A look back at UX Bristol

Whether you are a UX designer or consultant you’ll know that both disciplines work hand in hand to form a great user experience. Here at Nomensa, UX designers and consultants work collaboratively. User research & analysis, human psychology and information architecture are the strengths a UX consultant brings to the table, whilst a UX Designer brings their keen eye for aesthetics, interactions and user interface design. Each discipline shares their knowledge and skills to help enhance the other and create an effective team.

I am a UX designer at Nomensa. however I’ve been fortunate enough to practice as a UX consultant in my career too. For the purpose of this post, though, I’m going to leave my UX consultant hat on the hatstand and talk about UX Bristol from the perspective of a UX designer.

UX Bristol talk

The conference began with a quick welcome talk and the chance to meet a few UX practitioners over a coffee. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming, which made it easy to network and meet new people.

The first talk I attended was ‘Forms Studio’ by Caroline Jarrett. If I was a designer new to form design I would find this to be a great introduction to the topic. It really got people thinking about how important a well designed form actually is.

A member of the audience pointed out how Google’s OS, Android, uses stylised form design (just an underline) and Caroline explained how it is aimed more at trendy hipster types than average users. This really makes you realise that the balance is very delicate and how important it is, when designing, to avoid style over substance. Who would have thought that Google would get it wrong?! Not me, that’s for sure.

The next session I attended was ‘Design your communication’ by Birgit Geiberger. This was really useful for anyone who has to present their work - ideal for a designer! - or someone who would like to improve interactions with their colleagues or clients. The session taught us how to identify our dominant working style (I found I was in-between a lot of them) and showed that clashes often occur when different styles are brought together.

Once we identified what our dominant style was, we were asked to speak with others in the same category and figure out the best methods to work and communicate with our opposites. It was a really handy way of figuring out how to apply my strengths to get the best outcomes from difficult situations, as well as navigating possible pitfalls and awkward situations post projects. These are great skills to have no matter what your role is within an agency.

After lunch (and meeting even more new people!) I attended the user journey and empathy mapping session by Harry Brignull and Andy Parker. We were split into large groups and asked to map out the user’s journey when organising a hen or stag do. This was a really interesting way to gain a perspective on how a user experience is mapped out and solutions are found. As a collective we then came up with an app that could solve all the pain points and address all the actions needed during the user’s journey in organising this kind of event.

This exercise showed us how to set up a blueprint to follow and create a solid foundation for the solution we required. This session gave designers an insight into how a UX practitioner decides on the hierarchy of the page and shows that those little details we may not always feel are important are there for a good purpose (so dont omit them!).

Working within the UX industry it is important to understand the core aspects of good user experience:

  • Utility (usefulness)
  • Usability (ease of use)
  • Appealing (aesthetics)
  • Engaging (enjoyment/motivation)

A UX consultant’s strengths may lie in achieving utility and usability and a UX designer’s in forming appeal and engagement, but both disciplines need to understand all four to achieve the best work possible as a team.

The conference gave a well-rounded picture of how to achieve all these aspects of a great user experience. Each workshop complemented the next; it was a birds-eye view of what is possible with the capabilities, skills and resources your team has to work with. It definitely  adds some extra strings to your bow when designing the best user experience you can.


Nomensa were proud sponsors of UX Bristol 2015

Nomensa table at UX Bristol