Pixel Pioneers: Dwayne Codling’s Review

It’s only been three months since I started at JH but, genuinely, I’m loving it. Then a couple of months back, I retweeted a link on twitter and won a free ticket to this brilliant conference.

I’ve always been a regular at monthly meetups like DXN, and in my previous role as a Lecturer I always encouraged my students that this is the best way to enrich their education. Now, as a front-end developer I think it’s great to get an opportunity to not just do the day-to-day job, but get inspiration, and bring back something more to the team and company at large. This isn’t just my ethos, it’s one shared by all at JH really.

So, on the 22nd of June off to Bristol I went. And here I’ll talk you through a few of the highlights from the amazing talks of the conference.

Jeremy Keith, Evaluating Technology 

The first speaker, Jeremy Keith opened the conference with his talk, Evaluating Technology. He spoke about building on what already exists: remembering the internet itself was built on elements that already existed. It’s not about how well the technology works, the better question to ask is how well the technology fails.

Jeremy highlighted the fact that we can extend user experience on the internet by using web components, and service workers to build on what already exist the browser.

He showed us good and bad example of how web components could be implemented to be used on a site, and advised us that with the with the power to extend user experience we have a responsibility, as developers, to make sure the technology can fail gracefully.

Mark Robbins, How Email Code can be Cool

The second speaker Mark Robbins, spoke on How Email Code can be Cool.

In honesty, I was pretty skeptical of this particular talk, having worked on my first client email template and having to use tables for layout. Then having to use Litmus and seeing how different my styling and layout looked, it can be painstaking to get it right. So, I was pretty sure, I’d never be converted. But the things Mark demonstrated on the day, and what he does in his work, really blew me away.

He told us. every email that marketers send has approximately 15000 potential renderings (and that’s using conservative math) Mark said it was more like 70. Outlook used a word rendering platform for  emails since 2009. He talks to them, they know it’s a pain but still they have not changed it. I learnt:

  • 50% of email clients support CSS Grid
  • Interactive Email is possible
  • Interactive shopping cart emails is possible
  • Email code can be cool

If you want to see more, here’s the link to the presentation.  

Tobias Ahlin, How to Present Ideas so that your Client will Listen

The next speaker was Tobias Ahlin, on How to Present Ideas so that your Client will Listen.

Tobias opened up by letting us gamble, using the probability of a coin toss he was able whither the room down to a collection of people. In order to cement the key point of his presentation. If you want your client to listen? Talk about risk.

In design you’re in the business of trying to predict success:

  • Carefully weigh proofs for and against
  • Search for complex answers to difficult questions
  • Be confident in judging
  • Look for facts to prove yourself wrong
  • Update your belief when presented with new evidence.
  • Work with risk

Lily Dart, What can User Experience Learn from Service Design?

Next was Lily Dart who I previously saw at DXN, she was speaking on What can User Experience Learn from Service Design?

Lily was able to provide us with key usable practices that we could take away to improve our designing for user experience. She gave us the key takeaways by looking at a service lead organisation, Export.great.gov and demonstrating how she was able to improve the organisation level of service to it’s users, organisation stakeholders and staff.

The export.great.gov website was getting lots of traffic, but the users were having to work twice as hard to get export opportunities. In order to make the user experience better they needed to Improve current processes.

They did this by using flowcharts to map out a User Journey, designing truly end to end customer journeys through the process and highlighting key areas where the customer was dropping out of the process.

They designed a flowchart specifically  for staff needs, highlighted at what point staff were getting frustrated and bypassing the process, because it was over complicated and they had no incentive to use certain processes in that way.

  • Good conversion rates don’t make a good service
  • Effective services are run by well-supported staff
  • Successful services are aligned to the needs of the organisation
  • A successful transaction doesn’t equal a successful outcome for a user

My all-round takeaways…

All the speakers in someway or another mentioned today that failure is not bad. You should however have fallbacks in place for these failures. You should fail fast so you can grow faster. You should talk about risk. You should map out the whole process from start to finish for everybody that’s involved in the process. You should build on what already exist but be creative and have fun. Everything that’s good takes a long time to achieve, greatness takes a lot of hard work.

All the tweets from Pixel Pioneer are here.