Our group digital director shares his highlights

After a weekend to reflect on the amazing UX New Zealand conference, two talks really stuck for me. One was about the exotic, and the other about simple, hard work.

Alessandra Millar’s talk on making Google Maps useful for the next billion people fell into my favourite category of ‘your internet is not everybody’s internet’. Millar is a user experience researcher at Google who makes sure that the Google Maps user experience works just as well for someone zooming around the backstreets of a developing nation as it does for Aucklanders trying to find that Poke bowl shop they heard about.

I was chatting to one of our senior designers who does amazing work as a volunteer helping a Columbian refugee family settle into Wellington. Amazingly, it took her a whole day to help them work out how to effectively catch the buses. If someone’s experience work could make that challenge more digestible for a new arrival then you could be sure that optimised experience will make things a whole lot easier for ‘locals’ too.

Another highlight was the deeply practical talk by Amy Stoks and Tania Hockings. They presented as an agency/client pair which sends a good message right there. I really enjoyed Amy’s humble attitude to acknowledging an approach that hadn’t worked in the past, learning from it and moving forward. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing that they slashed thousands of info pages about ACC down to a hundred or so useful ones. Their approach of pair writing (subject matter expert plus copywriter) is very similar to how we work with our internal copywriter day-to-day here, so it was great to hear a success story of that working at scale too.

This year we were proud to be the exclusive design partner for the conference, which led to one of those relatively rare UX and design jobs where we as a project group were actually our own target audience. After using the site multiple times to check schedule and speaker details inside the theatre, we can happily report it successfully delivered to our own critical eyes. And nothing beats seeing motion graphics projected at scale in a darkened room!

Thanks to Jimmy and the UX New Zealand crew for an amazing event.

A special thanks also to UX NZ 2017, social media partner Dinky Media, for their awesome work.

Jonathan Tillick is the Group Digital Director of Dave Clark Design