What an awesome conference we attended! The UX London 2015 was indeed an inspiring conference and worth the trip. It was quite a small conference with the inspirational talks in the morning and several parallel hands-on workshops in the afternoon.
Why to attend?
The UX London 2015 was definitely worth attending. Me and my colleagues left the conference with several beneficial takeaways. I would warmly recommend the conference for anyone working in the field of design and UX. The only small minus I can think of is the unstable wifi connection they provided. On the other hand, I could think of numerous reasons why you should attend the UX London. Below I have listed some of the reasons why the conference was so awesome this year.
1. The venue
First of all, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance was a very well chosen venue for the conference. It was not too big, nor too small. The building has a huge main studio and numerous seminar rooms. There are enough restrooms in the building, easy to find and accessible for people with disabilities. Even though during breaks and lunches we had to wait in long lines on the street food stalls, the food was still very tasty and varied on daily basis.
2. Networking with peers
The audience of the conference was international and interdisciplinary from Europe, Asia, and North America. It was great to get to meet and talk with international peers e.g. from UK, Poland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, Korea, and USA. We also met many Finns there! I personally think, that having the immediate possibility to talk, share, connect, and network with the people who share your passion was one of the best things in this whole experience. We also got a chance to meet and discuss in person with the conference speakers.
3. Diving beyond UX design
The fields of activity ranged from visual design, interaction design, motion design, UX design, UX engineering and product management to business and development. The content from the talks and workshops covered quite broadly the transformation of user experience design towards business strategy and product management. We learned A LOT about the fundamentals and practical techniques, which essentially we can apply to our working culture in order to deliver the best quality products to our customers.
4. The Talks
UX London 2015 provided us a unique opportunity to listen to the inspiring speakers, who we look up to as our own mentors. It was pretty awesome to hear these speakers tell and share their secrets of product design. The speeches were educational and enjoyable at the same time!
Personally, my highlight was the speech of Stephen Anderson: Sweating the UX details. Stephen Anderson talked with an illustrative case for excellence in the design of the product experience. He pays attention to all details, animation, usage of typography, communications with customer etc. He's not about perfection, but about excellent craftsmanship.
"The world's most valuable companies are sweating the details to dominate their competition through design" - he said.
He left this part for us to consider "At our core, we are a company that values _______________, though we make exceptions for ____________ when it seems right." Delivery or Quality? Quality or Delivery?
You see! You can only read what I write here, but I guarantee the experience would be more impressive if you would have attended the conference yourself.
5. The workshops
There were several parallel hands-on workshops each day as I mentioned earlier. I attended to Jon Kolko's workshop: Well-Designed: A Hands-On Introduction to Design-Led Product Management, and this was the highlight, since I learned how to use a process of design thinking in order to develop own engaging products. Focus on the empathy, which is the key in building meaningful products. And remember - empathy can be taught and learned. Also, we learned how to sketch visual representations that help in communicating the vision of the future to a team. His workshop was intense, lots of brainstorming, facing insights challenges, and finding the solutions. I was exhausted but very satisfied of what I learned.
6. Simulcast room, couch, and beanbags
We had the simulcast three days tickets to the conference, which meant that we were sitting in the simulcast room, which were separated from the main auditorium and where the talks were broadcasted live to. Simulcast room turned out to be very comfortable - there was a big screen, comfy sofa and several beanbags. The audience in this room consisted approximately of 30-40 people, which was great. We were surrounded with enough space and the place was not too crowded.
7. Materials and more
As a souvenir we got tons of materials to take home with us. Also, we got a list of great books to read, which I can't wait to get under process. And of course we got to take all the presentation materials with us as well. All of this will definitely come in use in our work.
8. Great coffee
Last but not least, great coffee all day(s) long. Even a cup of coffee brought me a great experience. There were only 2 coffee stations serving all attendees in the venue. Yup, not kidding! We were waiting in line, but we were very satisfied because they made every single cup of coffee with genuine empathy. My latte(s) were so tasty and beautiful with Latte art, they drew heart, flowers, tulips, and so on. And this is exactly the great user experience I have been talking about - delivering great products to your customers.