Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

The Research Thing: EPIC Redux

About this time three years ago, I had just started my new job at Post Office, and a week later I attended my very first The Research Thing event. So it was only fitting that this week I attended, in person, another The Research Thing event, my first proper in-person meetup event since everything changed.

This week was also the EPIC (Ethnographic Praxis in Industry) conference, which I would have loved to attend, however what would be the next best thing, but an in-person event reflecting on the EPIC conference by people who had been able to attend?

Leisa Reichelt from Atlassian kicked us off, giving us an overview of the conference, before passing on to her colleague Gillian Bowan to speak on rewriting their customer archetypes. This was very interesting as Gillian had similar concerns about personas as I do, so it was fascinating to hear how they have used archetypes instead to focus on behaviors rather than demographics.

She spoke on how as they change how Atlassian products work so the people who use them also change and so their archetypes need to change to reflect this. Whereas the first users had a lot of control over how Jira and Confluence were set up in the back end, now as things move into the cloud there is a ‘loss’ of control, it changes what the administrators have to do.

It was really interesting to hear in brief how they have approached the project and how they are sharing their findings.

Julius Colwyn then spoke on new words for new worlds. I will not do his talk justice but he spoke on how if we want to build a regenerative world then we need to change the way we speak about business. The words we currently use are competitive and war like which is holding us back. He suggested instead of talking about consumers or users that we talk about humans for instance.

His team have come up with a semiotic map which has four parts, restore, resurge, reimagine and reconfigure. It’s early days for getting these new words into business language, but the more aware we are of the words we use and the impact they have on the work we do and the world we live in the sooner we can start to change that world.

After a short break we then came back together for a panel discussion again led by Leisa. Tim, Cath and Gillian joined her to reflect on their experience at the conference and what talks and papers had had the biggest impact on them.

The theme of the conference was resilience and the thing I found most interesting was the idea that we shouldn’t have to be individually resilient, but that there should be support in groups and communities.

I also liked the idea of rather than reporting findings or recommendations maybe we should be reporting ‘no regret actions’.

And going back to personas and their counterpart Jobs to be Done, maybe the thing missing is outcomes for the community.

It sounds like the conference was very thought provoking and I am glad I at least got to hear so much about it, even if second hand.

If you would like to see more then look out for The Research Thing videos on their YouTube channel soon.

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