My Takeaways from UXC18 at HEC Montreal
On Tuesday, November 6th, 2018, I attended a local experience design conference called “UXC18: L’UX sous toutes ses formes” (UX in all of its forms). Brilliant speakers ranged from industry experts, consultants and academics from Shopify, Deloitte, Ubisoft, ElementAI, Desjardins Group, HEC Montreal, and more.
Here’s what I took away from this full day of talks.
“What’s the responsibility of UX designers?” by Cynthia Savard Saucier (Shopify)
In her powerful talk, Ms. Savard Saucier described in detail the dangerous and all too often deadly consequences of short-sighted design. She presented her perspective on the issue of ethics and morals in design and offered solutions such as working backwards with a Fault-Tree Analysis (I go into a little more detail about this tool in “Samsung’s “Send SOS Messages” is Flawed”).
“How to prototype designs and yield reliable results when one can’t test on real users” by Eric Brangier, Ph.D. (Université de Lorraine)
In his talk about design as it pertains to the worlds of health and life sciences — more specifically, invasive surgical devices that can’t be tested on real users — Dr. Brangier described a tried and proven process of triangulating at least three different prototyping methods to ensure the effectiveness and safety of surgical tools, and maintaining a culture of constant iteration.
During the Q&A period, he also made it clear that relying solely on advanced simulators, such as flight or surgery simulators, is never enough to conclude that a design will be safe for human application because studies have shown that simulators don’t trigger the same levels of stress in the tool operators as real-world scenarios. In other words, the surgeon knows he’s playing a game without real consequences.
“…users testing the online experience were often unaware of their pain points during their online shopping journeys.”
“How to identify actual friction points experienced by online customers” by Caroline Giroux-Huppé (HEC Montreal)
Ms. Giroux-Huppé talked about how she used HEC Montreal’s state-of-the-art neuroscience and big-data driven UX lab (a.k.a. Tech3Lab) to study the physiological and bio-metric reactions of users to various stimuli during an online shopping experience.
In her thesis results, Ms. Giroux-Huppé found that the qualitative feedback from users differed significantly to the quantitative results of the bio-metric equipment. She concluded that users testing the online experience were often unaware of their pain points during their online shopping journeys.
“…Mr. Nunez and his team used design sprints […] and Shark Tank style “dragons” to gamify the summer internship and help the organization solve real problems in 4 months.”
“How to apply human-centered design to integrate new talent into an organization” by Loïc Nunez (Desjardins Group)
In his emotional presentation, Mr. Nunez described in great detail how the Desjardins Group, a local credit union and one of the biggest cooperatives in the world, used human-centered design to get a dozen summer interns to feel included and valued from day one.
He outline three important dimensions that made his experiment a success:
- The needs of the students
- The needs of the Desjardins Group
- Desjardins Group’s technological capabilities
By focusing on these three dimensions, his team was able to focus on clear objectives for the internship, the experience of the interns, key challenges they would face, impact to various stakeholders, design sprints, “dragons” (similar to the sharks in Shark Tank on ABC), HR experts, and welcoming the interns.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Nunez and his team used design sprints — pioneered by Google Ventures —and Shark Tank style “dragons” to gamify the summer internship and help the organization solve real problems in 4 months.
“How might we future-proof user experience design?” by Ariel Sim (Doblin/Deloitte & MaRS Discovery District)
Have you ever heard of design anthropology? Me neither. Ms. Sim went into great detail about this concept and her experiences over the years. She summed up design anthropology as a combination of transformation and reinvention.
In her wisdom, she offered three tips to future-proof user experience design:
- Diversify the skills and worldviews of the people that make up your organization, department or team
- Take a big picture approach to design
- Take the long-view; that is, focus on long-term value outcomes rather than short-term results.