Highlights from Mini Con 2021 hosted by UX New Zealand

4 min read Kay Seatter-Dunbar

User researchers, writers, designers, marketers, and others with a passion for UX were treated to talks from some of the best in the business when they connected online for UX New Zealand Mini Con on November 12th. The 100% online UX event was a tempting taster for the much anticipated annual 3-day UX New Zealand conference now rescheduled for February 16-18 in 2022 because of Covid-19.

We introduce the key speakers of the day and highlight what they had to say

Boon Sheridan, Kelsey Gee, Elena Sanchez and Viktoria Semina

US-based Boon Sheridan, UX writer, researcher, and trainer, shared his unique approach to dealing with the tricky problem of false positives. A must-see for anyone searching for ways to do better product research.

“I really struggle with false positives because they chew up resources, they waste your time and they send you down dead ends that don’t necessarily generate meaningful insights”

Boon cautioned against the pitfalls of taking feedback at face value and not digging deeper.

“Sure this looks great. I’d probably use it” sounds positive feedback on the surface but given you haven’t asked them why or when they’d use it – how do you know if they actually would or wouldn’t and why? By digging deeper you could reveal far more meaningful insight and even discover what you thought was positive feedback on your app or product was actually negative”.

To help overcome the problem of false positives in his research Boon has come up with a framework of research questions he uses to help keep his research on the straight and narrow.

To find out more about his framework view his video here. Boon will also be back with a more in-depth exploration at his full workshop at UX New Zealand in 2022.

Kelsey Gee, Lead Designer at the High Impact Innovation Programme (HIIP), Department of Corrections in New Zealand, shared an inspiring example of how design can bring about meaningful experiences and meaningful change.

VINA, is a victim notification APP that works along similar lines to ManageMyhealth or MyIR, where an alert is sent to people’s phones notifying them when new information is available in an online portal.

“In a UX sense VINA was developed to improve the experience for victims and survivors of crime by covering three key needs”:

  • Give me control over my interactions.
  • Give me access to relevant information.
  • And show me empathy and compassion.

VINA went live in August 2021 to a controlled group of users as part of a pilot. Feedback to date is encouraging.

“Thank you for not asking why we don’t want to receive letters on certain dates and leaving it up to us’.

Hear Kelsey’s full talk about designing VINA here. Kelsey will also be sharing more about how design can drive positive experiences and change in a talk at UX New Zealand February 2022.

Sydney-based Elena Sanchez, is a Product Design Leader passionate about helping companies become more customer-centric. Currently at tech startup, Veyor, she shared her insight and experience about what it takes to build high-performing UX/design teams.

“You don’t need to justify the business value of design as much anymore in terms of revenue and shareholder value. As a result design teams are growing.”

But as Elena pointed out, it’s not just the number of designers that’s growing – it’s also the ratio of designers to developers that’s increasing. This raises an interesting question:

“Is the impact of design growing at the same rate? I’d say probably not. Why? Because growth is hard.”

Instead of focusing on the size of your teams, Elena recommends concentrating on the impact you’re creating. She shared 3 questions that can help you scale the impact of your design team.

  • Do you have the right designers in the right places?
  • Are your designers truly partnering with products and tech?
  • Do your designers feel accountable for customer and business results?

For the full story from Elena head here.

Viktoria Semina, is a UX Designer and Strategist in Auckland, New Zealand. She shared her journey of bringing UX to an organization and advocating the value of design. Her case study revealed some of the ups and downs and lessons learned along the way.

  • Change your mindset from UX heroes to UX servants
  • Practice business empathy
  • Listen and learn (before ‘educating’)
  • Embrace business constraints
  • Measure the value of design

View Viktoria’s full talk here.

Matt Cobham, Carol Yung and Georgia Chetwynd-Talbot from Deloitte Digital UK

UX design leads, Matt Cobham, Carol Yung and Georgia Chetwynd-Talbot, from Deloitte Digital UK, were part of the team who delivered end-to-end service of rapid testing for the UK’s Covid-19 mass testing program. Their presentation focussed on well-being, sharing their reflections on managing mental health while working on a challenging project like this. Key points included:

  • Designing in crisis is not for everyone (but it’s a great fit for some)
  • Expects highs and lows (allow people to feel sh*t)
  • Share your stress signals
  • Have honest conversations

To hear more about the strategies they recommend putting in place to help promote and manage well-being as a team and individuals watch here. Carol, Georgia, and Matt will also be back sharing more of their experiences being part of one of the UK’s most significant public sector programs since World War II at UX New Zealand in February 2022.