We went to the DIBI conference and here’s our highlights

By hedgehog lab
30 May 2023

Imagine world-class speakers from around the globe providing valuable insights, thought-provoking ideas, and inspiration spanning commercial, creative, and technical aspects. That’s DIBI. Born in Newcastle but based in Edinburgh since 2016, this event dives into digital products and services of all sorts, featuring a carefully curated program tailored for individuals involved in product development.

This year, some of our hedgehogs got to attend the event in person and experience various talks on design systems, AI, security v usability, prototyping, art direction, design principles for the web, design for diversity and inclusion, action-orientated user journeys and many more.

In this article, we asked our hedgehogs about their experience and what they took from this event and here are their responses.

Which was your favourite talk of the conference and why?

“Fonz Morris’ talk on user research at Netflix. I was looking forward to this talk as I know from the Research on Netflix website that it’s a company which invests heavily in its research capabilities and doing so has enabled them to stay ahead of its competitors in the streaming space. Fonz is a great speaker and tells a story well – he took us through what he does in the growth team, some challenges that Netflix has faced and how they’ve responded to them. I love the mission statement of the growth team – “create scalable compelling subscription experiences that drive long-term revenue” – a statement that underscores the importance of customer happiness for financial goals. It was clear that keeping users happy, and therefore on the platform, is at the core of how Netflix works and they are constantly looking at data to understand how to deliver the best possible experience. He then finished with a case study looking at a 2-year homepage to redesign the non-member homepage to provide a more compelling and informative screen that would drive conversion. It’s always interesting to be walked through a real program of work and throughout the conference it was the case studies presented that felt most impactful for me.” – Hannah Zahira, UX Researcher

“How I learned to stop worrying and love the machine (you can too)! One of the talks was all about embracing AI tools rather than straying away from them. It was super interesting and showed real-life scenarios of where these new tools could be implemented for the entire UX research & design process. He showed how you can use it for competitor research and idea brainstorming, image generation and auto-designers, then create hi-fidelity design mockups based on a single prompt. This was all super cool and practical stuff that we can really start trying to get into our design process at hedgehog lab” – Sam Truman, UX Designer

“My favourite talk had to be “Inclusive by Default: creating experiences for everyone” by Andy Dykes from Tesco Bank. Accessibility and equity in design are some of my passions and a couple of the main reasons UX was the space I wanted to be involved in! He talked through how they consider accessibility in their work, that it was going beyond what was designed on the screen and into the physical space of how a person would even access that technology in the first place. A wheelchair user can’t always pull up to a screen, you know? He talked passionately about considering where we get the accessibility data and who from. Is it just client data? Is it reliable? I also enjoyed how he explained their team at Tesco works with industry experts on accessibility, including charities, who will be able to give even more specific insight and context to a person’s situation” – Lauren Taylor, UX Researcher

Man presenting at the DIBI Conference 2023

Was there anything you took from the conference that you could see yourself implementing on your own work?

“I was impressed that a lot of the talks were on showing compassion and working hard and I’d like to keep that on my mind for the future” – Michael Dunwell, Intern Designer

“There were a few learnings that I will absolutely be “stealing” for my own, the main one that comes to mind was talked about in the first talk that centred on compassion in design, going beyond empathy – given by Dan Makoski the Chief Design Officer from United Health Group. In his case studies, he mentioned generative research, where they took research outside of the box for their interviews, surveys and testing – into co-creative tactile sessions with their user base. From asking people to design their own game controller to creating collages to demonstrate what barriers they face, to at-home sessions where users demonstrated exactly where the main frustrations in their day-to-day life were. Yes, these are very specific use cases, but it was something I hadn’t considered before so it makes me excited to work with a client in the future where this would be something we could try!” – Lauren T., UX Researcher

“Lots of important messages about collaboration between different teams, especially at earlier stages of the project. There were quite a few interesting debates as part of the AI talks and subsequent panel with the 2 speakers, which feel like a relevant springboard for further reading given the rapid progression of AI tools and the recently launched AI Accelerator service at hedgehog lab.” – Hannah Z., UX Researcher

“I’m definitely going to start trying to embrace the machine and start finding practical uses of AI within mine and the team’s workflow!” – Sam T., UX Designer

Two people sitting and talking at the DIBI Conference 2023

Finally, what was your favourite thing about the conference?

“My favourite thing? Well, if I’m being honest the team bonding outside of a project or office space, getting to discuss the talks and listen in a more casual setting how their brains work and about their passions. Especially so when you have members of the team who are usually remote, getting that in-person time to meet each other face to face whilst having actual talking points and activities to do together is amazing. It’s one of the main reasons I love the lab, that it values those interpersonal relationships!” – Lauren T., UX Researcher

“It was a great way for a bunch of the hedgehog lab team (designers, researchers and developers) to get together outside of the office whilst all still learning something new! We all had different takes on some of the talks, so chatting about this and experiencing it all together was great fun.” – Sam T., UX Designer

“The range of topics covered – really great variety covering things I’m already interested in, and topics I was less knowledgeable about.” – Hannah Z., UX Researcher

“Obviously there were great talks throughout the conference, but the real highlight for me was getting some face-to-face time with the wider design and dev team at hedgehog lab. Being remote is fantastic, it means we get to recruit from a much wider pool and offers unparalleled flexibility but having a few dedicated days to be together and not having to run off for meetings was invaluable.” – Jo Williamson, Product Designer

“The AI Discussions and the Q&As surrounding that were super interesting and of the time” – Michael D., Intern Designer

Conclusion
That’s some of our hedgehogs insights from the event that seemed to be a well spent couple of days in Edinburgh. If you’d like to hear more from their experiences, follow them on linkedin by clicking on their full names, as well as the hedgehog lab official linkedin page to stay up to date with all the design news and more.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine LearningCreativeDesignInclusive DesignNorthScotlandUX

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