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Posted by James Oliver on 10 November 2014

The lowdown from Day 1 of the conference

Having just moved up to the north-east, and 2.5 weeks into my new role as Director of UX at Status, it was a very last-minute opportunity to attend the DIBI Conference, and I was lucky enough to be present on both days. This year's venue was the Biscuit Rooms, Biscuit Factory, Newcastle.

On Day 1 I started off in the ‘Designing for an Effective User Experience’ workshop with Elizabeth (Libby) Gardiner. I found Libby’s teaching style & quirky sense-of-humour worked well in introducing the basics to a very young group of attendees. She cleared up definitions of various terms such as ‘Usability’, ‘User Interface’, ‘UX’ and other terminology which is often misused She showed us some great slides such as Jacques Carelman impossible objects, introduced the ‘banner blindness’ phenomenon and also had some great quotes & examples from ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ by Donald A. Norman – a classic beginners book also recommended to me several years back at the beginning of my UX journey.

After the intro we broke into groups for a workshop session. We took a BBC brief which was focussed on developing a solution for re-engaging with 16-24 yr olds and exploring ways to deliver their rich quantity of content. We started off with developing Personas – not officially in the correct method – which is interviewing a broad range of real users, but instead created 3 fictional characters – giving them fictional names, ages, interests, devices used, and career aspirations. Not perfect, but certainly in this context of introducing the concept & saving time, it was enough to kick-off the process.

After lunch I switched over to ‘Seeing the Shot – Photo Walk’ with Dan Rubin. I use photography on a daily basis – either through documenting my UX working processes, presentation of final deliverables but also my amateur dabblings on Instagram etc.

Dan had a mix of SLR Cam vs Smart phone users, but was able to give us all simple guiding principles that could be applied to both devices. The main learning I took was over the very common issue of taking too many shots – using your eyes more & waiting for the perfect shot is better than constantly snapping – something made worse by the limitless capacity of digital devices.

For those on iOS Smart Phones in particular – you might find the ‘press and hold’ AE/AF Lock function useful – as it locks initial focus, which allows you to pan the camera around without losing focus. Also never zoom, cropping afterwards means the quality is never lost. I also discovered new Apps such as Cortex Cam & VSCO cam – the prior actually improves functionality of the basic phone camera – combining multiple shots to deliver the most crisp shot possible – particularly useful in low light or with movement in your subject matter.

Day 2 of the conference coming soon...

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