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Camp Digital 2017 – the ups & downs of humanising technology

By Maria Santos

Digital Marketing Manager


It’s 2017, technology keeps evolving and the user experience (UX) industry is bigger and better than ever. Yet, there is an unprecedented shift happening that is making UX and usability less about technology and more about the humans using it.

Visionary companies like Uber have been doing it for years; applying the principles of behavioural economics to their products. However, some now say and the evidence shows that focusing more on human behaviour is not always beneficial for the user. Uber (now worth over £43 billion) is a good example: the company has gaged what makes their drivers tick like few other businesses are able to, but not without consequences to the workers.

By applying the principles of behavioural science and gamification like a pro, Uber has managed to encourage their drivers to work more hours than ever, leading to lower prices for clients and more supply to appease the high demand in big cities. While both Uber and the clients get a sweet deal out of it, the drivers also make more money, but also suffer the consequences of working up to 65 hours per week, when the legal average is 48 hours per week.

This shows how the balance between developing the experience and focusing on the user is not always exclusively positive for the humans behind the data. In 2017, this delicate equilibrium will be one of the focus of a few conferences and events happening up and down the UK: one of them is Camp Digital 2017.

The user at the centre of Camp Digital

camp digital 2017For the sixth year in a row, Manchester will welcome the leading digital event. The conference, held on 24th May, will combine “inspirational presentations and hands-on, practical workshops”, plus the trendy topics making the headlines in UX such as service design, behavioural psychology, digital inclusion, innovation, social change, data visualisation and digital transformation.

Camp Digital’s line-up is, once again, rather impressive. Let’s start with Emer Coleman, Technology Engagement Lead for Co-op Digital, who will be focussing on how the tech industry doesn’t always show concern about ethics and the use of data.

Besides well-known industry people like inclusive technology evangelist Molly Watt and sensory design consultant Alastair Somerville, the event also counts with NHS Digital’s Simon Wilson and FutureGov’s Dominic Campbell, experts in design-led transformation within public service and government departments.

The fact that one of the speakers is an artist is truly refreshing: Stefanie Posavec’s has designed covers for some of Jack Kerouac’s books and her work has even been shown at MoMA. She will give the attendees some tips on how to humanise data.

Make a note to listen to design veteran Elizabeth Buie, who will focus on a new and exciting topic: the transcendent user experience. Along with Alastair Somerville, Elizabeth will deliver a workshop about this new area of practice and take an early look at some exciting new tools and techniques she has developed at Northumbria University’s School of Design, as part of her PhD research on design for transcendent user experience (TUX).

People for Research and Elizabeth are collaborating on a blog about TUX that will be published on our website ahead of Camp Digital, so keep an eye out for new content about this exciting topic.

You can still get your ticket to Camp Digital via the event’s website. People for Research will be sponsoring the conference, so find one of our team members in Manchester on 24th May for a quick chat about participant recruitment.

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If you are organizing a conference or event and would like to find out more about how People for Research can help, please get in touch on 0117 921 0008 or

Maria's signature picAbout the author: Maria Santos is the Digital Marketing Manager at People for Research. You can find her on the People for Research’s Facebook or Twitter accounts, regularly engaging with potential participants, market research experts and the UX community.

About People for Research: We recruit participants for UX and usability testing and market research. We work with award winning UX agencies across the UK and partner with a number of end clients who are leading the way with in-house user experience and insight.

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