet, but on more complicated sites I'll break this stylesheet down further, usually having one for layout and one for styling. On the Message site The nav was a complicated little problem on it's own, so I gave it it's own stylesheet. I also used the FIR image replacement technique on the homepage headings and so created a separate heading stylesheet as well.

This breaking down of styles has two very useful results. First off it makes it very easy for me to find styles. If it's a layout style I need, I simply go into the layout stylesheet, whereas if I want to change fonts or colours, I go into my styling stylesheet. It also makes bug fixing easier. If I find a difficult problem I can stop importing one or more of the stylesheets to locate which stylesheet the bug is in.

Within the stylesheets I tend to add styles relating to their position in the flow of the document. Anything that is page wide I'll add at the top, then I'll add styles for my headers/branding, my nav, content and then footers (assuming thats the order these elements appear in the page).

Some people have suggested odd methods like having all the id's first, then the classes and finally the html elements, or setting everything out in alphabetical order. This is great if you can remember the type of element or it's name, but not much use if you can't. By laying everything out as it appears in the document, it's much easier to find the style you want. Also because you styles are following the flow of the document you're less likely to get any odd cascade problems.

Finally it makes life a lot easier to debug the code. I sometimes need too comment out chunks of CSS and HTML to locate a bug. It's much easier to do this if you know that the chunks of CSS you comment out are in the same order as the HTML, rather that having to comment out lots of sections in your CSS just to isolate one section in your HTML.

Comments (8)

Avoiding Tantek's "Box Model Hack" | August 13, 2003

If you're a CSS developer you'll know that IE5.x gets the box model wrong. Padding and margin should actually be added to the width of a box. However IE5.x includes padding and margin within the width of the box. An annoying bug that can really mess with ones layout.

Luckily Tantek Celik came up with a clever, ugly hack to get round this issue. I've used this hack on a number of sites but, when building the new message site, I found a much more elegant solution.

Somebody on a web design forum (can't remember who or where) suggested that in most cases you didn't really need to use this hack. What you do is simply set the padding/margin of the element your interested in, and then set the width on the parent element. This may mean creating a parent element (a wrapper div) solely for this purpose. Not great, but much less messy than using the box model hack.

Comments (12)

More Safari Favelets/Bookmarklets | August 13, 2003

Here are some more Safari "safe" favelets/bookmarklets I use on occasion. To use the MT post one, you'll need to change the URL so it points to the version of MovableType running on your server. Also the last one I knocked up just now becasue I thought it would be more useful than just a plain wordcount for SEO.

I've actually got loads more favelets/bookmarklets but i don't use most of them. If you want more I just found this site today, and they have stacks, many of which work in Safari.

Comments (2)

Pixel Font | August 12, 2003

A few people have asked about the pixel fonts I use on my site. Well on my blog I use the wonderful silkscreen font created by Jason Kottke.

Unfortunately this great font doesn't work very well in Flash. So on my photo gallery site I use one of the excellent bitmap fonts from

Comments (0)

Just a Bit of Fun, or a Very Clever Search Engine Marketing Campaign? | August 12, 2003

Somebody posted this site to the bnm list today and my first impressions were that it was just a bit of a laugh. That's until Jamie pointed out the link to us page.

Now no site just designed as a bit of fun would go to the bother of having a linking policy. This is something you'd only do if you really wanted to rank in the search engines. Looking at the link code provided, you can see that this site really wants to rank well for the terms "Java and .NET Training". Examining the site in more detail you can see that the pages are stuffed full of search terms related to software developer training.

But why on earth would a spoof site want to go to all this trouble to rank highly for programming training search terms. Well if you look at the url, you'll see that the spoof site is actually in a sub directory of a real site. And what does the real site do? You got it, they are a software developer training company!

So it would seem that this funny little spoof site is actually a very clever search engine marketing plan to increase the ranking of the parent site, by increasing their link popularity.

And it seems to be working. If you so a search on Google for "java and .net training" they come up number 3 rd. A variety of similar searches all come up with top 3 ranking in Google.

Very clever.

Comments (1)

Even More CSS Image Replacement | August 12, 2003

Tom Gilder outlines a CSS image replacement method that appears to work when images are turned off.

Nice one!

Comments (0)

Favelets/Bookmarklets That Work in Safari | August 12, 2003

Here are some of the Favelets/Bookmarklets I use on a regular basis that work in Safari. I've collected these from a variety of sources so really can't remember where they all come from (sorry!). To use them, simply drag the link onto your bookmarks bar.

Comments (2)

SkillSwap Meeting | August 12, 2003

Had a very productive meeting last night with a group of local web people to discuss the possibility of some of them doing a SkillSwap talk. For those of you not familiar with SkillSwap, it's a local project I've set up which involves people volunteering a couple of hours one evening to teach a subject of their choice to a small group of their peers. Basically as a means of bringing free training to the local community.

Last night everybody who attended seemed keen to do a talk and here is a list of the possible topics people expressed an interest in talking about.

Comments (1)

Cool OSX Accessbility Features | August 11, 2003

My boss, Jamie, pointed out some accessibility features of OSX I hadn't noticed before. If you go into the "Universal Access" control panel you can turn on zooming, which means you can zoom into anything on your computer, be it a word document or a web page. Also if you want to test the contrast of a design you can set the display to greyscale, which is really cool.

Comments (2)

24 | August 11, 2003

So tonight was the last episode of 24, and I can't believe I've been following this series for the last 6 months! While it was nowhere near as gripping as the first series, it's still been one of the best things on TV and I have absolutly no idea what I'll be doing with my Sunday evenings till the next series. I may have to buy the DVD's of season 1 and season 2 to tide me over till next year.

Comments (4)

More css image replacement stuff | August 7, 2003

Dave Shea of messoblue has just posted an interesting article entitled "In Defense of Fahrner Image Replacement" up at Digital Web.

Comments (0)

Altruistic web design, building a portfolio and generating new business | August 6, 2003

There seems to be a bit of a movement at the moment of web designers creating accessible and standards complaint versions of well known websites.

Recently Matthew Somerville created an accessible version of the Odeon website. I use the Odeon website often, and am constantly amazed about how tricky it is to use, so think Matthew has done a great job.

Then today I noticed that local web standards and accessibility expert Richard Rutter had created a standards compliant version of the Pixelsurgeon interview page. Nice work Rich.

Now while these redesigns were motivated by nothing more than alturism and a belief in good web design, I can see people jumping on the bandwagon for more practical reasons.

It's very difficult for people stating out in the business to build a credible portfolio of work. Many offer free or cheap websites in order to build a portfolio. However this has the tendency to devalue web design as a profession and make it harder on everybody to earn a living.

A more sensible and less damaging approach is to create example sites that actually look like real sites but are there just to demonstrate ones skills. Some people have gone further with this and started creating example sites for a specific market and selling these sites on e-bay as ready made 'turn-key' sites.

However I think a really proactive approach would be for budding web designers with time on their hands to create versions of well known websites that address issues like usability, accessibility and web standards, and then pitch them to the site owners

If I worked in a big company and a freelance web designer came to me and told me what was wrong with my site I'd probably either ignore it or take note and then get my £2000 a day London agency to rebuild it. However if the same person came to me with a fully working prototype of the site that looked great and fixed all the issues I'm damned sure I'd take note.

Comments (1)

Using CSS to replace text with images | August 6, 2003

When building the new message website I decided to use the Fahrner Image Replacement technique in combination with a list of links and the use of pure CSS rollovers to handle the site nav.

For those not familiar with the FIR technique, it basically involves hiding some text using display:none and then setting a background image to take the place of this text. It means that browsers supporting the CSS get to see a nice image version of some text, while those that don't get served up the text as is. It does require the page to be written especially for this method because it requires the use of a redundant span tag. However it seemed to work pretty well.

Then on one of the many lists I belong to today, there was a big discussion about the various pro's and cons of using this method. It turned out that Seamus Leahy and Stuart Langridge both came up with an alternative image replacement method which uses overflow:hidden and doesn't require the redundant span. It involves using the box model hack to work in IE5 but seems like a good idea. It means you can apply this to sites without having to change the underlying code, which is always a bonus.

I was thinking of using one of these techniques to handle the nav on this site. However when getting feedback on the message site, somebody mentioned that they surf a lot with images off (because they use GPRS and it saves them money on bandwidth) and they could not see the navigation. I don't suppose that a huge proportion of people do this. However it renders the nav useless so doesn't really follow the "degrades nicely" rule I tend to use.

So I guess I'm going to stick to using nav bar images on this site for now. It means I probably won't be able to do any clever style switching for the mo but I guess I'll cross that bridge when it comes.

Comments (2)

Zeldman on Web Standards and Acessibility | August 6, 2003

Jeffrey Zeldman has just posted up his lecture notes from his keynote speech on web standards at the recent web design world conference in the states.

The lecture is interesting on a professional level as it clearly outlines some of the benefits (and debunks some of the myths) of using web standards. Something all the web designers out there not using web standards should take note of.

However it's also cool on a personal level. After featuring the new message site I designed on, Jeffrey emailed me to ask If he could use the site in his keynote speech. Obviously I was flattered and said yes.

The message site was used as an example of a site that uses CSS without restricting creativity, along with such well known sites as the PGA Open Championship, the new QuarkXPress website and the experimental CSS Zen Garden.

He's also posted up the notes from his accessibility lecture at the same event. If you're new to the area of web accessibility this should give you a good heads up.

On the subject of accessibility, If you understand the basics but want some practical, you can download the lecture notes for the "Design for Accessibility" talk I gave at the first SkillSwap event.

Comments (0)

Finally got round to it! | August 3, 2003

I installed Movabletype at the beginning of summer in order to check it out and possibly start a blog. However the default styles were pretty shocking so I realized (being the design tart that I am) that I'd only use the thing if it looked nice. I did a search on Google for MT templates but just couldn't find anything even halfway descent so realised I'd have to make one myself. However I've been really busy with my photography portfolio so it's taken me till this weekend to sort something out. The design is very rough. It literally took me 2hrs to put together in Photoshop and then around 6hrs to build the stylesheets and tweak the templates. The blog is sufficiently complete that I can start posting to it. However there is a bunch of stuff I still need to do. If anybody notices any bugs on the site, please let me know by adding a comment below. Cheers

Comments (2)

City of God | August 3, 2003

Just got the movie - City of God - out on video and have to say it's a corker. A kick ass gangster movie from the slums of Rio.

The camera work is beautiful. The camera zooms and spins in a stylistically balletic manner, reminiscent of the camera work in Lock Stock.

Over the course of the movie you're confronted by so many characters it's hard to keep track. In fact the only reason you can keep track is because most of the characters end up getting killed in a surprisingly regular fashion. Don't think I've seen a movie with such a high body count in ages.

What's more amazing (scary) is the film is based on true events. No wonder Rio gets such a bad rap. You wouldn't want to meet Li'l Ze and his mates on a dark night.

It's definitely the kind of movie you should go and see at the Duke of York's if it's ever on again. Top quality movie.

Comments (1)