UXCON16

If you missed the UXCON 2016 here there are few thoughts about that. I’ll use post-it since i don’t wanna do a detailed report of the conference but just report the things that impressed me.

The UXCON is a different conference than the ones you are used to as a designer. You won’t find illustrators and video makers and that’s why you should go. The main topic is about how designers should contribute to the business aspect of the company. Not just about designing stuff but in terms of organisation and structure of the company itself.

You are not going to a conference for the food i know but i cannot mention that. The food was terrific, the best food i’ve ever had at a conference.

The whole conference plan should improve a lot, it’s in english so you expect a lot of foreign people but there was no WIFI in the venue. The timetable was not strict so happened that almost every speech started with 30 min of delay. The food was great but too much queue to even take a coffee. At least one speaker came to the venue with no presentation and without a speech or an idea about what to talk. The ticket is not so expensive (180 euro) but i expect every speaker to be prepared when they hit the stage.

This concept was introduced by Chris Noessel, designer/suit at IBM. A lot of effort nowadays is about designing/creating an artificial intelligence (AI), but actually we don’t have to create the perfect AI ever. We just need to create a singularity, a basic AI that can iterate on itself, once we’ll have a smart enough one we’ll just have to ask to create a better copy of itself and so on. This will bring us to the real AI and will help us to solve a lot of major issues our world is facing.

Roberto Quaglia talked about the change in the management, how to motivate your employee and what they are looking for. The Maslow’s Pyramid is one of the key concept of the speech. The first two layers of the pyramid (Physiological and Safety) are already something that almost everyone in the developed countries have. This means that if you wanna attract people with the best skills is not enough to offer them just money and healthcare. More and more companies are switching from the first 2 layers to the top ones (belongingness and love, esteem, self-actualization), giving to the employees the possibility to achieve goals in their career and to realise themselves. This is the key to build a strong organisation.

Oli Shaw from Designit talked about how Bot are helping us to think less and to do operations that we do everyday in an automatic way. Facebook is an early adopter in this field since you can already install a bot into your facebook conversation that will help you book an Uber or a table at the restaurant once it notice you’ll need it.

I’ll spend some Post-it about Daniel Ewerman because his speech was definitely the best one of the day. He’s running a design consultancy studio in Stockholm. They started as a service design agency but soon they realised that is impossibile to design a service if the company around it is lacking everything else in the organisation. We have multiple choices for every services we need, what really makes the difference is the customer experience around it. This is what make us chose Uber instead of a taxi and Spotify instead of Itunes.

This is the very base of every process but is still so common to see companies and designers doing that that maybe worth it to repeat it again. It’s a waste of everything to improve something that the customer don’t care about. Stop designing the ultimate feature that nobody asked you and go out to figure out what the customer really need, you’ll discover that the user needs are way less complicated that the feature you’re designing since 5 month.

Everyone working in an IT company can agree with this topic. Ho many energies are into internal tickets than the ones on real customer tickets? How much of your effort is about servers and how much about things the user can see? I faced this problem as well in my company and we decided to estimate every ticket not only in story points but also in customer points in order to have a sum of how much we’re doing for the user in a single sprint and how much we’re doing for the company itself. We’re still trying this out, if you are interested in the outcome just drop me a line.

Every organisation is developed around teams and in the best case around products. In the first examples there are teams like: Offline mktg, Online mktg, IT, HR. In the second ones we’ll have team around specific features of the product, one team takes care of the search, another ones provide the content and so on. What about structure a company around a customer journey? Users are not clustered, they don’t care about which team in your company should take care of them, they are fluid, they use the smartphone commuting everyday, a 27"inch screen at work and an ipad on their couch in the evening. Do you really think they care that 3 different teams are designing what they are experiencing?

This is something that often happen and is also something i experienced in person. Do not try to find the solution together with your customer, find also the problem. Do not stick to readymade personas or truths. It’s easier to go out and ask what is the problem you are trying to solve than focusing on an assumption and try to find a solution to a problem that no exist at all.

This last Post-it is about us (italians). Is so sad to go to a conference and see that the ensligh gap between us and everybody else in the word is so high. At this conference there were several important Italian profile (bank CEOs, professors…) and their english was so bad that many times they used italian words instead of the english ones (who cares if half of the crowd does not speak a word of italian). This is something we all should work on.

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