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If you didn’t have the chance to go to London on the world’s best UX conferences, here is a summary of the 3 most interesting talks. The three day conference was focused on Product, Service and Design, with 5 talks each day dedicated to one topic, followed by a workshop. It was hard to pick only 3 topics to summarize -  as most speakers were fantastic. Here are the 3 speakers that I found most interesting – and I am glad to share them with you!

Day one: Product 💝

Crafting the first mile of product experience by Scott Belsky.

Technology does not succeed because of technology itself, but because of the experience we create around it. Technology isn’t the competitive advantage, it is how we manage to create a different experience with the same technology. Do you remember that moment when you opened a piece of software or a website for the first time, and it made you smile (or cry)? I personally had that with the new SJ app (open it!), and I smiled.

Scott talks about the first 15 seconds a user arrives to the website, they are lazy vain and selfish. If they don’t like it we leave instantly (and then you have lost this user forever). Therefore it is SO IMPORTANT give the user a big welcome hug of UX. And then we mean everything: good design, good content, good copy, good interaction design, everything needs to be right and in balance in these first 15 seconds. Later in his presentation he said: “Do you trust one review of a close friend more then a thousand anonymous reviews”, and that one I thought a lot about… especially in regards with these first 15 seconds. And I personally, as a UX designer, I would only trust proper user research as a source. That is a note to all our customers: you think you know your customers, but that is YOUR opinion, if you test it you know it for sure. And that is extremely important, especially in the first 15 seconds where the users need this welcoming hug in order to let them stay.

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Day two: Service 💞

Sense and respond - products and services in the age of complexity by Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden.

Here are the four points they made: 

1. Plan for uncertainty

We don’t design a rotate engine - we design services - which means we don’t design something with a fixed outcome. Our route can change while we are walking on it. So plan for small iterations, test and go a few steps back if the tests don’t show the wanted results.

2. Culture of continiuously learning

This is a combination of the previous and next point: build something and learn from it. Create tests and iterate small, to minimize the risk of failure and you will always learn something new.

3. Do less, more often

To have an idea is great. But to make the idea great takes time, and instead of making one big release they suggest to start small, and iterate very quick, very often. This means you sometimes need to throw something away, but it results in avoiding big investments in things that don’t work.

4. Organize for collaboration

Emphasize on skills, not specific roles, and make sure that all roles are collaborating in each team. You will save time and create a better service since there is more knowledge included.

Day three: Design 💖

The best interface is no interface by Golden Krishna.

You want to know when your train leaves? There’s an app for that! Want to find a good restaurant? There’s an app for that! Want to find out where your kids are hanging around? There’s an app for that! Is it raining? There’s an app for that! Feel bad? There’s an app for that! Feel happy? There’s an app for that!

And… then that great moment when a client says: it’s going not so well with our website. Let’s build an app for that!

It feels like apps are the solution to everything. But is that really the case? Do we NEED apps? Do we need websites and screen related solutions? Sometimes we only think about the solution, and not even about the issue and how we could solve the issue using. You want to make people’s life easier, not harder, and to be honest a screen isn’t easy: you need to unlock it, find your app, open it, interact with it, etc. Wouldn’t it be easier if the product knows what you want and helps you with it?

Krishna gave an example: We can easily replace the lock with a piece of technology in the door, and then we can put the unlocking interface IN AN APP! (Because we can, right)? Opening a door with an app will cost you a lot of actions: get your phone, unlock, open app, click open door, perhaps confirm that it is you, lock the phone and put it away. Even keys would be more simple! If we remove the whole app idea and replace it with NFC, Bluetooth, or any other technology, and the door would open when you arrive (because it is YOU entering YOUR door), then we don’t need any interaction, or screen, or app. So instead of building new apps and websites for everything, we need to think more about what we want the solution achieve.

Final recommendations

Besides the five baristas making brilliant coffee throughout the day, all the great speakers ( I only covered a handful in this blog) and the great inspiration and energy I brought back, I would really recommend books from two of the speakers, Golden Kristina and Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seidens. Also try to check out the work of Adrian Westaway, he is truly inspirational for any UX and service designer. This conference was very well set up and organized, so I only have one recommendation: join next year! I will definitely do so and I hope to meet you there!

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Read about our latest news within UX – iStone boosts Bukowskis’s Customer Experience! 💍

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