UX London is always a calendar highlight for us, and with this year being its tenth birthday, we certainly weren’t disappointed. I went along for the first day and had a great time juggling being on our sponsors stand, enjoying the amazing food, and seeing some of the talks and workshops.

This year, we partnered with Peter Morville, who signed copies of his new book, Planning for Everything over on our stand. Peter also sat down to discuss his career, and explain why he wrote Planning for Everything, in our latest FFS.

P.S. We have a couple of copies left over at Futureheads HQ, so if you missed out, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

It’s difficult to pick out highlights from such an excellent event, but without further ado…

Don’t build projects, build experiments

Navin Iyengar talked about the extensive A/B testing he has undertaken at Netflix. One thing he talked about was the importance of treating these as experiments to test assumptions, and not just validating research or other preconceptions. He gave the example of user sign-ups. Research pointed them to design an extensive content preview section. But real user behaviour suggested that it wasn’t this content preview that was driving sign-ups – they had been building under a false assumption. By designing experiments to “observe what people do, not what they say”, A/B testing can avoid bias and get confirmation you’re moving in the right direction.

Onboarding matters

A great onboarding process requires a long-term approach, but many companies end the experience too soon. While first impressions do matter, Krystal Higgins explained that they don’t negate the need for a consistent touch – multiple times across multiple modalities. Krystal’s talk focused on onboarding users for a digital product – but we think there’s a really interesting crossover when considering how you onboard a new hire, where these principles can be just as useful.

UX isn’t everything

I was intrigued to hear this talk. Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom, talking about how UX has tried to move to be ‘the centre of the universe’, and how this is causing a ‘crisis’. While this might all sound a bit doom-and-gloom, Paul argues that as we build for the future, we need to look at product development more holistically. Design isn’t the only thing that matters, and every product designer has a lot to learn from other areas. As Paul puts it, “your sales team knows your products failings better than you do”. Great UX design requires the perspective of others. As they say, it takes a village.

I’d love to hear what you thought of UX London. Say hello at andrew@wearefutureheads.co.uk.

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