After two years of going remote, 2022 was the year of meeting in-person once again for UXLx, with beautiful Lisbon as a backdrop.
From 24 to 27 May the paths of 500 attendees from 36 countries lead to Lisbon, Portugal for 4 incredible days of UX learning, inspiration and networking.
This year we had a total of 18 workshops (2 full-day, 16 half-day) and 10 talks where our industry-recognised speakers thought UX professionals valuable new skills they can now apply to their jobs, and also gave them a glimpse of what’s ahead.
Now that almost a month has passed since the end of this incredible edition, it’s time for a quick recap.
8 AM sharp. The glass doors of the FIL Meeting Centre opened up to welcome our very first attendees. First stop: the check-in desks to collect the badges and this year’s pinky swag bag, packed with some awesome treats from out sponsors and partners.
The first day of UXLx was dedicated to full-day workshops so attendees had two options to choose from:
Information Architecture for Design Leaders by Jorge Arango
A workshop specially aimed at designers new to leadership that introduced IA tools and practices, focusing on sense-making and strategic alignment.
Throughout the day attendees did a series of hands-on exercises that focused on gradually building and validating a system conceptual model. Jorge Arango also covered how these practices can be used to address real-world challenges and how to integrate them into our work.
Product Management for UX People by Christian Crumlish
Attendees learned how to leverage their design “superpowers” and user experience training to thrive in a product-centric workplace, achieve better outcomes in terms of product UX, develop more efficient teams, and foster better work environments.
Christian started the workshop by covering what exactly is a product manager, how PM differs from UX and how UX skills can be applied to PM work. Working with the people at their table, attendees did a skill-sorting exercise where they had to write skills relevant to UX or product on stickies and then sort them into 3 stacks: everyone has the skill / team has enough skills / team needs more people with this skill.
After the morning break, Christian covered how a product manager has to learn how to negotiate and collaborate with engineers by being very attentive to their drives, concerns, and patterns of behaviour.
After lunch, Christian started with — the business of a PM is business, where he covered how to build sustainable value for both customers and the organisation, understanding and sizing a market, how to define product-market fit, revenue, etc. He also explained how great product managers spend time diving deeply into data and seeking to understand it.
The last part of the workshop was dedicated to roadmaps. Christian explained how a roadmap communicates what goals the product team is working on now and planning to work in the future. How a roadmap is not a launch plan nor a list of features. Instead they should focus on desired outcomes organised by themes.
👉 Christian shared his experience at UXLx 2022 here. Check it out!
Welcome Party @ Esplanando
After a great first day of learning, it was time for some relaxation and networking over some cold drinks and nibbles at a nice “esplanada” by the Tejo river.
Hands-On Augmented Reality by Jaleh Afshar
For this workshop Jaleh asked attendees to bring a laptop with free Spark AR software downloaded and a smartphone with Instagram or Facebook app.
These were the tools attendees needed to learn the basics of AR and create their very own effect using Spark AR to share with friends and family.
Before that, Jaleh talked about the history of AR and how it differs from VR or other emerging technologies, and the ways AR is used in various industries, from manufacturing, logistics, education, automotive, and entertainment.
Then for the hands-on part she explained what the technical capabilities of Spark AR software are and how this software differs from other AR creation software.
Research Ops: Research Skills Framework by Dave Hora
Dave Hora designed this workshop to give practitioners, research leaders, or product leaders a new frame for understanding and making decisions about research capability in the larger organisation.
He made attendees work with some of the tools in the Research Skills Framework to understand the research value chain, and then profile their organisation’s capabilities: highlighting strengths, capability gaps, and areas for investment.
During the workshop, attendees did a series of activities focused on helping them make sense of the research function within their specific organisation - visual mapping exercises around organisational structure and research capability.
Designing Powerful Questions For Facilitators, Coaches and Leaders by Daniel Stillman
In this question clinic, each participant shared their most powerful questions, and reframed them using some fundamental mental models Daniel shared from his book Good Talk: How to Design Conversations that Matter.
Daniel covered how questions can be designed, and how we can shift the orientation, origin and size of a question to shift how people are thinking.
Each participant left with several new powerful questions, as well as a method for shifting questions in their work — for themselves, their teams and their clients.
Ethics in User Centred Design and Research by Stephanie Marsh
Stephanie’s central purpose for this workshop was to give attendees practical ways to think about and discuss ethics in their teams.
Stephanie covered the unintended consequences of what we design and build, and how one of the things that can help us be more ethical is to take into consideration those unintended consequences.
Attendees learned about the exercise of consequence scanning and to use 3 different ways of modelling ethics and framing conversations about ethics.
The practical exercises allowed every participant to become familiar with techniques of having constructive conversations within their teams for any ethical decisions they need to make.
How to Get the UX Writing Done by Scott Kubie
Scott’s workshop was not a workshop on what to write but on how designers and design teams are supposed to produce the writing.
Attendees learned about the types of UX content (Interface, Product, Marketing) and the 4 steps of a writer’s assignment workflow — Prepare, Compose, Edit and Finish.
Scott shared useful tools, workflows, methods, and principles that help writers get the writing done on design projects.
Art and Science of Workshop Design by Bernardette Irizarry & Stacy Merrill Surla
Bernardette and Stacy joined UXLx to teach attendees how to confidently deliver workshops that drive desired changes for them, their team and organisations. For that they offered a framework, tools and exercises to help them curate, plan, build a team, facilitate and deliver their next workshop.
Crossing Cultural Borders in UX by Annalisa Nash Fernandez
In Annalisa’s workshop, attendees were able to explore the cultural and technical challenges in expansion across borders into new markets. They learned how to preserve the brand message with global consistency across borders for a meaningful user experience in all markets and to decode how digital user interfaces are understood and valued differently across world cultures.
During the workshop attendees participated in a series of small groups exercises: develop personas for different cultures; map the different customer journey used by global brands in different countries; creative strategy: “the dreamer,” “the realist,” and “the critic” on a popular app.
The first part of Michael Ryan’s workshop was Accessibility 101 where he covered what is accessibility, permanent, temporary & situational disabilities, assistive technologies, WCAG and the most common problems.
The second part was dedicated to the LAAW (Lean Accessibility Audit Workshop). The challenge was capturing accessibility issues of a website using Accessibility Insights. He reinforced how cross functional participation is crucial, meaning everyone from accessibility specialists, to UX researchers, designers, front-end developers, etc. should be involved. Finally he explained how to prioritise accessibility issues and assign their severity.
Eating, drinking & networking
UXLx is not only a place to learn from industry-leaders. It’s also a place to learn with our peers, share experiences and make connections — all over some nice food and drinks, the good Portuguese way.
Coffee breaks and lunch are included in all attendees tickets. They’re perfect opportunities to keeping the conversation going in-between workshops and talks. And all because we want to make sure you don’t leave Portugal without a taste our delicious food, the menu is always based on Portuguese gastronomy. Coffee breaks included “pão com chouriço” (bread with chorizo), ice-creams and the famous Pastéis de Belém (cream custard tarts).
Amplify Wonder & Rigor for Better Problem Solving by Natalie Nixon
In Natalie’s workshop attendees learned that there’s a solid bold line between creativity and business impact. They learned a more expansive way to think about creativity: as their ability to toggle between wonder and rigor to solve problems. She introduced the WonderRigor™ framework, a tool for foresight and explained the 4 domains to apply for strategically reframing challenges.
Attendees also learned new ways to think about curiosity, improvisation and intuition to gain insight about the people who consume their products, services and experiences. Natalie ended the workshop with a simple roadmap for consistently applying creativity for innovative outcomes.
Rules! Drama! Space!: A game design approach to crafting experiences by Andrea Resmini
In this workshop, attendees learned how to describe, model and explain experiences as if they were games by breaking them down into their formal, spatial, and dramatic elements. That is the rules they follow, the environment they create and inhabit, and the narratives they weave.
During the workshop, Andrea and the participants discussed video games, card and board games, reflected on how they simulate complex environments while presenting players with a closed system and no external influences, and used the framework principles and methods to identify what elements we need to focus on, what are they (rules, resources, or mechanics; spatial elements; story elements), their relationships, and their role within the system. They discussed how to turn these insights into IA and UX concepts that capture and represent both the interplay between the elements and the systemic nature of experiences that travel across digital and physical spaces, and what benefits this understanding brings to day-to-day design practice.
Breaking Point: Designing for Stressful Moments by Katie Swindler
In this workshop, Katie covered the essential information that designers need to know about the human stress response to create experiences that harness the benefits of stress, protect users from the drawbacks, and calm users after a crisis.
Katie explored the five stages of the stress response and specific design considerations for supporting users at every step. Attendees practiced with hands-on exercises that taught them to find the hidden stress points in the experiences they design and match the appropriate techniques to support users in those moments.
Attendees also learned how designing for expert users in stressful professions differs from designing for general consumers.
Making Research Work for Product Teams by Matt LeMay
Matt explored why product and research teams often clash with each other and how to navigate the common challenges you are likely to face as you bring product teams closer to customer insights.
Attendees learned how to recognise and address common challenges that face product teams as they try to get closer to customers, how to collaborate around product roadmaps to identify constraints and non-negotiables upfront, how to involve entire product teams in hands-on research, how to translate between business question and human questions, how to share customer insights in an action-oriented way that drives actual product decisions.
Voice Interface Design and Usability by Preston So
In this workshop, Preston taught how to think about voice interfaces the right way, craft compelling dialogues, construct flow diagrams, and perform voice usability testing. Preston also explored voice’s intersections with accessibility and usability and how attendees can expand their skill set as designers to embrace the most human of interfaces: spoken conversation.
Attendees learned how to motivate their voice interfaces with user scenarios and narratives, distinguish between spoken and written conversational interfaces, write sample dialogues adhering to voice best practices, draw flow diagrams rooted in both decisions and dialogues, and understand how usability testing works in voice interfaces.
Inclusive Design by Wendy Johansson
Wendy started her workshop at UXLx with an overview of inclusive design, followed by the principles of inclusive design, and how to research for Inclusive Design. She then explained how to apply inclusive design to create equitable experiences and how to introduce inclusive design to their orgs.
In small breakout groups attendees practiced the inclusive design principles discussed during the workshop.
Flourishing in A Hybrid Work World by Natalie Nixon
In a world where we can now work from anywhere and we can learn from anywhere, those organizations, those leaders and those teams that figure out ways for us to work at the intersection of these three things — technology, productivity and meaningful human experience — will be the ones that thrive and flourish.
Building a Personal Knowledge Garden by Jorge Arango
A garden isn’t a static means of storage, it’s something that you tend. Lovingly, patiently, over the course of a lifetime. There are different gardens because different people have different needs and you will be building your own, but all of them are living things that take effort but they produce nourishment and delight. And as knowledge workers in a new epistemic era we must all be continually learning how to learn better.
The Stories We Tell by Bernadette Irizarry
(…) there are stories you’re experiencing every day, you see things in your workplace that if you can bring into the conversation may make change happen.
So what I would argue to you is use the tools that serve us. Know that you may have that same thing that I have every once in a while that makes you rethink. But if you go back to who you’re talking to and the story that you’re trying to tell them and deliver it well, it can lead to great change.
What Product? or… Manage What, Exactly? by Christian Crumlish
(…) I’m very much a believer that product managers are not the only product people. That on a product team everybody’s a product person and that you know the product manager is doing a coordinating role but they don’t exclusively own this magical product mindset, whatever it is.
Building High-Performing Design Programs by Wendy Johansson
“If you’re trying to hire right now so is everybody else. It’s incredibly difficult to find talent and if you’re not one of the big well-funded companies, you don’t have a big brand name, you don’t have a well-known design leader or culture, it’s really really hard to get people to join your company or your government agency.”
Dear User, Let’s Be Friends by Scott Kubie
“No criticism, show sincere appreciation, create an eager want, be genuinely interested in people, smile, use their name, listen, talk in terms of their interest, make them feel important. Even just a handful of these, if you apply them as principles to your experience, I promise you it’s going to feel friendlier, your users will be happier and everybody’s going to have a much better time.”
A Designer’s Guide to Life-and-Death Decisions by Katie Swindler
“Stress. It is in some ways a great uniter because every human on the planet experiences it. But stress changes us, it changes the way we think, the way we move, it changes the choices that we make. And so, as designers, it is critical that we understand those changes an how to accommodate for them in our designs.”
“As designers we may not be on the front lines, we may not be the soldiers fighting the wars or the doctors trying to cure a pandemic or the astronauts leaving the safety of our little blue marble, but if we are mindful and careful in the way that we approach our designs, we can be there for people when they need us most, we can help protect them, we can calm them, and we can harness the full potencial inside them, helping them to do truly amazing things.”
Incomplete by Design by Matt LeMay
“So if I’m making my work, whether that’s a presentation, a product plan, a wireframe, and I get stuck then my team’s feedback doesn’t set me backwards anymore, right? It was never finished to begin with. My team’s help moves me forward. If I bring something to my team that is unfinished and I cannot finish without their participation then we have to work together to finish it. Then their participation moves us forward rather than setting us backwards.”
Our Digital Future will be Just Fine by Annalisa Nash Fernandez
“Diversity, equity, inclusion will not be an initiative. It’ll be something that’s built into society with people with different ideas designing these systems. So there is no turning back. These technologies are here because they have a purpose. We decide to use them and you know that as designers you are creating good things. (…) And as designers you hold a lot of power. What you do is valuable to society. The question is how to manage it like we manage other valuable risks.”
Activating Change Through Disruptive Design by Leyla Acaroglu
Designers are these cultural provocateurs meaning that we’re always challenging and changing culture through the choices that we make. We are, whether you’ve got some low level job or a senior position, you are making decisions that impact peoples lives. Everyday. And that decision making opportunity means that you can, with the right intent, help to create better outcomes.
👀 STAY TUNED! We’ll start releasing the videos from the Talks Day on our UXLx Videos page, gradually, when we launch the next UXLx event. In the meantime you can check hours of content from the previous editions.
After Party @ Topo Chiado
We couldn’t end this edition of UXLx without a proper celebration. Panoramic buses took everyone to a cool rooftop bar downtown Lisbon with scenic views of the city.
🙌 We’d like to thank…
- … our Platinum Sponsors Springer Nature and Emergn, our Gold Sponsors Balsamiq, OLX Group and Userlytics, our Silver Sponsor EY, and our Partners for their support.
- … our incredible speakers who so passionately shared their knowledge.
- … the hundreds of attendees from all around the world who chose UXLx to help them become better at their craft.
- … our photographer José Goulão for brilliantly capturing the essence of our event.
- … the entire UXLx team who always goes all out to bring the best UX content to sunny Lisbon and give everyone an incredible experience.