Event Review // UX Australia

Event Review // UX Australia

This year I attended UX Australia again, this time in Sydney so I got to go home in the evenings…. Not always a benefit when the social gatherings are as good as these.

It was held in the last week of August and was once more a sellout and a great success, with 600 attendees and 50 speakers.

The event this year held more of a buzz than previous events which I believe is largely due to the seismic shift we are experiencing in the Australian market affecting experience design. There was an almost tangible sizzle. Experience design has, in the last 12 months, earned its place at record numbers of executive suite tables as the country’s best and finest battle to win over users and consumers with best-in-class experiences. Knowledge of the power of design is becoming commonplace instead of the exception, and the language of service design, customer centered design and design thinking, is being spoken by more and more C level executives than ever in Australia. The knock on that I believe made it so clearly felt in the air at UX Australia, has been the growing sense of importance: more willing ears, more sponsors, numerous talent scouts, record levels of demand.

Testament to this was that the talk I was on the panel for, UX Careers, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, run by Matt Magain of UX Mastery, attracted a packed audience. Seating was full and spilled over to the floor, aisles and cupboards at the back. That’s a pretty clear message. Especially as it was not just people looking for portfolio tips, or a market view, many of the audience were employers, looking to glean some intel on talent attraction.

Another difference I noticed from last year was the amount of talks that felt like pitches. I don’t think anyone goes to these conferences looking to learn something entirely new. Instead people seek insights and inspiration, as well as enjoying the sense of community and sharing that is so wonderfully strong here. So it was surprising (and slightly irksome if I’m to be honest) to see so many businesses appearing to talk themselves up, with a “what we do is…” slant, rather than a “think about this…”.

Lastly, I’d like to mention a couple of standouts for me on the day. The first was the opening keynote by Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer at GE Software. What I took from his talk on Designing At Scale, was the concept of the democratisation of design, creating a community. He suggested we all become “possibilitarians” and that smart organisations have a Community Manager in them.

The other one I particularly enjoyed was Harriet Wakelam’s presentation – Connectors, Enablers & Scouts. Harriet has just returned from London and brought with her a superb insight into the trend there towards fintech innovation, but with the added twist of a banks vs start-ups ‘mash-up’. This is valuable stuff to be shared with the Australian market and is super-relevant to our current fintech landscape.

For those who couldn’t make the full event, there is a slimmed down one-day version called Redux on in both Sydney (5th November) and Melbourne (29th October).

Looking forward to next year, Brisbane I believe…

Want to read more? Copies of presentations are now up.