UX / UI: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (and free beer)

We attended the General Assembly event “UX/UI: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” last night hosted at Moo’s offices in Shoreditch. There was free beer, healthy (and unhealthy) snacks and a full house of designers, developers, and researchers all with a common trait – an interest in UX. Here’s some highlights from the event:

Sutherland Labs Team_UX / UI: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Jane Austin, Head of UX, The Telegraph

Jane gave a though-provoking talk that challenged what we think of as good UX. For example, infinite scrolling (as you might find on Facebook or Pinterest) can put us into a trance like state, similar to people using slot machines or playing computer games. There’s an addictive sensibility about the behaviour and that may not be an entirely positive thing.

But then, storytellers could be said to do the same thing – if you find a great book, a real page turner, then is that also addictive behaviour? Are good storytellers feeding an addiction?

Nicole Burrow, Associate Experience Director, Huge

Nicole gave an interesting self-critique of the projects she’s worked on over the years, exploring what she’s learned and what she might have done differently with the gift of hindsight. She related an interesting story about a project around the design of a digital jukebox. User research revealed that people were swiping on the system’s touchscreen in an unexpected way, very similar to how the same people might use a tablet, for example. It showed how user research and in-context research can be invaluable in understanding real-life usage.

Nicole Burrow, Associate Experience Director, Huge

Steve Cottle, UX Designer, Red Badger

Steve gave a good overview of some good design practices by Virgin America on their website – going above and beyond to make feedback and feedforward work to empower the user and create a very positive user experience. In contrast he showed some dark patterns (with reference to Harry Brignull’s now famous site), that can help undo all the good work that UX designers may have done with the rest of a site’s user experience.

Austin Keeble, UX Consultant, Red Badger

Austin, also from Red Badger, presented his thoughts on 7 challenges in UX design. Among others, he covered communicating design, the ‘mom challenge’ (explaining what you do as a UX specialist to your mum!), why you do what you do, the ‘coffee challenge’ (asking for 10% off at your coffee shop, otherwise known as being fearless), and the ‘spaceship challenge’ (making sure that everything has a purpose and not taking anything superfluous).

Austin Keeble, UX Consultant, Red Badger

Thanks General Assembly and Moo for a great event!

Principal Design Researcher

Sutherland Labs
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