To say I had a blast at UX London would be a lie. Not because it wasn’t amazing, but because I didn’t actually attend any of it outside of my own workshop.
Some may have thought I was out and about exploring London instead of attending other speakers’ sessions. Quite false. Where I really was: trapped in my hotel room for two days with a stiff neck.
Tuesday and Wednesday
Tuesday was great. I arrived on an early morning flight, checked into the hotel, worked on my workshop, took a nap, and then went to the speakers’ dinner at Rhodes W1 in The Cumberland Hotel. I got to sit with Cennydd Bowles, Andy Budd, Dan Lockton, Sophie Barrett and had a great conversation about Andy’s days fighting sharks and the finer points of the London pub scene.
When I woke up the next morning I was just fine, but when I turned my head to wipe my mouth on the hand towel after brushing my teeth…pop! I went through the roof.
Ninety minutes of Chinese acupuncture, heat lamp and steam towel didn’t help. So I stocked up on pain relievers, hot patches and gels from the local pharmacy, and retreated to my room.
I finally felt somewhat better on Thursday night, and good thing because I was speaking on a panel with Dave Gray, Jeff Patton, and Stephen Anderson at UK UPA hosted by Sapient Nitro. Getting out really helped the mobility in my neck, and speaking all night took my mind off things. It was a great crowd throwing really smart questions at us for two hours. I had a blast. Thanks to Lola Oyelayo and Claire Mitchell for including me!
The next morning I did some last minute prep and then held my workshop in the afternoon. I had a REALLY fun time doing it. Though I’ve taught classes at NYU and done a bunch of speaking engagements in the past year, I’ve never actually conducted a workshop before. It was a huge challenge for me to relinquish control to the room — relying on their participation to fuel other people’s inspiration rather than my own insights.
It was far better than I ever could have planned, and I’m proud that I pretty much stayed on schedule. The one lecture portion of the 3-1/2 hours was about 35 minutes, and though I felt really rushed to do it justice, the content seemed to be well received by the attendees. Overall, people were really engaged, there was a lot of talking and laughing, and great work was produced. I really hope people felt it was a valuable experience and a good use of their time. It remains to be seen if it has an impact on their situations back at work — but I hope to hear some stories soon.
Check out the slides from my workshop, recommended books and resources on my Creating a Culture of UX page.
Some of the reactions to the workshop via Twitter:
A tremendous thank you to Andy Budd, Sophie Barrett, Kate Bulpitt and all of Clearleft for inviting me to participate in what (I heard from friends and saw in tweets) was an incredible three days of content. I hope to come back next year, stay healthy, and get to experience it all myself.
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