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#UXPeople 2013 – London LIVE

After much anticipation, the day is nigh. I am up bright and early in one of the small parts of Kings Cross that isn’t a jungle of scaffolding, Kings Place a gem of a building along the canal, for Zebra People’s not for profit event UX People. Stay tuned as throughout the day I will be updating you on the days highlights, also remember to use #uxpeople when tweeting about your experiences of the day.

Note: please remember to refresh your screens to get most up to date feeds.

Kings Place Canal

What is UX People? well essentially it is a one day not for profit practical learning event; organised by Zebra People in order to bring industry specialist driven presentations and workshops inclusive by virtue of price. A short history; back in 2009 Zebra People’s Directors noticed that UX events were heavily dominated by American speakers so wanted to promote the UK talent . Submerged daily in the UX community, speaking with clients and candidates, they realised the need for an affordable practical learning event hence, the birth of UX People.

Meeting with the ‘brains’ behind the day they explained why UX People stands out from other events and how they decide what topics to include within the day…

‘We don’t decide, the industry tells us, we listen to the people’ Nick Cochrane; Zebra People Director

‘We are in a unique situation in that by the nature of our job, digital recruitment, we speak to hundreds of UX people each year so get a birds eye view of the industry and can make sure the program reflects that’ Ben Clarfelt; Zebra People Director

9:40 Kick off, Zebra Peoples Nick Cochrane introduces the day putting importance on attendees filling in feedback forms as this is one of the tools Zebra People uses to put on this event, learning what you, the attendees want. Also introducing Zebra People’s Labs, Full-day intensive workshops which are new for 2014.

9:45 Service Design – a mission, practice and craft, Daniel Harris, Service Design Director at Fjord, kicks off the presentations by first engaging the audience and deciphering where people have come from, Agency’s, Client Side…

‘Good Service Design is how human’s engage with the world…we need to understand what makes humans human… at Fjord, research is key, we need to walk a mile in customers shoes’ Daniel Harris; Service Design Director @ Fjord


Service Design Canvas – Fjord

10:00 Most polite fire alarm ever… luckily it was just a test 🙂

‘love the problem and own the design, that’s good service design… service design focuses on how people engage with the world… think about the future’ Daniel Harris; Service Design Director @ Fjord

you know you are practicing service design if you are…

 ‘Is it not obvious that emotion is an important part of Service Design?’

’emotion is key to product design, connecting to people on a service, not just 1 channel, how do we connect and engage through an emotion. ‘ Daniel Harris; Service Design Director @ Fjord

10:15 UX and the City, Jonathan Rez has an amusing start to his talk, references to Sex in the City will be prevalent within this talk…

Using Carrie Bradshaw as his protagonist he describes her obsessive compulsive need to shop in Jimmy Choos and the many decisions a consumer has to make on a daily basis and how these decisions effect their mood.

How do we deal with decisions? a decision strategy is defined as a sequence of mental operations that bring a decision maker from the initial state of indecisiveness concerning possible courses of action to a final state in which one course of action is chosen’ Jonathan Rez Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

The satisfaction heuristic; Carrie is invited to a party, though she doesn’t have the right party shoes… she has three choices of stores to assess, Malono, Jimmy Choo or Shoe Direct, she has to weigh up her options; cost, preferred, status etc.

The satisfaction heuristic, optimisers, ‘shoes and Carrie Bradshaw

Carrie gets invited to England, the layout in London is a lot like New York so it will be easy to find her way around (she’s especially keen to go to Oxford Street)…  ‘our cognitive maps are subjective and not necessarily right…the way we see the world, is different to the way we memorise the world…we tend to abstract and simplify… If we enjoy a subject, buildings appear larger and more profound, if we do not enjoy a subject we remember them smaller and less significant. Hence, cognitive maps represent how we feel about the world.’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

New York & London Map

‘When designing space – open the space (minimum viable product) and see how it is used. then just adjust your design accordingly.’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish in conjunction with a way finding Project in Bath, helping design the city shopping map.

 ‘you make it all sound very rational, but it’s not is it? will people keep checking and assessing everything?’

‘I was talking about optimisers and satisfiers, optimisers would check every aspect, coming down to which coffee should i get, it’s always about context.’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

‘you talk about humans always mapping out a landscape of city, what about digital landscape?’

‘I use the same exercise in digital drawing out a map of what is prevalent in a site; banner ads people don’t see, they block these out… for example transnational experiences people come in to do specific task, don’t try to up sell or distract from that till their done with their task.’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

‘What would you do differently (in conjunction with Bath project)?’

‘For example; a lot of signs use miles though we don’t have an internal speedometer, much more sensible to do in walking time, this is all down to research’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

You mentioned personas earlier on, how did you understand what they wanted and use this to guide them?’

‘If we identify what the situation was eg. students needs compared to a family trip with the grand parents we then need to cater to these needs, understanding their existing mental models of the city’ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

‘Sorry, bit of a mind fuck there‘ Jonathan Rez; Senior Experience Architect @ Razorfish

You are all dopamine junkies

Right 11:15, time for another caffeine kick!

11:39 the design of everyday things: what can UX Learn from product Design? Luke Forsythe opening with ‘Does everyone know the song, 99 Problems by Jay-Z?’ definitely catching the attention of the audience…

‘About me; learnt to sketch stuff, then understand real user needs, graduated, placement in New York for 6 months… yay I’m a product designer man!… then came back to London where digital was big so wanted to get involved… joined a boy band, Bagster, which was a start up that soon moved to silicon roundabout…. moved to different agencies, getting involved in UI, digital, mobile stuff, flip-flopping between UI, IA, UX though struggling to fit in in pigeon holed world… now freelance UX & UI designer… lots of sketching…’

Bragster – Start-up

3 iconic Product designers;

Henry Dreyfus – designed telephone to trains, iconic American designer, essentially very user centered. 1955 he wrote a book, Designing for People, recommends you buy it!

‘…if on the other hand, people are made safer, more eager to purchase, more efficient – or just plain happier – the designer has succeeded.’ Harry Dreyfus

Dieter Rams – apple employee o.1 (influenced apples founder), created beautiful products for Braun… products that look like today could have been designed by some hipster…

‘you cannot understand good design if you do not understand people; design is made for people.’ Dieter Rams

Dan Formosa & smart Design – Very empathetic designer, designing for the people.

‘so many companies come to us with their ‘average consumer’ that may make sense from marketing point of view, but we don’t really care about the average person…if you designed a doorway for the average person, half the people who used it would bump their heads… a lot of times, there are really good ideas at the extremes…’ Dan Formosa

How would Henry Dreyfus approach digital?

First by observing the user, how they use their digital devices… swipes and interactions are good but the user needs to be able to remember these simply, too many instructions is going to lose your audience.

We design for real people and therefore we don’t get to be real people, our vision is skewed.’ Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer

A button that looks like a button can be so much more, UI should speak for itself, good design is honest, good design makes a product understandable.

‘We need to do more testing… testing and prototyping is important; technology is the truck, we are the drivers. Software; Adobe Edge Animate, HTML5 (good old fashion coding).’ Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer

Technology is the truck, we are the drivers!

1 final point to take away; Think of Design like this, Science – Art spectrum (gut feeling, reality, testing, working with code in there.)

‘Does anyone else think that it is strange that we separate Visual and UX? maybe as visual designer came from print and made it look better. UXers came along and said this looks good but could work better. Though more often than not this creates a ‘you and me’ reality, maybe we should insist on questioning this reality, being more heuristic ourselves. If you want to join me and fight against this reality’ Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer

Henry Dreyfus

‘about Google Glasses.. in this reality if that was supposed to be customer project it would shock, do you think it has any potential driving another devise?’

the idea where it is going is hugely interesting… there’s something not human about it… not particularly empathetic… though where it is going is great… it’s funny having it on your face’  Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer

‘last point really resonated with me, designers and UX strict teams though where there’s problems is sense of ownership, non collaborative come out of this..’

‘People get scared… is this in my remit, possibly the reason a lot of people don’t talk about it is that they just stay on their side… I’ve seen both sides of it… I’ve kinda  switched and seen different perspectives people are titled and pigeon holed, you should be involved in the whole process, at least have a say.’  Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer

‘I completely agree that visual and UX need to work together, though i still think that you need specialisms, how can you stop a client from thinking he can have 2 people do one job?’

‘I know vaguely of this talk of T shape designers, the future needs to be a mix of people that do both then specialists pepper this…’  Luke Forsythe; Freelance UI & UX Designer 

12:25 Pixels, Plastic, and little Printers, Jack Schuzle, Principal @ Berg a talk on lessons bringing ‘Little Printer’ into the world.

‘when you have small switches offering connectivity they need to talk to a software, Beg Cloud provides this bigger system.’ Jack Schuzle; Principal @ Berg

Little Printer

‘It’s not a great time to be EMI, it turns out, to make digital products we thought we should be one, then we would understand. we made our own product ‘little printer’ which is controlled through your laptop, smartphone. It’s a bit like a personal news paper, can include headlines, things that have happened on twitter etc…. the internet is filled with people with a lot of time and a lot of hate.’ Jack Schuzle; Principal @ Berg

‘There are no log ins, you need to socially react to the system ‘if someone came to my house and shat in my bath, i wouldn’t lock the bathroom, i’d socially react to that problem. Same as Little Printer, there’s no log ins you have to socially react to people using the system and sharing this.’ Jack Schuzle; Principal @ Berg

What is bergcloud, and what isn’t it?

Berg don’t do quantified self, automated home, health, Smart cities, Bluetooth 4 smartphone peripherals (atm) we mostly concentrate on rich connected products.




‘When your sending a tweet, doing a Facebook, do you think about where its going to end up and how… it’s not like driving a car… you just expect some fantastic system to deliver it…you don’t look beyond the immediate UI.’ Jack Schulze; Principal @ Berg

What is the future in UI?

There’s no more U in UI, it’s not like a remote control car, you can drive it though not control it, there’s behavior to deal with, its not about control it is about directing actions.’ Jack Schulze; Principal @ Berg

‘Product Design essentially make existing products a little bit better.’ Jack Schulze; Principal @ Berg

If you have £15 of a computer in a product as opposed to £1, it will massively increase the overall cost of the product. Therefore you have to assess the value of adding that extra technology is it needed?

In order to be able to use a system, one has to be able to perceive it. Though Systems are invisible, this is the challenge of interactive design. ‘Dumb things, Smart light’

‘Bergcloud is an attempt at material invention on a grand scale‘ Jack Schulze; Principal @ Berg

Gartner Hype Cycle

 Keen to know how Berg make their bread and butter?

past 8 years clients give us money. About half company work on internal R and D, company expensive to hire, so mostly hired by large companies… Most money come from BBC, Intel, large budgets. Means have to work strategically and sell design solutions. Have to make sue we present things honestly and glamour, make projects exciting to people. Needs to look right and communicate the work best possible way,not everyone knows design so needs to excite people…These days venture capitalist gave Berg 1.3 million dollars for Berg, now we sit in an office with a massive pile of vanishing money and an 18 month runway ahead of us which at the end of it we want to be worth a great deal.’ Jack Schulze; Principal @ Berg

1:20pm Slightly over run though totally worth it, a morning filled with four great talks… now… we eat!!


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