Digital thought leaders descended upon Bristol recently to hear ground-breaking talks at one of the UK's leading UX and design conferences, Collaborate Bristol.

Despite having a variety of ideas about, and approaches to, ‘collaboration’, speakers were clear in their view that the design and the creative process should be done with purpose, not mindlessly or to adhere to a particular checklist.

Collaborate Bristol perspectives not only covered online design but also reviewed collaboration within complete brand design and ideology. The first speaker of the day, Lisa Campana, Head of Design at MOO, addressed the power of personality for a brand and put forward the idea that in the eyes of your customer, user experience and brand experience is the same thing, yet brands treat them as separate entities. In order to fully achieve brand consistency, Lisa argued that all elements of a business must stay on the same page and communicate as a unit.

While Lisa discussed the concept of making your brand appealing to customers, Hany Rizk, UX strategy and design at Volkswagen-Carmeq suggested that some brands, like Facebook, have potentially become too appealing to consumers, keeping us in a constant dopamine loop checking notifications. He explained that the average person checks their phone 130 times per day and after these individual distractions, it can take us 23 minutes to refocus, meaning the technology is making us less focused and productive when it should be doing the opposite.

The one-day event was held at Bristol’s Watershed building, a hub for creativity in Bristol. Speaking of the event, Catherine Vaughan, head of marketing at Nomensa, said: “Ultimately, the reason we collaborate is because we want to achieve more, so essentially collaboration is a team sport where there is no room for egos, allowing us to play to our strengths and to operate to our full capabilities. If we can make the work we do easier and more enjoyable through collaboration, then we will design better things.”

Following the theme of the day, Alison Coward, founder of Bracket, Sarah Wishard at UCL and Jilly Cross from Bravand discussed creative collaboration and working with groups of professionals to come up with the best ideas for individual projects.

Health was also a key topic, where Anne Cooper, Chief Nurse at NHS Digital explored the healthcare approach to user experience. Throughout her talk, she addressed hazards such as medication and allergies when designing the systems which healthcare professionals must work with to treat clients. Nomensa’s own Alastair Campbell also addressed health issues within user experience by focusing his talk on accessibility for an audience of all capabilities. He put forward the idea that accessibility is the true indicator of quality. Interestingly, Alastair noted that accessibility must fit into all digital projects and that when testing it's important to avoid a checklist mentality but instead look to make genuine improvements for those who may have difficulties when accessing technology.

Andrea Picchi, lead experience designer at Sony Mobile explored the importance of creating human-centric design, by generating value through solving a problem. Sam Michael, designer at Monzo also took this approach with his talk as in his role, among others at Monzo, he is working to create a bank that is effortless and not taxing for the user, focusing on creating a smooth experience for everyone.

Having been held in June for the first time since it first launched, the event was a sell out with audience activity extending the venue through social media and trending on Twitter.

Catherine continued: “We created Collaborate Bristol to encourage collaborative conversation and to encourage better thinking when addressing design and accessibility issues. This year, we’ve had an incredible line-up of speakers, all bringing their own experiences within their industry. We’ve had a fantastic audience response once again this year and are looking forward to our next event.”

Published on: 3:10PM on 6th July 2017