Highlights from the UX360 Summit 2023: Breaking Down Barriers in UX Research

Highlights from the UX360 Summit 2023: Breaking Down Barriers in UX Research

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The recently concluded UX360 Summit was a virtual conference that provided a deep dive into all aspects of User Experience (UX) design. The conference featured a diverse range of talks and workshops from leading industry experts in the field of UX design, research, and strategy. The UX360 Summit was organized by the esteemed Merlien Institute and boasted an impressive attendance of over 900 participants, making it one of the most significant UX conferences of the year.

The summit offered a comprehensive program that explored various facets of UX design, encompassing an array of topics such as user research, design thinking, accessibility, user interface (UI) design, and product strategy. Participants had the opportunity to engage in interactive sessions, participate in live Q&A sessions, and connect with fellow attendees to expand their knowledge and insights on the latest trends and practices in UX design.

The UX360 Summit featured a distinguished lineup of accomplished speakers, including prominent leaders of teams at renowned companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and Airbnb. The sessions delivered by these experts were highly informative and insightful. In a particular session led by Kate Powell, a UX lead at United Airlines, attendees were inspired to take calculated risks, as Powell shared that the best insights she uncovered through her research were the ones where she had to take a leap of faith. Her thought-provoking words left a lasting impression on the audience, igniting their passion for innovation and pushing them to explore new horizons in UX design.

Day 1 Highlights at the UX360 Summit 2023

At the UX360 Summit, Lorisa Dubac and Lisa Fraser, UX researchers at Goldman Sachs, delivered a presentation on how user research need not be an isolated practice, and can be enhanced by collaborating with non-researchers. They emphasized the significance of inclusive research and how it can transcend beyond mere reporting to create a lasting impact.

The Metaverse, often dismissed as an exaggerated virtual world, has faced its share of criticism, with some considering it to be exclusively accessible to the wealthy. However, Yana Beranek, global head of user experience at Ipsos, dispelled these notions and presented a compelling case for the Metaverse’s potential. Drawing from her research, she explained how VR games could evolve beyond entertainment, enabling users to engage in diverse activities, such as manipulating virtual objects, trying on clothes, and even exploring new career paths. However, given the newness of this digital realm, Beranek also addressed concerns around safety, and shared her design principles for ensuring user safety in the Metaverse.

The UX360 Summit caters to a diverse audience, ranging from senior leadership at established organizations to newcomers in the industry. Attendees included individuals working in companies that may not prioritize UX as much as they should.

During the summit, Dr. Flavius Kehr, Head of UX at SAP, shared valuable insights on building research functions in organizations with low maturity levels. He specifically addressed junior UX researchers working in such companies and advised them to focus on projects that are important to their respective organizations to demonstrate the value of their research. Kehr’s advice highlighted the importance of understanding the business priorities and aligning research efforts accordingly to garner support and appreciation for UX research.

Day 2 Highlights at the UX360 Summit 2023

The second day of the UX360 Summit began with a captivating presentation by Jun Helzer, the Head of Research at Udemy. Helzer shared her expertise in overcoming challenges while conducting Foundational Research, and provided insights into the complexities of research design. She emphasized the significance of framing research questions and how it impacts the outcome more than the research methods employed.

Furthermore, Helzer cautioned researchers against becoming so engrossed in detail that they miss the bigger picture. She advised against getting lost in a single aspect of the research process and neglecting the broader context.

Highlights From The Ux360 Summit 2023: Missing The Forest For The Trees
An important insight to not miss the bigger picture as shared by Jun Helzer in her session

One needs to highlight what they risk and what they miss whenever they start a new research proposition.

Ville Österlun, the CEO of Leanlab, spoke about the broken practice of user interviews during his session at the summit. He highlighted the prevalent issue of users being treated as mere test subjects, and how surveys have become overused and lost their value due to a drastic drop in response rates over the years. Österlun pointed out that the lack of customer segmentation and the absence of a regular connection with users are other major challenges faced by researchers today. As a result, users no longer see the value in participating in research interviews.

To overcome this, Österlun emphasized the importance of making interactive research fun for users to ensure that the research insights are genuine. He cited the Nordic Life Community as an excellent example of an initiative taken by a Nordic Life Insurance Company that successfully engaged with users in a fun and interactive manner.

The UX360 Summit provided a valuable opportunity for UX professionals to enhance their skillset, stay updated with the latest practices and emerging trends in the field, and connect with peers in the industry. Furthermore, the conference served as a platform for companies to showcase their products and services to a targeted audience of UX professionals.

The conference spanned several days and was conducted virtually, enabling attendees from around the world to participate without physical barriers. Additionally, UX360 Summit made recorded sessions accessible to attendees for a period of six months after the event.

In conclusion, the UX360 Summit was an exceptional event for individuals with an interest in UX design seeking to broaden their knowledge and expand their network.

This article was last updated on November 28, 2023; Originally published on April 20, 2023

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