The “Festival of UX and Design 2021” was a five-day virtual event organized by Mobile UX London(MUXL) from 22nd to 26th March 2021. This event brought together a diverse group of UX professionals worldwide to learn, interact and participate. Five days of the festival were exciting and engaging. The online platform provided a great experience to the attendees and the speakers. Here is the day-wise summary of my key takeaways from the great talks by the 19 speakers.
Day 1: Monday, 22nd March
Theme: Future of UX
Rachel Simpson, Design Lead, Google
Topic: Jams, make-a-thons, & design sprints @ Google
Rachel has given a great start to the festival by talking about tips, tricks, trials and tribulations in Remote design sprints. Design Sprints is a five days and six phases process.
- Days: Map, Sketch, Decide, Prototype, Test.
- Phases: Understand, Define, Sketch, Decide, Prototype and Validate.
After the above exercise, clarify and assign the next steps. Share the documentation.
Minal Jain, Ux Researcher, Uber Eats
Topic: Untangling a chaotic world
Minal says we should be creative in applying research techniques with the available resources.
She suggests three applications of creativity in User research practice.
- Creativity in research methods. Ride alongs with food delivery persons to find out their pain points, interactions. Make consumer home visits to find their mental model like ordering food and interacting with the delivery person. Make restaurant visits to find out how the delivery person finds out the restaurant addresses. Test in international markets.
- Creativity in sharing out. Sending digital postcards from the field about research insights to stakeholders. Post research insights in the groups comprising stakeholders and using what? – So what? – Now what? Framework.
- Creativity in working with cross-functional partners. Work throughout the product development life cycle with cross-functional stakeholders. Take the team and key decision-makers to the field. Learn from local experts. Train non-researchers to conduct user research.
Nur Karadeniz, Head Of Experience And System Design, Cambridge University
Topic: Tackling complex problems with System Design
System design practices:
- Apply systems thinking and design thinking.
- Help a group of experts to think about how things should work.
- Make data conversations at all levels.
- Use emerging technologies to experiment with solutions.
Jennifer Heape, CCO & Co-Founder, Vixen Labs
Topic: Empathic design in voice
To be empathic in voice design, Jen says we need to:
1) Be compassionate.
2) Develop trust with the user.
3) Be mindful of the social context of use.
4) Acknowledge frustrations.
Mirta Rotondo, VP of Brand & Design, True Layer
Topic: Designing for fintech
Pillars of UX for the modern designer:
1) Empathise with the user.
2) Design products, not just UIs.
3) Remove gaps between engineering and design.
Enrico Furfaro & Srecko Dimitrijevic, Senior Product Designers
Topic: The future holds what you hold now.
To stay relevant in the job market, Enrico and Srecko suggest:
1) Create a repository of companies.
2) Set LinkedIn alerts.
3) Check job descriptions.
4) Update and repeat.
Day 2: Tuesday, 23rd March
Theme: Ethics in UX
Georgina Bourke & Ahmed Razek, Principal Technical Advisers at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Topic: Designing positive digital experiences for children
Georgina Bourke and Ahmed Razak of the Information Commissioner’s Office UK explore some of the standards in the Children’s Code and show ways designers can consider them in practice.
The data protection framework recognises that children should be given special treatment when it comes to their personal data. Our code translates what the law says into 15 standards that online services should follow to comply with the law.
The code aims to ensure that children have a baseline of protection automatically by design and default to be protected within the digital world rather than being protected from it.
Raphaelle March, Chief Design Officer, Cowry Consulting
Topic: Using behavioural science to create a better-informed design
When we rely heavily on our visual system to interpret the world, we become prone to cognitive biases, and understanding customer behaviour becomes a challenge. Behavioural science can be used as a toolkit to help us unravel these biases and allows us to create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but drive effective behaviour change.
- If a task like filling out a form takes a long time to complete, inform the customer upfront how much time it will take.
- Consider the experience from the customer’s perspective, put yourself in their shoes and think about, am I making it easier for the customer to do with the design, and am I making it motivating them.
- Have I taken enough elements off the screen that they can see the thing they need to do? When you start to think like that, you’ll be designing behaviourally. What’s incredibly important is translating these behavioural science principles into the final design and creating exceptional experiences.
Samantha Burden, Product Marketing Executive, Air France KLM
Topic: Applying UX principles to the covid-impacted airline industry’s customer journey
The global pandemic rapidly forced the airline’s business models to switch to having complete transparency and messaging throughout the customer journey. It has made air travelers’ experience paramount for airlines to survive within the pandemic’s recovery process. They must think of new innovative ways of changing their product and service offerings and interactions with customers.
Samantha Burden, product marketing executive at Air France, recommends the following UX principles to improve booking an airline ticketing process:
- Empower users with relevant content.
- Design the journey with a cognitive load in mind.
- Focus on creating a booking interface that is seamless and error-free.
Joe Lanzisero, Sr. Vp Creative, Disney
Topic: Fine-tuning the magic
Joe gives the following takeaways from his work experience at Disney.
- Don’t depend on the understanding of the story to carry an experience. The core activity should be fun and entertaining without having to know “the story and the characters.” (Monsters Ride)
- When creating a “game experience,” make sure it really is a game with clear objectives and positive feedback. (Monsters Ride)
- Know your users’ expectations and ask yourself if they are really being addressed? (Buzz Lightyear Shooting Ride)
- Don’t think changing the format (video game to ride) will change users’ expectations. (Buzz Lightyear Shooting Ride)
- When designing for a group, make sure you understand their collective dynamic. (DCL Water Play and Shade)
- Listen to your users’ wants but be sure you understand what they are really asking for. Don’t fall victim to “the curse of knowledge.” (DCL Water Play and Shade)
- Experiences need a single clear thematic focus (Cute or Swashbuckling) (Sinbad Ride)
- Find the “emotional core” of every experience and use whatever device necessary (cute character, engaging theme song) to deeply connect your guest/user. (Sinbad Ride)
- Know your audience! Who are you designing for! (Miniature Golf)
- When designing for a broad spectrum of ages and abilities, make sure the experience works for and satisfies everyone. (Miniature Golf)
Hara Mihailidou, Founder, Todelli
Topic: The connection between design & ethics when it comes to the food supply chain
She recommends the following design principles for a sustainable food supply chain.
- Select local first.
- Support independent and small businesses.
- Choose businesses that follow best practices.
- Choose companies that create jobs around you.
- Be a conscious consumer.
- Be an ambassador.
- Break something into fragments/data-driven supply chains.
Matteo Gratton, Design Advocate, Sketch
Topic: Can data and ethics live together?
It is hard to make perfect ethical decisions, but:
- We should control what kind of data we want to gather and share.
- We should be transparent with our users when we’re tracking them for specific purposes.
- We should gather data only when needed.
- We should gather only the data we need.
- We should not share any personal data if not strictly necessary.
IBM Design Team (Molly O’Rourke UX/UI at IBM Partner Ecosystem, Mina Bach UX/UI Designer at IBM, Lucy Orrell-Jones, Senior UX Research Consultant at IBM)
Topic: Design standards & scaling design education in teams
- Engaging and educating stakeholders is an ongoing journey.
- Building genuine relationships and empathy are the keys to success.
Day 3: Wednesday, 24th March
Theme: Health and Wellbeing
Karolina Skalska, Senior Manager UX, Shopify
Topic: Shopify learnings on how to take care of wellbeing as an individual, manager and company
Over the last year, Shopify rolled out multiple initiatives to support the wellbeing of its employees. Karolina shares some of the techniques that, when done right, can help you and your team stay motivated to create great work while still having the energy outside your working hours.
Haydyn Phillips, UX Lead, AstraZeneca
Topic: Behavioural change in digital healthcare – A UX retrospective
- As designers and researchers, we have the opportunity to influence digital health through behavioural change.
- We need to learn new skills and ways of thinking to be effective.
Dr. Yiota Demetriou, UX Designer, Amdaris
Topic: Rethinking connectivity and digital closeness in Times of crises
Technology has made it easier for us to communicate. Despite this, it’s never been harder to feel together, with a profound impact on people’s wellbeing. As more people look for ways to spend time with others online, fostering a sense of closeness during the pandemic, investment in user experience and usability to design effective interactions based on emotion and feeling should be a priority.
Redefining closeness and the senses:
- Social distancing will have a lasting effect on our communication. Handshakes and hugs may transform into more non-tactile greetings, such as a wave or a bow.
- By redefining the cultural parameters of digital touch and making space for ‘meaningful’ touch in online communications could not only help decrease the effect of ‘skin hunger’, but could potentially enable human connectedness and closeness, even when physically apart.
Pawel Lenart, Design Lead
Topic: UX in health and wellbeing products
Many health, wellbeing and active aging products on the market have a bad quality when it comes to UX. Innovative healthcare products often have a nice UI but provide a bad user experience.
Pawel suggests keeping the following things in mind while designing the products.
- User experience is not limited to the user interface. It’s always about the UI and everything around it.
- Don’t be afraid to challenge briefings and research. Not every research is good and not every briefing makes sense.
- User experience means to be responsible and warn the user to prevent problems or even serious damage. In healthcare, this can even mean saving a life.
- Self-service products in the healthcare industry need the best user experience.
Dr. Gyles Morrison, Clinical Ux Specialist And Director, The Clinical User Experience Association
Topic: Digital Therapeutics – The Future of Healthcare.
- Empower patients.
- Lower the burden of care for clinicians.
- Can improve treatment adherence.
- Can provide care in new ways.
- Complement other forms of therapy.
- Provide personalised care.
- Support the collection and analysis of health data.
- Can reduce healthcare costs.
- Can reduce health inequalities.
Savraj Matharu, Principal Lecturer In Digital Innovation, University of Westminister
Topic: Reimaging Digital Health through Innovations in UX – a UCD approach
Talks about four factors in digital health.
- Use AI for doctors’ clinical paperwork.
- Use machines to reduce errors.
- Harvest data to improve outcomes.
- Treat patients at home, not in the hospital.
Discusses curative & preventive healthcare.