For our meet-up in May, we took a slightly different approach inviting 6 speakers to give advice on what constitutes good UX design in just 10 minutes each.
Inclusive Design: Using colour blind simulation
Firstly, Stephanie Maier, UX / UI Evangelist at Adobe, revealed how she restlessly innovates throughout her projects to meet the needs of a diverse set of end users, through the creation of empathy maps, among other tools.
Her talk centred around the brilliant work she achieved with Simon Wheatcroft, a blind marathon runner who undertook a 150 mile ultra-marathon across the desert in Nambia. She worked with Simon to understand how he currently navigates his environment and took inspiration from his guide dog, Ascot. She helped to design a system that keep him on track, which plays beeps into his ears depending how far he has gone to the left or right.
Stephanie then explained how 4.5% of UK population are colour blind, and took us through the Adobe XD stark plug-in which simulates 8 different types of colour blindness.
Design systems are not just for designers
Next, Andry Ratovondrahona, Interaction Design Principal at ELSE, reminded us how as a species we are very good at designing new systems. Looking back over the past 17 years, Andry reflected on how design systems used to be relatively straightforward with websites using almost identical dimensions. Nowadays, with the proliferation of smartphone devices, there are over 20 types of screen to design for, which has forced a change in our traditional work methodology.
Design systems exist today to make product teams more efficient and consistent at designing and authoring products, but this has lead to the creation of just ‘containers’ with a lack of emphasis on meaningful content.
Andry explained how at ELSE, they have adopted the approach to treating the client as a user, looking beyond the product team, and the agency as a coach, looking beyond just the product delivery. They strive to be more holistic in their approach, guiding the client and tailoring the product throughout, leading to the design system becoming an ecosystem that transcends traditional boundaries.
Biometrics – How one bad experience will outweigh the previous ten good ones
He revealed how they regularly test representative groups of users through a number of mechanisms, using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. He informed us of the importance of trying to eliminate bias by letting the subjects do all of the talking and having small ‘warm up’ type tasks to ensure respondents are comfortable and familiar, leading to more accurate results.
We were interested in hear about the types of biometric testing, and Marcus shared three areas with us: eye tracking, galvanic skin response and facial expression analysis, where they use an AI trained model comprised of data from 7.5 million faces in 87 countries worldwide.
Marcus explained the value of these tools with an example case study of a bad user experience.
How to convince your organisation accessibility is important?
Next, Rocío Calvo Martín and Brian Grellmann, Senior UX Researchers at Aviva, took to the stage to discuss the importance of digital accessibility. With over 20% of the working population (roughly 11 million people) affected by disability, it is the fastest growing minority group, and this number increases to 45% for those over 65 years of age.
In order to convey the importance of accessibility to a CEO-level staff, Rocío identified three things to consider: 1) the law, 2) ROI, 3) reputation. A failure in any of these areas can bring about significant damages to the business, for instance not adhering to the UK equality act of 2010.
Rocío and Brian discussed the importance of having digital accessibility advocates within all levels of the organisation, to bring about true change, as well as running regular talks, workshops and events to upskill and educate staff, to ensure this remains at the heart of design.
Undercurrents in Mobile UX
Our next speaker was Andrew Swartz, Director of Design Research at Sutherland Labs. He started his talk by identifying what he meant by an undercurrent: a phenomenon so pervasive that it becomes invisible, even though it is the predominant effect on the human experience.
During his career, Andrew has experienced many undercurrents, from the changes in user manuals (physical bound guides to emphasis on self discovery), to changes in searchability (using AND instead of OR). These seemingly simple changes have changed the digital landscape dramatically.
Andrew then discussed the myth of the solitary user. There is an assumption that 1 log in equals 1 user but often this is inaccurate as humans are social creatures by nature and will discuss, share and reflect with others before making and acting on decisions. Mobile devices have a bad reputation for being solitary in nature but users do share this experience with others, for instance by showing the content on their phones.
Junior to UX Lead
Our last speaker, Sam Hooper, Lead UX / Product Designer at Cyber-Duck, reflected upon and shared his personal story and experiences in the field of UX. From working as a junior, and struggling with hiring managers demanding 3+ years’ experience, Sam shared how he built an extensive UX portfolio.
In his view, a UX portfolio needs to show what you did on the project, where you failed and what you learnt along the way. He described how working at an agency can be very demanding but gives instant exposure to a range of projects. Working in-house often allows for a more in-depth approach, with the opportunity for refinement but can lead to stagnation.
Sam then revealed some very poignant tips and advocates for Senior / Lead UX’ers to facilitate sharing amongst teams (e.g. a sharing wall) and the need for Leads to strive to look for people who are better than they are.
From Mobile UX London, we extremely grateful to all of our speakers. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with us and for providing us with such a wealth of valuable information.
We would also like to thank Oracle for hosting us for the meet-up.
Join us on 30 July, where we will be exploring how to build great teams with:
– Julie Kennedy, User Experience Director at Saint-Gobain
– Zhivko Dimitrov, UX Consultant at BP
– Paul Woodley, Product Design Lead at LeanJS
More speakers to be announced
Mobile UX London Conference: 21 November 2019
Our conference will explore the evolution of and future of design, whilst focusing on new and emerging technologies such as VR, AR, Voice and AI. Sections of the conference will also be dedicated to good UX design, designing for global audiences and tech for social good.