User Research London: “technology is more tuned into user needs than ever before”
Only a couple of weeks to go until User Research London, the UK’s first user experience research conference. The event happens on 16th June, at the RSA House, and the list of speakers includes names like Steve Portigal and experts from Bristol-based cxpartners, as well as our very own Jess Lewes, People for Research’s Business Development Director.
Ahead of the event, which PFR is sponsoring along with Optimal Workshop and others, we asked a few questions to David McCrae, the founder of User Research London.
It’s User Research London’s first year! How nervous are you?
Ha… At the moment I’m not too nervous, but I imagine I’ll be a bit restless the night before. I think there has been such great support from the community, our speakers, and sponsors, that things have been going really smoothly.
Everybody involved is putting in the extra effort to support the event and I think that’s an indicator that it’s going to be a great day. I always aimed for User Research London to be an event to bring user researchers together and it’s great to see that happening, even before the event day.
The event is like an oasis of user research knowledge in an industry dominated by technology: you’re focusing on the ‘human’. What encouraged you to take this step?
A couple of years ago, Dan Szuc (one of our keynote speakers) and I were speaking at UX Australia about what a research focused conference would be like. We’re both researchers and we were excited about the idea of talking about the learnings, rather than the design output. Then last summer the idea became a reality and I started putting the plan together for User Research London.
I feel like the technology industry is more tuned into user needs than ever before now and the UX profession is trying to highlight research as the best way to understand them.
Looking around the industry, it felt like the prime time to get together in a room and have those discussions about what makes good research.
I think if you look at the products and services we consume now, only the ones that truly solve the problems people have succeed. If you don’t understand the people that use your product or service and make them the centre of how you work, I don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with the industry around you.
The talks on the day are quite diverse. How did you pick the speakers and the topics?
The first few speakers almost picked themselves because they were excited about the event itself. But all of the speakers work in user research, so I think they all feel invested in an event like User Research London. The day will try to cover multiple topics and view points on user research so that everybody gets the opportunity to come away with new perspectives
When organising the programme I’ve been able to schedule the talks into complimentary themes, which will work really well together. For example, People for Research’s Jess Lewes will talk about recruiting users from the perspective of a recruiter and then Whitney Quesenberry from the Civic Design Center will talk about going into communities and recruiting in the moment.
It’s these pairs of perspectives that will make User Research London such an engaging day.
What can the attendees find at the event besides the talks?
First up, I think the attendees themselves are going to find meeting each other an incredible experience. Looking at the ticket sales so far, the audience is much bigger than just London. We’ve got researchers from all over Europe and further afield including some attendees coming all the way from Australia and New Zealand.
Our sponsors are also going to be offering extra opportunities to get involved on the day. People for Research are hosting their Participant Recruitment Clinic, Zebra People will be hosting a job board for you to post your CV or job adverts on, and make sure you to talk Facebook and Moo about their career opportunities too.
If you keep an eye on our Twitter and mailing lists over the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing competitions, ways to get involved and more.
Are you already thinking about next year’s User Research London?
I’m really excited to say: yes! User Research London 2018 is already in the pipeline. I’ve been having a few discussions with some great speakers to be part of the line up next year and, as well as new speakers, we’re also going to try a new format next year. This will aim to make the event more interactive and give the attendees more chances to get involved and be part of the conference.
Make sure you hang around until the closing notes on the day to hear the announcement for User Research London 2018.
There are still tickets available for User Research London.
— People for Research (@people4research) June 1, 2017
Camp Digital 2017 “on the right side of history”
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About 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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