UX Scotland 2014

This year I was keen to attend UX Scotland as I had heard so many good things. Jenny Cham and I went up there to give a tutorial on “A survival guide for UX in complex environments“. Software Acumen pulled out all the stops to make this conference an enjoyable and informative event. The Our Dynamic Earth conference venue offered a spectacular view of Arthur’s Seat.

Attendees attempting some hands on activity.
Workshop participants enjoying some hands on activities during our workshop entitled “A survival guide for UX in complex environments”.

Eewei Chen gave the first keynote on “Stupid is as stupid does“. Highlighting our responsibility as designers to ensure we find solutions to problems without losing who we are as humans. It certainly provided food for thought and gave some excellent design examples such as the Disney magic band and the Nest thermostat.

Next up Jenny and I gave our tutorial session. We had a jam packed room with over 30 participants but we ensured we kept things interactive and lighthearted with some paper plane building followed by some hands on canvas sort activities. Lorraine Paterson and Mike Jefferson gave an experience report on “How to embed UX in large organisations: teaching the elephant in the room to dance“. The advantages of providing a design pattern library and how that shaped the adoption of UX were useful nuggets to take home.

Esther Stringer and Claudio Franco gave an insightful talk about “User Research and Testing with Children“. Having never conducted research on children this talk will put me in good stead in the future. The talk outlined key stage developments in children and advice on appropriate tasks for each age group. The Market Research Society and COPPA US regulations provide guidelines for researchers. Specifically on the area of gaining legal consent from a responsible adult.

Joshua Marshall gave us an excellent keynote on accessibility and outlining the great work they have done at GDS for gov.uk. It certainly generated a plethora of questions and interest. The accessibility theme was followed up by David Sloan with his workshop “Design thinking for accessible user experiences”. There are many challenges in designing towards equivalent user experiences for people of all abilities. One area where this is particularly difficult is in big data visualisation. Joshua and David pointed to sonification as another medium where this information could be communicated. Doug Schepers from the W3C has a good illustration of this on this example sonification chart.