Looking forward to UXPA 2014

Ahead of UXPA 2014, the Futureheads UX team interviewed me about the sessions I’m running at the conference, and what else I’m looking forward to.

On Monday 21 July I’m running an evening tutorial in ‘Surveys in User Experience’. I’m looking forward to getting fellow user experience professionals to attack some of the harder concepts in surveys, to assess how well we think the concepts work for us.

On Tuesday 22 July at 11am I’m contributing to a session on ‘User Centred Government’. We’re delighted to have got permission to talk about work at UK Government Digital Service for GOV.UK. John Waterworth, Tim Paul, Leonie Watson, Jim Williams, Amy Whitney, Lorena Sutherland and Kate Tarling will each do a 5-minute talk on their work – ranging across analytics, design patterns and content design as well as user research.

Thanks to UXPA 2014 and Futureheads Digital for permission to share the interview here. There’s full transcript below:

UXPA2014: Caroline Jarrett

What will you be teaching us at UXPA2014?

Caroline: So one thing that’s quite exciting is that we’ve got permission from Government Digital Service to do a short talk session. Several colleagues are going to turn up and give some five minute talks of all the fascinating work they’re doing for gov.uk. I’m really looking forward to that – great speakers and a real variety of work.

I’m also doing a half day evening tutorial on surveys for experienced user-experience practitioners. So I have been really enjoying – revelling – in ‘ramping it up’. No holds barred: people I know, I think they’re all experts, they know what they’re talking about: let’s really hit it with some of the harder concepts.

I’m drawing on some of the more challenging concepts out of survey methodology and saying ‘ok, let’s really hit them and see, does this help us in our work and the way we use surveys in our field? Does it all translate?’ I think that’s going to be quite a fun evening.

What do you plan to see and do whilst you’re at the conference?

Caroline: The thing I’m probably looking forward to the most is an opportunity to see Gerry Gaffney, who is the Director of Publications for UXPA, and so is making a rare trip from Melbourne to come to the conference.

We collaborated on our book on forms so this is going to be our only opportunity really to meet face-to-face to plan our second edition of the book – which we’re planning to start immediately after the conference.

And then, again, there’s so many other things. Probably another highlight is, of course, with my interest in forms, I’m really looking forward to the session that’s about forms for people with low literacy, people that don’t read very well. That’s a particularly important session for me.

What two things do you hope everyone takes away from your sessions?

Caroline:  I think from the GDS session I’m hoping that people will take away a bit of inspiration, that cool things do happen in government. Government can be fantastic and compelling and really interesting to work in.

From the survey one I’m hoping that people will feel empowered; that a survey is a tool that they can use. We in user experience tend to have suffered a lot from bad surveys, so we tend to think ‘oh no, I don’t want to do a survey’. But actually there’s some very powerful information that you can get out of them. So I’m hoping – that’s just one thing – but really a feeling of empowerment around doing surveys would be what I’m hoping people will take away.