Tag Archives: washington dc

User Focus 2014

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The speakers at User Focus 2014 didn’t just focus on the user; they inspired us all to think more broadly about the UX profession. The conference on October 17 gave me a lot of food for thought. Here are a few of the highlights:

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Photo courtesy of Elaine Li

1. Consider the socio-cultural factors

Keynote speaker Curtiss Cobb described his research results looking at India’s socio-cultural barriers to internet adoption for women. Don’t forget about the social and cultural factors that influence users.

2. Look beyond the pixels in front of you

The UX profession is recognizing the importance of creating a unified, seamless, targeted experience across channels. We have to focus on the omni-channel experience to create a great user experience, not just on the individual websites or apps.

3. Responsive design is not the mobile design solution

We all know responsive design is increasingly popular for bridging the gap between desktop and mobile. It has its place, but it doesn’t solve everything. We have many techniques to solve unique problems. I hope Thomas Vander Wal will release a cheat sheet of his presentation that we can hang on our walls (hint, hint).

4. Use empathy to create accessibility

Svetlana Kouznetsova shared her personal experience growing up deaf when there was no consideration for accessibility. The most significant message was a lesson in empathy.

What if you couldn’t hear your favorite movie or participate in a video conference with your hearing coworkers? Try to empathize with the 20% of all Americans who have hearing disabilities the next time you are designing a website that contains audio. Provide quality captions for all audio content.

5. With digital empathy, tools measure emotion 

Andrew Schall and his team at Spark Experience brought the lab to the stage with a memorable live demo of emotion charted digitally in real-time. UX professionals now have a range of tools to use to measure the emotions of their users – eye tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), skin conductivity (sweating) and facial analysis, to name a few. These tools are now inexpensive, easy to use, less invasive than their predecessors, and increasingly accurate.

Thanks to everyone at UXPA DC, the sponsors and volunteers for making User Focus 2014 such a memorable event! I can’t wait for next year!

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Photo courtesy of Jerry Doremus

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Photo courtesy of Jerry Doremus

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Photo courtesy of Elaine Li

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Photo courtesy of Elaine Li

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Photo courtesy of Elaine Li

UXPA 2013: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen!

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User Experience Posters being presented and discussed to an audience at UXPA 2013

UX Posters and Discussion at UXPA 2013. Photo credit: Tom Tullis/UXPA International (flickr)

After four amazing days of user experience workshops, panels, discussions, UXPA 2013 has  come to an end. The opening keynote presentation by Noah Kunin, John Yuda, and Dan Munz from the Consumer Protection Financial Board (CFPB) set the bar high for the rest of the conference. Their story of how the government can engage the public in a discussion fit perfectly with the theme of the this year’s conference: collaboration. By relating to people using the human story, or in simpler terms, having a conversation with others, CFPB is reforming the public perception of what the Federal Government is capable of doing. Brilliant.

There were over 50 sessions over the course of the conference, and my biggest regret is not having a quantum mechanical solution to being in multiple places at once to have heard them all. Thankfully, a number of the sessions were recorded and I count myself among the many who look forward to listening in on some of the other talks when UXPA International releases those recordings.

A few tips and takeaways:

  • Collaboration sometimes means working outside your comfort zone. Even with strange bedfellows. (Navi Radjou)
  • Accessibility isn’t just about making your site 508 compliant. Did you know that step-by-step instructions on maps were an accessibility accommodation? (Whitney Quesenbery)
  • As we get better with UX, we see more problems with content. (Kerri Straub)
  • Four rules for creativity from Leonardo Da Vinci: 1. Strive for quantity 2. Defer judgment (both positive and negative) 3. Seek new combinations 4. Use your imagination. (Brian K Sullivan)
  • Read everything you can, keep an open, empathetic mind and learn things that you were not taught in school. (Ginny Reddish)
  • Remote testing allows easier access to participants in natural environments and hard to reach participants. (Jennifer Romano Bergstrom)
  • Always do a observer debrief after each usability test session. S/he’ll appreciate it. (Kyle Soucy)

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s UXPA 2013 conference, or just want a recap of the highlights, be sure to check out the #UXPA2013 information on twitter to get some of the best takeaways and discussion that happened. I’m sure you’ll find all the more reason to attend the UXPA 2014 conference in London!

Audience participating to an informal poll at the UXPA 2013 opening keynote presentationKeynote speech by CFPB on collaboration for the greater good: how a new government agency changed the face of financial experiences. Image taken from Tom Tullis/UXPA International (flickr)

The countdown to the 2013 UXPA International Conference

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On July 9th, the 2013 UXPA conference will kick off in Washington DC and start one of the biggest user experience community events of the year. It’s a great opportunity to learn and share ideas on how to make your user’s life even better. With four days of tutorials, discussions, panels, and workshops, I can’t say I’m not personally excited to head over to the Washington Hilton in a few weeks and hear about new techniques that I can implement with my clients. I never fail to leave the annual UXPA DC conference without hearing at least one good insight, learning one new technique, and meeting one new person that I would not have otherwise connected with. I don’t plan on this year being an exception! This conference also provides you with a unique chance for you to bring your clients along and have them learn more right next to you, whether it’s lean UX, usability, or just user experience in general. Or maybe you’ll join in on the Thursday afternoon Georgetown cupcake crawl and find out which cupcake provides the best user experience. Here’s my tip: it’s all about the frosting to cake ratio! So if you’re still waiting to sign up for the conference, consider this my sugar fueled war cry to come and attend this year’s UXPA International conference. It’s always fun, enlightening, and a way for you to renew your passion in being a user experience practitioner. I’ll see you there!