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UX Brighton 2013: Our Thoughts and the Best Bits

UX Brighton 2013 - The Psychological Foundations of Design took place on 1 November at the Corn Exchange in Brighton. A few of the Fresh Egg team were in the audience for a day of learning and inspiration. Read on to find out what we learned about, the key takeaways and what we thought.

ux, brighton, corn, exchange, will, barnes

Photograph of the percussion band during Dr. Susan Weinschenk’s presentation by Will Barnes

Being a beginner in psychology and design, my personal goals for the day were:

  • To learn how these aspects can affect how a website is perceived, used, and remembered
  • To learn how we as digital marketers can utilise this knowledge to improve the sites for our visitors and customers, and provide great ROI for our clients.

The day’s schedule:

Dr Susan Weinschenk, behavioural psychologist 

Vision, Hearing & The Brain: The Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Perception

Blay Whitby, technology ethicist 

Flying Lessons: What Aviation Investigations Tell Other Disciplines About User Interfaces

prof mc schraefel, professor of computer science and human performance 

Designing For Human Performance: The Case For In-Bodied Interaction

Nathalie Nahai, web psychologist

Empathy: Your Secret Weapon In Designing For The Web

Patrick W. Jordan, psychologist and marketing strategist

Psychology & User Experience: 10 Key Concepts

Jon Dixon, interaction designer

Pretending For A Living – Why Actors Are All UX Designers 

Yvonne Rogers, professor of interaction design

Out of Our Minds

Simon Norris, information architect

Neuroaesthetics: Science Embraces Art

UX Brighton 2013: best bits

Susan Weinschenk started the day off with a brilliant talk on perception and offered insights into how our brains work. She told us:

  • We scan websites very, very quickly: users get an impression of what a site is about before they start reading the content, using peripheral vision to get the ‘gist’.
  • We pay attention to faces online 
  • If something is hard to read, we perceive it to be harder to do
  • Images have the power to tell a story much quicker than text alone, and shapes can impact emotions, for example, humans prefer objects with curves.

Susan also used musical percussion to demonstrate leadership and belonging, which lead to synchronicity. We watched Fresh Egg’s SEO engineer Tom Brennan lead the hastily brought together band to create its own catchy beat (as shown in the image at the top of this post).

Vision, Hearing, & The Brain: The Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Perception from Susan Weinschenk

Nathalie Nahai’s talk on empathy struck a chord with the team; she discussed how the different parts of our brain can be used as a metaphorical model to build persuasive and interesting online experiences, and how clever design can affect empathy in order to engage with users.

She gave the following suggestions:

  • Know who you are targeting – Profile your audience
  • Communicate persuasively – Choose emotions to target and design a narrative
  • Choose your medium wisely – Does text, video, imagery or a mixture of all suit your audience?

Empathy: Your secret weapon in designing for the web from Nathalie Nahai

Other key points from the day

  • Blay Whitby – Learn from the mistakes of others and always gather data to find out where your problems are
  • mc schraefel – Don’t forget the rest of the body when designing for users; we should not be designing just for the eyes
  • Jon Dixon – Keep in mind it’s not just the situation, but the meaning of that situation
  • Patrick Jordan – Always end an experience on a high

Fresh Egg’s very own Digital Marketing Analyst, Julian Erbsloeh, expanded on Patrick’s point, saying: 

“When we buy something (especially large ticket items), we still look for reassurance afterwards that we have made the right decision. We look for social proof and we may still be a little nervous about the website we just bought from because we never ordered from there before.

 “I would love to see really nicely designed post-transaction pages. I have seen too many really poorly designed post- transaction pages because they are deemed low priority when it comes to UX and design. In my opinion, the post-transaction page has an immense influence on how we feel about a purchase.”


The overall level of speakers throughout the day was fantastic, and having walked in with a very limited knowledge of how psychology affects web design, I walked out with some interesting points to consider, and a thirst to learn more. 

A big thank you to the organiser Danny Hope and his team, I’m looking forward to next year!

If you’re interested in our web design and development or analytics services, you can find out more here. If you've got any analytics-related questions for the Fresh Egg team, call us now on 0845 373 1071, or get in touch online.



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