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UX Scotland 2016 conference write up

This year’s UX Scotland happened 8-10 June. It was my 4th time attending, and this year I focused mainly on sessions around facilitation and management. As ever there were some real highlights for me, including a full day training session with Kim Goodwin.

In this post, I’ll pick on the sessions that made the greatest impression on me, and provide links to you can learn more too.

There was far more happening that I can cover in this post, and not all of it within the formal sessions. I’d encourage you to explore the website and conference collaborative space and keep an eye out for 2017’s conference. If you’re interested in UX and in the north of the country, the conference should be in your calendar.

UX Scotland 2016 website

Lanyrd coverage of UX Scotland

UX Scotland on Twitter (@UXScot)

User journey workshop with Kim Goodwin

The day before the conference I was fortunate enough to be able to attend training led by Kim Goodwin. I’ve spent a bit of time in the past experimenting with user journey mapping, but wanted to learn more from an expert in the field to give me confidence to offer services within the University.

The day was excellent, working in small groups we progressed through the theory and practice of creating user journey maps. There are a lot of approaches to and opinions on production of user journey maps, but ultimately one unifying fact: a cross functional team involving stakeholders and (potentially) users working together to express a user experience in a workshop environment is an incredibly fruitful use of time, regardless of what the map looks like at the end.

While I can’t share the materials I received on the day, what I learned is filtering through into the training and consultancy I’m undertaking in the University. Plus, you can get a good idea of Kim’s approach and style from this excellent 24 minute presentation:

Designing how we design – Kim Goodwin presentation on You Tube

And a great quote from the end of the workshop…

Those who tell the stories rule society – Plato

Lean UX in large organisations

In his talk (“Lean UX hasn’t been embraced by large organisations – it’s not them, it’s us!”) Spencer Turner reflected on his experience as a consultant over the past few years, particularly in the context of promoting and applying Lean UX principles.

This was particularly of interest to me as I’ve been promoting and employing the Lean UX philosophy – admittedly on a smaller scale – in much of my work over the past couple of years, since reading Jeff Gothelf’s book.

My presentation on Lean UX at IWMW 2016

My thoughts on Jeff Gothelf’s presentation of ‘Humility in development’

I thought this was a great presentation, with lots of honesty and lessons learned, and a must-read for anyone practicing Lean UX. Particularly in large organisations.

Spencer’s presentation slides on Speakerdeck – “Lean UX hasn’t been embraced by large organisations – it’s not them, it’s us!”

A different presentation from Spencer, which is a good intro to Lean UX and possibly a better place to start than the presentation I saw at UXScot if all this is new to you:

Spencer Turner – Lean UX in Product Management – 18 minute video on Vimeo

POST UPDATE: Later in the year, Spencer wrote a series of articles summarising his presentation:

Service design from scratch workshop

In this extended, hands-on session, Lily Dart took us through her approach to running a service design workshop. I was particularly interested in this as I wanted to get an alternative perspective to what had been covered in Kim Goodwin’s workshop.

The key thing that differed here were that we were thinking beyond the user and their experience (although this still formed the backbone of what we mapped) and into the service behind it. So still user experience, but thinking about the user experience of the organisation’s staff and how this can impact the end-user (customer) experience.

The other notable difference was that while in Kim’s session we were mapping a version of what had been discovered through user research – so a kind of extension of personas – here, we were envisaging a service that didn’t actually exist.

Being able to attend two workshops in quick succession that were so similar in the core skills and techniques employed, but so different in motivation and purpose, was incredibly useful.

Again, the techniques and materials from this session have enabled me to enhance the UX consultancy services I offer to business units and projects around the University.

Lily’s workshop on Slideshare – Creating a service experience from scratch

A different video, but one which I think give both a good intro to service design, and a chance to hear Lily speak:

Lily Dart discussed service design in the public sector (at LocalGovCamp 2015) – video snippet on Vimeo

Co-design workshop management experiences

The final session I want to highlight was possibly my favourite of the whole conference. It wasn’t so much about introducing me to new workshop techniques and ways of thinking, but more reflecting on experiences of running lots of workshops and the lessons learned.

Here, Stavros Garzonis drew on the Wikipedia definition of co-design: A development process where design professionals empower, encourage, and guide users to develop solutions for themselves

Listening here I had one of those lightbulb moments that fortunately happen reasonably often at conferences like UX Scotland. This was something I knew but perhaps have never properly expressed, especially to stakeholder and colleagues.

For me, co-design is not about design. It’s about research through design.

Stavros Garzonis

I’ve managed to find both video and slides of this presentation, albeit at another event:

Stavros Garzonis on co-design – video presentation from the Northern UX conference

Stavros’ co-design slides on Slideshare

In conclusion…

I think, for me, Stavros’ quote about research through design encapsulates what I was looking to get out of this conference – new ways of thinking and new approaches to bringing stakeholders and users together to explore and research collaboratively by doing things.

I certainly got what I was looking for from the conference – and so much more that I don’t have time to put into this blog post.

I’d encourage you to explore the materials and to join us in June 2017.


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