Flupa UX Days 2018 — Takeaways

Flupa UX Days is a french UX conference hold in Paris, the 2-day event consists of a one day workshop and one day of talks. I have only attended the conference day, where the organisers pushed a huge amount of content into the single day. Except the opening and closing talks, all the time slots offered two different talks in two locations, totaling to 16 talks.

I will start by the end. Here is a short list of the talks I have attended and then a key takeaway with it; so you could chose what is the most interesting for you. I have also added the link to the Flupa UX Days website where they have uploaded the videos of each talk and you can also find the slides.

Table of Contents & Conclusion

  • Designing Inclusive Products by Sara Wachter-Boettcher (Flupa UX Days)
    Always think about your assumptions, and consider what happens when the opposite is true? “How could this hurt someone?”
  • The PlayBook of the BlaBlaCar’s Product & Experience Team by Tristan Charvillat (Flupa UX Days)
    The playbook provides immersion exercises for the employees, e.g. “Take a road trip with BlaBlaCar”
    Lego Design System is maintained by the Pixar team. Since the Design System is in place, less new code is written at the company.
  • Scalability, UX & Design System: Challenges at the Heart of Interfaces
    by Antony Adam
    (Flupa UX Days)
    Even the interaction is an atom in the Design System.
Design System in work
  • The coffee diagram: a simple and effective method that will wake up your UX! by Emmanuelle Marévéry (Flupa UX Days)
The coffee diagram
  • UX research, bridging industry and academia products by Jennifer Romano-Bergstrom (Flupa UX Days)
    Some advises for quick note-taking during the user interviews: use highlighters when taking notes and do a daily debrief for your team. 
    How to best use First Click Study?

Designing Inclusive Products by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Some examples when design went wrong:

Google Maps Mini Cupcake Calorie Counter

Google Maps Mini Cupcake Calorie Counter

A long list of problems can be identified for this feature:
- User cannot opt out
- Calorie counting is not good
- Shaming
- Eating disorders
- Pink mini cupcake as a stereotype for middle-class female

In 3 hours the feature was shut down and for sure they have spent more than 3 hours designing and developing this feature.

Google Home scheduling your appointments
Google Home is pretending to be human by imitating humans when talking by adding “hmm…”, etc. The responder to the call won’t know that he/she is not talking to an other human. It seems a great feature for people to use Google Home to handle their calls for them. However, there is always a person who has to deal with the machine.

Withings Smart Balance
Among others some problem about a smart balance: it warns the toddler about weight gain and encourages to lose it. It congratulates on weight loss — it might not be a positive event for the user: she might just had a baby or he/she might have chronic disease or eating disorder. The goal shouldn’t be chosen by the system, it is always the user who determines his/her goals.

Facebook year review
Based on the most popular image which can be a bad memory: your house burnt down, you lost a family member… The user probably don’t want to be reminded with dancers and happy celebration animation about these events.

After these failures, all company reacted that their intention was good, but they didn’t think about these consequences and they are truly sorry. Therefore, always ask the question when designing new features: “How could this hurt someone?”

Back to the Facebook example, the assumptions that were made over time:
- User had a good year
- User wants to relive
- User wants to share
- Most popular content is positive
If any of the following assumption is not correct then the experience fails.

Always think about your assumptions, what happens when the opposite is true? Some generic assumptions:
- Identity: Who? Male, female, straight, etc…
- Location
- Relationship with the product: Just solve the problem…
- Emotional state
- Physical state
- Personal history


The PlayBook of the BlaBlaCar’s Product & Experience Team by Tristan Charvillat

The playbook’s format is a presentation.

First, the playbook needs to be inspiring. Usual theme for a playbook include the future, films, nature, human achievement — such as architectures, explorers, or leaders. BlaBlaCar’s playbook was inspired by the architecture challenge of 1850's Paris. Here are the common challenges between Napoleon III and BlaBlaCar:
- Immersion — we need to understand how people think and act
- Altitude — we step back and seek for different perspectives (Napoleon took London as a city architecture example)
- Pitch — we embark people with inspiring stories
- Radicality — we develop convictions and make bold decisions
- System — we contribute to sth bigger.

Second, the playbook has to be tailored.

Third, the playbook has to be actionable. The playbook offers to each above challenge multiple actionable exercises in order to solve the challenge. BlaBlaCar offers four themes for the immersion challenge:
- Multiply Discovery Opportunities
- “Be the member”. For this theme they have multiple solutions. For example, you can find the pictures of BlaBlaCar’s Ambassador level users on the walls in the office. An other exercise is when employees need to take a random trip with BlaBlaCar in order to truly understand their users. Or another exercise is when every year the employee choses to go to another office for a week and needs to complete a BlaBlaCar ride in that country.
- WhatsApp Chat Group
- Guerilla Testing

“Be the member” testimonials

Four, the playbook has to be memorable and need to be used daily. Therefore, wording is also important. You can find a small play with letters in the challenges as it stands for PARIS (Pitch, Altitude, Radicality, Immersion, System).

The difference between not having and having a Design Ssytem

BlaBlaCar’s design system is called Lego and it is maintained by the Pixar team. The Pixar team consists of a Product Manager, a Designer, a Content Strategist and a Tech Associate. An often question from designers before building a design system if it is killing creativity? Design system is not killing creativity, you still need to adjust the elements, but you are avoiding to create more elements. Pixar Reviews has the purpose to keep the design system simple by not adding unnecessary new elements. Since the Lego library is in place the lines of code is stabilised in BlaBlaCar apps.

Lines of codes in BlaBlaCar showing the launch of the Lego design system

Scalability, UX & Design System: Challenges at the Heart of Interfaces
by Antony Adam

Some examples of design systems: Spotify, Atlassian, Google and Airbnb.

The advantages of a design system:
- it eases the life of the designers, there is no need to re-invent the wheel every time
- it eases the life of the developer, there is the logic in the front-end code
- it helps communication by a unified approach and vocabulary
- it is good for the user as it is providing consistency in the UI
- it speeds up the design process as you can quickly design and develop in high-fidelity by using the existing elements 
- the designers have more time to care about the user

The tools for building and maintaining a design system
- Style Guides & Guidelines that contain the library of all/important elements. It is not only about the look but also about how to use it.
- Atomic Design
- 8pt Grid System, where every sizing is based on the multiple of 8px
- Sketch
- Code 
- React Styleguide

For the design, they use Sketch and Abstract and push it to InVision. Then, the developer takes the prototype from InVision and develops the style guides for React.


The coffee diagram: a simple and effective method that will wake up your UX! by Emmanuelle Marévéry

The coffee diagram gives a new vocabulary to discuss the UI. “Why do I chose a coffee shop over the other?”. It can be used in a User Persona or during the user testing.

The coffee diagram

An important question is when developing a new feature is “Are we trying to get the Bolivian sugar” means developing something complicated and costly then the user does not need it and simple sugar would have done the job just as well.

During the discussion the granularity of words is really important, for example uncomfortable does not always necessary mean that it is not comfortable.


UX research, bridging industry and academia products by Jennifer Romano-Bergstrom

In the academia research takes months or even years, meanwhile in the fast changing industry researchers only have 2 weeks to conduct a study. Research is highly important in every industry in order to collaborate with our users. At work we only talk to people who think similar to us and it is hard to think beyond the immediate problems. User research before development helps to avoid developing useless features that will be killed soon after the launch.

It is important to first learn to do research in the right, long way and then determine where it can be cut shorter. For example, there is no time or need — no-one will have the time to read a long analysis — for detailed analysis, so make it short and memorable.

Eye tracking is useful to determine where the user seeks for information, in what order does he/she scans the page and what grabs his/her attention.

First click study to find Privacy Settings

First click studies help to see where the user would like to find the information. For example, at Facebook, they conducted first click study see to where the users think the privacy settings can be found.