UXLibsIV… in 50 photos

It’s taken me longer than usual to grab a minute to reflect upon this year’s UXLibs. I moved house just before the conference, relocating from Cambridge to North Lincolnshire, and I’m very busy freelancing these days, so just reaching the start of the conference alive and well felt like a considerable achievement.

I *think* UXLibsIV was a success, although it’s very hard to be objective when you organise it and when you are your own harshest critic. One thing I am completely certain of though is the calibre of our keynote and plenary speakers who all surpassed my high expectations. Christian, Sara, Janine and Kit were engaging and inspiring in equal measure and I’m glad they really ‘got’ the conference and contributed so significantly. I also know, of course, that my fellow conference organisers Matt and Bryony were beyond brilliant. And that we were very ably assisted by Andrew and Ross.

As in previous years I’ve decided to look back at the conference via a selection of 50 photos. Enjoy!

1. Here’s Marisa working away on the final delegate list ahead of the conference. Marisa does pretty much all the administration, takes the bookings, collates packs, creates the programme. The list is pretty endless! She looks surprisingly perky here given it was taken the day before the pre-conference workshop in the makeshift UXLibs HQ in the dining room of our new house. We couldn’t do UXLibs without her.
2. The conference started as it always does with carrying of lots and lots of boxes. Having just moved house this isn’t currently high up the list of things I like to do. It fell further down my list when the venue receptionist refused to allow us to use a trolley. Luckily we had a private conversation with a facilities team member who gave us a ‘black market’ trolley as it were!
3. The pre-conference workshop was a new feature intended to help newbies get up to speed with UX (or for people who just want a refresher). It was something of a whistlestop tour without time for the reflection and questions that I can build into my regular courses but the response was good. Here’s Owain, Amber, Jo, Idun, Chris and Maria creating a user journey map.
4. Bryony and Matt both contributed sections to the workshop and also assisted attendees with card sorting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for people who are trained in indexing and classifying, library staff are awful at arranging sticky notes by theme.
5. Mary, Karen and Tove also journey mapping.
6.  Jade and Ivan are two of my very favourite people: always smiling, friendly and well, just lovely to be around. Here they are at the pre-conference social at The Bessemer. They’re from different countries, have completely different lives, but they’re firm conference pals. Jade is one of the many secretly talented librarians – she’s lead singer of a London-based band called Totally. Go check them out.
7. I was pleased with our idea to have new fun slides at the start of the conference proper to set the informal tone of the conference. This one was Matt’s creation. Like.
8. Matt’s welcome was as entertaining as ever. A particular highlight was the UX fail of the braille sign behind glass.
9. ‘Gordon’s Alive!?!’ Brian Blessed on the big screen as part of Andrew’s housekeeping. All our rooms this year were named after Flash Gordon characters because of our 80s film themed team challenge, because I failed to see the film on my 8th birthday despite it being promised (an old wound that one), and because I saw the framed album cover in Matt’s house.
10. Andrew Alexander gallantly took over the housekeeping from the indisposed Ange and was all the things he should have been: funny, informative and helpful.
11. As part of my opening address I presented my new model of UX learning and support. This year I chiefly focused on embedding UX and applying UX principles: specifically, the need for more idea generation and prototyping once you have gathered UX research data in order to develop new services and products.
12. ‘Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance.’ One of the most memorable quotes from Christian Lauersen’s keynote on inclusion and belonging. Christian asked delegates to think more deeply about inclusion highlighting the benefits and the extent of the challenge before us. Follow him on Twitter.
13. Our gold sponsors Alterline gave a highly relevant talk about the experience of different University user groups, including another reminder that generational narratives are unhelpful. At UXLibs we firmly believe that sponsor talks should not be sales pitches and all of this year’s sponsors respected that brief.
14. We moved on to five simultaneous workshops. I attended Bryony’s on coding research data because I was keen to see how her approach might differ to mine.
15. It turned out that our approach was fairly similar but I have to say I find sticky notes far easier than using my brain and highlighter pens!
16. “You killed my motivation!” said Ivan, also sat at my table, when I finished the coding task rather quickly. I explained that I do this stuff all the time: coding can be speedy if you do enough of it. Besides I had to be quick as I wanted to nip off to the other rooms to take photos of the other workshops.
17. Here’s Carl Barrow, legendary trainers not shown, fronting his workshop on our digital days, talking with Amber, Hari, Christian, David and Courtney.
18. Shelley Gullikson’s workshop focused on introducing friction into your UX process.
19. In Eva’s workshop we sketched and drafted a rough plan for a prototype library card application process. Eva told me off, quite rightly, for being greedy for questions!
20. John Jung’s workshop was on speculative design. Here he is giving Prince Barin a run for his money.
21.. Katherine and Amanda discussing a project as part of the UXLabs hour, a chance to discuss UX work in progress.
22. Peter from Hertfordshire also presenting as part of UXLabs.
23. During the first delegate papers session: a rapt audience at Danielle Cooper’s session on decolonising UX, in line with our inclusivity theme.
24. SuHui Ho from San Diego on diversity and inclusion in UX design – ‘we have to think about diversity when designing websites’.
25. Everyone loves the idea of sharing stories of failure but the reality is that it’s difficult to do that because they feel they can’t share institutional failures or that they have to spin their failure into a success. The anonymous FUX (Failed UX) Wall went some way towards a solution.
26. Thanks to Andrew Alexander for this photo of our end of Day 1 committee photoshoot on the roof of the venue. We were tired and giddy but still worked it for the camera (baby).
27. This year’s Gala Dinner was at Cutlers’ Hall where we had a fun group shot with our wonderful photographer David Scott. Perhaps my favourite moment of the conference was the huge cheer that accompanied Bryony’s arrival at the foot of the stairs having travelled by lift cos she couldn’t get through the crowd.
28. With Anneli Friberg and Christian Lauersen before the gala dinner. We also had an official photo but all agreed that this shot was better because it was more informal.
29. Love this joyful reunion between Anneli and Eva Jirjahlke.
30. Claire Browne wins the best paper award!
31. Chilling with Linda Vidlund.
32. In which myself, Rosie Hare, Carl Barrow and about 15 others sought a late night drinking establishment without success.
33. Day 2 and our second keynote, the totally inspirational Sara Leren talking about ‘the sh** users say’. Follow her on Twitter,
34. Some great content on smart using testing from Sara.
35. Dr Kit Heyam gave us lots of great advice on transgender awareness and terms in his plenary session. Follow him on Twitter.
36. Extra points for Kit for using cuddly toys in his presentation.
37. Serena Rosenhan (from our silver sponsors ProQuest) talking about the problem of the data point of one. Librarians are great at overreacting to one comment or piece of data. Test, iterate, find out if it’s a thing.
38. Bjorn of Springer Nature talking mainly about toilets. Sunglasses for the front row please.
39. An inspiring talk from Dr Janine Bradbury detailing her experience of libraries as a person of colour. Janine helped us to think about whether we welcome and support diversity via our library spaces and collections. Follow her on Twitter.
40. The team challenge begins…
41. Bryony and I meet each other by chance in a lift and take the opportunity for a tired but happy selfie.
42. Probably my biggest headache this year was the food. Good as it was, there were crossed wires about vegan requirements also gluten-tolerant people were eating all the gluten-free snacks!
43. My lovely UXLibs buddies. Aren’t they cute?
44. Team Aliens presenting.
45. Owain leads the Back to the Future presentation in which Ned Potter presented a startlingly real visual representation of a scene from the movie.
46. The Blade Runner team giving a group performance.
47. Many delegates were pleased that it was not a competition this year. Although some enjoyed the personal reflection on their UX practice and the chance to try out methods in a safe environment, some have requested a case study approach for next year.
48. The conference review took the form of a statistical summary. Yep the missing gluten-free snacks were mentioned.
49. Delegates enjoying the conference review.
50. Most important photo of them all – the thank yous. A huge thank you to everyone who helped put UXLibsIV together.

The 2018 UXLibs Yearbook… We will be asking for write-ups of conference papers, workshops, plenaries and keynotes soon for our second annual UXLibs Yearbook. Buy the 2017 UX in Libraries Yearbook.

UXLibsV… We’ve not yet settled on a city or venue for UXLibs V but we will definitely be doing it all over again. Likely to be Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 June. Until then keep on UXing…


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