Don’t Leave the Experience With Sheeple

Friday. Got to attend UX People which was held at King’s Place, King’s Cross..awesome venue. The main aim of attending was 1. To get some learning as a team, bonding time haha (went with my senior UXers and PM) and 2. To get more insight on UX in an Agile environment. I had earlier put forward in some discussions, that I didn’t find it necessary going to all day events and conferences which didn’t include workshops. This event clearly wasn’t going to upset me.

The talks kicked off with Agile UX delivered by James O’Brien which was overall very informative. The presentation was well thought out..well not quite, because the speaker assumed we all knew ‘Scrapheap Challenge’ which was what he used to illustrate a number of his points. Getting past that, I was able to get to the crux of the matter ‘Build The Best Minimum’ which you can get to by various ways, Making BAs your best friend, using the Fail Fast pattern or just using mapping Agile terminologies unto UX’s e.t.c. This is worth a second look, you can get it here

The second presentation by John-Henry Barac took me a lot of time to get into, I just didn’t ‘get’. But there were useful nuggets in it. While Print is obviously not like Digital, at the end of the day their purposes do not differ. The aim of either designer is to put out a usuable product. The beauty of digital is that you can actually take a leap without any form of metric to measure success, and see how people who use it, shape the product to what it could unlike print. The Situationist app which was designed is one of such things. He gave pointers as to how to design for mobile.

Mo Syed of 10CMS gave the third presentation and he talked to us about the psychology of engagement and how to use it to deliver on design goals. While the presentation/presenter wasn’t very engaging, I tried to get past and hold on to valuable aspects of it. I could immediately see how I could apply some of what he talked about in my present projects at work especially the ‘Framing’ Effect. Good stuff.

Last up was Leisa Reichelt talking about Strategic User Experience. I particularly enjoyed this presentation because maybe, she was the only female! and it helped that she made  concise clear points with a little bit of fun. Her talk echoed the thinking going on in my head. Again, I could see how some of what she said could be directly applied in my life at work, even though i’m on the lowest rung of the ladder at the moment (they don’t make me feel that.lol) What we kept discussing at work after the event, was her point about the UX person being a facilitator. I wrote an article about UX roles some time ago and it did include that, I may just have to put it up here soon. One other important thing was strategy in the ‘brainstorming’ room, being able to get everyone to agree on the decisions made, and then write/sketch it out before dispersing. You can get the slides here

I got to attend two workshops. They were not very productive, I have to say. It was just interesting to meet other people, and see how they think around the same issues you consider. I learnt two things; 1. Think about what you do and how it will influence others 2. Mental Models..Try to work from the positives. Go from Don’ts to Dos.

Overall, it was interesting and had some really good lessons to go home (work) with. I learned that it is important to stand up for what you believe and work hard to create an environment where the value is plain to see. UX is too important to be left to sheeple. We can’t afford to go with the flow, We must be willing as Leisa put it, to say NO, for the better reasons.

Now, what I really wish for is for at such events/conferences is a warm lunch (hehe), and more work! I think the real value in meeting up with people in this manner is being able to share ideas, learn directly and see how people deliver solutions to problems.  Will I go again? Hopefully.

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