Just under two weeks ago, I had the chance to attend the much anticipated UX Camp Ottawa 4 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The UX Camp is a two-day program aimed at sharing knowledge in the realms of user experience. It is for those who are keen on exploring new creative trends that drive breakthroughs in application design. The enthusiasm was contagious. The keynotes were just brilliant. The speakers and volunteers were lively. And the overall event was very well-organized. We came out feeling truly inspired and ready to take on our next project. So what have I learnt from the event? Here are my top five takeaways.
The value of creating effective human engagement
Designers seem to interface away software applications with the assumption that they know what the user is looking for, how they use it, and what add-ons would attract them. More often than not, this leads to a flawed solution. Really engaging the users requires digging into their perception, action, cognition, and emotion (PACE). Getting out there and engaging users, be it through testing, opinion or relationship-building is crucial.
Choice paralysis is unavoidable
It was a huge relief to know that I am not the only one overwhelmed by the endless choices laid out in front of me. The speakers exposed the highs and lows of having to come up with idea over idea for user interface. They pointed out that the creative process is painfully long because of countless pivoting and tweaking and, well creative procrastination.
The power of visual affordances and simplified processes
It was inspiring to have the speakers walk us through some of their innovations. Simplifying government processes, social enterprises and society-driven solutions were some of the goals they had in mind, goals that we should all learn to ingrain in our own designs. Not only were their keynotes visually impactful, but also the visions they have set out for user experience encourage those affordances that should be really thought-out.
UX Unicorns, Sphinxes and, of course Muppets
Yes, we should all aim to become those. Legendary UX designers with adaptive skills and creative imaginations, need I say more?
Slow and steady wins the innovation race
Realizing that an entire team has to participate in the delivery of exceptional user experience, thinking holistically and reflectively, and replacing fear of failure with the joy of experimental learning are just a handful of the advice speakers had for the pursuit of innovation. We should seek to slowly get the creativity going by enjoying the chaos involved in day-to-day design. And, through it all, be human. Tap into your emotions, embrace your constraints. And lead with your heart. Eventually we’ll get there.