3 Days. 16 talks. 3 Workshops. And a Party.
Day 1 — Conference talks
Coffee + Registration
Break your design: Strategies for improving your work by embracing chaos and mess
In the tech industry we talk a lot about failure. Fail fast. Move fast and break things. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Yet if you spend any time on Dribble or looking at portfolios, most of what you’ll see is beautiful, pixel perfect, orderly, and calm. This Instagramization of product design ignores the messy, chaotic, and often unpredictable humans and circumstances our work is meant to serve.
In this talk, we’ll explore a set of strategies and frameworks UX practitioners can use to improve the user experience by breaking their designs.
The need to adapt and be flexible within product research has never been greater. Research is planned and then reality sets in with real-world variables, participant needs, and unforeseen hurdles. Flexibility is a requirement. This flexibility starts with an ability to read your audience’s body language and to pivot as needs shift. Yield to the highest offer. Always say YES. Always raise the bar. These are three of the core components to improvisation in theater. They are also three pillars to a good design.
While improvisation is a muscle best learned and practiced over time, this primer introduces the fundamentals and starts a conversation around how might we be more engaged and flexible in our process. Part discussion, part activity, attendees will gain:
An introduction to the principles and guidelines of improvisation Exposure to warm-up activities to broaden and expand our thinking An awareness of how improvisation can be adapted throughout a project lifecycle An awareness of how body language affects team collaboration
This isn’t a session to learn to be funny, or even how to perform. It’s a conversation around expanding our toolkit.
Ship it sooner: how to get more done in less time
Tools help us create beautiful, usable experiences for devices. However, they can also get in the way of creativity: designers and developers sometimes spend more time thinking about process, software, and tools than making. In this talk, Catt will discuss reasons we get distracted by process and tools, why stepping away from process and tools can be helpful, as well as methods to focus more on getting things done.
10 things I learned during 2 weeks at Facebook
My experience as a UX specialist has reinforced the fact that design methodologies exist in their purest form as texts and seldom perfect when applied in practice, to actual product design processes. I also learned that the key to a successful project is the team and how well that team collaborates is the glue that holds the project together and guarantees success, whether the methodology was executed perfectly or not. Put differently, great teamwork and adherence to best practices assure best results, while methodologies do not necessarily guarantee them. During my short talk I’m going to be discussing 10 key differences in team dynamics between teams I have worked with in various companies in South Africa vs Facebook. I will cover how these dynamics have impacted the product design process negatively and positively as well as provide case studies and key recommendations and takeaways.
World-class attitude: When all the odds are against you.
In my talk, I will share with you how the right attitude can lead us to a completely different destiny. By comparing the life of a regular young man from a third world country such as mine, and that of someone from the same background but with the right attitude, I will show you how a difference in mentality can change someone's destiny and inspire other people.
Shaping creative formats
Designing user generated content experiences throws up a host of unique challenges. How do you prototype and validate creative formats that promote conversation, creativity, and connection when you don't have any content yet? How do you leave space for diverse expression, without fostering a chaotic UX? How can you be confident that anybody will even make content once you launch?
In this talk, Ian will provide a window into a product design process that embraces real content from day one, and engages both sides of the creator/consumer user base. Told through the lens of his work evolving the music format at Spotify, Ian explores an evidence based approach to developing two-sided content experiences, and the lessons his team discovered along the way.
IA Lenses: A new tool for designing digital structures
After doing this for 20 years, I realized that on every project I was using little IA heuristic evaluations with every structural decision. Most recently, working on the navigation for a large institution’s public web site and intranet, as well as a handful of esoteric web-based applications, I was able to articulate these little tests. With each decision, I would ask myself questions like, “Does this set a dangerous precedent?” and “Does this prioritize one user’s needs over another?” and “Will this inappropriately challenge the company’s status quo?”
Each of these questions is a lens, through which I examine the structure. I choose a label for a category and ask myself, “What’s missing from the implied contents of this label?” I nest one category in another and I ask myself, “Even though this belongs here, does it bury an important concept?” I develop a set of top-level categories and ask myself, “What story does this tell about the organization?” The purpose of these lenses isn’t so much to determine correctness, but more to look at my decision from all angles. They let me dig deeper into my decisions to make sure my thought process is robust.
In this session, I’ll share some of the lenses, how they’re used, and how you might apply them to different IA challenges. As a consequence of articulating these lenses, I’ve also spent time developing a small vocabulary to talk about IA challenges. Since the lenses are new, the intent here isn’t to be prescriptive, but instead to get feedback from the IA community, and to gauge their broader applicability.
This session will review:
It’s been 20+ years since the advent of IA, isn’t it about time we had more tools for our work? Enter IA Lenses, a new tool to help IAs evaluate and interrogate their concepts by looking at them from unique perspectives.
data sketches: a year of exotic data visualizations
"data sketches" was a year-long collaboration between Nadieh Bremer and Shirley Wu, both freelancing data visualisation designers. Each month they chose a topic and visualised it in an overly elaborate & geeky manner. But besides sharing the end result, they also wrote extensively about the creation process. In this talk, Nadieh will share her most important lessons learned in the fundamental areas of data, sketching & coding. About how some months became favourites, what mistakes were made, and how they were overcome. She'll highlight that many visualizations had humble, ugly duckling beginnings, but that through many (embarrassing) iterations they were turned into unique and, hopefully, compelling results.
A bit of a party 'til later