UX Scotland 2014

UX Scotland 2014

Posted on 23 June 2014 by Jason

We attended UX Scotland yesterday at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. This is the first year that it’s been held in Edinburgh, and includes speakers from such companies as FreeAgent, User Vision, STV and Standard Life.

The day was structured around a timetable where we could go and select which speakers to go and see. Below are some of the notes we managed to take down from the day.

“Requirements are actually assumptions”

Jeff Gothelf made the case that project/product managers can often mislead the rest of their team by assuming that a client needs something included. This may be a social media widget that is “essential” or simply a banner advert to another section or area. Without carrying out appropriate research prior to starting a project, these “requirements” are actually just assumptions that the client will need it. By thinking about whether they are actually needed or not, we may well be able to slim down the content on pages and websites.

He used a company in the US as an example of this called Plancast. They have recently folded, and unusually for a company in their position, they carried out a post-mortem into what went wrong and published it on Techcrunch. You can have a look at this case study here.

Money Supermarket Mobile Redesign

Paul Stevens (@ChunkyUX) is a senior designer at MoneySupermarket.com. He presented on the challenges that the company faced on redesigning for the mobile interface, when there are shareholders and several levels of senior management to please. Aside from the final implementation of what they came up with to fit content onto a mobile screen, he said that the first initial stage of deciding what is to appear on pages is the most important aspect.

In one case, he asks different departments to draw on a cereal box what they think customers want to see. No matter which department they come from (IT, design, HR) there are several aspects that all are included such as customer trust, friendly language and simple to use. He then went on to show the differences between the design of moneysupermarket.com prior to smartphones and mobile browsing taking off, and the stage that they are at now, coming to the conclusion that mobile website design is having a positive effect on the desktop user experience.

Your mobile experience is not theirs

Chui Chui Tan (@ChuiSquared) is the Director of international research at cxpartners. Whilst her talk was not necessarily relevant to the work we are doing at the moment – as it focussed on the Asian market, it still featured some interesting points, which we’ve put below.

  • Mobile usage has grown an astonishing 192.5% in Asia since 2010. Bigger than anywhere else in the world
  • Even in these predominantly right to left reading cultures, the use of mobile has made it commonplace for people to read left to right – as in the western world.
  • Phones come with up to 4 sim card slots in Asia in order to allow people to cut costs when making calls

“Don’t rush into translating before doing research”

Also in Chui Chui Tan’s speech, she mentioned that clients or agencies should really think hard about whether a translating tool is really needed as part of their website. Even though people assume that English is spoken predominantly throughout the world, there are now statistics to back this point up. She said that even in France, Germany and even parts of heavily Spanish speaking countries, people automatically “switch on the English part of their brain” when visiting a website. Why would you need to put time, money and effort into translating sites, when the likelihood is that people will read it in English anyway.

She also said that if you are going to translate the site or application, ensure that you do the whole thing, not just aspects of it. Aside from it being irritating switching between languages, it also looks lazy from the developers.

Summary - A good day out

All in all, our day at UX Scotland was good. There were plenty of people there and whilst not every talk was entirely relevant to the work that we currently undertake, there were snippets of information that we gained and transferable information that could be of use in the future.

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