Last night I spoke at the fourth UAL Futures event at Central Saint Martins in London. I was invited down to talk about UX and specifically about prototyping, dissecting the things I do in my day to day and demystifying these for the audience. UAL Futures is an initiative at the University Arts London and leading the charge is Luke Whitehead who describes it as the following:
It’s about introducing students to the possibilities of new technology. Encouraging them to explore things like coding, programming, interface design, and data in their creative practice and ensuring they know enough of this stuff to get jobs or start their own businesses when they leave. I guess futures we’re talking about are: the future of technology, the future of work, and the future of the creative industries and creative education.
Prototyping was an obvious choice for me and as I was speaking to students from a lot of different courses my aim was break it down and show the simple way to getting towards designing and building the right thing – by prototyping ideas early, sharing with people, getting feedback from people and finding out if what you are designing really does solve a problem.
I was joined by Mia Chuang (Moving Brands), Rebekah Cooper (Radical Company) and Gemma Germains (Well Made Studio) as they spoke about their experiences of UX in their respective jobs as they shared the insights around “transitioning from a graphic designer to the realm of experience strategy and design” (Mia), “principles of UX and how it can be applied to all aspects of our careers” (Rebekah) and “writing for UX – so that’s content strategy, micro content, tone of voice and from a wider perspective, writing as a tool for understanding” (Gemma).
The evening was set inside the impressive LVMH lecture theatre and followed a casual 4 x 20 minute talks, followed by a Q&A session on the sofas at the front where students and industry alike threw us questions.
My slides followed some simple guidelines and principles and gave food for thought when thinking about prototyping, especially when I pointed out that anyone can prototype and fidelity doesn’t matter all that much, it’s about getting an understand of your idea, and solution and how people react to that.
There was a lot of knowledge shared and numerous points throughout everyone’s talks where the majority got their smartphones out to take photos of particular slides, especially where the sharing of links or suggestions of software to use came up. Great to see!
Being last, I got some humour into my slides as there’s nothing worse than just listening to me recite the slides back, even if it is for 20 mins. The obligatory introduction featured some quips at the clickbait titles we’re all too familiar with on BuzzFeed and featured Kanye West, Jay-Z and Princess Jasmine – all tongue in cheek, before I swiftly moved on to some ‘real talk’ and advice on how to get your idea down, out there and iterated upon. All you need is a pen and paper. Really!
There was also some fantastic feedback on Twitter, which is always good to see:
Great lecture tonight @markjenkins
— NicolaGypsicola (@nicolagypsicola) March 3, 2016
— Rémy Auger (@remyauger) March 2, 2016
— Nathalie (@nath_zey) March 2, 2016
— Clare Turner (@clare56365178) March 2, 2016
— Jane Curtain (@JaneCurtain1) March 2, 2016
— Christina Lai 賴浩賢 (@ChristinaLai1) March 2, 2016
— Georgina Milne (@georginamilne) March 2, 2016
— Fabio Catapano (@fabiocatapano) March 2, 2016
A big thanks to Luke for inviting me down to speak, thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to help out in the near future too. You can find out more about UAL Futures here.