UX Australia 2018

Like in many professions, there is relevance to get out of the building and talk about what we do as product designers.

Steve Baty and his team did a fantastic job in delivering an outstanding event, I also had the privilege to catch up with all my friends and ex-colleagues from all around Melbourne; I have to confess, it was a bit overwhelming.

This is a reflection on the topics I enjoyed during UX Australia 2018.

Ethics in design

In the last few years, I noticed that the design community is seriously thinking about ethics in design. To my surprise, it was also a strong theme at UX Australia 2018. Several speakers talked about it, and it is not to mention Alan Cooper giving probably one of the best talks I ever seen in years.

Alan described that moment when product makers realise that their creations deliver a profit at the expense of doing good for our society. He called it the Oppenheimer moment, in reference to the inventor J. Robert Oppenheimer. His job was to invent the atomic bomb, but when Oppenheimer witnessed the first explosion, he realised that he created something evil.

If you are interested, I highly recommend watching this powerful talk; it will be available soon on the UX Australia website.

Team dynamics and collaboration

This year has been intense, working at Thomson Reuters simultaneously with two teams came with its challenges. Since that experience, I have been reflecting deeply on the different dynamics within a working group. I realised that not everyone has a similar definition of the word collaboration, and I don’t expect an organisation to teach us how to collaborate better, they see it as a given.

At UX Australia, Farai Madzima did an inspiring talk about team dynamics and collaboration. Farai started his speech by telling the story of a jazzman in South Africa trying to be a jazzman from New York, and ultimately suppressing his roots. Farai told us, through the story, that cultural bias can impact the way we work together, and therefore the expected outcome of the work. During the talk, Farai gave us some great views on how to overcome these biases.

The talk is available here, it will be available soon on the UX Australia website.

The smaller but still excellent talks

I also attended some smaller talks that were just as inspiring as the big ones; I wanted to highlight two of them; The role of microcopy in UX and Disability as a driver of innovation in UX.

The latter showed me a different perspective on what accessibility means in design; I also learnt that the WCAG specifications are surprisingly irrelevant and need a serious revamp.

Wrap up

UX Australia 2018 was a fantastic first experience at a conference about user experience. Seeing all my peers in the industry and meeting industry leader in person was just great. It is now time to reflect a bit more deeply on the topics I enjoyed and apply these new learnings.

A few resources I captured during the talks

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