Open mic night at UCD Bristol: what we learned at UX Bristol

Following our panel discussion on privacy and addiction by design last month, in July we had another unusual meetup format: an open mic night to celebrate and share our collective UX Bristol experience.

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Before the volunteers shared their experiences at the conference, Nic Price talked about UX Bristol’s mentor scheme, which matches up people who recently joined the user experience industry with more seasoned researchers and practitioners. You can sign up and register your interest to become a mentor or mentee and the scheme will find the perfect match for you.

Elena, from Natural Interaction, was inspired by Joe Macleod’s UX Bristol workshop ‘Designing ends’. She stated that we usually don’t like ends — like death — and avoid thinking about them. In terms of products, we go for instant gratification and don’t necessarily think about the long-term consequences.

“Every product has an end and it shouldn’t be hidden. Experiences are designed to keep people addicted, so we ignore the off-boarding.”

How to fix it:

  1. Be aware of it and include the design of the off-boarding experience in the design process
  2. Put the user first
  3. Make it easy for people to leave
  4. Be transparent about data
  5. Ask for feedback (but do it properly)
  6. Educate consumers from the start (even before the onboarding process)
  7. Make people feel in control
  8. Be memorable — make sure your personality come through even in the off boarding process.

Elena then asked about ethics: what to do when designing for a client who doesn’t support the idea of giving users the option to cancel or delete an account? The audience replied: “you should be worrying about your users wanting to stay and designing for that, not wanting to make it difficult or impossible for them to leave.”

Ajara not only attended UX Bristol, but she also volunteered at the event. She started by quoting Joe Macleod: “you have to start thinking about the end at the beginning,” because users are much more aware of bad design and dark UX patterns nowadays.

Regarding design consequences, she reminded us that testing products in a real life situation and with a real audience is key. During the workshop discussion, the audience shared ideas like frameworks that can help us prevent and deal with these consequences, which are not always necessarily negative.

Adam did a quick talk titled ‘Should UX be regulated?’ (currently a hot topic in the industry) inspired by one of the workshops at UX Bristol and our recent panel discussion at UCD Bristol, and shared this video by Mike Monteiro.

According to Adam, “we all have a responsibility to make things better and to we use our skills responsibly,” but he also reminded us that design is already governed by a complex web of law that includes accessibility guidelines, GDPR, etc. “Who in this room has had their vision delivered in its entirety, unchecked? This is very uncommon,” he added, before asking: would regulation actually benefit users?

“Regulation stifles innovation. Creativity goes into skirting compliance instead of making things better.”

Adam believes that “design compliance would erode budgets and profitability, and would reduce the opportunities and incentives to innovate. In a scenario where design is regulated, more products would be delivered undesigned and businesses would take fewer risks,” especially if there were no budget to collect evidence and make informed decisions.

The talk was followed by a healthy discussion about the need for regulation and the potential negative consequences, which was the perfect introduction to the next talk, focussed on GDPR.

Maria repeated the lightning talk she presented at UX Bristol, sharing a few useful tips on how to interpret GDPR and data protection regulation from a user recruiter or researcher’s point of view. Check out her slides below and drop her a message on Twitter if you have any questions.

We’ll be sharing a video of the discussion soon. For now, why not check out some of our previous speakers?

UCD Bristol will take a break in August, as usual, but we will be back on Wednesday 18th September with a talk by Claudia Loch on ‘Decision-making for UX designers’. Until then, if you would like to propose a talk, workshop or lightning talk, check out our online form.

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We are currently accepting talk submissions, so if you would like to feature in one of our next meetups as a speaker, complete this short form. We can’t wait to hear about your awesome ideas!

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If you're interested in the fields of UX, Product and Service Design, Customer Research and beyond, this hands-on monthly meetup in Bristol is the one for you.

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