My top take-aways from UX Scotland

Sorry to disappoint any foodies, but I’m not talking about haggis suppers! I was really excited to head up to Edinburgh last week to attend the user experience design conference, UX Scotland. Having previously studied and lived in the beautiful city, I couldn’t wait to see if anyone I knew would be there (I did meet a few familiar faces). It was fab being in the Dynamic Earth venue too, but, aside from all of the Edinburgh awesomeness, I picked up some super-interesting tips from the talks and workshops, and decided to round them up in the list below.

A view of Edinburgh Castle on my walk to the event.

A view of Edinburgh Castle on my walk to the event.

Customer experience design is more important than ever 

“CX will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020, particularly in the B2B space”
– Walker

This powerful fact shared by Alan Colville during his talk, Unleashing the business-changing power of UX for B2B customers highlighted just how important adopting a user-centred design process is.

Any UX research is better than none

Alan also pointed out that “any research is better than none – scrappy ethno is ok!” This is something I’ve believed in for quite a while, and ‘guerrilla’ research and testing methods can be much more affordable for smaller businesses. Whether it’s from website analytics, empathy mapping exercises, or user research data, I always try my best to gain user insight in my design process.

Social media can provide valuable user insights

Point 3 also ties in nicely with a workshop I took part in – User Research with Social Media, held by Dave Ellender. I learned about his method for gathering, recording and analysing data from social media. There is a wealth of insight to be gained from what users say about a service, in their own words, on their own social media posts. I honestly can’t wait to get digging into this type of research on my next project!

Positive emotional connections increase brand loyalty

I really enjoyed How do emotions shape brand experiences? by Liraz Margalit, Digital Psychologist and Head of Behavioral Research at Clicktale. She shared this interesting quote:

“How an experience makes a customer feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than effectiveness or ease in nearly every industry.”
– Forrester

Liraz provided some fascinating insights about customer mindsets during certain patterns of browsing behaviour, and highlighted the importance of creating positive emotional experiences – these types of experiences stay in the user’s long-term memory, and can therefore increase brand awareness and loyalty.

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Service design workshops can be fun!

Lee Summerfield from AJ Bell shared helpful tips for getting stakeholders on board with UX design projects, and suggested some fun workshop ideas for introducing system design thinking. I’m going to keep them to myself as it might ruin the fun for any future workshops I choose to use them in!

Be realistic with brand tone of voice

Consider how a user might be feeling rather than how you want them to be feeling when using your product. This was taken from an engaging workshop called Beyond exclamation points! Using tone to create meaningful UX by Susan Blue and Jasmine Probst from Facebook. They made the very true point that overusing happy or idealised messaging isn’t reflective of real life, and that you can miss opportunities to connect with people on a real emotional level when you only use that kind of tone.

Silence is golden

Sometimes users in testing sessions don’t actually know exactly what is bothering them. Laura Yarrow shared useful prompts in her workshop titled Experience Listening, to help us with hearing the user experience. She has found that strategic silences can lead people to fill in the gaps with thoughts they may have been holding back… this could be interesting in other situations too!

Embrace endings! 

Joe Macleod closed the conference with his talk about Ends. Why it is critical we balance the bias consumer lifecycle. Companies invest a lot of time and effort in their on-boarding processes but are neglecting to address what happens at the end of their product lifecycle or contract. In this time of climate emergency, companies should be taking responsibility for the waste they produce. Carefully considering endings and off-boarding can open opportunities to make emotional connections and improve brand perception in this age where social and environmental responsibility is on a lot of people’s minds. Joe has written a book about this and it’s definitely next on my reading list.

I hope you found those tips as interesting as I did. You can see the full programme for the event here. Let me know if you decide to go next year.

Joe Macleod presenting the endnote.

Joe Macleod presenting the endnote.