RealUXCamp is an annual weekend-long event for UX enthusiasts. The agenda is created on-site, following the BarCamp format, where attendees contribute topics based on their interests.
Once upon a weekend at RealUXCamp, I found myself enchanted by the delightful company of interesting people. The atmosphere was laid-back and welcoming, with plenty of delicious food and drinks to savor. As the evening approached, we gathered around a crackling fire, sharing laughter and UX wisdom. I had a jolly good time, and I can’t wait to return next year.
Only the chicken could’ve tasted better.
If you missed any of the sessions or are interested in the topics covered at RealUXCamp, I’ve summarized my notes from the sessions I took part in.
It will take longer than that
Rosta prepared a session about estimates and how to improve them.
- Session started with an exercise of estimating things like surface temperature of the sun, or number of books published in US since 1776. I failed miserably.
- Learn from past – collect data (such as number of screens in a design), use the data to estimate new project (the more similar the better), very similar project won’t be faster just because you did it once already.
- Break things down – don’t forget about all the parts.
- Reduce noise and bias – involve others, let them estimate separately, then compare (Delphi method, Planning poker).
- Use a weighted average formula that includes optimistic, pessimistic and realistic estimates (PERT estimate).
- Communicate level of uncertainty (use ranges and rounder numbers instead of specific values). As uncertainty increases, the range also widens.
- Cone of Uncertainty – there is a lot of uncertainty at the beginning.
Stakeholder emotion management
Honza introduced us to the Behavior Change Stairway Model (BCSM).
- Emotions running high, stress, and ego prevents us from doing business.
- Work with clients’ emotions, focus on the client.
- They might make condescending remarks like “My 12-year-old knows this.”
- Active listening helps us understand their view.
- Acknowledge their emotions, paraphrase or summarize what they say, mirror them (verbally, non-verbally if you got the training).
- Use silence of few seconds for emphasis.
- Empathy is when we respect their emotions and don’t judge them. You can never really step into their shoes.
- All this helps build rapport, now we’re in this together and solving a problem together.
- Influence and guide them with “Let’s imagine…” and questions that point to no (“Is there anything preventing us from…”).
- Book recommendation: Hostage at the Table.
- Radim Parik has good courses.
The life of nomad
Otakar shared his experience of working abroad for months.
- You make friends on the way and do fun things but leave at some point. It can be lonely.
- There is a lot of planning and improvisation, looming sense of uncertainty (where will I sleep next week?).
- You’ll miss the comfort of your home. It can be managed to some degree – morning and evening routines, creating your comfort space (eg. with a yoga mat). If you stay at a place for a month, you’ll get used to it.
- You’ll use the usual platforms to find accommodation (booking, airbnb) as well as unexpected (tinder).
- Hotel chain Selina offers co-working spaces with good internet and a discount program.
- Participate in life – you’re the experience for locals, talk to them, enjoy unique things for that location, attend meetups, visit innovation hubs, take courses and lessons.
- Change location on your social profiles.
- Schedule regular calls to stay in touch with your friends and family back home. You’ll get homesick.
- You’ll grow thanks to overcoming uncomfortable situations.
- Ergonomy is gonna suck – you’ll sit on regular chairs, not your high-end office chair. Use laptop stand. Do diligence on the internet reliability of where you’re going. iPad can be used as both external monitor and notepad.
- Communicate with your clients / team and prepare them for timezone differences, electricity or internet issues.
- Cook traditional recipes for people abroad 🙂
How AI changes the work of designers
Marek prepared a session about AI.
- First, we talked about the pros and cons of AI (eg. productivity increase, skill degradation due to automation).
- 70% of output is usable (saves time).
- Ideas are cheap. Now, everyone can have hundreds using ChatGPT. You won’t be able to come up with all of them. Ask ChatGPT to generate counter-intuitive ideas.
- Always validate the output with someone possessing domain expertise.
- Generate variants to overcome the blank page syndrome.
- Ask Notion AI to generate TODOs from your meeting -> Use Zapier to put them in your issue tracker.
- ChatGPT Code Interpreter is an excellent tool for data analysis. Ask it to find insights in the table. Validate the output!
- Give ChatGPT context to achieve the best results, “You’re genius UX designer…”. Gather all the different parameters (eg. landing page: goal, target audience, tone, structure). The better the context, better results.
Running a company vs Freelancing
- Employee is a specialist (an expert).
- Freelancer is a specialist and entrepreneur (finding new business opportunities).
- Company also needs management (creating an environment in which people can work, set boundaries).
- The complexity of running a company is high. People expect to get paid. Company needs to have a good financial overview of it’s spending – it won’t matter if you save 1000 CZK on a cheaper coffee if you burn 100 times as much elsewhere.
- During the first 6 months, the cost of new employee exceeds the income they generate for the company. Good onboarding can help reduce this.
Matej introduced Tiago Forte’s method for building a second brain (C. O. D. E.).
- Actively utilize your second brain; don’t treat it as a mere dumping ground for data.
- Just like your meat brain, it carries its own processing overhead.
- There is no silver bullet. All tools have pros and cons, one might fit you better than the other depending on your style (Notion, Anytype, OneNote, Simplenote, Obsidian…).
- You decide what to capture. Capture new information as quickly as possible.
- Later, Organize it by putting it in a folder (Projects – currently working on, Areas – important parts of your life, Resources – interesting things, Archive – old stuff for safe keeping).
- Distill key points, insights and action items from the information you’ve collected.
- Express yourself by creating new things from the information.
How to handle emotions
Lucka prepared a workshop based on the psychological flexibility.
- We’re evolutionary set to focus on danger, it helped us survive.
- When anxiety kicks in, thank her for caring for you so much 🙂
- Think only about the elephant: you won’t be able to.
- Don’t think about the elephant: you won’t be able to.
- => “Don’t think about it” doesn’t work.
- Psychological flexibility:
- Name emotion you have.
- Do what matters to you based on your priorities.
- Book recommendation: The Happiness Trap.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) exercise: Dropping anchor (EN, CZ). The storm (situation) will rage on but the ship (you) will be safely anchored.
Blanka introduced her session a statement: “I will teach you how to sell bruises”.
- Pole dancing is rather challenging and people get bruises.
- Book recommendation: Start with why
- Do you remember MPMan F10? What about iPod? Nobody cares about the number of Megabytes. Apple’s famous “1000 Songs In Your Pocket”.
- Why is at the center, it’s the purpose behind what you do:
- To sell things to people you need to find their why.
- People want to belong. Offer them a way to join the tribe.
- Your manager probably wants to one of the innovative and successful leaders.
- Find what motivates them. What motivates you? Why do you want to find a job as a UX designer? Why do you do UX?
How to earn enough for a Ferrari
- In the west, people are paid more for the same job.
- Czech people are skilled craftsman but struggle with showcasing their full potential.
- Some western product companies operating in Czech republic are offering high salaries.
- At agency you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in various domains and work with diverse clients. This fast-paced environment allows you to grow fast as a designer.
- One of the key advantages of being part of an agency, in contrast to freelancing, lies in the collective wisdom and experience of the team you can lean on.
- UX craft is low risk and thus lower potential reward than entrepreneurship.
- Increase your value: speaking, personal branding, storytelling & emotions, improving soft skills, negotiation (focus on the outcomes of your contributions ie. present your contributions in a language that resonates with businesses)
- Find role models, learn from them.
- Set limits for salary (how much do you need to survive, how much to live comfortable).
- Choose to work for companies that embrace the competency model, as they truly understand the value of a designer and the essence of UX. This alignment leads to greater recognition.
- Humans of UX – salary stats and more.
- Lower salary might be compensated by a great team or mentor that helps you grow. This experience can help you find better salary in the future.