UX Ireland Conference Highlights

The first annual UX Ireland conference took place at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Dublin from 10-11th November. This two-day event featured a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, presentations and workshops on user experience (UX), user research and user interface (UI) design. Our Design team were in attendance to flex our creative muscles and mingle with the wider design community.

Day One

'Be the lion tamer...'

The opening day of UX Ireland kicked off with Jon Kolko’s keynote, ‘Be the lion tamer: manage the chaos of creativity’. Jon is experienced in managing creative teams and the creative process, so we found it really interesting to hear his thoughts on how companies can effectively let the ‘lion of creativity loose’ in order to harness a creative culture and to drive innovation. Jon went on to discuss the relationship between iteration and critique in the context of critical business decisions which rely heavily on creativity for success. He gave an overview of creativity pillars and the nature of self-critical awareness in creative fields.

Check out some of his keynote here: 

'Designing the future of online experiences...'

Following this opening session, we attended Benjamin Keyser of Intercom’s case study presentation, ‘From pages to threads: designing the future of online experiences’. This talk covered some fascinating points around machine learning, bots and AI within message threads and their influence in replacing the ‘not-so-interactive web’.

'Designing for impact!'

Next, we went to a presentation by Oli Shaw of Designit on ‘Service design at scale: designing for impact’, outlining how the best solutions for business problems can be designed when there is a clear understanding of the full end-to-end journey, involving multiple disciplines within an organisation. Ultimately, knowing what you are really trying to achieve can often change the shape of the problem you are trying to solve.

'Beyond the hamburger menu...'

Anna Dahlstrom‘s experience report ‘Beyond the Hamburger Menu’ highlighted some important points to consider when designing for multiple devices. We found this particularly interesting considering we are living in an increasingly mobile-first world. To go beyond ‘any device, anywhere and anytime’, it’s essential to adapt the context, purpose and content.

'Content is king...'

Of course, one of our top highlights from the UX Ireland conference was the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR) County Council case study presented by Monsoon Consulting’s Design LeadDaniel Alb! ‘Content is King: The DNA of Designing a Citizen-Centred Local Authority Website for dlrcoco.ie’ provided an in-depth account of the design processes involved in the recent redesign of the drlcoco.ie website. Throughout this project, we followed an iterative discovery and design process, which employed an agile methodology. Integral to the success of this website was its user-centred approach, involving internal project stakeholder meetings, audience discovery workshops, persona development and a complete redesign of information architecture. Overall this project showcases an end-to-end solution which sets the standard for user-centred design and enterprise content management.

Check out Daniel's presentation in full on SlideShare:

Content is king – Designing a Citizen-Centred Local Government Website from Daniel Alb

UX maturity...

We also enjoyed a tutorial from Jay Brewer of Rapid 7, ‘Assessing your UX maturity’. This provided our team with a good introspective moment, where we identified on a scale of 5 where our organisation stands. It was interesting to see where Monsoon sits on this UX maturity spectrum, and what we need to do in order to improve this.

Stories and lies...

delivered a stripped back session called ‘Stories and lies’. In contrast with other talks underpinning technology and developments in UX design, this tutorial was anchored in the fundamentals of communication and story-telling. Here’s a snap of some of us taking part!

Social evening

The warm interaction continued into the evening with UX Ireland‘s social event, where we shared a few drinks with our fellow designers. This was a great opportunity for us to discuss various UX matters and design perspectives in a casual setting.

Day Two

'A sea of new realities...'

The second day of UX Ireland began with a keynote from Brenda Laurel about ‘Staying grounded in a sea of new ‘realities”. She explored how, amid the contemporary world of interactive technology where multiple ‘realities’ exist (virtual, augmented, etc.), we stay grounded and continue to provide purpose and value.

We need big problems to solve...

Next, we attended Frank Long‘s case study presentation ‘Bitter UX: 9 things I’ve learned from global research’, where he outlined how a textbook approach is often insufficient when it comes to solving complex design problems. As UX designers, we must adapt our approach in order to cater to increasingly specialist work.

The Cynefin framework...

James O’Brien gave us an interesting tutorial which acknowledged the pivotal challenge of aligning design and delivery effort when working in agile teams. He explained the Cynefin framework, and how it may be employed to identify, address and understand complexity. Ultimately, we can gain confidence by identifying such complexity in the requirements.

How to build the perfect design team...

The final session attended by our team of designers was focused on the subject of how to actually build the perfect design team. David Cooke from Globoforce provided a really interesting case study on how they organised their team within the company. It was intriguing for us to see how another company structures their teams and projects and to compare it to how we have adapted the agile methodology internally.

Good design is good business...

Overall, we found the conference to be very enjoyable with plenty of learning outcomes to apply to future projects. It’s a great time to be a designer. Increasingly, companies are realising the importance of good design, where technology is no longer enough to stand out. Ultimately, ‘Good Design is Good Business’. With that in mind, we look forward to attending the next UX Ireland event. 

As a web design agency, Monsoon Consulting utilises a user-centred approach for the delivery of all our solutions. Learn more about our website, UX and UI design processes, and check out some of our latest case studies.  

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