Dallas Startup Week 2016: Focus on User Experience

Dallas local, Mason Pelt, spoke last month in VentureBeat about the important difference between user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). He offered some great tips on achieving a good UX, which is something that received a lot of attention at this year’s Dallas Startup Week in April. If you weren’t there – or you were there, but the summer heat has begun to melt away the memory – here are a few of the highlights.

Brandon E. B. Ward, creative director for Precocity, LLC gave a great session on “How to Hire a Great UX Designer.” His talk centered around what he called “the Triforce of UX,” referencing the classic Zelda video game to highlight the three most important attributes of a great UX designer: empathy, curiosity, and humility.

These qualities, he said, important because in order to create a great user experience, one must get into the hearts and minds of the users. Otherwise you end up with a designer who holes up with his or her own ideas, focusing only on their own experience – a person Ward referred to as a “My-X Designer.”

To watch the full session, click here.

A great example of the importance of UX that week was Allcal’s calendar app. It was the official calendar for Dallas Startup Week, and soon became the talk of the event, but not in the way they were hoping. Difficulties with the interface left much to be desired, and many attendees sought alternatives for the event schedule.

Allcal’s response, however, was a prime example of the UX designer qualities Ward spoke about. One can imagine the sore pride of a designer whose project has failed to meet user expectations, but Allcal welcomed the feedback, acknowledged the issues, and even announced a contest to help them improve the app’s design.

As if to drive home the UX focus, Richard Brevig’s Expose UX web TV show filmed an episode during Startup Week at Kowork, a new co-working community in downtown Dallas. The show features a panel of experts helping startups improve their UX.

User experience is key to any product development, and was a great addition to the Dallas Startup Week lineup this year. With such a great event behind them, Dallas startups are set for success.

Chastiny Lewis