Key takeaways from attending UXScotland 2018

This year I attended UXScotland in Edinburgh and this was my first conference on the other side of the world. I was sure the culture and UX maturity would be different so I was excited to join this event.

Interesting sessions that I liked:

Some slides are provided on the UXScotland site (click into sessions). I preferred to attend case study sessions as the speakers provided concrete examples and hands-on experiences.

  • Systems, discontinuities and thinking beyond UI: key questions for designing connected products
    The speaker, Claire Rowland, mentioned that not only should we design for individual UIs but we need to consider distributed UXs like text consistency and behaviours within the ecosystem, latency and responsiveness of products with external factors (wifi vs 4G connectivity), and also interactions between devices. Recently I’ve been experimenting with Magic Mirror project (with Raspberry Pi) hence this presentation made me rethink of my design.
  • Statistics for UX professionals: Jessica Cameron shared steps to collect quantifiable data with examples in a simple way. It was interesting to learn more about statistical concepts(eg: mean, central tendency, spread, margin of error…) and how these related to quantifiable data reporting. She covered the do and don’ts on quantitive data reporting and why statistics are not for everything. This is definitely one of the presentations that I will dig in more. 
    → Recommended statistic tools: Excel, R or Stata

Backpack, our journey in creating a design system: Although I work project-based, I’m looking forward to taking the advice of speaker, James Ferguson on applying their design system in Skyscanner. He introduced their Tribe structure. Tribe consists of multiple cross functional teams called squads. Each squad has clear mission and flexibility over the way things will be built and delivered. Maintaining consistency is never an easy job for design and development so it’s good to know how Skyscanner handles consistent colour schemes, buttons and font styles across the organization. 
→ Backpack docs site here: https://backpack.github.io

What I like about this conference:

  • Session in brief and session type: Brief explanations and session types from each of the speakers so that you can make a judgment on which session to attend based on your interest. With session details, this can set the expectation right and avoid disappointment.
  • Many networking opportunity: Many breaks was in between the sessions and social event at end of the day. It was a good opportunity to share views from the previous session. I managed to talk to people who works in different industries (majority of them involved in service design) and countries. I met a designer who talked about the difficulty of collaborating with developers and exchanged some insights.

What I wish this conference provides:

  • Heads-up on slide deck availability: Not all the speakers shared their slides (including one of the keynotes ☹). It would be beneficial to state this before the presentation. I spent my time listening, looking at the slides, writing down some key points and even trying to connect with the examples given by speakers. We were told that some of session videos will be uploaded in 2–3 months.
  • A better solution note-taking: Since getting slides from some of the speakers isn’t possible, note-taking was important in order to revise the content of the presentations. Most people took notes via drawing on tablet, traditional notebooks and photo-taking. There must be a better way to do this 🤨.
    *Updated: Thanks Duncan Stephen for sharing his detailed notes. 😊

Conclusion

What I learnt:

  • Networking right way: I prepared some questions for ice-breaking, discussion topics and introduction for my company in a correct way for a better conversation experience.
  • Discover and study: Learning doesn’t stop when the conference ends (cliche, I know). Being exposed to different companies’ design sprint approaches, design systems, methods (eg: DesignOps, task modelling…) enabled me to study and read more articles regarding to the topics.
  • Prepare my own 10-mins lightning talk: There was lightning talk slots for those who wish to gain more experience in presentation. It is a good idea to prepare a lighting talk beforehand for this was kind of a sudden opportunity. #todo

Amy Cheong is a software engineer at Tigerspike who wants to build high quality products. While she was typing out this article, she was drinking her third coffee of the day to beat off her jet-lag from three-week Europe adventure. Here is her Twitter, LinkedIn and personal website.