What’s hot in design – UX Poland 2017 review


Marta Haida
UX Designer
Marta Haida
UX designer and master of Axure prototyping strongly interested in making the users’ lives simpler. Passionate about usability testing and watching people’s emotions and reactions. Russian philologist by profession, privately yoga and Slavic culture enthusiast.

It was one autumn golden morning when I came to Warsaw to take part in one of the most important UX conferences in Europe. 12-13th October 2017 UX Poland 2017 had begun! I was there to gather knowledge and bring some fresh ideas back to Skyrise. Let me share my UX Poland 2017 experience with you!

The conference took place in a large postindustrial interiors at Mińska 65 Street, what gave the event special atmosphere and feeling. It was the 8th edition focused on new types of interfaces and new interactions that can be now designed thanks to the rapid technological development of the past several years.

UX Poland 2017 wasn’t only talks, sitting and learning. It was interactive, vibrant, full of joy and good energy experience which  you could feel it in the air! It was also workshops with specialists who always share with designers their know-how and useful tips on UX that you would never find in books.

Although it was my first time at UX Poland conference and I was there only on talks days, I must admit that the organizers rose to the challenge –  the main conference theme covered the hottest trends in UX design in 2017, all speakers presented a world level speeches and the key note speakers were well-recognised  personalities with a real influence on the design world.

Don’t forget about users when it comes to business – day 1 on UX Poland

The user needs, design connected with business and making proper decisions were in the center of most of the talks that day. Here’s my TOP 3 performances of UX Poland:

Try to work backwards!

One of the most important key note speakers that day was Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) – UX guru who invented personas for presenting users archetypes in practical interactions design. The clue of his speech was a truth well-known to UX designers – ‘it is better to work backwards and change product values upside down than create something that users won’t use because of not answering their goals’. Every time we design something, we should start with learning what are the users’ motivations to use the product, what’s inside their heads and what are their mental models. All these factors will help us to find answers to the question what the users really need. Seems simple? It is not so simple in practice.

Make your design experience easier, smoother, better

Also the new tools for designers had their place at the conference. Andre Jay Meissner presented new software for creating interactive wireframes and prototypes. Adobe XD is a great answer for designers, who search for a mix of Axure and Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop with a possibility to make breathtaking graphics and fluent, real transitions between screens. It’s a tool that lets you handle all elements in one place, easily change one element on many screens simultaneously and still have full control over your project.

Creating this kind of tool is based on Adobe users opinions (again users!) which have been  taken into consideration and have influenced heavily the choice of features. I guess it may give good results – designers, wait for it! – because luckily XD creators came to slimming down everything and leaving only most important and useful options.

Come, I will tell you a story…

The hit of the day was the presentation by Matthew Luhn (@matthewluhn) – the illustrator and story consultant in Pixar. Beginning with the story of his life, he presented how to create great stories and keep our listeners’ attention. All features of well-written stories were shown on a base of famous Pixar animations like ‘Toy Story’, ‘Monsters’ or ‘Ratatouille’. What are the golden rules to tell a good story, then?

  • Combine sad moments with happy ones to surprise your listeners about what could be next.
  • Focus on unexpected action or underline a conflict or troublesome situation.
  • Show change and transformation of the situation.
  • Find something in your story that strikes the listeners and their impossible dreams, fear of abandonment and strong feelings.
  • Make it authentic.
  • Don’t forget about good structure – a good story should have a beginning, then build up and have a strong ending.

Was the speaker successful in keeping our attention thanks to using  the same rules he was talking about?  Maybe – after all I am convinced that ‘the best story wins’. Besides, who would not be interested in a life of a person who creates our favorite Pixar animations.

Artificial intelligence and virtual reality are close – day 2 on UX Poland

During the second day the artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality topics have taken over the conversation. What was most interesting? All top trends topics:

Let’s chat to machines

Phillip Hunter was undoubtedly a star of day 2 of UX Poland 2017! He is the head of UX at Amazon and has been responsible for developing Alexa – Amazon intelligent personal assistant. The theme he was speaking about was conversational and voice interface design and its meaning for us, designers. He noticed that the conversation is not only exchange of information (what Alexa or Siri from Apple does nowadays). It includes many nonverbal elements like emotions, cultural context or contextual adaptation which are hard to program into a machine. And this is the main challenge for us. So far… Who knows what is going to happen in the next in 50 years?

How to solve problems in just 5 days?

Olena Miliutina – interactions designer at Google had short but full of precious tips speech about how to adapt Google Design Sprints in projects. It was in particular interesting for me, because design sprint is the newest method which we are adapting at Skyrise as part of our design process…

Olena was speaking about main principles and what we should always remember about when preparing workshops of this kind. The most important thing is to find a goal which sprint participants can discuss. It’s called a ‘sprint challenge’ and should stay in minds during the whole workshop. Of course design sprints are all about team cooperation which means not only designers work on ideas and concepts – everybody has their voice. Then the clue of each sprint is to check our ideas (presented on prepared sketches and prototypes) with real users. As always in the UX field – user is the key.

Beyond the limits with augmented and virtual reality

Anshuman Kumar whet our appetite for knowledge about how new solutions such as augmented and virtual reality may influence the world. We all know they are the future and they may give us great possibilities in many areas of our lives. His speech at UX Poland 2017 was about designing AR and VR experience fluently according to user needs.

What was great – he showed the audience some real-life examples. Teaching kids about geology using an app with augmented reality which generates the 3D volcano in front of their faces to explain how it erupts was impressive. Or designing buildings and machines by engineers with AR and VR seems to be easier and gives them the possibility to see really accurately how their projects would work and look like. Anshuman didn’t forget about games in VR – the technology already alters gaming experience of millions of gamers around the globe. And of course all the new inventions are based on user needs and expectations.

I could write dozens of essays about UX Poland. You have read just a few paragraphs on only a small part of what was happening there. But I am also sure that it is always better to feel the atmosphere yourself, meet all the people and specialists, talk with them a little bit. Because the full human experience is always in the center of this event!

But what did UX Poland 2017 give me? Motivation and energy burst to go with the flow and still develop at Skyrise the products with the newest trends in mind and the future solutions like artificial intelligence or virtual reality in perspective.

At the end I truly recommend all interested in the UX design top trends to visit Warsaw next year and check with what conference will surprise us then.