UXBrighton 2013

Friday 1st November saw the 4th UX Brighton conference. I’ve enjoyed every year and the progression and skill in orchestrating such an event has raised the bar each time.

This year was focussed on psychology, a subject which all of us in the industry should be taking an interest in; if you don’t already. I enjoy reading books that are perhaps the pop culture equivalents of heavy texts. Things like Sway, Predictably Irrational, Freakanomics, or the Paradox of Choice are some of my most loved books and where I regularly draw inspiration from.

This year for me was a huge success. Every speaker bar-one was of an extremely high caliber, with subject matter seemingly broad but all related and thankfully, virtually zero reference to web design.

In the last few years I have realised that the talks I enjoy the most have been those where we can learn from other fields; in turn the best conferences being those that have very little to do with ‘web design’ but are perhaps still sat in the product/service realm such as Playful13 and dConstruct.

Here’s a brief rundown of the talks from my seat. I recommend you doing a twitter search to see some of the responses from the day.

Susan Weinschenk provided a phenomenal introduction to the day. I think she potentially upset a few people by highlighting the power of using background advertising and how it is designed to grab attention of peripheral vision (she’s right by the way). I wasn’t too keen on the audience participation exercise so early on a Friday but it was amazing to see so many people engaged.

Blay Whitby followed with insights into the aviation industry. A lecturer at Sussex University he unfortunately came across a few times as being disappointed by his students but it didn’t detract from the valuable lessons to be learnt such as there’s no such thing as pilot error: the user is never wrong and that not quite right is not good enough.

mc schraefel spoke to us about wellbeing and reflected some of my own thoughts on the current trend for fitness, or wellbeing apps and devices such as the fitbit, jawbone or fuel band. She also gave us a top tip for a coffee replacement. I’ve been persuaded to eat more things with faces and remove sugars from my diet… watch this space.

Nathalie Nahai is an incredibly powerful, dominant and engaging force on a stage. I was so engrossed I’ve already bought her book (along with a few others from the day it should be said), and am now working my way through various podcasts.

Patrick W. Jordan ran through a talk which I am sure I have seen before in recent years, but again divulged some fascinating insight into some of the projects he has worked on.

Jon Dixon, a late addition to the event gets man of the match. His story of going from a successful actor to a user experience designer along with the connections between the to professions was incredibly well constructed and bloody funny.

Yvonne Rogers was a little dry but showed some interesting case studies around the use of dashboards and multiple screens in conjunction with RSA. the video of people talking to travel agents could be transposed to many service industries with the same problems.

Simon Norris…………..

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Andy Parker

User Experience Designer, headbanger, biker, skater, gamer from Brighton UK.