(Portugal, you know) 11-13.5.2011
A post which is a mental note to myself, to keep reminding me what an awesome (supposed to be The official word to describe the conference) experience it was. And hopefully a wrap-up for some of you ho weren't there.
It was my first, though officially second UXLX, the biggest UX event in Europe. Sadly I couldn't attend all the workshops, as they were full before I signed in, but managed to get into some, and of course attended the conference. Plus don't forget amazing dinners, networking coffee breaks and those "creative beers."
The post should be updated (esp. for the workshop session, which was the most interesting), but here is a wrap-up with some links
EDIT: Greatz, here is the link where everything will be updated by the amazing organizers (Bruno & co.) http://lanyrd.com/2011/uxlx/coverage/
EDIT: And a nice wrap-up of the conference by Sam Smith
Lightning talks and Workshops
All three days were packed with activities, even if you didn't participate in all the activities. I was so angry I missed Whitney's workshop on Storytelling for User Experience, but... hell, next time, right. But was able to catch the lightning talks by Mark Plant: "Wireframes are Dead: Experiments and Experience from UX/Agile Divide" and Claudia Ehmke: "Stimulating VIsual Thinking."
At the dinner party/get together I met Daria Loi from Intel Labs, and had a great cultural-inspired debate. The next day she spoke about "Revolutionizing the TV Industry through UX Design" where she illustrated how they embedded ethnography into Intel design/research strategy. Jason Mesut from British RMA held an interesting talk on how to: "Sell Yourself Better" Here is the presentation and the supporting web page www.betteruxportfolios.com that is in the making. He spoke out of experience, as he read over 400 UX portfolios, and as he stated, most of them were really bad. He also inspired us to map ourselves on the UX map. Than there was of course one of my favourite's Christian Crumlish with his workshop "Designing Social Interfaces." And did I mention he signed his book for me?
Friday was the conference day, which meant more people rushing at the venue.
Lou was all about breaking silosses. "Get out of your silo!" he said. He's keynote seemed to transform that word into the word of the day, though he talked against buzzwords and fancy namings. Advising to abstract things to lower, understandable levels, so that all team members could understand and not to limit ourselves with terminology. He urged us to look, research and work outside our domain.
Oh, gotta love Chris. And he played the ukulele for us! Chris is the author of the book Designing Social Interfaces , but this time he focused on Playful Design. How to give users room to play, room to move and explore. He's talk was about how to enable play and than he described basic game mechanics and how to apply them to what we do. 1- Invitation, 2. Boundaries, 3. Rules, 4. Goals, 5. Competition, 6. Cooperation are basic elements common to most game environments. Chris also spoke about how it is important to enable tuning and customization and give users the permission to co-design. Finally, allow chaos and wittness the magic happen.
Nick had an interesting talk about how it is important to look at the experience as a whole. There are 3 phases towards better understanding of users: 1. Observe how people actually use products, 2. Understand Context of use, 3. Watch for the Hacks, what people change, simplify. Finally what is also crucial is to communicate with the team, understand your team members, collaborate. Practice external as well as internal research.
In an amusing manner, Stephen introduced what he calls Z-shapped thinkers. This should be us, the UX designers, who should be able to reframe problems and tackle them the other way around. Like with the example of drawing a vase that we've done during the talk. The point should not be in tools but in the process. In the case of Domino's Pizza where the experience of ordering the pizza has been tackled with a fresh approach. The talk was about taking time to explore, role play the design and design for emotions (positive and negative).
Kristina's talk was so engaging that I didn't even take notes. Yes ,I just love Wall-e, which was the main character in her presentations. And I already read her really (almost surprisingly) useful book Content Strategy for the Web which she wrote only because no one else wanted to (and it was needed). She spoke about the importance of content strategy and about the importance of the content itself. Otherwise we'll continue living like Wall-e, in a world full of information (read: trash), unable to filter out or find what is (could be) useful.
Oh, Josh made a show on stage. He teleported us into a boxing arena where Mobile web and Native App were fighting to the death. Josh is a truly inspiring individual, and It was fun having the last dinner with him, where we did several do-the-Jesus-thingie acts.
Christopher was a bit unlucky as his presentation didn't work. Though, his topic was interesting because he talked about users' attention and the cognitive surplus (the energy demanded). He urged us to watch out how we waste/use user's attention. He explained what he calls Biocost = energy + time + attention + stress. We should not expose our users to extensive stress, and hence make their live easier. Even though some users (like John Henry competing with the drilling machine, winning, and dying afterwards) perhaps tend to compete with machines and new services we should strive to "help" them. Like Crumlish he also connected to play and fun - elements that help creating positive experience. Though he urged not to exagerrate with "gamification," like extensive use of Badges (BadgeVille). Lastly Christopher urged that we should continue building intelligent things, use the algorithms and artificial intelligence. Even though it may seem that we are not making any real progress towards human-like AI, we should keep the faith and continue.
Even though he may not be the super star, he had one of the best talks at the conference. He based it on the book by Jedediah Berry: The Manual of Detection which speaks about a clerk turning detective. Dario embedded interesting cases by IDEO (where he works) into the presentation to illustrate some unconventional thinking.
For the grande finale, it was the Don coming on stage. He's talk was based on his previous and common work, mostly on the new book Living with Complexity.