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Due to parental duties, I couldn't get the train in time for the very beginning of the event (but I had let them know I was going to be late). So, when I arrived, the event was already swinging! As I sat down, dumped my bags, and pulled out my over fizzy diet coke...glug, glug, glug....It was time to stand up and say the 'User Experience Prayer. An amusing take based on 'the Lords Prayer', followed by some Amen Breaks, some banging toons.
After recovering from the laughter of this icebreaker, Darren Evans appeared on stage to talk about the future of digital trends. He showed some great models, but to be honest flipped past them a bit to quickly to really take them on board (I wanted to see the Brand Wheel - findable, accessible...). It was amusing to look back and see what had been predicted ten years ago for the digital trends of today:
and in another 10 years?...
Robert Fein then entered stage to present on the topic of communication being key to effective User Experience. I recognised him as the guy that had been nosing over my shoulder during the previous presentation as he could hear me tap, tap, tapping away on my laptop! I hadn't realised at the time what an honour it was. I loved this talk because the concepts were sooooo simple, sooooo obvious and sooooo transferable to any field, let alone User Experience! Particularly, a reference to this amusing video was made in terms of 'bad' experiences.
Robert described the creation of a digital design as something usable, useful and engaging and for a project to succeed, there needed to be value for all parties involved in the project based upon personal/group goal fulfilment. For example, employees need to be able to reach their targets, which can gain them promotion, which will make them feel good. He also explained perceived value in terms of quality. If a client is paying for a £30,000 project then let the quality of the reporting reflect this and don't let yourself down by wrapping up all of your findings in a cheap shroud.
Following this, most important thing I gained from Robert's presentation was simply that fantastic communication skills will win you work and promotion of your own brand through the production of quality work will carry through. The bottom line for me was this phrase, 'Physician, heal thyself'. By this Robert meant that you should apply User Experience principles to your presentations and documents with total regard for the audience of this collateral.
Jason Buck, author of www.thelongdog.co.uk and friend of Fresh Egg, was on next telling us all about Speed UX. Jason starts off the presentation with a quick quiz and before we know it, we find ourselves scrawling away on paper trying to beat the competition. This was great audience interaction and great fun.
In all honesty, it is very hard for me to blog about jason's presentations as they are fast-paced, interactive and all-consuming, meaning that actually writing notes is an impossibility. You can see an example here from Fresh Eggs 'Internet Marketing in the Recession Event' where Jason hosts a presentation with his UX partner in crime, Simon Nixon.
Basically, Jason's presentation was the perfect dessert to the mornings information fodder by explaining value for clients in terms of being well-planned, organised and generous. If a client wants something achieved in 3 days and you know it will only take 2 days, then deliver it to them in 2 days. They will surely find something else for your to fulfil the third days quota with PLUS they will see high VALUE in your services and establish TRUST with your BRAND.
A concept I hadn't heard of before, which I enjoyed was the idea of a 'war room'. A room where you can use the space to be creative about ideas and processes without filing in a linear fashion. Jason suggested that these rooms, with certain clients, can prove evidential to the degree of work in terms of creative juices that have gone into the actual physical project deliverables. I love this idea - perfect excuse for a messy office!!
Jason's take away thought was about timeliness vs. utility. Which is time as a resource vs. how you are going to use it and making sure that where you maybe speedy, ensure that you are also accurate and effective at the same time.