Last night, Thursday 26th September, the Digital Pond reconvened for an evening of learning and networking at the Old Sessions House, Farringdon. The night focused on user experience (UX) strategies, with great talks from Sandi Wassmer and Barry Briggs and an inspiring presentation from award-winning young coders, Team Elstree.
The Old Sessions House was once again filled with flowing conversation the Digital Pond held “The UX meetup”. The event was led by talks from digital technologist and marketer Sandi Wassmer and Amaze’s Senior User Experience Consultant Barry Briggs, stimulating great food for thought.
This event marked one of the Digital Pond’s largest ever audience. We embraced the opportunity to showcase the work and success of Team Elstree, a group of 13-18 year old coding enthusiasts who won the “Coding a Better Country” award at this summer’s Young Rewired State (YRS) Festival of Code. The boys developed an impressive app, Establish.me, which amazed even the most experienced designers and developers at the Digital Pond. The team explained their projects and were awarded their prize cups by Kaitlin Dunning from YRS at last night’s event.
With an impressive wealth of experience in digital technology, design and marketing, the audience enjoyed Sandi sharing her advice with the Ponders and grabbed the chance to pick her brains in a Q&A session. Sandi’s talk focused on content strategy and how it should be an integral part of your process.
As the definition of content includes everything and anything that conveys information, from the text, images, graphs, and even buttons, “content is king” was the message that rang out from her presentation. This phrase is as true today as it was when the Internet first flourished. As websites are no longer static and web design now establishes greater use interaction with content, content needs to be meaningful, relevant and most of all findable. Sandi described how sometimes “web designers are like children” and by giving them rules, they can create “beautiful interactions” with users.
See Sandi's presentation slides below:
As a User Experience specialist at digital agency Amaze, Barry’s talk focused on the fundamental research stage in any design process. With over 14 years’ worth of experience in the digital sphere, the first thing to take away from the outset of the presentation was redefining the term “user research” to cover usability testing or user research. Similarly, we must refer to users as customers; this emphasises the monetary value that comes with a user’s custom and raises our perception of the importance of pleasing them.
User research is often considered to be a large, expensive task where clients spend a lot of money and departments (or agencies) devote time, conducting extensive research and compiling enormous reports. However, Barry argues that effective user techniques need not be delivered in this form. It is much more effective to capture user’s feedback in their natural environment and undergoing guerrilla testing. In reality, customers will not be using your product in a lab.
Barry also revealed the importance of delivering your prototype to the highest fidelity suited to the project – which needs careful consideration in the planning of the research. Furthermore, he introduced Amaze’s “15 for 15” process, providing real customers with a £15 incentive to take part in 15-minute testing; a quick, cheap solution to customer testing, obtaining instant useful results.
See Barry's presentation slides below:
The evening continued into a night of socialising and networking, as attendees discussed the guest speakers’ presentations and made the most of the opportunity to connect with fellow designers in the digital industry.
We must thank our sponsors, Alliots, Campaign Monitor and Cyber-Duck, without which the event would not have been possible. The evening was a great success. We are already looking forward to the next Digital Pond event about digital marketing on the 26th November. Follow the Ponders on twitter @DigitalPondUK for updates or feel free to contact the team today.