UX Australia – Day 1 my thoughts

Today was Day 1 of  UX Australia here in Melbourne, the annual gathering of user experience professionals and it has not disappointed so far.

The proceedings were kicked of with a keynote presentation from Dan Saffer author of Microinteractions: Designing with detail. The subject of Dan’s presentation was (you guessed it) Microinteractons and was fabulously engaging telling the story of Patron X who interrupted the New York symphony with his new iPhone’s alarm. My sketchnote of Dan’s presentation is below.

My sketchnote of Dan Saffer’s UX Australia keynote ‘Microinteractions’

After the morning break I headed to Ballroom 3 for double-header of co-design presentations. The first from Natalie Rowland and Penny Hagen introduced us to the concept of co-design and shared some interesting case studies in their presentation Doing co-design: what, why, with who and how?. Co-design is essentially involving your users heavily in the design process. The ultimate engagement and change management activity, which is what interested me. I can see how some of the work I have been doing with our project aligns with co-design concepts. They spoke of the need for organisational readiness:

  • Being willing to hand over control
  • Having a desire for change
  • Ability to resource
  • Commitment to follow through

Anthony Ditton followed next looking at co-design from the perspective of social systems and online communities. He shared a project he has been working on with the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence. The project used co-design to to take their audience base of indigenous students through personas, user journeys and more to develop an online community. I could certainly see many parallels with enterprise social networks and would like to explore it more and use co-design in my own projects. Why co-design?:

  • Users are the experts of their own domain
  • Exposes clients relationship with the community
  • Creates champions and seeds the community
  • Equips the community to continue the design journey

We came back to lunch to the 10 minute talks. I don’t have many notes from this session as I was one of the presenters! Well done to my fellow presenters Carl Turner, Erik van Eekelen and Rebecca Rodgers (who kindly lent her laptop and clicker).

Me presenting Seven sketchnotes in one day at UXAustralia (Thanks Rebecca Rodgers for the photo).

Big thanks to everyone who was kind enough to give me lovely feedback on my presentation in person on via twitter. For those that were interested I used Prezi to put together my presentation Seven sketchnotes in one day and I plan to blog about the process at a later date.

I stuck around in Ballroom 3 to see Jon Deragon talk about Winning proportions and frictionless navigation. Jon’s presentation had a distinct microinteraction flavour as he walked us through a horror-show of annoying and ill-thought microinteractions from around the web. It wasn’t all negative though as Jon shared the benefits of getting it right (Increased conversion, decreased bounce rates, increased stickiness, competitive edge) and discussed some tactics such as giving the user control to choose the layout, using auto scrolls and prioritising high value items.

Katja Forbes followed on nicely with an accessibility centric presentation on Universal design for touch. Clearly passionate about making the web great for everyone through universal design Kat took us through the principles (from Centre for Universal Design):

  • Equitable use
  • Flexibility in use
  • Simple and intuitive
  • Perceptible information
  • Tolerance for error
  • Low physical effort
  • Size and space for approach and use

She then stepped us through accessibility, responsive design and the future for touch in an interesting and jam packed presentation.

Next up Steve Baty took us through two models of design-led innovation:

  • Insight-led innovation
  • Hypothesis led innovation

Both methods having their merits but with different processes for research and development.  Steve left plenty of time for comments which was great. Comment of the day from Steve who said (in response to failing fast):

Don’t fail, learn something! Succeed!

I finished up the day checking out Chris Holmes‘ session on Agile ethnography in New York’s secret public spaces which was absolutely fascinating. Aside from a generous sprinkling of pop culture references (how do you get Soylent Green into a UX presentation? Well, it’s about people right?) Chris shared with us the concept of privately owned public spaces (POPS) in New York. POPS is such a fantastic initiative but the complexity of the environment was interesting, unexpected and the subject of Chris’ Agile Ethnographic work. I encourage you to check out the video Privately Owned Public Spaces: Let’s Invigorate the Inventory which has some of the context of this case study.

Very much looking forward to Day 2 of UX Australia!

Other UX Australia posts and resources:

Author’s note: Huge thanks to Jessica who found my phone and handed it in to reception for me.

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