We share our feedback from three intensive days of conferences at Web2Day with an unusual and inspiring group at the heart of the Machines de l’île in Nantes, France.
On the agenda:
- Many lessons learned by startups or large groups speaking about their working methods
- Even more questions regarding the impact of technology on our daily lives
- Fruitful discussions about the relationship between users and brands
- Passionate dialogues regarding the constant thirst for innovation
- Not to mention the amazing parading elephant during lunch breaks
We would like to share the four major themes that marked these three days:
UX design in all its forms
The importance of creating good relationships between brands and users
For several years now, brands have sought to surpass “product commitments”, offering new and increasingly impressive experiences. Currently, users are more and more demanding, looking for authenticity and meaning. It is therefore essential to reflect brand values throughout the project and product design. These values must be immediately apparent and understandable to the user; storytelling may potentially help.
Along with this, playing on emotions can create memorable experiences. For example, consider the user’s happiness or frustration when discovering your service for the first time. According to Johan Adda, “Emotions create memories, memories create fans.” . Creating emotions is essential to creating a strong bond between the user and the brand.
Finally, it is essential for brands to place the user at the heart of the creative process, constantly monitoring usage and expectations to propose a personalized service.
- “User First: the only tactic for 2016”
- “Emotions count!”
- “Influence marketing, or organized word of mouth”
- “Cry me a river: Storytelling and digital creation”
- “Creative trends”
- “7 Tips for crafting better products”
Today, the user is used to switching: as soon as he discovers a service that better meets his needs, he does not hesitate to change. Brand loyalty is becoming increasingly rare.
Being aware of this change means not waiting for a strong competitor to create new experiences. In this context, it is important to incorporate a culture of innovation to anticipate the future and keep one step ahead.
Users’ needs can be a source of inspiration. Uber for example, began with a simple observation regarding payment difficulties in taxis, innovating and proposing a solution: automatic payment from their mobile application, a win for Uber, which gained users who prefer brands that take their issues into account.
At Meetup, they opted to use Android as a test platform for launching new features. The reason for this is the flexibility and speed of the OS, which allows them to launch a new version within 50 minutes in stores. They then have a month to analyze user acceptability and use of this new feature. It will be developed on iOS if usage is above 20%, otherwise it is removed from the Android application. This strategy allows them to optimize development costs, while adopting an innovative, user-centric, test & learn approach.
Being an innovative brand means to dare to imagine the unthinkable and test without fear of failure.
- “Toward a Cashless society”
- “Entrapped Businesses”
- “What makes a good product team: from co-founders to 100+ collaborators”
Agility in work and management
In recent years, the relationship toward work has changed a lot and will still continue to evolve. It now seems important to adapt to the needs of new generations to step back, observe, re-examine and develop our habits.
What if our user was a manager or a co-worker?
What if we use the UX method to understand co-workers’ expectations?
This is the approach that Dorothy Burkel, HR Director at Google, described.
Concerned about employee well-being, Google’s HR team began with a phase of observation and analysis to review their management methods. They then experimented with certain ideas using a test & learn method. This specifically permitted them to remove the hierarchy and managers from the process. Against all expectations, co-worker results were negative: autonomy was appreciated, but the lack of daily support created real problems. The HR team has backtracked and then redefined the approach to determine what a truly good manager is in the eyes of co-workers. Training and regular monitoring was then implemented to raise competence levels for all managers. Google’s entire HR process was developed and shared within the site rework.withgoogle.com (a real gold mine)!
“30% of skills will become obsolete in one year.”
With the lightning fast evolution of technology, as well as usage, our knowledge is quickly outdated. To easily adapt to future developments, it is essential to foster a thirst for learning and to participate in training by discovering new models (MOOCs, Meetup groups, etc.). It is also a managers’ task to encourage co-workers to always be open, curious to learn and educate themselves continuously.
Sharing knowledge is also essential: learning for one’s self is good, but sharing is better! Aside from acquiring new knowledge, exchange between co-workers creates emulation and allows everyone to compare viewpoints and enrich one another. A very constructive melting pot!
In a context demanding continual excellence and performance, methodologies must evolve constantly. Many books and seminars are in fact dedicated to the success of a project. What if we focus on the human factor, rather than on tools and methods?
As Jonathan Beurel says, “A concept is nothing without excellent implementation.” To develop this idea, he builds on concepts presented by Ash Maurya in “Running Lean”, but also his own experience as a Lean and Agile Web Developer.
- Establishing an environment of confidence, promoting a mutual sense of responsibility
- Creating commitment to a common goal, both from a technical, as well as a business perspective
- Repeating tasks again and again to achieve one’s goal
- Not being afraid of confrontation, which is necessary in debates and decision-making
- Facilitating communication and implementing routines, (DSM, O2O, etc.)
- Openly discussing project issues and defining them with key indicators (business, developer, client, etc.) for all participants
- And finally improving daily, focusing on excellence!
Key levers lead to the success of a project, but also and most importantly, to the team’s, as well as the client’s satisfaction.
Bots, a real opportunity for brands?
This is one of the hot topics at the moment: everyone keeps talking about this and several brands have already launched their Bots (chatterbots). A retrospective on this craze and opportunities for use.
Firstly, it is important to remember that bots are not that new. It all started in 1966 with ELIZA, an artificial intelligence program that simulated a conversation with a doctor and several years later, with Clippy, the Microsoft Word chatterbot, which was not particularly successful.
So why the renewed interest after so many years? It can be explained by the launch of Facebook Messenger Bots in April, 2016, but especially by the fact that this new means of communication offers many advantages:
- It uses a widely-used format understandable to everyone: messaging
- It can exist on platforms such as Messenger, Slack, etc., thereby widening the scope of usage
- It personalizes the interaction between brands and users by facilitating a direct exchange and could potentially invite them into discussion groups
- It provides an attractive complement to traditional after-sales services
As Anas Arifis, Chief Product Officer of Jam points out, technologies are constantly improving, but it is still necessary to retain human intervention to overcome the bot’s mistakes. This is an important point because users are less tolerant of robot error than human error. A human presence is thus reassuring for them.
- “Conversation, the web’s next major turning point?”
- “@Bot: does mobile messaging suck up the web and your business model along with it?”
Technology is evolving rapidly… too rapidly?
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and even robotization: all these technological developments are just around the corner and will impact our daily lives, offering us new experiences. Definitely great opportunities for brands!
We are steeped in technology without realizing it. The line between connection and disconnection is not so simple today. With virtual reality, the line between reality and fantasy could become uncertain. Everything is done to make technology invisible, but its impact on our daily lives is very real.
What’s in store for this relationship between humans and technology? Will technology transcend us or surpass us? Many questions arise. The objective is not to judge the merits of innovations, but to consider the right balance between opportunities and impact on humans.
Nobody has the answer today, but it is interesting to step back and look at the use of technology and understand the impact it has and will have on our lifestyles and human interactions.
Our three favorite conferences
David Okuniev, UI/UX designer, co-founder & joint CEO @Typeform
We really loved this conference on the subject of creativity applied to forms. David Okuniev started from the observation that the web has undergone major changes in terms of design and ergonomics over the past 10 years, but surprisingly, forms have remained true to themselves: often long and boring. In this conference, he suggests that forms need to be reinvented: release your creativity and do not be afraid to question established norms.
Olivier Ezratty, Consultant & author @OPINIONS LIBRES
and Annabelle Roberts, President @PRESENT PERFECT
We ended the festival with an exciting and wild conference where Olivier Ezratty and Annabelle Roberts broach the subject of the pitch. Whether presenting one’s creations, organizing a meetup, or just doing an internal briefing, we all need advice at one time or another.
- Avoiding stress factors such as tobacco and alcohol (even 5 minutes before going on stage) or overtaxing one’s digestive system (no burgers or magnums)
- Training to master one’s subject and be able to successfully explain the idea in a tweet
- Having an open attitude towards the audience: opening the magic coconut, having a Lagarde posture, or even pacing like a panther. If you don’t understand everything, check out the video below
- Speak with intonations to avoid boring your audience
- Be sparing with slides to keep only the essentials: a key phrase. All the rest should be spoken orally
Now it’s time to put it all into practice, pitching one’s ideas, having fun and turning that stress into positive adrenaline!
Watch the conference video “Pitch your idea” (in french).
A good, real life example of UX, made in Nantes!