As part of the team who organise UX Camp Brighton, it can be difficult to attend sessions on what's usually a pretty hectic day. I'm pleased to say this year panned out differently and was my most enjoyable year as both as an organiser and attendee.
Other than the benefit of a few years experience under our belts, there were some important factors contributing to a less stressful day than usual.
We've not had the logistical advantage of running UX Camp Brighton at the same venue two years in a row since 2011-12. Calendar clashes, cost and last minute cancellations have scuppered this of late. 2017 would see us welcoming UX Camp Brighton to The Skiff for the first time too.
It's a fantastic space; compact, sociable, and conveniently located. We couldn't accomodate as many attendees as previous years but this didn't affect quality or atmosphere on the day.
Because of our team's closer relationship with The Skiff, we were able to get into the venue the night before to do the bulk of our setup. This put us in a far more relaxed mode the morning of the event when we'd usually be running around in a mild state of organisational panic.
We had a brilliant team of generous volunteers this year who went above and beyond to makes everyone's day as enjoyable as possible. Chris's timing and task plans for volunteers ensured everyone had clear instructions and time to attend plenty of sessions.
I don't remember UXCB running as smoothly as it did this year, due mainly to the fantastic team of volunteers on the day. Thanks again!
Last year I spent quieter moments fiddling with my slides when I should have been enjoying some talks, so for 2017 I took the pressure off by running a workshop instead. I decided to cover the topic of GV Design Sprints (Good, Bad, Snake Oil?) off the back of running a couple of recent Sprints through work.
I'll cover my session in another post, but the choice to use a structured discussion format made for a more relaxed morning to enjoy some excellent sessions.
Here's a very brief summary of the talks I attended.
Leo Barnes: 'Fists with Your Toes - Learning to relax as a UX / BA crossbreed'
Leo shared his journey from BA to BA + UX Designer, exploring how the disciplines compliment each other and result in a valuable cross-discipline role. Stuffed with fantastic 80's TV and film references, I loved Leo's relaxed style and measured delivery. (Slides)
Peter Winchester: 'The London Underground. Your 100 year old guide to website navigation'
As a bit of a tube geek, I couldn't miss Peter's talk. Using way-finding on the Underground as an analogy, Peter shared how he tackled some sticky IA and navigation design challenges for MoreThan's insurance website. (Slides)
I bumped into Rachel just before her session. She told me that this would be her first event talk, bringing with it some understandable nerves! You wouldn't know it as she confidently shared her copywriting tips for the web. I've already put some of Rachel's expert advice to good use.
Michał Mazur: 'Slow UX for sustainable product design'
Michał tackled the topic of Slow UX. His talk was a valuable reminder that building a deeper understanding of a problem can foster just as innovative outcomes as more rapid techniques. The importance of organisational empathy was a key message; appreciating how and when to encourage a more mindful approach can be challenging, but worth pursuing when appropriate. Both fast and slower speeds of innovation have their merits. (Slides)
As someone who's taken on additional responsibility in my role of late, I was keen to hear Adrian's thoughts on applying UX practice and principles to management. The talk was full of practical pointers; the importance of active listening, better structured meetings (using techniques like Lean Coffee) and the concept of 'Going To The Gemba' are all areas I'll be digging into.
Chris How: 'A Machiavellian Masterclass in Manipulation'
Sharing his top tips for client manipulation, Chris employed his first manipulation tricks in a brilliant talk pitch which drew a big audience. In reality Chris's recommendations aren't as underhand as his title would suggest, and they're all in the pursuit of higher quality outcomes rather than personal gain. It was handy to put memorable names to a few techniques I've employed in the past (particularly 'Lettuce Gardening'), plus a host of new ways to enable better design. Brilliantly delivered, It was a fantastic last session of my day.