May 8-10

Cavalli Wine and Stud Farm, Stellenbosch – 3 days. 14 speakers. 3 workshops. This conference boasts a microcosm of industry leaders from the digital world. Speakers and organisations from around the world, including Shopify, Facebook and Airbnb, came together for this explosion of knowledge, ideas, skills and tools that are changing the way we work and play. Open Window was well represented by various students studying Interaction Design. Stephanie de Beer answers a Q&A after the conference:

1. Now that you have had a chance to experience PixelUp with an open mind, how would you summarise the experience in 3 words?

Exhilarating; Informative; Delicious

2.Which speaker inspired you most and why?

Mindy Gold, Ux Content Strategist at Capital One (prev. designer at Award Winning Design consultancy IDEO)

The UX design process needs a new approach but very few designers are brave enough to approach the creative process in a new or different way. Previously a copywriter, Mindy demonstrated how she started a User Experience project by designing the user-to-product conversation first. She literally starts in a word doc, mapping out the conversation between the user and the interface. Such a simple strategy that makes sense when aiming for a user-centred design experience and cultivating user trust.

3.PixelUp has a reputation for sharing practical knowledge – do you feel that this is true? Why?

Definitely. The selected speakers from well-known organisations such as Airbnb; Facebook; Google; Uber; Pictogram’ all shared their collective experiences within the UX industry. Many started out completely lost, and basically ‘failed’ their way to the top. One of the talks titled How to fail at design by Sebastiaan de With, founder and designer at Pictogram, explored the mistakes that all designers make – mistakes that help them to succeed and grow.

The speakers took complex concepts or challenges, simplified it, and showcased real life examples of the application. It’s inspiring to see current projects within the industry and how they were executed; refined and iterated to the final success.

4.Do you think there is value for students attending PixelUp?

Yes. The industry is rapidly evolving, and it is crucial to stay in the loop on all things UX. With about 150 attendees, the conference is quite small and intimate compared to others, allowing students to meet many of the speakers and fellow attendees. We had the opportunity to speak to other industry people, get advice, and might I add, the food was spectacular! We left inspired, motivated, and all senses satisfied.

5.Would you go again?

I would definitely want to attend every year.  What I hear from past attendees, is that the conference is just getting more impressive each year.

Photo below: Open Window students (Stephanie in the middle left)