NUX4 Conference Manchester: Highlights

27th October 2015


Last week, Jen from our UI/UX team took a trip to Manchester for the NUX4 Conference, here are some of her highlights.

NUX4 is an all-day event in focused on defining, designing and building better experiences. With international speakers from some of the biggest digital brands, the day provided practical experience and ideas we can apply in our own processes.

Over 600 people attended, with more group bookings and UX professionals attending with their teams than ever before – an indication that our discipline is growing within the industry. I attended some interesting and thought provoking talks throughout the day. Here are some of my highlights…


Facebook Note Taking

A story about an app no one needs

Tomer Sharon, Senior User Researcher at Google

Tomer started his talk by reading a story about 2 people who created an app from scratch. Every aspect of the story contained a key lesson by either highlighting what went wrong or illustrating how challenges were overcome. The lessons were an amalgamation of what Tomer has learned over his 20 years’ experience as a User Researcher working with clients.

80% of ideas for start-ups come from personal pain, but typically only 2% do User Research. One of the biggest challenges our discipline faces is that no one wants to do User Research – and when they do it and see the results, no one wants to action them. We need to show the benefits of User Research to our clients.



Clients Don’t Suck

Resolving common blockers that stifle UX

Jenny Grinblo, UX and Design Lead at Future Workshops

This talk aimed to give UX Designers a toolkit to draw on and use when facing challenges with clients. As always, prevention is the best medicine. Empathy, understanding and the right diagnosis are essential. Jenny listed three common ailments of UX designers as “Design in The Boardroom”, “The Nitpicker” and “The UX/Webmaster/Yoga Teacher/Unicorn Seeker”.

Communication and client empowerment were key solutions to tricky clients, and by understanding each others’ needs, a healthy relationship will emerge.




Group therapy to bridge the client-user gap

Dr Stavros Garzonis, Senior UX Consultant, CX Partners

What is “co-design”? It is a process to empower, encourage and guide users so they can design solutions for themselves. Co-design is not about design. It’s about research through design and concept development. UX experts, users (customers) and clients should all be involved in the process. A co-design workshop should be comprised of small teams, each containing a facilitator, customers and clients. There should be 1 meta-facilitator running the entire session.

Once the session is over, an evaluation should take place. Participants, clients and facilitators should all be questioned as to how their experience was and how things can be changed in the future.



Designing a coherent system UX for connected products

Claire Rowland, Independent UX/Product Consultant specialising in IoT.

“Interusability” relates to interactions spanning multiple devices with multiple capabilities. The Internet of Things is the way in which devices interconnect, however as Claire explained, good consumer UX for IoT is surprisingly hard. Users have to understand the systems and that devices have different capabilities.

Latency and unreliability is forgiven on the internet but not for things and objects in real life. Non-connected things tend to be conceptually very simple, however, connected products are more complex, with multiple points where failure can happen. Many IoT devices may spend more time offline (only periodically connect to check for updates, instructions, etc.). Networks are subject to unreliability which people may not understand when tied to objects. In addition, users can’t always tell whether their action has been executed or is in progress.

Users should not have to worry whether different words, situations or actions mean the same thing and identical functions must have the same outcome no matter how different the UI between devices. Continuity and fluency of cross platform interactivity helps users feel they are interacting with the overall service, not a bunch of separate devices. Continuity is not always about seamlessness; it is more about handling interstitial states gracefully.