UX Brighton, May 2014

Well last night was great. Aside from seeing Ben enjoying and recommending Pub du Vin’s ales to delegates, whilst bouncing the event, the talks at UX Brighton were brilliant.

Over the last three years, since the Alpha, I’ve tried to get to any event that has seen a member of GDS speaking and when I saw it was Leisa Reichelt, I couldn’t say no.

Customer experience

There were two other speakers at the event. Tim Loo from Foolproof and Jason Ryan from Brilliant Noise. Both had similar presentations about UX Strategy and Customer Experience.

As a designer that likes to build things, these strategy talks can be drawn out. And, I’m struggling to see how customer experience differs from user experience; my current thinking is that its focus on the post-sales experience is what gives it this title?

But customers are still a user of the product, brand and experience. Seems like semantics and more and more slide decks.

“The strategy is delivery”

I just love the work GDS do.

Leisa’s points were in direct contradiction to the first two presenters and she made no effort to disguise this.

All the talk, and all the excuses were answered with ‘just build things’. I imagine this is the logical state to be in when the government has been abused for so long by the large software houses.

She also mentioned that there were no UX designers at GDS as it’s everybody’s realm. I wanted to ask “I’m a UX designer, what could I do at GDS?”.

At this point a tweet was made by Carlos of Spook Studio (our office neighbours) which caused a bit of a spat on Twitter.

This prompted a response that answered my question:

All good discussion. Shame the messenger got shot.

The idea of putting a prototype together, that directly contradicts stakeholders’ points of view, but has the power to get buy in from senior stakeholders, is very exciting. And if you’re good at what you do, you’ll find a way to do this efficiently and professionally.

Not produce another slide deck.

It was interesting watching the other two speakers defend their process when Leisa had finished; perhaps shaken by the confidence and quality of the GDS message?

Later that night, I got to thinking…

Lean and agile processes allow you to make changes as you go, so do we need huge, four year projects to change culture, or do we just build things and amend as we learn more.

I used to think that this wasn’t possible inside an agency given the finite nature of the relationship. Wrong! If you’re in a good agency, it’s totally possible and essential to cultivating lasting relationships with your clients.