As usability and user experience specialists, we regularly attend conferences and training courses in order to keep up with the rapid technical changes in interactive products, to detect new trends in the industry and to exchange ideas with like-minded people. Therefore, my colleague Renate and I travelled to Lisbon to attend the User Experience Conference UXLx 2016 and then spent two days exploring the city. We would like to share our experiences and learnings from these exciting days with you.
Renate and I attended two of the four days of the conference. The first one included two workshops, the second one offered lectures on various topics.
Animating the User Experience
Renate and I were particularly excited about Val Head's first workshop "Animating the User Experience" because we are increasingly defining animations and creating illustrative examples as part of our conceptual work.
First, Val Head explained that using animations only makes sense if they serve a purpose and look good while doing so. The purpose can be quite different. Animations can help reduce the cognitive effort for the user, highlight changes in the interface, show connections or simply bridge loading times in an entertaining way. Afterwards Val Head presented the "12 Basic Principles of Animation", which are applied to Disney's famous cartoons and should also be considered for animations for UIs. To apply the new findings immediately, we built a small prototype at the end. The workshop was very illustrative through many well-chosen examples and made you want to deal with the topic of animation in more detail.
Unfold your Brain
Well strengthened by an extensive lunchtime lake, we met in the afternoon for the workshop "Unfold Your Brain" with Denise Jacobs. What followed was a highly entertaining alternation between a presentation on the topic of creativity and various small exercises that help to release blockages in the brain and to tickle the creativity of each individual. What was interesting was the experience that we are all plagued by the same fears when it comes to creativity. Denise Jacobs gave us many tips on how to deal with these fears and how to silence the "Inner Critic". She pointed out the paradox that the people who suffer most from Impostor Syndrome are usually the most capable.
One particularly entertaining exercise was an exercise in which we made up a story together by first determining the first, last and middle movements and then trying to fill in the gaps. From monsters, to aliens and a touch of romance, the story had everything a good story needs.
Fairy Tale Experience
The second day of the conference offered a total of 12 presentations of which I would like to present our personal highlights. Per Axbom told us in his talk "Fairy Tale Expperiences" the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, who would like to get a new green coat for the visit at grandma's house. Via Google you can also quickly find an online store, the coat with one click in the shopping cart. The address is filled out automatically and the money is debited via an online payment service. Super fast, super user experience? Unfortunately not. When Little Red Riding Hood receives the confirmation mail, she has to realize that the shipping costs are very high and the delivery unfortunately takes too long, so that the coat will arrive too late for the visit at her grandmother's.
Based on this impressive story, Per Axbom shows the problems that arise when we remove all obstacles from the user's path and simply get him through a process as quickly and easily as possible. He argues for quietly pulling the user out of his "auto-pilot" and getting him to stop at certain important points and briefly think about whether he is on the right track. An interesting approach that made us think.
The visit of the UXLx was worthwhile for both of us. We took many new ideas around the topic of user experience with us and enjoyed a wonderful city and nice weather on the side.
We did not regret that we only attended two days of the conference, as these already brought so much new information and suggestions that we were quite exhausted and unable to absorb them. So it was quite good that we now had two more days in Lisbon, where we could exchange our impressions and explore the city together.