My journey from UX Scotland

Roger Attrill
4 min readJun 9, 2023


Dynamic Earth, the venue for UX Scotland 2023 (and 2024!)

Edinburgh 9 June 2023. It’s 16:59 and 46s and my train is pulling out of Waverley station 14 seconds ahead of schedule and I’m already sad despite the blue sky and bright sunshine. Sad because my first UX Scotland event has come to an end and my return train destination is Normality, England. The temperature for the upcoming weekend looks like a sweltering 30C and ‘accidentally’ missing my train and ‘having’ to stay in the beautiful city of Edinburgh for the weekend increasingly seems like a missed opportunity.

Truth be told though, I am exhausted — but in the best possible way. I’ve been on a permanent high since getting into Edinburgh just 72 hours ago — literally on a high in fact, as the first thing I did was to make the most of a warm sunny evening and take a long evening hike around Calton Hill, Arthur’s Seat (250m), Crow Hill, The Nether Hill, and Salisbury Crags where I could look down on Dynamic Earth — the venue for UX Scotland and basically my home for the next 3 days. Having said that, I feel more at home among these hills than any city — I don’t know how we’ve ended up living in the flattest part of the UK!

Back at the hotel I immediately but inevitably ran into usability issues with the shower controls — one temperature dial, two static hot and cold temperature markers on opposite sides, and a temperature ranging only between Hot and Superheated. Narrowly avoiding being broiled like a lobster, and refusing to stay put in the hotel I asked on the community chat if anyone wanted to meet up at Edinburgh Street Food — a very chilled place to get a variety of food and beer. Thanks for meeting up with a complete stranger — you know who you are :)

[My train is taking the beautiful North East coastal route now. Oh my god, I want to get off.]

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking (oh oh! This sound like the start of a best man’s speech), I had submitted a talk to UX Scotland earlier this year with no assumptions of it being accepted. I was also on the programme review panel, but I promise I didn’t review my own submission (they seemed to have thought of this already!). Accepted it was and thankfully scheduled as the first slot of the first day meaning I could relax and enjoy the rest of the event. Thank you to all of you who have said how much you enjoyed my deep dive into colour, contrast and accessibility. Many of you said you’d already messaged your teams to say “drop what you’re doing and check this stuff out!”

So yes there was relief there, but this was ironically the least emotional part of the event. Every single session I attended was a source of inspiration. Something new to try, something to remind me of what I should be doing. Something to read, something to watch. Someone to follow, someone to learn from. Nothing to lose. Everything to love. And don’t get me started on ‘that lightning talk’!

But this event was so much more than headlines and slides and links and references. It was about community and collaboration. It was about storytelling, sharing, and support. It was all about the people. Of course as a UX conference then that includes people who use our products and services, but more than that it was the overwhelming sense of community among the organisers, the speakers, and the attendees. Actually that’s unfair to list them like separate categories. I want to count them all as friends.

Yes, I was privileged to to speak, but much more than that, I was privileged to be able to attend and join this community experience — to hear the inspiring keynotes, to listen to such passionate speakers, to enjoy drinks at the pub (turns out I like a Baby Guinness), and to chat to talented and funny people at every turn. Not an ego in sight.

My train may be heading away from UX Scotland but my journey post-event is just beginning. I thought I was going to come away with a headfull of stuff to unravel over coming days, but instead I’ve come away with 6 words from which to create an action list and my thoughts have never been clearer. It’s not an impossibly unmanageable list, but certainly no easy cop out either. I’ve got things to read next week. I’ve got insights to share with colleagues next month. I’ve got my own processes to improve over the coming year, and maybe I’ve got even longer term goals to aim for. I might even have a new woodworking project!

Here are those 6 words I wrote down over the last 3 days:

  • accessibility
  • community
  • storytelling
  • simplicity
  • kill-list
  • mentoring

That last one… those of you who know — yes I really think it’s happening and I couldn’t be more pleased.

There’s too many names to mention and I’m not even going to try for fear of missing anyone out (ok, you got me — that is a cop out), but a massive thank you to you all, and hope to see you same time, same place, next year. It was the best. You are all the best!



Roger Attrill

UX Specialist for Linguamatics. Passionate about users (new and used), visual design, data viz, losing silos, the little details & the big picture.