My 5 takeaways from UX London

on 4th July 2023

(Last updated 26th July 2023)

Here at Liquid Light we love creating beautiful, high-performing websites. But, more importantly, websites that serve their intended audience. We aim to make whatever we create not only nice on the eye, but also functional and accessible by all. For this, we dive deep into each of our client’s requirements and research all the different stakeholders and their potential pain points in order to provide the right solution.

For this reason, I was very excited to be able to attend UX London and meet fellow folk interested in user research, interactive design and product design. It was an incredible opportunity to get in the same room with expert designers and UX practitioners and learn from shared experiences and knowledge.

The conversation is shifting to focus more on sustainable design

As well as listening to inspirational talks by an incredible line-up of speakers, we had the opportunity to attend two hands-on workshops. These were on Design Ethics, with Trine Falbe, and Designing for complex UIs, with Vitaly Friedman.

It was clear from the themes of the talks and the workshops that this year, the focus of the conference was very much on design equity, ethics and sustainability, which is something that sits at the heart of the work we do. Did you know that ChatGPT uses 500ml of water per 30-50 requests answered? Neither did I. Here are 5 more of my key takeaways.

1. The impact of digital on global carbon emissions

Digital technologies are responsible for producing 1.2-3.9% of global carbon emissions. However, awareness needs to be raised about the fact that digital sustainability extends beyond the carbon emissions related to production. Hannah Smith (The Green Web Foundation) talked about how product developers and owners should also consider the ongoing impact of people using our products and how it affects the planet. Designing for sustainable production, use and disposal is crucial.

2. The importance of company culture

Company culture impacts on the end products massively. If companies don’t put their people first, they can’t put their users first (Vimla Appadoo).

3. The dichotomy of design systems

Design systems can be very helpful, but they are nothing without a context and will limit you in your decisions. What has worked well in the past for someone else might not work for you.

4. The change towards women-centric design

Human centred design is not synonymous with designing for everyone - historically, user data collected for design has been male-related only. Consequently, products have been designed primarily with men in mind. As an industry we need to shift to more inclusive research and design. “Women-centricity doesn’t mean we only design for women. Rather we recognise that designing for “everyone” isn’t working and start to design more inclusively, especially focusing on the consistently overlooked.” Unconform.

5. Engagement is not the be-all and end-all of success

Many companies that commission digital products measure success in numbers. Engagement is often used as one of the main KPIs for digital products, but engagement doesn’t always go together with ethical design. Think about how Facebook and Instagram incorporated infinite scroll in an attempt to keep users on the site. In his talk, David Dylan Thomas talked about how designers have the choice to make more humane and conscientious products and experiences.

All in all, it was a great two days where I learned a lot about current trends in UX, listened to some very inspiring talks, and I cannot wait to be back next year!

This article was posted in Design, User Experience