Bringing SXSW to the UK with the Digital Pond


With just a few weeks to go until the 30th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, the countdown is well under way. To celebrate, Cyber-Duck is bringing the centre stage closer to home: organising the UK’s largest pre-SXSW event on March 2, 2016. Speakers from this year’s festival will give our Digital Pond an exclusive first-glimpse of their talks before they fly off to Texas. Don’t miss out – sign up today!

Article by Cyber-Duck, Posted 8 months ago

The Digital Pond is one of London’s best free-to-attend tech event series, with over 2,200 members (and growing!). We’re kicking off 2016 by tapping into the digital inspiration and innovation from this year’s edition of SXSW.

Globally, SXSW is the largest set of technology, music and interactive festivals, with thousands of international attendees soaking up the inspirational atmosphere each year. Two of our ducks will set sail to Texas, amongst the select few UK-based speakers who have been invited to speak at the Interactive festival by demand from the community.

We’re bringing everyone together for a memorable night of inspiration and networking in central London, at the trendy WeWork at Aldgate Tower. Even if you’re not heading to SXSW this year, come grab a drink with us: hear from some of the sharpest minds and meet exciting digital disruptors! 


With digital and social behaviour reshaping how we interact with our audience, it’s important for brands to create and market experiences that make sense intuitively. Focusing on how we can embrace the connected customer, we’ll kick off the evening with four talks that explore “Designing for the Mind.” Our line-up of industry experts will delve into audience engagement from a psychological perspective, explaining how you can best meet their needs.

Following the talks, there will be plenty of chance to mingle and network with speakers, attendees, and some very special guests over a drink, (or two). Seats are limited, so if you haven’t already, RSVP here before it’s too late. We look forward to meeting you! 

CitizenScience 2

We'll be delving into the strategic potential of gamification (using Cancer Research UK's projects as case studies) and other ways we can engage audiences from a psychological perspective.


1) Dark Times for Dark Patterns: Ethical Alternatives

Speakers: Neil Dawson and Cristina Viganò, UX Designer at Cyber-Duck 

Designers often find themselves on a knife-edge between business goals and user needs. It’s tempting to use ‘dark patterns’ to trick users as a shortcut to achieving your goals. This talk will shine light on psychological, persuasive design that can encourage audiences and not manipulate them. 

2) Harnessing the Power of the Crowd to Beat Cancer Sooner

Speaker: Leslie Harris, Citizen Science Project Manager at Cancer Research UK

Data analysis is critical to understanding cancer, but much still needs to be analysed by the human eye. Leslie will dive into how the organisation has harnessed the power of mobile games to engage half a million people globally as virtual lab assistants - helping to overcome data blockage and assisting researchers to develop personalised treatments to beat cancer sooner.

3) We Need More Mischief and Whimsy 

Speaker: Eamonn Carey, Advisor & Mentor for startups and accelerators around Europe and MENA 

We need more mischief in this world of perfectly-shot hot dog legs and my-life-is-so-perfect status updates. Where is the Monty Python of mobile or the South Park of social? Eamonn will look at how whimsy, humour and mischief are all incredibly powerful ways to grab people's attention. From Medium's brilliant release notes to ridiculous 404 pages right through to Cat Facts apps or shipping your enemies glitter, people are starting to see the massive engagement that making someone smile can deliver.

4) More than Media Queries: Reframing Responsive UX

Speaker: Matt Gibson, CCO at Cyber-Duck

Responsive design is often framed as an implementation challenge; we focus upon the technical issues of making our designs squeeze onto different devices. Instead, we’ll dive into responsive design from a user experience perspective; looking beyond media queries at the challenges (and how to overcome them) of mobile content strategies, designing for performance, and being more future friendly with progressive enhancement!


Matt often speaks at notable industry events, including the Future of Web Design, UXPA, UX London and  Reasons to be Creative 2016 (above).


With over 2,200 members (and growing!), our Digital Pond meetup community welcomes a range of digital professionals who want to learn, network and be inspired. Attracting fascinating speakers from around the world, we’ve considered everything from user experience tips and techniques, to responding to the growth of the mobile web. With speakers from the BBC and the Guardian, our last event explored what’s next for user-focused design; read the coverage here.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the UK’s largest pre-SXSW Event, Designing for the Mind. Stay connected by following us on Twitter @DigitalPondUK, where we’ll share updates from the night on #UKatSXSW. 

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