On Friday, February 23rd, MUXL presented the first edition of its London UX/Design Festival. The program brought representatives together from the UX teams of some of the leading companies in London, who opened up their offices to host a series of workshops in their areas of expertise. Eleven workshops took place throughout the day in locations around Old Street/Shoreditch area. This way all of the guests had the opportunity to tailor their agenda for the day, based on their particular area of interest. The UX event, a first in this format, transformed London into a learning hub for designers looking expand their skill sets, familiarise themselves with the professional UX landscape in the city and connect with their peers in this space.

The festival was greeted with overwhelming support from the UX community with over 300 attendees travelled around the festival venues, visiting the spaces from which their favorite companies operate, meet and greet the in-house UX teams and participate in hands-on workshops.

The Workshops

The morning kicked off with “How to do user research so that product managers will listen” and “Rapid Interactive Prototyping” workshops led by Georgia Rakusen from MOO and Elliott Prince from GeeksUK. Rakusen focused on going over the various tactics UX designers can use in order to communicate more successfully with product managers they are collaborating with. While Prince delved deeper into the benefits of testing with prototypes instead of written specs and how to maximize the impact of collected learnings from user experience prototypes.

Before lunch, attendees made their way to the next workshops, choosing between Neyber’s “How to design FCA compliant products – TCF” and Conjure’s workshop on the topic of “UX design in the automotive industry”. At Neyber, George McNaughton (Head of Compliance) and Chaymae Lougmani (Senior UX Designer) provided some extremely helpful guidance on how designers can build compliance into their products by TCF (Treating our Customers Fairly).

Discussing how UX design and digital experience are shaping the next generation of the automotive industry were Conjure’s Creative Director, Mats Dahle and Ultrahaptics’ Senior User Experience Designer, Gareth Young,  Conjure shared their experiences of designing digital dashboards for McLaren, Ford GT and Triumph Motorcycles while Ultrahaptics shared their insights on creating the most remarkable connections between people and technology.

Helen Calderon and Stuart Scott from StartUX, Terika Seaborn-Brown from Foolproof and Michael Abolins from Just Eat took to the stand after lunch, welcoming a full house of attendees. The StartUX workshop focused on two case studies about the experiences of conducting usability tests with a VR system and a voice-based robot. Foolproof’s workshop discussed the ways in which designers can get nebulous client briefs down to an actionable direction. Both workshops aimed to review the methods that designers can use to deliver a more successful product, that consumers will actually find useful.

 

 

Just Eat tackled the challenge of “Developing Brand Personality” and implementing your brand’s tone of voice. Michael Abolins led the discussion, exploring questions like – What is ‘Tone of voice’? Why is it important? How is it developed? How is it implemented? The concept of brand identity and tone of voice is crucial to Just Eat’s company strategy. In an interview with MUXL, Sandra Gonzalez Cata from Just Eat commented: “It is crucial to acknowledge the customers you build experiences for, as it’s easy for designers to build with themselves in mind. Stepping back and looking at what your diverse range of customers want is what makes UX as important as it is, and not just design.”

Closing the day’s festival agenda, “Design Thinking at Scale” a popular workshop led by IBM’s Rania Svoronou and Riccie Janus. Learnings about building a culture in which design can really mature at IBM. In an interview with MUXL, Svoronou and Janus agree that “In large organizations, the UXer also has to put on the consultant/advisor hat, be prepared to talk about how UX can help solve large business challenges and make businesses feel excited about tackling big unknowns.

“It’s as tricky as it is exciting – UXers in large organizations have the opportunity to drive organizational change at scale.” By focusing on the IBM case study, Svoronou and Janus busted some myths of what design can and can’t do for a business while giving some helpful pointers about the transformation of large organizations like their own.

Karmarama hosted an unusual and intriguing “UX Escape Room” overseen by several members of their UX team. This real-life game locked attendees in a room and gave them a mission, the success of which would lead to their own ‘escape’. Throughout the journey, guests were able to learn some valuable lessons on user-centered design methodologies used throughout the project lifecycle and then to try them out in a super-fast paced scenario.

The evening ended at Karmarama’s town hall space, where attendees were hosted by the company for networking drinks and an opportunity to catch up with new connections they made during the day’s programme of workshops.

The first iteration of the London UX/Design Festival saw a high demand for places in the workshops resulting in many of them selling out within a few days of being introduced. With that in mind, MUXL will release additional dates of the same workshops in the coming weeks to give everyone a chance to meet, greet and learn from the teams at our hosting companies at this year’s UX/Design Festival.

In case you missed this year’s event, we will be putting on another UX/Design Festival in the same format very soon, taking learnings from the first edition to make the next festival even more awesome!