UX Spain 2017 / An improvement in my perspective

by lis.garcia | On May 11-13 was the UXSPAIN17 in the beautiful city of Gijon. It is one of the most important events in Spain about design and user experience. It was my first year attending and totally exceeded my expectations. I realised, after listening to the talks, that anyone who creates products, should attend to the talks. The event is interesting for all the jobs where users are involved, so it is not just for web designers.

I have to say that the organisation did a good job, not only in the talks, in the outside events and breaks, which allowed attendees to talk each others.

Focusing on the talks, as I said before, they spoke about how to enrich user experience and add value to it. We also saw different perspectives and real projects with its phases and experiences. All of them agreed that in order to have a good UX is always mandatory to know and understand the user demands and the way he/she interacts with the product.

The day started with the presentation of Claire Rowland, who covered how the product design should deal with the connection with other devices, to achieve user goals in the app interaction. Product + App, she mentioned cases where the app doesn’t work as well as user expected. She recommended to mislead users sometimes, not to make him/her realise that there is a problem and to have an homogeneity between product and device in terms of look and feel design and usability. “If you do things simple, it will take more work to engineers and developers, but the result will be a perfect user experience”.

The next subject  was a non digital design project (service design) by Itziar Pobes. The interesting thing of this talk was to see a UX application in offline projects. The goal was achieving a better user face to face experience in offices, with an improvement in the space design and organisation. Therefore her team had to understand what the workers and users do everyday, trying to identify the  mistakes and potential improvements. To solve them, they mapped out everything, emphasising in workflows and place layouts. I would stress “The implementation starts from the beginning, working with people”.

Three talks came over after Itziar, therein speakers opened pathways of what the future could be. Oscar Méndez Soto spoke about machine era, on how to create a intelligent user experience helped with artificial intelligence. Beatriz Belmonte showed how alternative futures studies, in which fiction give us some clues, can help to take into account the impact of our designs in people’s life. And the third one was Martín Álvarez Espinar, who introduced the W3C research areas to implement the last web needs, exposing and adopting public APIs and standards. In the W3C the efforts are focused on virtual reality in websites, improvements in interaction on automotive, the contextual connection between devices and the user interaction with digital advertisement.

One of the talks to highlight from the first day was from the speaker Javier Vélez Reyes. Javier talks about the evolution of web design to web components design, in order to create a personalised and homogeneous user experience. Nowadays, websites become a tool of continued interaction with users where you receive feedback of your business. Here is where the term CX (Customer experience) appears, so component design help to deal with. We do a lot of micro-gestures which cause several messages. The components adapt them, visually, to have an easier user interaction with the service. I would highlight  “As UX designer we have to take in account that we can model user steps to reach the goals”.

The day ended with Sergio Estella and Nacho Gil talks. Sergio Estella introduced his work in Global Forest Watch, analysing forest changes. In the project the design was one of the keys, because it shows data in a visual and interactive way. The main objective was to be reachable, useful and easy-to-understand, to invoke discussions. Finally, Nacho Gil exposed the reality of the profession  and invited us to be part of the people who model the future.

The second day, the first talk was a personal reflection about  his career. It was given by Brendan Kearns from Twitter.

Julia Ivorra, which is a research designer in BBC Sport, spoke about the researches in Rio Olympics. The challenge was to know how the users used the product, making studies and having results. Therefore they use the Agile method: they organised the work in rounds, they went to user’s house and saw them when they were using the product, and they also asked for how they use the competitors. All the research and conclusions were summarised in a weekly report, that was shared with  the company. Sharing this work helped all the departments to realise about aspects they hadn’t noticed yet.

After this intense talk, Rosa Llop stepped onto the stage. She reflected how the interface plays a significant role today,  supported by artistic work. I would remark something she said “Art does questions and design resolve the problem”.

Ana Ormaechea was the next, with the project “Diario de Cuba”. Her team had a challenge with this project, because they had to deal with the internet restriction in Cuba, so they looked for new ways of deliver the content and to adapt it to the different context situations. For example, they had to reduce the size of the newsletters, because Cubans have limited time to access to email. It meant not to use image only text, which should have a nice and effective design and layout. Also they had different targets (Miami, Spain or Cuba), so the content was different for each place and conditions.

Laura García Barrio explained a similar case, as a UX designer and research in Uber. She had to analyse how the application was used in the different countries. They had to go there to ask users and try to access to application with their technologies. They realised that it was totally different to what they expected. They came back to headquarters with its resutlts and the local devices to present what they experimented there.

Wenzes Sanz was the last speaker that I want to highlight. He advocated to break the web design rules, web design standards and to bring old simple web design back.

The event, as I said before, was a good experience that I would like to repeat.