DIBI conference 2017 - Christopher Murphy



A writer, speaker and designer based in Belfast, Christopher has founded a number of successful digital startups. A passionate educator and mentor to many young entrepreneurs, Christopher leads Interaction Design provision at The Belfast School of Art.

Informing his role as an educator, Christopher is a practicing designer whose work spans a variety of media, both analogue and digital. His work has featured in numerous magazines and books including Eye Magazine, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading design journals.

The author of numerous books – and a regular contributor to Net Magazine, Offscreen, Lagom and others – he is currently hard at work on Tiny Books, which publishes short, sharp books for creative entrepreneurs that explore the design of business and the business of design.

Have you ever had an idea for a side project, perhaps a potential business, but never quite managed to get it off the ground? Chris shared some practical advice in his talk, that will encourage you to follow your dream, make the calculated leap of faith and turn that idea into a reality.

Chris explains you need an equal balance of passion, money and skill to create a purpose for completing a task, creating a new product, or following your dream.

Chris explains you need an equal balance of passion, money and skill to create a purpose for completing a task, creating a new product, or following your dream.

Chris started the talk with an inspirational message "Time treats everyone the same". We only have 86,400 seconds each day. Make each second of each minute of each and every day count. He explained that the average man has 31,025 days in his lifetime, and Chris has already lived a large majority of those days. He regrets nothing, he has taken many risks in his life time, some good some not so good. They have all contributed to getting him to where he is today and he encourages us all to take more risks.

He enforced that every day you live you should love doing what you did that day. What you choose to do as a career, should be something you love to do, or are skilled at doing, but never for the money. In the long run, if you choose to do something you love, become well skilled in doing that 'thing' someone will be interested in it and you may make a lot of money. Find your purpose!

Its difficult to find do, seeing your purpose or the end goal. Athletes durning training are encouraged to visualise the end goal, the runner winning the race, the basketballer making that shot in the last few seconds. Regardless of the situation it's important to imagine/dream the possibility of an achievement to help make it become real. Martin Luther King once said "I have a dream", he not only saw a future that he wanted but also invited others to join his invisible force to envision the future everyone could have.

The journey from receiving a brief, the 'fuck off' stage, and collaborating your ideas from the 'FO' stage all at last minute. 

The journey from receiving a brief, the 'fuck off' stage, and collaborating your ideas from the 'FO' stage all at last minute. 



Have you ever dreamed of running a business? Have you ever imagined a future where your business aligns with your passions? Have you ever had an idea, but never quite managed to get it off the ground and turn it into a reality?

I've been there and done it many times and, as an educator, I love helping others achieve success through the creation of sustainable and profitable businesses.

In this practical book – with accompanying screencasts, slide decks and worksheets – I'll help you get started so that you can turn your idea into a reality, building a profitable business.  




2. The art of procratination by John Perry

Procrastination - just about everyone has struggled with it. This charming, highly readable book by an internationally recognised Stanford philosopher offers a new outlook: instead of focusing on your deficits, recognise the myriad things that you do accomplish while avoiding "the important project." Laced with stealth advice that you can put to use, it's funny, wise, and useful to boot. John Perry's insights and laugh-out-loud humour bring to mind Thurber, Wodehouse, and Harry Frankfort's On Bullshit. This very readable book educates, entertains, and illuminates a universal subject. Procrastinators will be relieved to learn that actually you can accomplish quite a lot while procrastinating.


3. Managing Oneself - Peter Drunken

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: with ambition, drive, and talent, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession?regardless of where you started out.

But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren?t managing their knowledge workers? careers. Instead, you must be your own chief executive officer. That means it?s up to you to carve out your place in the world and know when to change course. And it?s up to you to keep yourself engaged and productive during a career that may span some 50 years.

In Managing Oneself, Peter Drucker explains how to do it. The keys: Cultivate a deep understanding of yourself?by identifying your most valuable strengths and most dangerous weaknesses. Articulate how you learn and work with others and what your most deeply held values are. Describe the type of work environment where you can make the greatest contribution.

Only when you operate with a combination of your strengths and self-knowledge can you achieve true?and lasting?excellence. Managing Oneself identifies the probing questions you need to ask to gain the insights essential for taking charge of your career.


DIBI conference 2017 - Brent Palmer



Brent Palmer is a Lead Designer for Zendesk where he heads up UX and Design for Zendesk’s analytics product, Explore. Previously, Brent was Director UI/UX at TrendKite, an analytics platform for Public Relations professionals. Before a long career in technology, Brent spent ten years in advertising where he won several Addy Awards. 

Brent is active in the design community, speaks regularly at meet ups and has been a guest lecturer at several universities. He has two daughters who teach him the bets part of design is making mistakes. 

Design is dark matter and hard to manage, However Data has all the answers and eliminates issues! Right? Not exactly..

Designing with data has become easier than ever. Analytics tools are everywhere and readily available to designers, developers and marketers. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand or spot trends. If big data is here to stay, where does UX research fit?  

Brent explained why we need authentic, individual analysis more than ever and why charts still won’t reveal emotions or intent. He walked through some examples of where data enhances, not replaces, real conversations with customers.

Analytic ( Quantitative) vs Telling the story (Qualitative) 

Analytic ( Quantitative) vs Telling the story (Qualitative) 

In many cases data has revealed to have all the answers and eliminate a lot of risk when it comes to design decisions. When we have a project manager wanting to get projects turned over and out the door, the option to follow a quantitative data solution is often over ruled. However, It is important to allow both quantitative and qualitative analytic to enable a natural balance between telling the clients story and implementing improvements lead by analytics and data.

Quantitative data is information about quantities; that is, information that can be measured and written down with numbers. This Neocortex part of the humans brain controls how users act this involves higher functions such perception, motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language. This Data can be used to monitor behaviours and the way someone uses a website. This side of the brain can be easily manipulated depending on the changes/ improvements made on a site, but we, as designers can not focus on purely quantitative data.

Qualitative data is typically descriptive data and as such is harder to analyse than quantitative data. Qualitative research is useful for studies at an individual level, and to find out, in depth, the ways in which people think or feel. This is extremely important when designing to consider user intent and emotional drives. The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls emotion, and memories. This can't be captured as easily as quantitative data and requires a skilled designer to make sure the user experiences the desired emotions when visiting the site. This is where a designer / team can create enjoyable experiences, new memories and change past experiences/behaviour, in turn working aiding decisions made from AB test, heat-maps, analytics and quantitate data.

Do your research on web interface movement tools, and explore analytic reporting platforms, here are some useful links to help get you started:

  1. The Content Strategist
  2. INC
  3. Useful Usability


  1. Articulating Design Decisions by Tom Greever

Every designer has had to justify their designs to a non-designer, yet most lack the ability to convince people they’re right. The ability to effectively articulate your decisions is critical to the success of a project, because the most articulate person usually wins. In this session, you’ll learn practical tips for talking about your designs to executives, managers, developers, and other designers with the goal of winning them over and getting your way when it comes to the final design.


2. High Resolution - Podcast
High Resolution is a limited video series on product design and design thinking.

DIBI conference 2017 - Vibha Bamba




Vibha is a senior product designer at Airbnb. Her design work is focused on making sure that every guest on Airbnb has a great trip and every host feels supported in their journey. Prior to this, she worked at Wikipedia where she worked on desktop typography, mobile web, iOS and Android apps while engaging with a huge community of readers and editors. She is passionate about typography and conducts workshops to increase type awareness among students.

Vibha explained her experiences of “designing for expectations and anticipation”. Her team looks at both the guest and the hosts perspectives, using themes of expectations, perception, dialogue, and self-awareness. Vibha discussed how every city, host and home in the world was unique, and translated a variety of individual guest personals that travel into strangers homes. This could be somewhere local or perhaps a foreign culture, however there are always moments of anticipation, uncertainty and often submission that need to be highly considered during the Airbnb experience.

Vibha's talk focused on how the guest feedback process has been developed to improve reviews, star ratings and provide better feedback for hosts. Hosts were found to be leaving mixed reviews on the same host, experience and room, which left researches and host baffled. Another common trend was that guests were leaving poor star ratings, good reviews and no feedback for hosts to improve. The team quickly arranged focus groups from both users to discover why this was happening. 

The team discovered that guests providing feedback was often too vague as they didn't want to upset the host by being too specific. The host also raised that the feedback can often be too specific, right down to personal taste or un-actionable results (e.g No pool?!). The team simplified some feedback features on the site and introduced a tagging system to specify items, rooms, quality ect. This made it much quicker to leave useful feedback and in turn reduced the amount of negative reviews, as users were providing feedback instead of bad experiences. 

Vibha also touched upon a problem they are currently tackling 'Cost vs Quality'. The price of Airbnb is often very competitive and dependant on location, city centre or close to an airport. One guest had no where to stay after a flight got cancelled and booked a room. This guest left a great review as he was relieved to find a nice clean room at last minute. However, a lady that booked this room months ago for a vacation left a very negative review. When asked why, she explained that she had developed certain expectations of the room and after months of anticipation the room did not deliver. Customer expectation is something that is very difficult to manage within the review system. Surely cost should effect expectation, but we find the cost can often be forgotten.

Vibha mentioned an app called Lyft, a carpool app that allows people to share a taxi with other passengers on their route for a cheaper fair. Passengers have an option to jump in on other riders journeys or create their own journey that can collect passengers on their selected route. Lyft found that passengers being collected loved the service and found it great value for money. However passengers that created a route complained that the taxi service veered off route, or journeys took too long. This was due to the user forgetting about the cost of this service and judging the experience. So how do we lower the users expectations? Ikea do a great job of taking their customers on a specific journey to do so.

They sell the dream!

They take you through the warehouse!

Which preps you for the home building process!

Because IKEA implement these steps they lower the customers expectations which intern reduces disappointment and reminds the customers the value and cost of the item.

DIBI conference 2017 - Tobias Ahlin



Tobias is the Lead Experience Designer for Minecraft in Stockholm, Sweden. When he’s not working from the Mojang headquarters he’s spending his time as an Industry Leader at the digital business school Hyper Island, where he frequently lectures.

Prior to Mojang, Tobias was one of the first designers at Spotify, and was early on responsible for the UI design of all their apps. He went on to work as a Product Designer and Developer at GitHub in San Francisco, and later lead the design for the user testing company Lookback.

Tobias highlighted in his talk that we spend a lot of time working with tools and frameworks that help us work better together. We stay agile; we stay lean; we stand in circles; we avoid waterfalls. We ship MVPs, or maybe MLPs. We have a rigid set of tools and processes to make sure that we can ship something that works, and on time. We have agile coaches that helps us stay together, and move in the same direction. This is, essentially production management. But what tools and processes do we have to make sure we’re heading in the right direction? How do we know that we’re building something of value?

Tobias introduced us to his process of design BETs (Belief Exploration Trees). It’s an innovation framework that helps us have better ideas, stay nuanced, connect our ideas to business goals, and avoid getting stuck in local maxima. Rather than dictating in what order we do things, or how to manage the production, it focuses on quality; how to have original ideas of value, how to update our belief over time, and how to make better decisions in groups. Tobias gave an example of BET's in action for a coffee shop. Firstly begin with a idea to attract new custom within food, drinks or service. Say if we expanded the service branch, two areas to improve on could be 'personalisation' or 'speed'. An idea to personalise the service could be to write the customers name on the cup. You can then create a hypothesis, approach the issue or goal. Present the idea of doing "X' to succeed and back up your suggestion, for example "Starbucks have done this and it worked well for them". It's also important to mention why this may fail, and hear from the team their thoughts on the idea.

He feels that by presenting your ideas in this way you produce something of value, and how to fix a clients problem. It also helps to minimise and highlight risk prior to actions being taken. He outlines important characteristics that help to make this process more effective and characteristics that can result in failure or increase risk.

Designers with good judgment

Designers with good judgment

Designers with poor judgment 

Designers with poor judgment 

DIBI conference 2017 - Molly Nix




Molly is a Senior Product Designer at Uber developing the driver app, and self-driving technology. Uber solved a simple problem: How do you get a ride at the touch of a button? Six years and more than 2 billion trips later, Uber continues to grow in more than 450 cities in 74 countries.

Uber is a company with a diverse set of products that often face design challenges with plenty  of risk. It is their goal as designers not only to minimise risk, but to channel risk in a way that helps fuel design, and to choose those risks that we deem worthy.

Molly's talk gave some insight into how Uber deals with risk in the design process. She began explaining the importance of risk within design and how to discover which risks are worth taking. 
She explained her '3 Step process' the uber team takes to minimise risk for both designers and stakeholders.

  1. Participate - Try to experience the problem from the first hand user, as much as you possibly can. Although you can replicate the users surroundings or situation of human stimulants, it helps to gain a deeper level of understanding.
  2. Involve - Develop a design direction, discover key challenges and user stories to help solve users concerns or achieve their goals.
  3. Observe - Research and use the product from your own perspective and apply your own knowledge and skills to develop a solution.

Molly also shared how designers at Uber work to deliver the best experience by 'Body Storming'. They would act out scenarios to create an 'improv' class to share ideas as a team and develop solutions to client problems. This process adds a sense of humanity to the problem, providing aid for a better understanding of the pressure points Uber drivers face in the real world.


Molly shared with us a problem she encountered when developing the Uber Driver App. When undertaking some user research in India, the team found that firstly there are some literacy issues that the app needed to address. Iconography aided this issue greatly but the icons chosen created another puzzling discovery. After the icons were put in place and tested on users, they found a peek in users visiting the 'Earnings' section in the App. The Uber team looked into this and discovered that users thought the 'Earnings' icon was a 'connectivity' icon. India also struggle with connectivity issues quite frequently and the Uber app relies heavily on connectivity to link drivers with passengers. The team listened to the users and learn from them. They changed the UI slightly and it made the app much more user friendly for Uber drivers around the world.

Contribute to making peoples lives better, create valuable experiences that enrich peoples lives.

DIBI conference 2017 - Mike Kus



Mike is a UK based designer, specialising in Web/UI Design, Graphic Design, Branding, Illustration & Photography. He has a worldwide client roster and his work is regularly featured in design related publications. Mike is also a regular speaker at design/tech conferences.

"It’s human nature to follow the crowd, but in order to stand out, you sometimes need to stand-alone". Mike Kus believes that every client is unique, yet many websites are starting to look the same. In this 30 minute talk, Mike shared the secrets of how to extract an organisation’s identity, and use it as the inspiration for crafting distinctive web design.

Mike explained the importance of creating a website that is the extension of the brand, not just a tool that the logo can be placed on. He discussed that when a client comes to an agency not knowing what they want or need, it becomes an opportunity to help them tell or discover their story. At this point its important to extract everything there is to know about the client, the product, core values and how the business got here today. It is vital at this stage the designer shows the ability to understand and share the feelings of the client, this creates a natural drive for designers to discover a solution to problems the client is facing.

Discover Process - During the initial key meetings with a client, we should discuss "who the client is", "why they are who they are" ect.. whilst talking with the client trying to unravel the business one question at a time. Its common at this stage to discover that a business has not developed their brand because they simply have never had the time, until now! Mike shared a thought process that he uses to help him gather his meeting notes to find common traits, reoccurring factors. He would then uses his findings to help develop a more tailored concept for the project. Mike called this method "Movie Story Strap Line". You create a strap line of 5 words that sets the tone of the project or company, to help create a visual story. 

Mike's client Mixd, a website design agency needed to stand out from the crowd: www.mixd.co.uk. There are so many design agencies out there offering all the same services, so how did Mike make Mixd stand out. Mike found common treats and reoccurring factors from his KO meeting that stood out for him and developed the strap line of "beautiful form and perfect function". He then could develop visual concepts that would stimulate the client, he showed concepts that included 'perfectly designed' items like the pencil, spoon and a wheel to show that the best design is the simplest one that works. See Mikes portfolio here

Mike expressed his thoughts on how the web was changing for the better but also how many sites were starting to look the same. Design has the ability characterise a website with the style, typefaces and colours, to create a tone of voice. This look and feel of the site can relate to a user in seconds, much faster than words. He wants us as designers and developers to build a better digital world and become digital 'craftsmen, explorers and scientists' of the future.