Web Services

UX Conference Scotland 2018 | Web services blog

From 13th to 15th June 2018, Steve Burrows (Web Design Manager) and I attended the UX Scotland 2018 conference in Edinburgh at Dynamic Earth.

There were a total of 54 keynotes, case studies, workshops, discussions, tutorials and keynote speeches over the 3 days. Both from Scotland unicorn society, Skyscanner and FanDuel, were in attendance. Along with Instagram, Shopify, Indeed, and NHS Digital, to name a few.



Instagram – Thoughtful Growth: Designing experiences for new and future Instagram users

The first case study I went to was of Whitney Trump (no relation) from Instagram. She is part of their 130 strong growth team, which has seen growth itself having only been just over 30 last year. The team is made up of UX designers and content strategists.

Whitney started with a bold claim that growth is a UX issue. Bringing the whole team together to solve the onboarding and continuous growth problem was an interesting take on the problem. They also treat the problem like a party, showing up to friends at a party.

The growth team has 5 guiding principles:

  • Be consistent and clear to create consistent experiences
  • Give people clear options and a sense of control
  • Use content that fits the context
  • Have a clear hypothesis and goals for your content options
  • Start with clarity and then consider the novelty

The final principle was to ensure that the content worked internationally when translated. For example, don’t use phrases like « Add to queue » because only a UK audience would understand that phrase. Americans don’t line up, they line up. This really resonated with me as we have an international audience to cater to with our website.

Shopify – The Search Continues: A great search experience in a post-Google world

After Instagram, I went to Shopify’s case study on building a search backend for their admin interface.

There was one technical hurdle that they are still trying to overcome, which is that their front-end and back-end search are on two different platforms. This caused problems when trying to unify search results. Their plan for the future is to have a research platform.

The interesting conclusion of this case study was the inclusion of breadcrumbs in the search results, which were intended to educate users about the location of the item. From testing this reduced people using search when they learned where an item was.

FanDuel: Bridging the 300-mile gap between you and users

Then I moved on to the case study of FanDuel, an app for the American Fantasy Sports betting market. The app is designed and built in Edinburgh, but its users are all in America. This poses some interesting challenges since the UX team has no users on hand. They also do not have access to test the platform live because, as employees of the company, they are not allowed to bet on the platform.

My conclusion from this case study was to not write UX (long reports) because nobody reads them. Instead, you should do a show and tell and make sure you tell a good story.

Access the FanDuel case study slides

In fact: using a Google Design Sprint as a product superpower

The fourth case study I attended was about Design Sprints. Since we’ve been running Design Sprints since early 2018, it was interesting to see how someone else was using them. In fact they have taken the concept and developed different versions that fit the needs of their business ranging from 60 minute sprints to 4 full days.

Access Indeed’s case study slides

Mad*Pow – UX designer against climate change

I participated in a case study on climate change. It was certainly enlightening to think about how much data centers and associated infrastructure affect the environment.

Michael Crabb – Accessible to all

We all have to consider accessibility whenever we design something and the case study by Michael Crabb who has just joined the University of Dundee was fantastic. Especially the part about using pirates to teach children about disabilities. Michael’s work on the subtitles was fascinating.

View the Accessible Everyone case study slides.

Skycanner – Backpack, our journey in creating a design system

Skyscanner was organized into teams for content, engineering and design with work passing between each team before completion. They decided to organize themselves into multidisciplinary teams. This allowed them to get the features released in their four products faster. However, this also brought challenges as each team was developing their assets, such as research buttons, a little differently. This was causing a disjointed user experience between their products.

To help solve this challenge, they started creating their own design system called Backpack.

This year our design team developed our own design system called BRGR (Burger). Read more about BRBR.

NHS Digital – A new AI for nhs.uk

The last case study I attended was about the new information architecture for nhs.uk.

“People shouldn’t have to understand the health and care system to get the help they need” – a powerful statement for a simple information architecture. In relation to the University, people should not understand the structure of the University to get the information and help they need.

Looking at the current information architecture of nhs.uk, for a simple journey, the team noticed that different sections of the site were visited.


UX Scotland 2018 was a fantastic conference that is not only enjoyable from a user experience perspective (I don’t need to explain to anyone what my job title means) but also had case studies and workshops covering the public and private sector. I learned a lot at the conference and there are several ideas that I will take forward in my work, how to visually map user journeys to the current information architecture.