This year, the 2016 UXPA Boston conference include a presentation focused on diary studies, giving us a perfect opportunity to eat our own... lemon bars.

With a little help from dscout, we invited conference attendees to be the research participants for the day of the conference, and hopefully learn something about running and designing diary studies. Here are some findings we gleaned from the data collected about the conference.

LOGISTICS

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Logistics takeaways

  • Anticipating the conference is part of the fun!
  • We’ve spent a lot of time working through registration kinks… we’re finally there.
  • Diversity point taken. Our community needs to be inclusive of everyone….
  • Speaker Twitter handles, everywhere!
  • Next year, we’re checking the map twice, and rotating it three times.
  • Sponsors, the people have spoken, and they want more coffee.
  • We’ll work hard next year to get A/V right, including additional technicians if needed.
  • More chairs will be ordered.
  • Additional volunteers will be requested to herd the crowds and manage door noise. 

Logistics feedback

Qualitative research results UXPA Logistics

Logistics Lessons Learned: Anticipation is part of the fun!

+

 “Getting ready for tomorrow!”

 “Almost there!”

 “Prepping for the conference.  Coordinating sessions with a co-worker.”

 “Ability to get my schedule easily on my phone. Being remembered and logged in
  automatically from last year.”

+ 

 “Getting ready to attend!”

 “Nice day for a walk to the conference.”

 

UXPA Conferences in action

 Logistics: The Basics

 “Great check-in process. Volunteers with iPads walking up and checking in in five
  seconds. Very Apple Store.”

+

 “Registration was very smooth considering we have 1,000 attendees.”

+

 “Love that you saved plastic on our name badges by simply using thick paper... The
  card stock has a much cooler look/feel to it anyway :)”

+

 “Yay code of conduct! Maybe look at others to see if anything important we missed?”

+

 “I really like the code of conduct, excellent thing to include.”

+

 “A volunteer approached us and asked if we wanted to sit - thanks! Still looked good
  from the back!”

-

 “This is *such* a white crowd, and it makes me wonder how we as user researchers
  can truly build empathy when we don't represent everyone.”

+

 “1000 other people like to do what I like to do. I am not a nerd after all.”

-

 “Include speaker Twitter handles in program or online bio for easy reference, tweeting
  about someone's talk without reference is a bit awkward.”

+

 “Loved when Dan Berlin came by to wish us a great talk. Helped ease the nerves as a
  speaker!”

 

Logistics: Wayfinding

 “Nice map although it needs to be turned 1/4 clockwise :)”

-

 “Confusing talk to find but looking forward to the talk!”

-

 “This room was really hard to find.”

-

 “The printed schedule had the wrong room listed for the diary studies talk.”

-

 “Can't find the room I'm presenting in....turns out the map is wrong.” #ohtheuxirony

-

 “I couldn't find the room where the first session was scheduled to happen and I had
  to wander around for at least 10 minutes.”

-

 “Stagger the sessions a little better to avoid the herding of humans? Kind of chaotic.
  Need better signs.”

 “I was happy to see that the organizers had tweeted the correct map, which I saved
  and also used to correct what was in my program.”

 

Logistics: Food & Coffee

+ 

 “Breakfast is always a great way to start conferencing.”

+

 “Passover-friendly morning snack! Getting ready for Dan Berlin's keynote.”

+

 “It's always nice that there's food and coffee when you arrive at UXPA Boston.”

+

 “Very appreciative of the excellent kosher for Passover meal.”

+

 “Thanks for the gluten free meal, especially the cookie. I can't include a photo since it's
  now inside my intestines...... #pillcam?

+

 “A brisk jaunt is important for staying conscious. Thank you for the coffee break. Have
  it earlier?”

-

 “First UX issue of the day: coffee cup lids on the table with the coffee and cups, but
  milk & sugar on a different table. Traffic flow prop!”

-

 “No coffee post lunch makes me fall asleep in afternoon sessions :( “

 

Logistics: Presentation Room

 “First session had visual and audio issues which became very distracting. Presenter
  did her best to continue, but I felt the ROI diminished.”

-

 “Definitely hard to see the slides. The lighting is too bright near the screen. :-(“

-

 “Not sure what session this is. Need better signage.”

 “A microphone you can throw around the room for audience questions... great idea.”

+

 “Funniest audience microphone I've ever seen. Just saw it tossed. Need to get a
  photo.”

-

 “Low end feedback in the room was distracting. Reminded me the degree to which
  people are rarely instructed how to interact with a mic/ PA.”

+

 “Thanks to the a/v guy for fixing the hum in Republic A.”

-

 “Audio in Republic was barely there. Very difficult to hear.”

-

 “Liberty A/B seems to have jazz playing over the PA? It conflicts with the presenter.”

-

 “Need audio tech support in each room... Feedback issues in Back Bay.”

-

 “... facility was poor - hard to see the screen.”

-

 “There were nowhere near enough chairs for Patterns/Properties session. Hotel staff
  were setting up chairs half hour into the presentation.”

-

 “Room is packed. Can't really hear the speaker as the door is being opened and
  closed every 2 seconds.”

-

 “The seats are narrow. We're all sitting shoulder to shoulder, literally. Maybe space
  them out a bit.”

 

SPEAKER SESSIONS

UXPA Conferences presentations

Speaker sessions takeaways

  • Session feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Only 7 critical entries were submitted, and 4 of those pertained to slide design.
  • The slides that got the most scout attention included (surprise!) visuals.
  • Participants gravitated toward reporting practical takeaways (i.e., I can try this at work/I’m glad I’m already doing this/I learned something I can use to improve my process).
  • Photos were critical to session feedback, as participants often photographed an interesting slide.
  • Speakers: Focus on practice over theory, and visuals over text.
  • Speakers: Be prepared for less than ideal conditions. That means high contrast and large fonts on every slide.
  • UXPA Boston Board: As a UX conference, we aim to be as usable as possible. And yet we struggle with ensuring that all speakers follow guidelines. Auditing speaker slides ahead of time is not something we can realistically require. A speaker orientation could work better than email reminders.

 Speaker session feedback

UXPA Speaker Session Qualitative Research Findings

 

+

“Using my psychologist voice was an interesting concept that I hadn't heard before from the keynote. I plan on paying attention to my voice.”

+

“Hearing about diary studies while participating in a diary study. Meta.”

+

"I'm a human too even if I AM a researcher" - big laughs from the crowd for Susan.”

+

“Researchers Quandary- appreciated sharing real experiences. Based in reality and not just theoretical.”

+

“Brilliant to include the MOS talk. It's UX design, but not just another iPhone app. Great to see the same ideas at work in another domain.”

+

“Red leather, yellow leather! - say it over and over again before presentation to exercise your facial muscle and calm yourself”.

+

“Bringing engineers into UX earlier, towards the beginning? Great idea - if implemented strategically and carefully”.

+

“I find I gain more theory insights via presentations addressing specific application than the ones using theory as the subject.”

+

“Quality of presentations - design of slides, content, and speakers - noticeable improvement over last year.”

+

“This was really eye opening as a way to encourage those who are more self-conscious about sketching.”

+

“I was very moved when listening to the team talking about "Sleeping with a Dummy-Tummy." Their 1st person experience was incredible!”

#UXPABOS16 #ThankYouUXPABoston Fantastic Conference #ThankYouSheraton #RecordAttendance @uxpaboston @SheratonBoston

+ 

“Just figured out that I did card sorting incorrectly. Very useful to show the process.”

 

NETWORKING

UXPA Networking Session Participants

Networking takeaways

Made connections, new and old!

+ 

 “And we're off...!”

+

 “Finally met Dani N. Also saw Bentley classmates on crew volunteering.”

+

 “Met up with Maureen from Clearpoint. She's been helping me with my job search.
 she's very thorough and takes time to understand your path”.

+

 “Sometimes it's about connecting with new ppl and sometimes it's about enforcing old
  ties.”

+

 “Met a work colleague from a previous job. Great to catch up!”

+

 “Karen and I worked together for many years. Haven't seen her in a long time, and
  happy to see how she has grown professionally.”

+

 “Discovering we work a block away from folks we met at lunch. Hidden connections.”

+

 “Talking product management, design, politics, race, travel, ageism & Dan L.”

+

 “I just had a fantastic conversation at lunch at the ux research table about recruiting,
  remote testing,  note-taking, etc.”

+

 “Table topics always cover valuable and interesting subjects.”

+

 “Met a brand new designer.”

+

 “Enjoying the twitter conversation.”

+

 “Great day of ideas, synthesized into action items with the team over warm cookies &
  coffee.”

+

 “Met up with several people I haven't seen in a long time plus met new friends.”

+

 “A signed copy of "Don't make me think" UXPABOS makes this possible!” 

 


Qual research for a mobile world

Based on our experience, dscout turned out to be superior to a home-grown diary or longitudinal study solution in several ways. The mobile app was intuitive and made the submission of data by scouts quick and easy, while the dscout platform reduced the burden of data management for researchers. But what truly distinguished dscout from other research tools, and earns it a permanent place in the UX toolbox, is the focus on visuals and ability to gather feedback in the moment. 

 

Special thanks to:

UXPA Boston 2016 Diary Study presenters Michael Kennedy, Liz Burton, and Vicky Morville.

UXPA Conference Team: Dan Berlin, Fiona Tranquada, Dharmesh Mistry, Rob Fitzgibbon, Susie Robson, Susan Mercer, Christ Hass, Matt DiGirolamo, Chris Laroche, and Jonathan Patrowicz.


 Curious how we designed our dscout diary study? Check out Eva's breakdown here.