Why UX Australia was awesome — and responses to our survey question about UX tedium!

Alan O'Neill

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We packed our bags with pants, toothpaste, snake spray, promotional stand-up banners, business cards, and our Optimal Workshop hoodies and T-shirts. It took us less than 4 hours to get from Wellington to Sydney where the awesome UX Australia 2014 conference was held.

We got to listen to some of the coolest speakers and thinkers around the world like Eric ReissBoon Sheridan, and Alberta Soranzo, and unfortunately had to attend those fun after conference parties. But was it all just rock-stars and drinks? Nope, not for us, because we were a sponsor of this event and had a colorful stall for attendees to come interact with us. It was great hearing, seeing and talking to UXers — it's what makes these conferences for us.

We decided to give away one annual suite subscription of our tools. We asked attendees to answer two simple enough questions. The winner would be picked at random by our CEO Andrew Mayfield (names in a hat). We asked people two questions:

  1. What is the most tedious thing in your work day while doing UX projects?
  2. What should Optimal Workshop's next tool be?

Just so you all know you're not alone, we thought we'd share some of the answers to the first question. We invite you to offer solutions to your fellow designers in the comments.

As for the answers to the second question...wait and see ;)

What is the most tedious thing in your work day while doing UX projects?

Making my stakeholders aware of the need and the benefit of UX work in the first place (ie that it doesn't cost as much as they think and that it adds super value).

Translating content audits of existing content into future-focussed IAs.

Getting clients to stick to the IA/navigation concepts we'd agreed on in the earlier steps.

Compiling notes and typing up reports based on notes gathered in sessions etc.

Collating all the users' feedback into something that will work well for everyone

Explain what I do to people who don't know what UX and design is.

Being asked if I can get by without user research & testing.

Not knowing what IA issue is affecting users experience the most.

Explaining the same thing to 14 different people.

Explaining design decisions to stakeholders that I've already explained before and that we've already agreed on (and wireframing little details like error messages).

Transcribing research interviews when there's been an interviewing stage. Most of the other time, I'm busy trying to summarise and figure out how to communicate the design research with the team.

Working with management who want slow development, ie strategy, planning docs, before even identifying audience...

Compiling reports for all UX activities, consent forms, usability reports, testing script, logging sheets, card sorting report, hand over materials, powerpoint templates.

Testing complex data driven sites such as news portals or classifieds.

Dealing with office politics.

And the winner of the competition?

 Niklas Zillinger from Sapient Nitro! Whoop whoop! Well done Niklas!

We did want to share answers to 'What should be the next tool for Optimal Workshop?' but for some reason our developers took this list from me and I haven't seen it since. I heard 'We need a Road Map!' and 'Plan that sprint!' being shouted out of the meeting room though. If I see them again, I'll let you know what we discovered.

We had a fantastic time at UX Australia. Donna Spencer, Steve Baty, and Danielle Baty ran an ultra-smooth, dynamic, compelling, and hardcore fun conference.  We listened to fascinating talks and met heaps of people who we hope we stay connected to for a long time.

Awesome guys. See you again next year!

Alan O'Neill
  • Alan O'Neill
  • Alan is Optimal Workshop's marketing manager and digital lightbulb. He's Irish, loves surfing, and has a weird fascination with Red Pandas. Find him on @optimalworkshop or @optimalAlan

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