Last night I attended IxDA’s DEFUSE 2015 conference event. As with past years, the queue was halfway down Dubin’s Leeson St. for the tiered auditorium of The Sugar Club. I literally just managed to get in! DEFUSE is always a great night, landing somewhere between conference event, an IxD geeks rock’n'roll roadshow and standup comedy. I always seem to know one of the presenters (The Six Degrees of Separation being more like three in the Irish context) and last night was no exception with HMH’s own Donal O’Mahony doing an awesome job presenting ‘Design for 5 year olds and 75 year olds’


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There were many takes-homes from the the wide variety of presentations but here are my top four…

  • Donal O’Mahony’s (HMH) take on Universal Design was well received – that if we design with the very young and the very old in mind, we will design something useable and understandable by all, rather than just a select target audience.
  • Linn Vizard (Usability Matters) talked about the value of a Service Design approach. This could be a worthwhile consideration for any design studio within a corporation – to look at, not just the end users of our products, but also the beginning-to-end system that outputs the design, content and the engineering behind it for the end user. Within my own company, a services system approach could help to improve the experience of staff within the company and the end user, by providing a system to move from the initial kernel, through ideation and design, into our publishing tool, publishing to the user, and with good follow up support for the user.
  • Keith Tormey (Head of UX at Ryanair) talked about Design for Non-Use. This was the idea that we should not only focus on giving a good experience to the users in our products, where we measure success by how long we keep them in-app or in-content, we should also consider our users’ overall day/life experience. We should ask do we really need to keep users in our apps/content, or can we provide a quicker, simpler experience to do what they need, and have time to spare for life’s other activities? Can we gift time back to our user through simple, efficient design?
  • Emma Meehan (Intercom) talked about how Intercom use job stories rather than user stories. Job stories allows them to ask why the user wants to do something, not just what they want to do. Its a method to rise above assumptions and move into motivations.  Here’s a great article on Job Stories: Replacing The User Story With The Job Story.