Banc’s Insights from NUX8 – A Day of UX and Design Expertise from Industry Leaders


Last month, the Banc design team packed our laptops and joined fellow design enthusiasts at NUX8 – UX & Design Conference at the Royal Northern College of Music. The conference focused on how an understanding of people helps define, design and build web experiences over all different types of medium. There were a lot of good talks this year, from some great speakers including Twitter’s finest Dan Saffler, UKGOV.UK’s content lead Amy Hupe and many more.

Let’s take you through a couple of our favourite talks of the day. Dan Saffler’s presentation on How to Design the Future was incredibly witty, funny and insightful. Dan talked us through his methodology and process used at Twitter to design a future product.

The first step to this process is to start with the scope of the product, your scope could come from jobs to be done (JTBD), user cases, scenarios of users, personas, task flows, strategy, and conversations.

“All design is designing the future. It’s imagining a desirable state and then giving it form.”

Secondly, trend spotting. It is easy to overestimate near-term trends and underestimate long-term trends e.g. Blockbuster – Netflix, CD – Spotify. Recognising that many of the trends that will be important in a few years are already happening. After identifying certain trends, these are then placed in trend groups, they then invite other colleagues in the company to come and view these trends groups to see what they think.  

Thirdly, stories. 

“You won’t find the future on a spreadsheet”

Using everyday mundane scenarios to portray future trends and product stories. Dan referenced an example that used the IKEA catalogue and the trends we might see in the future. You should always try to build out at least four stories, and the invite members of the company from different teams to collect research on the stories created.

The fourth step of the process is superpowers and opportunities. Cluster the takeaways from the research gathered and find out what are the superpowers of these stories of the future which they can’t do now. These superpowers then get clustered to create opportunities, these opportunities are then filtered into groups:

  • Your organisation’s differentiators
  • Your organisation’s strategic priorities
  • Value to your users
  • Technical difficulty/level of effort vs value

And are these good designs? Is this something we want to see in the world and be proud to put out there?

Finally, go ahead and gather user research. Show high-fidelity stories and prototypes (high-fidelity videos), get the buy-in and build the future.

Amy Hupe leads the development of the GOV.UK Design System team’s content strategy, including a straightforward and inclusive approach to documentation.

To keep a clear and consistent identity of UKGOV’s website there are 25 departments and 700+ service teams. The clever use of content to achieve the clear and consistent design of their website. This involves content guidelines, content about the system and component guidelines.

Because users of the GOV.UK portal have a huge number of very specific desired outcomes, the content has to accommodate almost endless customer journeys. This requires very specific guidelines and rules to simplify the process of accommodating the visitor from query to resolution.

Amy explained what good documentation looks like:

  • Clear
  • Consistent
  • Honest
  • Useful

Consistency is a huge factor for the GOV.UK site as users will often return with a completely different query, so will have certain expectations and preconceptions about how the site is used. This consistency is required through the behaviour, presentation and delivery of all content – whether that’s imagery, text or functionality. All of this aids design that is consistent, and above all, usable.

Additionally, the Design Your Service product from the UK government means that all these features and functions have to be scalable. Design Your Service is a system which allows different authorities to create their own portals which utilise the design and functionality elements of the GOV.UK site. Another consideration for the UX team – ensuring that the system can be used simply and efficiently by all levels of expertise.

This rounded off a day where we really delved into the different implications of UX and design, and how we can build sites to ensure all users get the experience they are after.

If you’re looking for a team of dedicated designers, developers and UX experts to help you craft a new website, or refine an existing site, give us a call on 0345 459 0558.

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Anita Pun