UX Cambridge 2014: day 2

On this post:

  • The sessions
  • The tweets
  • Other blog posts


Do I have your attention? – Chris Atherton

Chris has a background in Psychology and Neurology and is particularly interested in how people perceive objects (for example, how do our brains know when a object is upside down?).

The topic of her keynote talk was attention. What gets people’s attention and how can we use it effectively?
Attention is like a small child. Getting attention is easy, but there is a trade-off because sustaining it is hard and requires motivation. We tend to repeat the behaviours we find rewarding.

Passive techniques to get attention without a specific purpose (for example, the subtle flicker of squares on the Windows 8 phone) drain our attention.
Resource depletion and distractions are the main enemies of attention.

If we provide a product that allows people to perform some sort of transaction, it is important that we provide the users with a consistent experience across all devices, and also take into consideration new / inexperienced users.

From a cognitive point of view, being a novice is like being very stressed, therefore we should avoid stressing out our users by reducing their cognitive load. Think: how many pieces of information are you asking your users to retain to complete a given transaction?
Our users’ attention span is limited, so we should treat it with care.

User Research skills 101 – Lorisa Dubuc and Ben Virdee-Chapman

This session was aimed to be a workshop for learning and / or practicing different research techniques.
My motivation to attend was to refresh some research concepts and maybe learn a new technique or two.

After a rocky start, the session progressed with reports on both speaker’s professional experience performing user research and their lessons learned, as well as a presenting some theory behind research (for example, that it is important to understand the user journey before starting designing it, and doing research in a SMART way).

We were also shown an interesting video on usability testing on fruit:

The last 10 minutes or so of the session were dedicated to doing an interview exercise, where attendees would interview one another on a chosen subject, trying to avoid using leading questions.

I was confused at to why this session was advertised as a workshop, given its lack of pragmatic elements, but one good thing I took out of it is to ask ‘why’ more often during the design process.

Lessons learned running a remote diary study – Adam Parker

UX Comics – Bonnie Colville-Hyde

Our job as UXers is not only to empathise with users, but also to have empathy towards our business stakeholders.

Using comics to convey current and desired user experiences is an effective way to present research, in a way that stakeholders can perceive the users’ emotions when using their services or products.

Also, it makes it much quicker to pass the message across, as opposed to writing detailed reports.

This workshop was very well organised and facilitated. People left with the basics on how to draw comics. Even people who can’t draw to save their lives, like myself.

Recommended reading: Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud, and See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas by Kevin Cheng.

The tweets

Other blog posts

Jonathan Roberts – http://blog.touchdeluxe.com/ux-cambridge-2014-day-2-in-review

Irene Melo – See all my blogs about UX Cambridge 2014

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