Mobile UX Conference London 2016 – Write-up of Talk by Helen Nic Rua

Mobile UX held its annual UX conference in London (UX Conference London 2016) where a group of talented UX designers and Mobile experience leaders gathered to learn, collaborate and network. One amongst them was Helen Nic Giolla Rua, sharing a fluid presentation on “how to turn a technical brief into a product that people would love to use”.

Helen Rua is an industrial designer turned UX architect who has been working at Imagination for a few years now. She has a couple of large auto manufacturers such as Jaguar and Land Rover as her clientele. These are two of Imagination’s biggest clients for whom they work end to end from planning and executing shiny exhibitions, car launches, to promotional events with celebrities.

Her job as a UX architect is to design Mobile User experience for key stakeholders and customers. It starts from developing holistic user journeys with guests, staffs and other stakeholders involved directly with the event, collecting humongous data, which is relevant and insightful, collecting email data for her to understand the bigger picture and finally coming up with a user experience flow that makes sense for everybody.

In Mobile UX Conference London 2016, she explained one of her interesting and successful projects constituted building an interactive mobile interface using “ibeacons”. As we know, beacons are electronic sensors that can signal you through a mobile interface when you are close to the thing that you are looking for! This project aimed to serve the national museum and art gallery required her team to design treasure hunts for visitors using ibeacon technology.

The team innovated and expanded the ibeacon technology to various domains of business. They researched on different technologies that can work with signals in different (wide and short) distances – GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, QR, NFC. Next was applying all this knowledge into a large scale project for a ship at the coast of Caribbean. It was a huge conference of car dealers from all over the world. They would learn about new car launches, sponsorship, what’s new in car dealership etc. The personas for her to work upon were these dealers themselves.

The work started with drawing up a floor plan of the ship. In Mobile UX Conference London 2016, she charted up the wireframes, decided where to place the beacons, which would signal the location of the ship to the user. The project was a huge business deal for Imagination, but because of the sheer size of the ship, the team ran across numerous hiccups including budgets, staff shortage, and Bluetooth signal being blocked by ship’s metal body. These learning did play a big role when they were applied to a car exhibition scenario later, “ The NY auto show”.

Helen’s lack of experience in cars or auto shows was a challenge but she beautifully described to the audience how one can research and try to understand the psyche of hosts, customers, and other staff before applying the learning to come up with User experience maps. An important tip is to always start with an understanding of what is the problem that you are going to solve.

The team cracked the basics of how to let visitors have a hassle-free and unique car show experience. For a Mobile UX designer, it’s important to understand the personas before diving deep into the UX design. Helen’s expertise could be understood from the fact that she defined each persona including fan, staff, celebrity, a prospective buyer in details before proceeding to tell the audience about the app itself.

The app they designed can prompt the user to set up a time to arrive at the auto show and seamlessly prompt the host at the other end to receive the guest from the door and show them around. This is how “Jaguar Stand Tour” was born. This app would guide a user all the way from a corner of NY city to the venue, to the stand and enhance his or her User experience exponentially.

Mobile UX Conference London 2016, the presentation was wrapped up nicely with a discussion on the importance of research in UX and Mobile UX development, the challenges faced while executing research projects and alternatives that can be used to work around those challenges.


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