• The Booster Labs team

Key Moments from Experience Conference 2018

Updated: Feb 18, 2019

Written by Lucia, Innovation Consultant at Booster Labs

Last week I had a chance to attend Experience Conference 2018 organized by Slovak UX studio Lighting Beetle. This was only the second year conference was happening, but managed to grow to almost 400 attendees from UX community.

Even better; the number of attendees registered under ‘UX designer’ category grew from 20 last year to 70 this year.

Main topics covered at the conference were user centered research and design and how research should be incorporated into key decision points in corporates already from the very beginning. The conference hosted many interesting speakers and researchers from companies such as OpenIDEO, Airbnb or Google and showcased real case studies, such as how Orange designed their mobile banking app from scratch. I made a list of intel and observations I made and considered worth sharing with you.

1. 'Design the Right Thing, Design the Right Way' Should be Mantra for All of Us

When Nathan Waterhouse, co-founder of OpenIDEO, said this I immediately thought ‘this is such an important mantra’ and we all should think of it more often. When I say all of us, I mean not just designers and researchers, but key decision makers as C-level executives, product managers, marketers, startupers and everyone who designs something for others or decides about how a product budget is going to be spent. Many times we see companies doing something without talking to even one user or potential customer. There is quite lot of money spent on projects and apps no one needs or wants to use.

Nathan from OpenIDEO talking about importance of designing the right thing
Nathan from OpenIDEO talking about importance of designing the right thing

I loved this statement or mantra if you will, because that is exactly what we do in Booster Labs. We help corporates and startups to create product that are solving real needs and in the process save resources that would be otherwise be spent pointlessly.

After choosing the right thing to design, there comes the second part — design the right way. Companies should think twice whom they are going to cooperate with on design of their new products and set clear business KPIs for new products and designs in terms of users, revenues, etc. so you can actually evaluate if a new product or new design brought about the results you wanted. In any case, both stages should be done with customers in mind — and even better in direct cooperation with them. Thats is why customer validation is one of key pillars in our product innovation process.

2. Even the Most Boring Things Such as Forms Can be Interesting

Vitaly Friedman, co-founder of Smashing Magazine, taught us a very important lesson. Sometimes we design a whole webpage, or a complete product, but forget that we can design better even in the most ‘boring’ parts such as forms or attention notes. Let me show you two specific examples I loved.

Do You Prefer to be a Princess, Captain or Just Mrs.?

Titles in forms is such a boring field and most of the time companies do not utilize this information in any meaningful way. So why not to create great experience with small design twist as clothing eshop Boden USA did and insert instead of boring Mrs. or Mr. something that we always dreamed of being — princess, commander, lady or captain?

Choosing Title during Check-out at clothing eshop Boden USA
Choosing Title during Check-out at clothing eshop Boden USA

How Often (Hint: Like Never) Do You Get Amused by Red Warnings and Hints In Forms?

Imagine that instead of warnings like ‘Your address does not exist’ or hints like ‘City you live in’ you would find something like ‘Probably the best place if you live there’, what a great experience! Instant smile guaranteed :) .

Vitaly Friedman talking about how to make boring interesting
Vitaly Friedman talking about how to make boring interesting

3. Let’s Get Serious With Innovations From Giants

Technological giants like Google or Apple create such an amazing tools to empower developers from all around the world. Jenny Gove, UX Research Lead from Google, shared amazing insights about usage of web net and mobile net and some amazing statistics.

The main message of her talk was that not all companies incorporate technological innovations that are available out there into their own products. If they do, they do not do it fast enough and rather take the safe route of waiting until the technology becomes a market standard. These are 2 innovation Jenny mentioned and we found interesting:

A Payments

One of the great examples of this is Payment Request API from Google. Thanks to this API, merchants can eliminate forms and use one tap check-out on their websites providing users with fabulous experience on their mobile phones. We all know that it can be pain in the ass to pay from your phone and giants like Apple and Google know this too, so why not to leverage their tech.

B Web Push Notifications

If you ask a room of developers what mobile device features are missing from the web, push notifications are always high on the list. At the same time push notifications are a wonderful marketing tool. Google decided to create exactly this experience. It is time to think how you can incorporate this technology into your engagement building strategies. Check out demos here and here.

We can expect more tech companies coming to other sectors, especially financial sector
We can expect more tech companies coming to other sectors, especially financial sector

4. Talk To Users From the Beginning. Find Your Airport

Hannah Pileggi, Research Manager a Airbnb, talked about how they did user research for new feature — Airbnb Experiences. They knew they want to offer authentic experience to travelers and that they already have amazing database of hosts they can leverage.

One key message I remembered is ‘Find your airport’. Her research team spent days on airports talking to travelers about their vacations, what they do, how they choose what to see, where to eat. They came up with the realization that travelers have always their checklist what to see when traveling to a new destination, but at the same time they would like some twist to make it more interesting and more memorable. For example see all major sights on bike tour with local host.

Airbnb providing unique experience how to explore new places
Airbnb providing unique experience how to explore new places

The main takeaway is that you have to go where your future users are and talk to them, observe and learn what they need and want (might not be the same thing).

5. Make Your Presentations Interactive. Let Your Audience Decide What They Want to Hear

We have to appreciate Experience Conference for using Sli.do the way it should be used — making conference more fun, interactive and gathering data. We loved especially how David Ruiz, Head of Design and CX at Orange Bank, used Sli.do to allow audience to choose what they want him to present. Few times in his presentation we came to crossroads and voted real-time on what we want to hear next. This is amazing demonstration of user centered approach.

Audience voting on which section of presentation they want to see and which they will not get to see
Audience voting on which section of presentation they want to see and which they will not get to see

If you remember just one thing from our article, let it be that user research should be in core of your business, should have place at the table where decisions are made. Experience is a differentiator and comparative advantage, if done right.

In case you would like to get in touch and talk more about how Booster Labscan help you innovate feel free to drop me an email here: lucia@theboosterlabs.com or innovate@theboosterlabs.com.

More resources we noted down:

Great source of articles from Google Ventures on product management, user research, marketing, etc.: https://www.gv.com/library/

List of books and articles that together serve as guide to user research: https://library.gv.com/gv-guide-to-research-847cfb08fcef

Platform that allows you to test your products with real users easily, from 10 USD per test: Usertesting.com

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