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UX Australia Conference: insights and inspiration

Our user experience consultants, Kristy Blazo, Leah Cunningham and Danielle Macdonald were out and about at UX Australia, Australia’s leading user experience design conference. The superstar trio left the conference with fresh new ideas and inspiration for their next projects.

Here are the main themes they took away from the conference:

More results through working together
• Put everything up on the wall, invite comments on your work and actively help others to provide feedback
• In meetings, always diverge before you converge 
• Understand how other team members think and learn and adapt to their style if necessary to get the most out of meetings

Designing for the wider audience
• We’re not designing for screen size anymore, we’re designing for context. Support the entire spectrum of the experience, not just the initial action.
• As soon as a user starts interacting with our site, we always know something about them 
• Data is about building confidence, not being right. It’s not a GPS that tells you exactly where to go, but more of a compass that points you in the right direction
• Co-Design and collaboration with your users. Build a shared vision and perspective by allowing stakeholders to “walk the user experience”
• Incorporate lean UX: take small steps quickly   to keep the project alive and continually moving. Big steps less frequently can run into unforeseen problems.

Putting theory into practise 
One of the conference talks discussed the Department of Justice’s website that covered the major challenges, what worked, and most importantly, what didn’t work! The challenges faced were not dis-similar to many of the more complex projects we face at Precedent – a fractured online presence with many separate sub-sites, dozens of stakeholders from siloed departments and a target audience that consists of ‘everyone’. 

Forget traditional success criteria – in the end, the key audience for the Justice website wasn’t actually ‘everyone’.  Contrary to traditional thinking, to be successful, the site actually needed to generate fewer page views and time on site. Instead, the goal was to orientate and direct traffic to other sub-sites that could meet the needs of visitors looking for a specific service.

Validating your knowledge and skills
As well as learning new things from the conference, it also helps to validate what we already know. Sometimes you can be so on track with your style of work, that it’s always important to get validation from external sources.
• User experience should be at the centre of what we do - from understanding the initial problem through to designing the details of each user action (“microinteractions”)
• We need to work WITH users and research like workshops, cultural probes and “agile” ethnography are good ways of getting to know them and their needs

It used to be that art asked questions and design answered them- these two fields are now merging with UX at the centre.

“The IA operates as a sense of place for our users. They rely on it the same way they would a map in physical space or a storyline in a movie or book.” - Andrea Resmini, Groundhogs in the Source code.