Yesterday was the first day of HxRefactored, which is permanently in contention for my favorite conference ever. As usual, the programming was superb, thought-provoking, and engaging. I tweeted my face off (check out my feed to the right of this post or at Twitter directly). The following were, at least on first reflection, my major takeaways:
Research is a non-negotiable if you want effective, engaging user experiences. From Amy Cueva‘s opening keynote to Dr. Vidya Raman-Tangella‘s thoughts on her work at United Health Care, it was clear that user research makes the difference between ideas and results.
Seeing (or being) is believing. Dr. Raman-Tangella advocated that the best way to get internal stakeholders on board with findings from user research is to invite them to observe the actual studies. Meanwhile, Susannah Fox of the HHS Idea Lab (yes, with the government) points out that the people who are living with health issues are motivated and capable to help solve them. Giving them access to information, tools, and resources to try can result in novel and effective solutions.
People are strange (or, apologies to Jim Morrison, different). Several speakers hit on the point that a personalized experience is the most engaging. Whether it’s giving insurance subscribers the right information before they know they need it or offering a specific health intervention to the person who will appreciate it, the more we can use data and insights to determine how we work with users, the better off we will be.
I’m looking forward to Day 2!