What I learned at a flagship UX Live event

Emma Flynn discovers design inspiration galore at the UK’s newest, annual UX conference

By Emma Flynn

On October 26th I was lucky enough to attend the opening day of the new ‘UX Live’ conference. Organised by the brains behind UX Crunch, Europe’s largest UX monthly networking company, the conference was a refreshing blend of insights, inspiration, and networking.

Spread over two days with 500 attendees, 26 speakers, 12 workshops and a Live Stage, the conference was a great place to share and exchange ideas. It gave me the opportunity to meet people from a wide range of companies, and there were lots of fun icebreakers to get people talking. Most importantly, it was a fantastic learning experience, covering the latest thinking on design and technology. Here are the highlights and takeaways, which have stuck with me.

My UX Live badge and some post its from Newt’s Workshop

UX is king, everywhere

One highlight was the conference itself. The organisers were keen to run an event that offered a great user experience. And they succeeded. Unlike traditional style conference, attendees were given the freedom to plan their day. This meant choosing whether to listen to the talks, attend a workshop, or ask questions to the day’s speakers on the Live Stage. All the sessions were recorded, so if I decided to attend a workshop, I could catch up later on any talks running at the same time. There were also fun things to do between sessions. Like racing Mario Kart for the chance to win a bicycle courtesy of Usabilla or getting a free massage in the chill-out zone.

The customer and user may not be the same person

During his talk on Innovation vs Best Practice, Eric Reiss explained that ‘a customer is always the user, but a user is not always a customer’. Highlighting that when creating a new service or product, designers must focus on both the Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX). The CX is much larger and represents customer/user experiences through the whole journey, from an initial search to contacting customer support with an issue. The UX focuses on the user’s specific experience when they interact with the product or service. Each experience presents their own constraints, so it’s important for designers to understand from the offset who their customers and users are, to ensure all aims are met.

cx vs ux

Customer experience vs User experience

Quality of experience isn’t just the UX Designer’s responsibility

In his talk “The 3 dimensions of design: Scaling a human- centered practice across the organisation”, Andrea Picchi described how the changing role of design is leading to a more human-centred approach across organisations. As a company becomes more human-centred, other members of the team can and should begin taking greater responsibility about the experience their services offer. For example, a poorly trained call operator who can’t answer customer queries will lead to a negative experience. By everyone putting the user first – e.g. in this example, through better training – organisations can change painpoints and create a better experience for everyone.  As Steve Jobs said, and Andrea quoted: ‘quality of experience is everyone’s responsibility’.

Fail fast

A recurring piece of advice throughout the day was how it’s ok to fail, as long as we learn from the failure. As designers, we shouldn’t fear failure, but rather embrace the notion to ‘fail fast’. It helps to identify whether an idea would work and if not, quickly move on and try something new.

Learn on the job – and always stay passionate

A highlight of the day was the Live Stage where we were able to listen and share ideas with some of the speakers. The panel discussed how it’s useful to be able to speak or at least understand the languages different departments use (e.g. marketing or developers). This lets us better understand and appreciate the problems they may face, making it easier to find solutions.

The panel also advised UX experts to encourage the new starters, and always stay passionate, humble, hard working, and relevant. Embrace UX novices with creative and non-creative backgrounds alike, this provides different perspectives and a more rounded outlook. After all, as I’ve already mentioned, everyone has a role in the development and implementation of making experiences better.

The next UX Live event will take place on 25th-26th October 2018 at The Crystal, London. Find out more and order tickets here.

Did you attend UX Live 2017? Please share your best bits with us at info@newtidea.com

Image sources:
Figure 1 – Instagram @emmaajflynn
Figure 2 – https://www.uxpin.com/studio/blog/customer-experience-vs-user-experience-why-the-difference-matters/


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