Lisbon is becoming a preferred city to host international conferences. UX Lx, dedicated to User Experience, is one of them. It will happen at 4-6 of June 2014. I talked with its curator, Bruno Figueiredo.
Please give our readers an introduction to what UX Lx is.
UXLx is an international event for User Experience professionals focused on learning new skills and techniques while getting inspired by world-leading experts in the field. Every year we gather 500 people from more than 30 countries all over the globe.
It’s not only a great place to learn, it’s also a great place to mingle. We started doing huge dinners every night so that people coming alone would not feel left out. And we invite all our speakers to join us, so it’s a great place to talk with all your industry heroes and to share experiences with people from very different places.
We’re approaching the fifth edition of the conference this June. How has it evolved over the years?
We kept the format mostly unchanged but the topics evolved a bit from the introductory to more specific and advanced ones.
What would you like to highlight from this year’s edition?
This year we have a lot of workshops focusing more on Service Design, which is a relatively new field within the realm of UX. We’re also trying to get speakers from different fields to come and speak at the last day. Sometimes we need to see what else is out there instead of learning only from your peers.
Lisbon is becoming a preferred city for many conferences. Why do you think this is?
Part of why we started UXLx was realizing that most tech and design conferences in Europe took place during winter in northern countries, while in the US they mostly take place in hot and sunnier places. So we wanted to change that and 5 years on, it seems like more and more events agree with us, since we’re seeing more events pop up not only in Portugal, but Spain, Italy and Greece as well.
Lisbon also benefits from being relatively known worldwide but a lot of people not being here yet. And the constant awards on travel and tourism websites help as well.
What do companies still need to understand about User Experience?
In Europe (apart from the UK) most companies still think of design as a stage in the development process and they trust too much on designers to do the right thing. There’s almost no research and very little validation. UX is an all-encompassing process and companies still need to realize that.
How do you see the startup landscape in Europe and, in particular, in Portugal?
I think more and more startup hubs are popping up pretty much everywhere and that’s a good thing. Even though Silicon Valley is still where most world-changing startups pop-up, we’re seeing a lot of interesting ones showing up in more places. The startup scene in Portugal seems a bit too much focused on getting a concept that can work abroad, but they forget that in most cases it needs to be validated in our market, and our market is tiny for that. Other than that, we have excellent technical skills and excellent designers and I think we can compete head to head with other companies in a global market.