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UX South Africa 2014: day one

I spotted an article the other day (Getting the most out of conferences and events) that caught my attention because I was about to head off to UX South Africa. The bit that I particularly liked was ending each bit of session notes with a To Do item. I like the idea of having and doing something tangible from each session, rather than the more hand-wavy “I got smarter.” Here are some of my thoughts and notes from today’s talks.

UX in SA: any second now

Presented by Phil Barrett of Flow

  • UX and software takes time, and it’s an ongoing process. Phil summed this up very nicely by saying: “Digital products are soap operas, not movies.”
  • It’s important to build prototypes. Usability testing using them and iterating on them can lead to breakthroughs. Breakthroughs can also come from asking “stupid” questions.
  • Phil referred to the market several time during his, talking about how exposure to real users is very useful. “Making stuff is the new strategy.
  • He talked about changing requirements into assumptions and hypotheses: doing this provides you with a metric for proving it worked.

To Do

  • Look at existing user stories and see about changing them to be more like assumptions and hypotheses.

The ROI of UX Design

Presented by Werner Janse van Rensburg

  • Measuring can justify spending and prove the results of UX work. You can measure effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction.
  • The cost of making changes to a product ramps up dramatically as you progress through the Software Development Life Cycle. I think that this is mitigated a little if you’re using an agile process.

To Do

  • Set up measuring of various stats (for my work, that will be Front-end performance and accessibility metrics). Do this first, before making any changes to the system.

How can UX work with agile teams?

presented by Samantha Laing and Karen Greaves of Growing Agile

  • Sam & Karen also talked about the market, and the value of testing with real users in real life rather than just in the lab. Get feedback from the market, then rework your product.
  • Do ongoing, short usability tests. Spending more time with real users is good for everyone on the team: developers, designers, and everyone in between.
  • “Get as close to your user as you can.” If you can’t reach the user, but you can talk to someone in customer support: do that.
  • They also reminded us that in Agile only the the final working product counts as “done.” They talked a lot about making slices of pieces of a product.

To Do

  • Set up regular, small, usability tests.