17 April 2013 | User Experience Design

UX London

Author: Mossy Breen

I had the pleasure of being sent to UX london last week. I did not know what to expect from the conference, but though I would see some great talks and meet some other user experience designers.

Here are some of the stand out talks from my time at UX london. Overall I found the experience to be incredibly inspirational, where I listened to some amazing speakers and got to meet a lot of like minded User experience designers from all over the globe. To say I was “buzzing” after the 3 days would be an understatement, and it wasn’t just the high quantity of excellent coffee 🙂

Tom Hulme – Design disrupted

Tom threw a curveball for the first session of UX London and talked about something he happened upon over the weeks previous. The topic took the direction of desire paths, and he applied the concept of urban/spatial planning to deliver a very informative talk. Desire paths can be described as paths or uses of a “system/service” that were not specifically what the designer/engineer had in mind. The most obvious case is in open spaces when people will walk the shortest distance rather than the intended designed pathway.

desire paths

Desire paths can be applied to software development where users use your system in a different way than what you would have intended. The measurement and capture of these “desire paths” is important when evolving a system, as the user can guide the product roadmap in the way they use the product. Suddenly capturing/recording usage patterns that were not immediately obvious to the goals of the software can uncover great insight into the potential for a product/system.

Even the simple task of adding a search box to an application can unearth details about the expectations and wants of the end user.

Lean UX and Design – Jeff Gothelf

Jeff spoke about lean design techniques, and some great standout points about lean product development. For example user testing an iPad app with just a PDF. Making assumptions about user behaviour. Sometimes going with your gut and testing those gut decisions early, followed by quick iterations. Easily pivot ideas because the lessons are learned early and before any large investment.

Building a consistent user experience across government digital services – Ben Terrett

Some of the talks were used as showcases for excellent projects completed or underway. This was an extremely inspiring talk about changing the entire government online platform in a very lean and a very clean way. The GDS team grew inside the government and is slowly taking ownership of all digital services supplied by the UK government as GOV.UK.

Some examples of the type of information they removed from the government sites and how they refined the experience to suit the user needs rather than the government goals. The results are an extremely easy to use site, which delivers a very large amount of content.

“A consistent but not uniform design”.


What happens when the agency doesn’t go home? – Tim Malbon

Tim is an extremely entertaining speaker and his talk was extremely engaging. He discussed a skype in the classroom project which made-by-many worked on. This project was, again, a very lean oriented project, where they spoke to teachers early on in the process, involved them in the process and iterated through ideas quickly.

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