UX design learnings from the NN/g UX Conference London

A blog by Jeroen van Heteren, User Experience Designer at Youwe

Last week (December 2019), I had the opportunity to represent Youwe at the Nielsen Norman Group UX Conference In London. For anyone who hasn't heard of them, NN/g are world leaders in research-based user experience. Attendees learn best practices in the areas of user testing, interaction design, mobile development and many more. Next to hanging out with the best UX experts worldwide, I took two great courses and learned some thoughtful insights about great UX design.

What is UX?

UX stands for User Experience. It is what keeps your product connected and engaging with the user emotionally and can drive the users' behavior resulting in the success of your business. It helps users achieve their goals by making their tasks easy and simpler with no confusion and frustrations. In short, we could say that UX design helps to achieve user goals and business goals.

The Dualities of User Experience

My conference started with a keynote by Jakob Nielsen about the dualities of UX. For those who don’t know Jakob, here is what he has been called by others:

"The guru of Web page usability" (The New York Times)
"The next best thing to a true time machine" (USA Today)
"The smartest person on the Web" (ZDNet AnchorDesk).

The keynote of Jakob was about the fact how surprisingly it is that many issues in the user-experience field don’t have a simple answer. Rather there’s a tension between two good answers that are often opposites. Yet, both extremes can be useful perspectives, and both have their advocates when people debate UX.

The Human Mind and Usability

The first course on Wednesday was ‘The Human Mind and Usability’ course by Maria Rosala. The core principles of this course are devoted to understanding Cognitive Psychology, Computer Science, and Human Factors concepts as they intersect in the field of Human-Computer Interaction and applying those concepts to design challenges. 

The key findings of this course were:

  • UI design should promote recognition over recall
  • Strong information scent primes people in the right direction
  • Context impacts perception
  • People choose the alternative that maximizes the perceived utility
  • User testing ensures good behavioral design

Not coming from a psychology background, it was fascinating to gain a better understanding of the science behind why people make the decisions they do and how we can apply this to our work.

Being a UX Leader: Essential Skills for Any UX Practitioner

The second course was the ‘Being a UX Leader: Essential Skills for Any UX Practitioner’ course by Rachel Krause. This course was all about driving design vision, translating UX into business value, communicating ideas and insights, managing feedback, and evangelizing UX.

It was a masterclass, Rachel was very well prepared, the presentation was well structured, and I got a lot of practical tools to take back and apply in my day-to-day work. I'm excited to try out some of the techniques in our upcoming design workshops.

Visiting this conference was part of the bigger goal to become UX Certified. NN/g offers certifications, meaning you can take exams for every day of the conference. To obtain the certification badge you must take five courses and pass the exams. The first 2 are now in the pocket and I truly believe attending these courses will benefit our organization and customers. It will take our project approach and way of working to the next level and helps Youwe to stay on top of trends in the industry. 

During the conference, the importance of UX once again became very clear. To summarise the importance of UX Design in any product or service we can say that UX helps to achieve:

  • User Goals: Make user tasks easier and simpler to achieve with no confusion and frustration - have a great customer experience.
  • Business Goals: Good and business directed UX helps to achieve your business goals by understanding and studying human behavior.

Want to know more about UX design?

Read here the 6 UX design trends for e-commerce in 2020, with these trends you will stay ahead of your competitors and can create the ultimate user experience.  

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