I finally managed to make it to the infamous Camp Digital, ( after missing it for various reasons over the last few years). It’s a brilliant conference which gathers leading thinkers in the space from UX, accessibility, product design and tech for good.

I’ve captured  highlights and key takeaways from my favourite sessions of the day.

Closure experiences

Joe’s talk was a highlight for me as it really made me rethink how the not for profit sector could address the concept of off-boarding. As the not for profit organisations can be extremely guilty of thinking a customer has to stay with them for life, rather than conceive of different end points when engaging with a service.

The talk covered why endings are important and how we need to develop a vocabulary for stopping a service or off-boarding. As currently there should be 3 phases, though all too often we get stuck in the usage loop.

  1. Onboarding
  2. Usage
  3. Off boarding ( closure experiences)

In day to day life we have events such as a funeral which when you think about it, is an off boarding of life.

Though all too often endings are hidden and overlooked. A modern example of this how printer cartridges contribute to e-waste as the recycling journey at the end is such a pain.

A good example of a closure experience is the gym leaving experience. Too many gyms have failed as they struggle to keep customers and try to tie them into fixed contracts. PureGym is a concept that’s embraced the leaving experience and made it really easy for customers to leave and sign up again when they have a health kick phase.

In terms of service design we currently only tend to think of a single engagement model, where the likes of banks have made it nion impossible to leave ( the average length of time someone has an account with a bank in the UK is 26 years!). Though moving forward we need to design for multiple engagements and acknowledge that customers may leave. In particular the current climate of data content in light of GDPR actually empowers consumers to have an ending and will make brands tidy up their approach to clinging onto customers records.

Joe shared some great examples of good closure experiences including:

  • Epsom’s paper lab – where they developed an on-site paper recycling machine where you get fresh A4 from the old recycled documents
  • Kia – by developing their 7 year warranty it built in a clear closure point and then allowed them to resell at the end of the experience.

In summary Jo left us with the challenge that  we need to move to a model that provides the option of an end experience to products and services.


Inclusive designing changing how we deliver public services

Kate’s talk was a refreshing example of how accessibility needs to be viewed as more than a tick box exercise. She shared some really interesting examples of how the home office digital team had developed a truly inclusive approach to user research and recruitment.

One challenge was around how to find users with access needs? Kate’s team have now set a benchmark to include one person with an access need in each round of user research. They’ve also ensured they’ve hired team members in with access needs to broaden the user research skill set in this area. As she perfectly put it, “Including people with access needs makes you a better user researcher”

They then went on to create a really simple do’s and don’ts for HTML accessibility. The poster has since been translated into loads of languages. As after all good code should be like good design,it needs to be accessible. The below link takes you to the brilliantly compiled PDF resource.


Kate’s talk and subsequently Molly Watts tech for good panel made me rethink how we approach accessibility, as in its simplest form it’s about inclusion.


Building a digital culture

Mind’s digital team shared how they’d started out on their digital transformation journey.

The key takeaways for me from this was their approach to managing stakeholders and recognising the need to balance business goals and user needs.

The way they’d managed to articulate this to the wider team was using impact mapping. This was a really simple way to convey the; Why – How – What to stakeholders.

These artefacts were then referred to as boundary objects, which helped to facilitate and allow stakeholders to connect to the work and see what’s happening.

Some really simple yet powerful learnings we can all bear in mind when working on any change exercise.


If I can do it, so can you

It was an absolute privilege to hear Dr Sue Black tell her story of how she got into software development and pioneered women in tech meetups. But what Sue is most famous for her is a passion she developed outside of work. This was the infamous campaign to save Bletchley park, which at the time Twitter was a new platform so she was able to reach S directly.

I also didn’t realise that Dr Black had also founded an initiative called Tech Mums which was a programme to help mums develop their IT skills and self-confidence. As the two most important factors that determine a child’s literacy rate is the mums education and home environment most.

In the Q&A at the end I bravely took the opportunity to ask Dr Black what she thought about quotas in relation to improving gender equality in the tech sector. Her response was one that I find myself leaning towards too which is that we need to have quotas in the short term to help address the imbalance and then remove them. This is going to be the only way to force the issue of gender equality in the workplace. 

To recap 

So all in all it was a great day and i’m looking forward to seeing what the line up is for next year!