Its been a while since I went to a main stream event. The usual group of highly paid advertising creatives touting their latest campaign microsites and integrated digital experiences doesn’t really do it for me. But my interest was sparked with the inaugural Generate Conference in London for 2013 – a conference for web designers.
What grabbed my eye was not the speakers themselves, but the fact that the sites being talk about were large scale content implementations and not your usual Coke microsite. With a little further exploration, we had talks devoted to rapid prototyping, intense content strategy and user testing designs.
If I said that the speakers were all great, I would certainly be lying. They tried hard, but their deep messages of changing karma were veiled in long winded anecdotes, that unfortunately missed the mark.
But with that said, I walked out with my head high and full of vigour again. The main three themes were focused on content strategy, rapid UX and prototyping, and testing your work with real users. Sometimes, with the battles I have had in the last three years, I was beginning to think I was alone. But at the end of this, it’s great to hear main stream conference speakers now actually dealing with the daily challenges we all face.
By far the stand out of the day (she’s UX and Australian – so I may be biased) was the talk by Leisa Reichelt on rapid UX and prototyping. Why so good? Normally people practicing lean and rapid UX come more from a start up mentally, but here is a person working with universities and government departments in agile UX environments. It makes me think if she can do it in there … why did it take me so long to convince people in agency land that this leads to better and more productive end results.
And there was a great “wake up after lunch talk” called Good Crop/Bad Crop by Gavin Strange – in essence he said “we should be thankful as everyday we get to make something cool”. Who else forgets that fact?
There were a couple of interesting moments. Walking out of the rapid UX talk into a discussion on how we spent a year wireframing every component of a site. But, it warms the cockles of my heart to hear people actively talking about putting the user back into UX.
Oh, and to the people behind me that laughed at the prospect of UX people working in harmony with developers – go back to your corner and code!