Lessons from UXCampLondon

Since Saturday’s UXCampLondon I’ve been thinking about what I took from the experience.

One

The devil is in the details. With such a discerning audience, we had to offer something well run and as seamless as possible. We succeeded, thanks to accurate estimation of various factors including no shows, time between sessions, budgets, and the apparently inevitable delay caused by a GPS-less taxi driver. This attention to detail was entirely down to the commitment of our wonderful volunteers, upon whom I relied to orchestrate the minutiae. Delegation was my preferred tactic, as noted by Johanna in her closing notes.

Two

You can’t live blog a conference you’re running.

Three

There’s something about user experience designers. We took an early decision that UXCampLondon would be a one-dayer since the field is generally slightly older, more interested in spending a Sunday with their family than slumming it on an office floor. This upset a few purists (“It’s not a BarCamp if you don’t stay over!”) but was indisputably the right choice.

Many people commented that UXCampLondon had a unique atmosphere: enthusiastic, yet mature and urbane compared with the (admittedly enjoyable) rough bluster of most BarCamps. It further convinced me that user experience folk are my people: highly likeable but intelligent and well balanced; opinionated yet open to alternative views.

Four

Free alcohol cures all ills.

Five

The best lessons are often hidden. In some ways, I didn’t get that much from UXCampLondon because my mind was always elsewhere and I attended few sessions. But that overlooks the other benefits I took from the day. In particularly, I got further proof of the growing strength of our community, and further experience in handling difficult situations (we had plenty).

A couple of people have asked if I’m planning a sequel. It’s possible, but not for a while. I’m taking some time off, and I’m sure there are many other people well suited to running UXCampLondon2.

Thanks to our volunteersour supporters and of course all the attendees for making UXCampLondon a success.

PhotosRob Enslin and Adam Charnock.