Our takeaways from UX Brighton 2016: UX is dead, long live UX!

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Stef Lewandowski’s talk “Sketching out the future”.

On Friday 4th November some of our team headed to UX Brighton 2016: UX is dead, long live UX at Brighton’s Corn Exchange.

UX Brighton is an annual, one-day-long conference for those in the User-Experience industry in Brighton. The conference aims to look at UX in new and creative ways, to enlighten attendees on the future of UX and share innovative ways to improve the industry.

Hear our team’s highlights from UX Brighton 2016:

Laura Nelson

I found UX Brighton really interesting, and it was a great opportunity to learn more about an area that I’m not involved with on a day-to-day basis. From the outset there were some really useful nuggets of information and inspiration shared, but the highlights for me were:

  • Clearleft’s Richard Rutter’s talk on ‘Evolving a Modern Agency’. He shared how they involved a Content Strategist in a UX discovery session they ran with a client, and the positive impact this had on the project. As a marketer this was music to my ears, and has made me think about how some of our clients may benefit from this approach.
  • I’m now a Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) convert thanks to Jillian Wells’ really informative talk on how this approach can be more effective than creating personas. She also shared how to implement this process, and what to do when it doesn’t run smoothly!
  • I work in an office full of developers, who use (and talk about) Git on a daily basis, but I’ve never really understood what it is and how it works. Alice Bartlett did a fantastic job of demystifying the world of Git, and although I don’t think I’ll ever need to use it, it is nice to finally know what ‘commits’ and ‘branches’ are!

Chris Dunne

UX Brighton had some really good talks! Jenni Lloyd gave a very interesting talk discussing her current thoughts on how to enjoy and find meaning in work. The highlight of this was the “Give a sh*t” test. If you fail you should probably consider a career change!

Dave Snowden’s talk was funny and fascinating.  He emphasised using the scientific method (crucially: actually properly testing hypotheses) to improve processes.

Despite his cynicism, the tone was optimistic in that it suggested there is another approach (complexity theory) to tackle volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations.

When you hear about horrific constantly changing sh*tstorms like NHS middle management or Syria it can feel like any approach is doomed. Snowden’s point is that we tend to treat these situations as ordered systems, trying to apply the same blueprint that worked once, again and again.

If we take a more nuanced approach there seems to be a proven route to small incremental improvements.

These views were encapsulated brilliantly in his ‘ordered systems’ approach to a children’s birthday party.

This included the classic line ‘You should start the party with a motivational video so that the children don’t waste any time in play not aligned with the learning objectives’.


Rich Copping

I was really impressed with UXBrighton. The stand out speaker for me was Stef Lewandowski, who was incredibly motivational and reminded us all that small ideas and personal projects can become hugely important business.

Did you attend UX Brighton 2016? What were your highlights from the conference?

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