#ProductTalks: Agile UX & designing for emerging tech

Innovify’s latest #ProductTalk saw the community meet in early May to discuss emerging technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and how UX Designers can work in agile environments.

Two expert speakers joined the session: Alex Erinle and Akil Benjamin. Alex is a Product Designer with a background in consumer psychology, who has worked in many companies including BT. Akil is currently the co-founder and Head of Research at Comuzi, a firm that helps businesses such as Nike, ASOS and the BBC, connect more meaningfully with people.

How to improve UX performance in agile

UX, ALEX

Kicking things off, Alex Erinle introduced a common and complex problem facing UX Designers. Agile workstyles are on the rise, but many UX Designers struggle to work effectively in agile environments. This is, in part, due to the Agile Manifesto being written by developers to deliver working software faster. However, constructive UX research requires time to fully understand customer needs.

After speaking with UX Designers worldwide, attending UX roundtables and researching existing literature, Alex devised six things to help UX work in agile environments:

  1. The product owner should have UX design experience.
  2. UX needs to be a team effort, with everyone responsible for the UX process.
  3. The ‘go live’ date is king.
  4. Use the wider business for usability testing.
  5. Have a specific day every week for user tests.
  6. It’s all about value.

He finished by showing a new process for teams, that improves UX in agile environments. The slides from Alex’s talk can be downloaded here.

The devil is in the details

Akil

Akil Benjamin then offered insights on a recent chatbot project. It was rooted in Akil’s interest in AI (and other emerging technology) and how people interact with it. The end result was a mental health chatbot, dubbed MoodJar, that was targeted towards young people.

When speaking about AI, Akil emphasised that it went beyond UX. Designers must think about the ‘human experience’ (HX) because AI has lifelong impacts. From determining a mortgage application to a judicial sentence.

After consulting with teenagers to understand what they wanted from a chatbot, Akil discovered:

  1. They desired tools, not friends: So the chatbot was designed to be upfront about being artificial and didn’t take on an overly friendly tone.
  2. Objectivity: The chatbot was relied on for its non-biased opinion [SLIDE – Quote that starts with “I know it’s a bot…with a non-biased opinion”]
  3. Security and privacy: Therefore, the bot was designed to be private and hidden on their phone.

By taking the time to fully understand the users of AI, Akil’s team was able to design a chatbot that addressed their needs and expectations. He ended with this quote, “You build better products when you design for agency and show care.”

The slides from Akil’s talk can be downloaded here.

#ProductTalks from Innovify

Thank you to everyone who attended May’s session and for future events, please check out our Eventbrite page.

If you would like to speak at our #ProductTalk or another one of our events at a later date, please contact our Events Manager, Elena Oprea, at elena@innovify.com

At Innovify we help start-ups, scale-ups and corporates with developing their products and services. This includes tech support, innovation ideation, agile development and much more. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, please get in contact with Maulik Sailor at maulik@innovify.com.

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