The Transformation Of UXDX

Rory Madden has been working in IT in the corporate environment for 17 years now and as you can imagine, he has seen and implemented his fair share of change during that time.

First cutting his teeth with Accenture and then for the Irish Airlines, Ryanair and Aer Lingus, with a dabble in the start-up world in between.
His latest start up is UXDX – a four day virtual gathering for the global product community, ‘The conference that helps teams build better products – bridging the gap between UX, Dev & Product’ which is now in its 5th year. But this year they won’t only be talking about digital transformation but UXDX are currently experiencing it, as they move to an online offering due to the Covid restrictions.

The UXDX confrence, pre-Covid restrictions

Due to be held in Dublin, Ireland the conference will now be available globally through a platform they are currently building.
Prior to the Covid shut down the team were set to hold some community events in the Nordics but the restrictions meant they moved them online, this gave them the opportunity to trial what would work online and what would not.
“We kind of practiced what we preach in terms of just get something out there. Write down the assumptions that you want to validate, test them, and figure out where you go from there,” explains Madden.

“We just did it on Zoom and we had a couple of assumptions around the format for how we’d run the sessions, how we’d do breakouts and how we’d do networking, and we learned a huge amount. It was kind of a testament to that idea of just get something out that you’re not proud of, get feedback and you can learn from there,” he explains, “because what we’re building now for October is completely different than what I would have built back in March.”

“what we’re building now for October is completely different” – Rory Madden on stage at the UXDX confrence

“what we’re building now for October is completely different” – Rory Madden on stage at the UXDX confrence

The conference format has changed to ten pre-recorded talks released every evening and the live scheduled sessions delivered afternoons only. There will also be an interactive area for panel questions and networking.

Continuing with the practice what they preach theme they are taking an agile approach to building their conference platform.
“I’m a big fan of piecing together existing products because a lot of companies fall into the trap of wanting to build everything. Whereas there’s so many good products out that can do different aspects – you should focus on what’s unique for you and what’s unique for us is our content – highlighting how companies are moving from working in projects, to working in product; moving away from just being told what to build to, to doing the discovery and building it yourself,” says Madden.

They are using Google’s Firebase platform as a base to build out their event platform.

“We’re kind of plugging and playing a lot of different apps together. There is still a lot of work in kind of trying to make things work together but it’s a lot easier than trying to build everything from scratch,” he adds.

UXDX will be held online 6-9th October and includes speakers from eBay, Reddit, Hootsuite and Condé Nast covering a range of topics in the product development space.

Workshops include impact mapping : Collaborative Strategic Planning, How Accessibility Can Be Intergrated Throughout the Lifecycle Of the Product and a Beginner Introduction to the Serverless Framework. The live sessions will include talks on Turning Motiviation into Action and Empowered Teams.

Fiona Alston is a freelance journalist based in Ireland covering tech, innovation, start-ups and interesting SMEs. Alston is also passionate about athletics, health and horses having competed in triathlons, equestrian events and horse racing, and her lived experience comes through when covering sports personalities or fitness features. Growing up on the family farm in Scotland, Alston graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA (Hon.) in Broadcast Journalism, and is frequently published in The Irish Times, The Business Post, RTÉ and 4i Mag.