UX Cambridge 2014: day 3

On this post:

  • The sessions
  • The tweets
  • Other blog posts


The sessions

The Road Less Travelled – Mike Atherton

The last keynote speaker of the conference started by talking about the lack of UX done on Business to Business (B2B) software, then progressing to what makes a brand successful and how important it is in the relationship with customers and finalising with a personal take on the speaker’s career choice (a road less travelled).

In an attempt to be competitive, enterprise software developers tend to clutter it with features. When software becomes clothed with each own bloat, it becomes reactive.
That’s a clear sign that developers and product managers are losing sight of what really matters.

People don’t buy products; they buy empowered versions of themselves.
But instead of giving customers the right stuff, companies often think more stuff is better, which leaves them open to competitors.

Brands live in the emotional centre of the brain. The key to success is not only how a product is designed, but how the relationship with customers is designed.

Businesses must ask what is the core purpose(s) of what they do.
The values of an organisation aren’t what they aspire to be, but what they are now. Their values are the sum of the values of each person they employ.

A brand voice must come from the bottom up. It’s not what you’d say on a first date, but how you’ll behave in a marriage.

Making Marketing run your brand is like making IT run your website.

The interface of a product is the representation of the brand. It is important to know our competition, but not to copy them.

We should focus on delivering value to the business with UX.

Do what you do best, link to the rest. Make things unique, authentic and talkable.
Stay humble and know where you can add value.

Mapping the way forward – Richard Ingram

Maps help to establish order in an otherwise chaotic world. Maps impose order on chaos.

This session was about using maps as means of visualisation for process mapping, using the speaker’s experience working with a Local Authority as an illustration, which appealed particularly to me.

When mapping a process:

  • identify the characters in the ‘story’
  • group them by affinity (department?)
  • plot their tasks

When creating a map, always start plotting starting with the most prominent feature on the landscape.

I very much enjoyed Richard’s well delivered very British-mannered session.

Ways to involve stakeholders in user research – Revathi Nathaniel

I didn’t attend this session, but here are the slides.

Breaking The Bank – Alastair Somerville

Unfortunately I didn’t attend this much talked about session, but here are the slides.

Accessibility in the corporation – Alison Macleod

Implementing accessibility best practices in a large organisation is not an easy task.
There are many good quite detailed guidelines on how to write accessible digital interfaces. But implementing accessibility is not as simple as a tick in a box. It has to be inbuilt in an organisation’s culture.

The difficulties in implementing accessibility range from ‘selling’ the benefits of accessibility to business stakeholders, to motivating and guiding software developers to follow best practice, passing by identifying performance indicators for these.

Alison has been put in charge of this mammoth task at a large telecommunications company, with good results. Her work has now been adopted to a larger scale, to also drive company-wide service design.

Data visualisation in UX – Paula de Matos and Jason Dykes

This was a very interesting workshop, but a hard one too.
Presenting data in a visual form provides a much better way to interpret and analyse it.
Jason Dykes is a profession of Visualisation in the City (check http://www.gicentre.net/) and he has given us the following principles for creating a visualisation using data:

  1. Simplify the data
  2. Align (helps to compare information)
  3. Enclose
  4. Reorder
  5. Flow
  6. Sketch
  7. Fluidity

We were then given an exercise to try and apply those principles. We were given a scenario: a Local Authority had to close some libraries and they were going to decide which ones to close based on mashing up some datasets, including libraries’ location (in deprived areas), libraries’ users demographics and income, volume of loans, etc.

I have been involved in a very similar project, so I could bring some of my previous knowledge into the exercise, but still I found it hard to convey for instance, fluidity, in my sketch.

I think the subject of this workshop was fascinating and I wish it could be more easily applied into the ‘real world’.

My main takeaway from this session is to think harder when deciding how to convey data analysis.
I might not have the skills to produce the fluid and interactive visualisations that were shown in this session, but sometimes a simple sketch is still better than a spreadsheet.

The pursuit of tappiness – Neil Turner

Another session I didn’t attend, but here are the slides.

We’re all disabled users – Paul Brooks

Being disabled means different things, depending on where you are in the world, the severity and longevity of your ‘disability’.
This session approach the topic of disability from a different viewpoint. It was quite refreshing.

For instance, if I broke my right arm, I would be unable to type and write as I do now. I would, therefore, be disabled, at least for the duration of my injury.

There are laws, standards and guidelines to help make the world a more inclusive and accessible place, such as the Equality Act 2010, ISO 9241, and WCAG 2.0.

Paul was a very engaging speaker, who threw chocolates at us when we did well in answering his questions.

The tweets

Other blog posts

Jonathan Roberts – http://blog.touchdeluxe.com/ux-cambridge-2014-day-3-in-review

Irene Melo – See all my blogs about UX Cambridge 2014

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