24 Hours of UX: The Last 8 Hours

The 24 Hours of UX event ended on the 11th of June 2020 at 1 pm (GMT +8), after 24 hours of uninterrupted live online content. This is a grassroots non-profit initiative bringing together 20 local UX communities to one virtual space. The event brought local UX communities to a global audience with more than 7,000 sign-ups worldwide.

UXTesting.io helped the event organizers, Peter and Jesse, connect with communities from Asia to join this event. As both a UX community contributor and the main sponsor, we were happy to make this event free and accessible for everyone.

This is the last article summarizing the event. Feel free to catch up on the content covered in the First 8 Hours and Second 8 Hours as well.

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Hour 17: New York, USA // Designing the transition to post-COVID workspaces

Hosted by Antonia Starnino and Antonio Ladarola from Studio We, this session focused on the safe transition to a post-COVID workspace and what role spatial design and UX will play in the new normal. 

As we shift away from the initial “survival” mode that COVID has brought onto work environments, we are now having to think about more permanent solutions to this new reality. 

There are four key challenges that become present of mind in order of complexity:
  1. Spatial. This is the most tangible and often the “go-to” when we think of COVID-adapted work environments. There are changes required to ensure the compliance of physical distancing rules and that risk of infections in the workplace is being minimized. 

  2. Processual. This includes how we adapt our processes to align with these changes including having more lenient remote policies, enabling hybrid work where in-office workers are collaborating with remote workers.

  3. Transitional. This includes how to shift people into these realities and support them in that transition. Some startups like Shopify have decided to go remote-first, making a permanent change that will last past COVID.

  4. Psychological. This is the most complex because it is the most individual and uncontrollable. The acts constant reminders of the threat we face can foster a low-level and constant source of anxiety which may lead to burn-out, fatigue, and a general lack of engagement in the work people are doing.

During the session, participants also did some brainstorming activities to discuss what type of new spaces and interactions emerge. You can access the board here to view the discussions.

Image 1: Antonia Starnino and Antonio Ladarola

Hour 18: KEYNOTE by Susan Weinschenk // Designing for behavior change

This session is hosted by Susan Weinschenk, founder and principal of The Team W as well as Adjunct Professor of the University of Wisconsin. It is focused on using human behavior research to dramatically improve the impact of your products and services.

The key takeaways for her session are:
  1. To get long term behavior change, change the self-story. While it is difficult to get ppl to change their stories, sometimes showing them small inspiring videos that are against their own story or behavior will make them feel slightly uncomfortable and encourage them to do so. 

  2. Give people choices, but not too much. People love having a lot of choices, but if you give them too much of it, they are likely not to choose anything at all. The ideal number of choices is 2-4. 

  3. If it is a habit decision, don’t give too much information. People either make a goal-directed value decision or a decision from habit, not both. Giving people more information to make habitual choices is often ineffective. 

  4. Use anticipation, not just rewards. A rat experience showed that dopamine levels in rats didn’t rise much after reward. The anticipation of the reward is causing Dopamine to be released. 

  5. Learn about people, the situation and just follow the process. The more you know about human, situation, process, the better design you can deliver
Image 2: Susan Weinschenk

Hour 19: Washington, D.C., USA // Growing UX teams & designers fireside chat

With us this session, we had Jim Lane, Jody Thomas and Alex Hsiao sharing about building and growing UX teams.

When building a UX team, it is crucial to first understand each member’s skill sets and personality in order to create a team which members will complement each other. It is important to have a 1-to-1 chat with each member to let them know more about the organization and address any concerns they have. Then, gather the team for a meeting to set goals and objectives, discuss the timeline of the project and key success metrics to be measured.

To foster constant collaboration, create an open and collaborative organizational culture, create a safe space where ppl can give feedback and challenge each other and share Objectives and Key Results (OKR) to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals. When working with designers, it is also important to allow them to have the creative freedom to design what they want as long as it is aligned with the team goals.

Having a mix of senior and junior designers can be beneficial for the team, depending on the maturity of the product and organization. Having the right will create opportunities for the junior designers to learn from the senior designers, but the bottom line is that work that needs to be done, needs to be done. Performance valuation should be an expectation for the team, regardless of seniority.

Image 3: Jody Thomas, Alex Hsiao, and Jim Lane

Hour 20: Dallas, USA // Designing for timeless needs

Hosted by Mike Courtney and Cassini Nazir, this session is focused on designing for timeless needs. To design for timeless needs, one needs to capture the emotions of its user. In fact, the first Nokia phone with a camera came from a parent wanting to capture his kid playing baseball. 

There are 6 characteristics of timeless needs:
  1. Not based upon time, technology or culture. Our values and behaviors change, shaped by consumer demands and desires. But the underlying human need is constant. 

  2. Frees us from thinking in terms of current technology. If we separate the need from technology, we can be open to new ways of satisfying the need. 

  3. Complements Maslow’s Hierarchy and Brand’s Pace Layers. Needs can be foregrounded (critical or important right now) or background (not important now, or forgotten, overlooked).

  4. Is a foundation for personas and products. Regardless of persona, job-to-be-done, products or sector, the need is the driving force propelling behavior. 

  5. Requires thinking in longer time horizons. Connects quarterly product roadmaps to needs that are more than 3-5 years out or more than x number of sprints/ iterations. 

  6. The only limit is our imaginations. Needs can be fine grain or high-level, depending on context, industry and a variety of factors. 

Timeless needs are things done in the past, things being done now, and things that will continue to be relevant in the future. Technology and tools are not needed. The goal is to leverage on technology and tools to meed timeless needs.

Image 4: Mike Courtney and Cassini Nazir

Hour 21: Calgary, Canada // The UX of e-commerce, shipping, and delivery

This session is hosted in a fireside chat-style with Michael Rounding, Barbara Shain and Vadim Tslaf, Senior UX Manager at Shopify. UX in e-commerce is about the experience of the parties at the different end of the e-commerce system, such as provider and buyer, as well as the holistic service experience. It includes factors such as shipping times, delivery and logistics.

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, pride themselves as a user-centric company. They conduct interviews, surveys, usability testing and even visited some of their merchants in-person, to observe them in their natural environment and took notes of their actions such as how they prepare and organize their order. This allowed them to design a core experience that is as simple as possible. To facilitate the process, they make use of prototyping tools like Figma, collaboration tools like the Google digital suite as well as the traditional pen and paper brainstorming and sharing sessions.

Due to COVID-19, the e-commerce experience is different from what it used to be. Many companies have turned to e-commerce after physical shops are required to close, which is a huge opportunity for e-commerce companies like Shopify. However, merchants also face another challenge of longer delivery times due to border restrictions.  While some changes are temporary, some of them will permanently change the user experience of e-commerce.

Image 5: Barbara Shain, Michael Rounding, and Vadim Tslaf

Hour 22: Las Vegas, USA // CX in hospitality

This session, hosted in a  fireside chat-style, was joined by Brady Bolyard, Jonatha Saine, Enok Madrid and Sam Hubbell from Las Vegas UX/UI Meetup. In the hospitality industry, there are multiple touchpoints between business owners and their customers. The customers often have to go to several websites to book their hotel rooms, access rewards, view amenities etc.

The speakers highlighted that the key to creating a good user experience is to make sure the experience navigating across different touchpoints feels seamless and consistent. This includes ensuring that the language and visual of their landing pages, social media posts and marketing campaigns are congruous. A simple way to do so is to take a stocktake of all the buttons used on the site. Make sure that the buttons are similar in design, although the colour of them may change depending on the site the user is on.

Conducting usability testing for the site is also important. The use of business intelligence and usability tools often provide you with a better understanding of the sentiment of users. Sometimes, the behaviour and actions of users might be completely different from what we assumed to be. All speakers agreed that iteration is key and we need to be able to learn and adapt on the fly as required.

Image 6: Brady Bolyard, Jonatha Saine, Enok Madrid and Sam Hubbell

Hour 23: San Francisco, USA // Preparing for a Design Manager role

Joined by Alex Shirazi and Carl Wheatley, this is fireside chat-style session, focusing on getting a job in the UX field and preparing for a Design Manager role. 

With regards to setting up a portfolio, Carl advised the attendees to:
  1. Have their strongest projects up on your portfolio.

  2. Include large clear images and make sure there are no grammatical errors in them. 

  3. Add an about me page and use storytelling to engage the interviewer. Practice talking through how they became a designer and how they got to where they are today.

  4. Don’t allocate percentages to their skillsets (eg: 20% Figma, 30% Sketch), just list them as their skill sets will do. 

  5. Having 1-2 full-blown case studies will suffice. 

  6. If they have outdated work on their portfolio, either take them out or polish them.

  7. Building their own brand on a website is recommended even if they have a page on Dribbble.

  8. If their best work is kept under an NDA, either password on their portfolio or change the logo/ branding of the project and tweak it to the company they are applying for. 

In smaller companies, UX practitioners usually need to be more well-rounded. They should be proficient in UI, UX, research and end-to-end design. Larger companies usually have larger teams so a more specialised skill will be preferred.  To prepare for a Design Manager role, try to work in a cross-functional team and interact with different stakeholders.

Image 7: Alex Shirazi and Carl Wheatley

Hour 24: Seoul, South Korea // Small but strong UX design scene, Seoul

It is finally the last hour of the 24H of UX event. In this hour, David Lee, Jihong Kim and Christine Kim joined us to share more about the design scene in Seoul and prototyping with Protopie.

Christine kicked off the session by sharing her experience working in the UX field in the IT industry. She found that conducting parallel UX research with the project is the most efficient way to conduct UX research on a product. The first part of this process is the foundational research which includes user interview, field research and user interviews to come up with the idea. The second part of this process is the directional research which consists of prototype test, usability test, field research, A/B test and analytic report to come up with the product.

The second speaker, David Lee, shared about how Protopie, an interactive prototyping service, helps designers to create prototypes that better communicate with engineers, decision-makers and users. To make the process more efficient for engineers, designers can record a scenario called a recipe and the screen can be sent to developers and they can scrub through the duration to determine the transition needed. For decision-makers, it speeds up the decision-making process as they can easily visualise what the end product will look like, saving them months of developing the proof of concept. Lastly, it benefits the users as product designers can easily design different versions of the product to conduct usability testing, ensuring the end-users will get to use the most ideal product.

Lastly, Jihong Kim ended the session by sharing more about Design Spectrum, a design community in Seoul. They hold monthly meetings, have an educational podcast and organise their annual Spectrum Conference, which is the largest design conference in Seoul. They partnered with Duotone, a digital media company and offer 2 UX courses - UX General Course and UX Discovery Course.

Image 8: David Lee, Jihong Kim and Christine Kim

This wraps up the 24 Hours of UX event. It has been an incredible experience for many, discovering more about the UX scene across the globe. We have also summarized the First 8 Hours and Second 8 Hours of the event on our blog as well. UXTesting.io would like to thank Peter and Jesse for organizing this event and giving us the opportunity to be its main sponsor.

At UXTesting.io, we provide remote user insight solutions to enterprises that can help further your UX research. For questions or more information about how UXTesting.io can help your company, please contact us on social@uxtesting.io.


Shi Ning Peh
Marketing at UXTesting