My experience with the UXSA conference was one to remember in the sense that personally, It was a first for me to be surrounded by so many like minded people. I have attended the 2020 Edition as an undercover Rabbit and here are my impressions.

UX as a whole is something that I’ve been extremely passionate about for a very long time even before I even considered making it a career. The conference was a chance for me to not only interact with different people, speakers, on the matters that will shape the future of the industry, but It also allowed all of us to reflect and ponder on certain issues at hand.

The conference was spread within 3 days and every single day brought exciting new topics.

The workshop sessions were quite interactive and I have to say since everything was moved to an online platform, due to the current circumstances we all know of, making it as appealing and interesting as it was, wasn’t an easy task. My hat goes off to Chantel Botha on the very first day of the conference. She managed to break the ice by making us do some physical exercises. As unique and particular as it sounds, she made us jump, loosen our joints with some breathing exercise in between, before tackling the matter at hand.

We spoke about Journey mapping and how to render the best customer service doing so. She expanded on Persona development and Empathy mapping. We also went practical, mapping away our understanding of what a customer journey is and we also created a fictional Persona for the sake of the exercise.

This is just an illustration of how interactive and engaging some of the sessions were.

I would have loved to list all of the speakers that spoke with regards to topics they were passionate about, but that would take a whole year. I would like however to point out another presentation that resonated quite well with me; Probably because I was more familiar with the subject matter.

Athishas Ramds did an incredible job describing the Hero’s journey through the use of cinematography and popular culture references. I was absolutely taken by how easy It was for her to illustrate the Hero’s journey through the use of storytelling and how It can be used as a powerful tool to understand and communicate the said journey.

The icing on the cake was on day two. After all the presentations were conducted during the day, we had the immense privilege to engage with Don Norman, the man itself.

Video conversation with Don Norman November 2020

It was such a precious and emotional moment because who knows when such an opportunity will present itself again?

It was a Q&A session that lasted close to two hours and during that time, many questions were asked of Don, and he meticulously answered every single one of them.

Don is an immense source of knowledge. He appeared in front of us so humble and generous with his time and single-handedly took the time to go over all of our questions. We spoke about UX evidently (duh), what was his vision for the future of the industry, what were his future goals, where is he planning on going next in terms of visions and projects among other things. It was extremely enriching and It would be a lie If anyone said they came out of that session completely unmoved.

Overall I also understood that the UX community in South Africa is an ever-growing one, full of generous people. People that are passionate about their craft and that wouldn’t shy away from sharing their knowledge and quite possibly their past experiences, their mistakes, as well as their success, so that future generations can learn from them and shape a better future for themselves.

That was my experience in a Nutshell. And It’s one that I would gladly be a part of again should the opportunity present itself.

Francis Manga