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UX is dead, long live UX!

Thomas Digby

Shortlist attended UX Brighton earlier this month to hear from an interesting, diverse group of speakers.

Here are a few take-aways from the conference.

Happiness

Happiness, purpose and job-satisfaction were all common themes among the talks, Nic Marks in-particular spoke at length about his methods of accurately logging employee satisfaction. It’s easy to underrate the complexity of this task, something that Dave Snowden also mentioned towards the end of the day. I enjoyed his 5 ways to happiness at work, a simple set of tasks to improve personal happiness.

Jobs to be done

Jillian Wells, a Senior Product Researcher at Intercom talked about her UX background and her move to Intercom, with the Jobs-to-be-done methodology heavily influencing her decision. She spoke about the benefits over traditional user stories, removing the assumptions we can easily make about our audience and focusing instead on the specific tasks they need to accomplish. Less “persona -> action -> outcome” and more “context -> motivation -> outcome”. It’s a technique we definitely want to apply in the near future, Jillian’s writing and others on jtbd.info will really help.

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

Daniel Pink’s “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” was mentioned multiple times by Richard Rutter and Jenni Lloyd, a simple set of guidelines to enable greater job satisfaction.

Autonomy is the ability to be self-directed, employees are far more likely to be engaged in their work if they are driven by their own interests rather than an external incentive. Mastery is the urge to get better at something, providing employees the time to improve their skill-set rewards not only the organisation but the individual, it’s fun and satisfying to get better at something.

As monetary incentives were found not to improve performance, purpose became a stronger driver for employees. Once an employee is paid enough to not worry about income, working for a company with values personally aligned to your own are far more likely to get you up in the morning and racing to work.

Version control

Alice Bartlett, Origami platform lead at the Financial Times, gave an engaging run through of Git and the benefits it can bring. I think there’s a lot to gain in really understanding why certain tools are used in our workflow, simple and engaging explanations like this help to reduce the barrier between the technical and creative teams.

There’s a definite need to incorporate version control across other non-technical areas of a project, like our designs, prototypes or project documentation. Apps like Abstract and plugins such as Git Sketch Plugin can hopefully ease the transition into fully version-controlled projects.

Complexity

Professor Dave Snowden rounded out the day with an incredible talk, discussing complexity in social systems and contextually how it applies to our work environments. It’s probably best if I don’t try to concisely sum up the wealth of information he presented, instead head over to cognitive-edge.com to read through the slides.