I have spoken at a variety of conferences and events including UCD Gathering, IxDA Scotland and IWMW. My talks are about human-centred approaches in my work, focused mainly on service design, student experience and digital management.
User experience in universities
UX Soup — 2022
Podcast appearance where I discussed my work leading the University of Edinburgh’s user experience and digital consultancy team. I spoke about my team’s work and history, how the consultancy model can work in higher education, and how to break down silos in a complex organisation.
Service design and the Mario complex
UX Glasgow — 2021
This session highlighted some contradictory themes in service design, which I detected after reflecting on my attendance at the Service Design in Government conference. Service designers want to see themselves as both plumbers and saviours. Can they be both?
This talk also explored the similarities and differences between user experience and service design. It described why they have more similarities and differences. Instead of obsessing about the differences, we should recognise our shared goal in pursuing human-centred approaches.
This was a talk version of my blog post Service design and the Mario complex.
Panellist — Ask us anything — User experience / interaction design
UX Glasgow — 2021
I was a panellist at a UX Glasgow “ask us anything” event where I answered attendees’ questions about interaction design and user experience more broadly.
A service design approach to improving student experience
UCD Gathering — 2020
This session outlined the comprehensive programme of user research the University of Edinburgh’s User Experience Service conducted on behalf of a project to improve the way staff use virtual learning environments to achieve a better student experience. It showed how, as the project went along, we adopted a service design approach in order to better meet the needs of both students and staff.
Public Sector Design in Scotland meetup — 2021
With Emma Horrell
This session was subsequently brought up to date at the public sector design meetup. My colleague Emma Horrell has led on some further research to ensure the solutions we developed before the coronavirus outbreak are still appropriate for hybrid teaching.
Understanding what students really need from a virtual learning environment
UX Glasgow — 2020
IxDA Scotland meetup — 2019
Edinburgh UX monthly meetup — 2019
This talk outlined the methodology and some key findings from our user research programme for the Learn Foundations project analysing students’ needs around accessing course materials digitally. I explained how we used multiple methods to come to a true understanding of what students need. It showed that while it is important to use quantitative approaches to build a robust solution that you can sell to your stakeholders, we must also use qualitative approaches to get a true understanding of what’s happening.
How user experience research is shaping the changes to our virtual learning environment
Alt Annual Conference — 2019
With Paul Smyth and Karen Howie
We presented about the comprehensive range of user research the User Experience Service has undertaken on behalf of the Learn Foundations project at the University of Edinburgh.
Building a digital team (almost) from scratch
This session outlined my experience of building new digital teams (almost) from scratch, having found myself doing so in two different situations at two different institutions. I considered the challenges and opportunities presented by building a new team, and examined the contrasts between my experiences at the two institutions. I showed how the approach you can take to building a new team depends on the context.