UX Cambridge 2015: day 3 take-aways

Content design to keep people out of jail

Sarah Richards was the keynote of the third and last day of the conference.

She started her talk by asking the audience some questions about their organisation’s websites:

  • Who takes care of how a page looks?
  • Who takes care of how a page behaves?
  • Who takes care of how a page is found?
  • Who takes care of navigation?
  • Who makes sure the site goes on time?

“The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.”

– Rachel Lovinger

Users don’t care which government department does what.
People call about a problem but often there have been an array of other ‘root’ problems that led there and that the user is not aware of.

People don’t need much content unless they’re very keen on the subject.

Part of content strategy is knowing what you don’t need to do (eg, if information is already available elsewhere).

People don’t read much. We don’t need users to read everything. We need them to understand.

4 points to keep in mind for working with ‘content people’:

  1. they’re human
  2. they do stark raving bonkers things for good reasons
  3. get them in early
  4. content isn’t a boxed thing

Many government website users only have phones (not desktops) because it’s cheaper.

Would you invest in UX for a handful of users?

Talk by Marine Barbaroux.

Beyond the screen – UX research methods for novel technology

Talk by Swetha Sethumadhavan.

From Aargh to Oh! Making Complex Information Understandable

Talk by Graham Odds.

You need to understand your users, and to understand the information you’re presenting.

If you’re dealing with complex data, you need to be a bit of a data analyst.

Ask questions:

  • where does the data come from?
  • how reliable is it?
  • what does it mean?
  • how do datasets relate to each other?
  • how does it relate to the real world?

When thinking your Information Architecture, create an overview first, then ‘zoom and filer’ (detail on demand).

If the content is too complicated to explain to users, it simply won’t work.

Whilst numbers (raw data) provide a great insight, visualisation techniques help identify patterns in the data. A combination of the two is ideal.

A UX journey into the world of early drug discovery

Talk by Francis Rowland, Dr Nikiforos Karamanis, and Dr Jenny Cham.

Making sure nothing is ‘lost in translation’

Paula de Matos and Boguslawa Kaplan did a workshop focusing on the importance of making sure we are interpreting and communication clearly to both stakeholders and users.

Discussion panel

Photo by Steve Haigh.

To end another fantastic conference, there was a discussion panel led by @alisan_atvur, @albertatrebla, @micheleidesmith, @BenHolliday, and @miss_embe (accompanied by @WilfWanders).

Key points discussed by the panel and the audience:

  • As UXers we’re starting to push out beyond the digital boundaries, but we need to take more risks.
  • Life is a design problem. – @albertatrebla
  • We don’t own the knowledge of UX-related disciplines. Everyone has something important to add. – @alisan_atvur
  • There is a misconception that UX is just about digital. – @BenHolliday
  • It’s hard to call everything ‘design’ because you end up not knowing what people are talking about. – @miss_embe
  • As an industry, I think we’re too risk-averse. We should invest more of ourselves and then we can have better opinions. – @BenHolliday
  • Having specialism is good but we should be careful not to work in silos.
  • UX leadership: as UXers we’re starting to push out beyond the digital boundaries. In order to do that we need to take more risks.

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