Thanks to all for UX Scotland 2014

Thanks to all for UX Scotland 2014

Thanks to all for UX Scotland 2014 560 420 Border Crossing UX

UX Scotland was back in Edinburgh and it was every bit as good as last year. It was great to run into familiar faces and make new friends – I’m always blown away by how warm and welcoming our small community is.

Spread across two days the conference programme was really good. The keynotes this year were both top-notch and really set the tone for the rest of each day.

As always with split sessions there was always a bit of a struggle to choose what to attend. Thankfully all the slides are up on Lanyrd so I took some time out to catch up on the one’s I missed.

I was going to highlight the slides I think are a must-read but then I realised I’d pretty much included the whole line-up. So rather than regurgitate the excellent write-ups already up on Lanyrd, I thought it’d be more useful to highlight some of the quotes I managed to scribble down.


Eewei Chen @Ultraman

  • “Experience leads to action.”
  • “Smart solutions … need human input to be smarter.”
  • “It’s projected that by 2020, there will be 8 billion people on the planet BUT 50 billion connected devices.”

A brilliant keynote to kick off the conference, I’ll certainly be buying the book!


Richard Ingram – @richardjingram

  • Herbert Simon – “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
  • Tip on drawing maps – “start with the most prominent feature, then move outwards.”

A really interesting demonstration of how effective collaborative mapping can be when dealing with complex projects and large organisations.


Aras Bilgen – @arasb

  • Great tip on gauging executive support “present the plan and business case but say you can’t do it, get them to finish your sentence or ask why you can’t.”

You really need to get these slides they’re rammed full of actionable advice that are guaranteed to help with future engagements!


Alberta Soranzo – @albertatrebla

  • “By the end of 2014 mobile internet usage will overtake desktop internet usage.”
  • “Adults spend more time on mobile than they do newspapers and magazines combined.”
  • “3 out of every 5 searches are conducted on a mobile device.”
  • “46% of consumers will NOT return to a mobile site that is not working properly.”
  • “It’s the user that decides what matters, not us and not our clients.”
  • “You can’t see every foreseeable context of use”
  • “Context should help you deliver better, not necessarily less!”
  • “We should be device/platform agnositc when it comes to the deliver of content.”
  • “The key to a successful mobile design – adapt what we do and know and make sensible choices.”

I think this was my favourite session of the weekend! Watch out for her upcoming all-day tutorial at UXPA conference 2014 as I can’t stress just how great this lady is!


Joshua Marshall – @partiallyblind

  • “Irrespective of job title, everyone contributes to the accessibility of the product.”
  • “It may pass an audit, but is it usable.”
  • “At some point you have to draw a line in the sand content-wise and say “this is what good looks like.”
  • “Well written content is the best thing you can invest to increase understanding.”
  • “Write accessibility requirements into your user stories.”

Simply inspiring! We absolutely love the work the Government Digital Service (GDS) are doing and it was incredible to learn more from one of the first people through the door. It truly is amazing what they’ve achieved! Don’t believe me, just check this out.


Adrian Howard – @adrianh

  • “UXers often draw parallels with architects – but great architects are nothing without great buildings.”
  • “If we’re always successful are we really learning anything?”
  • “How long does it take you to change a typo on your website?”
  • “Expensive resources must be used effectively otherwise it’s better to do nothing.”
  • “Key question of the day: ask yourself will what you’re doing today help your company deliver a better product or service? If not, stop!”
  • “Measure the impact of what you do in terms of the impact (value) your input has on the product.”
  • “Do your user stories and business cases tally up?”
  • “Which are you building: a minimum viable product or minimum valuable product – there’s a substantial difference.”
  • “Lean UX/Lean Start-up – it’s all about learning NOT the product! After all the whole point is to try and earn what you need to build.”
  • “Make sure your outcomes contains success criteria in order to frame requirements as assumptions.”
  • “Easiest way to get going with Lean UX – add a question mark to the end of your requirements.”
  • “You need to take incremental risks to capture insights.”
  • “UX is not about products its about people!”

A great talk on a number of aspects of Lean UX that have come to be misrepresented or misunderstood. Be sure to check out the slides form Adrain’s pre-conference workshops too – they’re incredibly useful!


Rick Monro – @monro

“It’s up to business to eradicate the complexity for the user.”
“My expectation as a user is … I give you a little, you’ll give me a lot in return.”
“We need to manage complexity, simplicity shouldn’t always be the overriding goal.”
“There are 2 type of complexity, intrinsic (necessary) and imposed (not necessary).”
“Complexity is often introduced for the sake of the business or revenue model – the needs of the user are often a secondary concern.”

This session really resonated with me! We’ll certainly be adopting a complexity audit as part of our scoping process for new projects off the back of this really practical and brave analysis of complexity, and how it can impact a project.


Abbi Reynolds – @abijreynolds

  • “User research, the approach is more important than the method. A combination of methods and approaches often works best.”
  • “It’s the approach that is important, the method is secondary.”
  • “Often a combination of approaches and methods works best.”
  • “Use quantitative research to test assumptions and qualitative research to find out what you don’t know.”
  • “It’s about letting the conversations emerge not leading them.”
  • “Leave participant recruitment to specialist recruiters.”

A really fun interactive session. Check out the slides they’re full of some really practical information on user research methods and techniques.


Paul Jervis Heath – @pauljervisheath

  • “The kick-off meeting is to late to be questioning the brief.”
  • “If you uncover needs in usability testing something has gone wrong.”

I didn’t take many notes – I was too busy listening! A really good session to have towards the end of the programme as it really got you thinking about what we’re really engaged to do and the affordances we require to do our best work. Read this excellent write-up by Colin from to learn more.

UPDATE: Slides can be found here


And last but not least

We need to say a big thank you to all of the Software Acumen team for a fantastic couple of days. We’re already looking forward to UX Scotland 2015!

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