This year TheTin attended Women of Silicon Roundabout again. It's a great event that focuses on personal development for women in the industry and discusses how we can bridge the gender gap within the tech industry and also create more diversity. It's an educational event, that benefits both us as a company and empowers us as employees, so we were keen to return to the event.
Just like last year we saw empowering role models such as Jody Davids, who was back again for an inspiring keynote, giving us some of her key tips to stay resilient when faced with hardship, one of the key themes this year. Work-life balance was a focus again as well, showing how attitudes towards this have already changed in the last year. Nicola Marie Beste from adidas IT spoke about taking charge of your own work-life balance while living in a fast paced technological society that is changing rapidly and to claim your ‘hour of power’ in the workplace. Making time for yourself and your own hobbies is important, and will make you a more engaged employee.
We also learnt to consider what the strengths are of the people we work with, and how to amplify these, and if you are progressing - who will you pull up and give the opportunity to progress their career on your own path to success? All great learnings that we can apply here at TheTin.
Not only was the focus at WinTech on self-development and empowerment, we also heard plenty new insights and trends that our clients can benefit from:
Healthcare in VR
Katie Dean, Senior Strategist
An often overlooked early adopter of new technology is the healthcare industry, but this year’s event was packed full of great examples of how healthcare is implementing the technology some industries are still working out how to use. Take VR for example, we know it can be great fun, but many industries are still trying to work out how it can solve problems and create better experiences rather than just making them more clunky.
At a talk by NEON, founder Deepa Mann-Kler has found another use for VR altogether. The management of chronic pain. The app has been built on the premise that mindful breathing can be one of the most beneficial coping mechanisms for patients. Whilst immersed in a beautifully designed forest VR environment, it guides you through three minutes of controlled breathing. And as it detects your breath through the mic, the leaves of the trees respond in unison creating a calming place to be.
Many industries are still trying to work out how VR can solve problems and create better experiences.
The results... “[Patients] were asked to score their pain before and after using the VR, 0 being no pain and 10 high level. The biggest reduction in pain fell from 7 to 3.5,” says Deepa. “All ten people in the group reported a de-escalation in pain.” It’s often the simplest solutions that can make such a difference, using new tech doesn’t have to be complicated. A good reminder to us all when embarking on our next project.
Laura Walters, Designer
At previous events the focus has been more on development and engineering so I was very happy to attend a couple of workshops and talks this year that highlighted the importance of user-centred design.
The first was a talk from Spotify given by Sarah Raymond (Product Lead) called “Building great products for everyday lives”. Her talk was about how Spotify had learnt that they needed to break several assumptions they had about their users and how that affected the progression of the user interface design. One of their assumptions was that music fans know music. The reality is that they like it but they don’t know it and they don’t always know what they want. Through this Spotify changed the browsing UI to focus on supporting a mood or activity, for example, ‘Focus’, ‘Dinner’ and ‘Sleep’.
Sarah also spoke about some issues they came across when redesigning the free version of Spotify. The majority of users are on this free version whereas the majority of employees use Spotify premium. As they rely on company wide dogfooding, where employees use and test the product, to inform updates this was a problem. So in order to get a wide range of insight they ‘turned off’ premium for employees for a week. During this week the Jira tickets poured in. It forced employees to get on the same level and empathise with their users.
Focusing on the user is key to our approach to design at TheTin.
The second was a great workshop from the Government Services Design team. They talked about a project they had worked on to reduce anxiety in the prison induction process, due to the huge percentages of prisoner suicides during their first days in prison. In teams we looked at personas and created a user journey map to find pain points, opportunities and consider the transitions between online and offline processes. This was a great session that I took away a few key tips and tricks from.
Firstly, alongside creating core recommendations, work on developing overarching principles as another deliverable. These should be top level and still applicable if priorities and teams change. Secondly, instead of working towards a fixed solution try to reframe the brief as a question. This helps to put the user’s needs at the heart of the process.
Focusing on the user is key to our approach to design at TheTin so it was fascinating to get tips and to hear case studies from two very different companies.
Ethical advertising & brand messaging: Be an authentic brand and do good
Juliette Hettema, Business Development Manager
Conscious consumerism is on the rise, we have seen that customers are more and more favouring brands with an ethical message, those that do provide this have a competitive advantage over companies that don’t. What is it that your business stands for?
Sustainability brands in a FMCG company’s portfolio grow 50% faster, even if the parent company is the same. Amy Williams from Good-Loop talked us through some great and some poor examples of where brands can try to do good and create purpose within their marketing, using the three A’s: Authority, Authenticity and Action.
Brands need to take ownership of their brand positioning and the message they want to send to conscious consumers.
A brand’s message needs to be consistent, and a feedback loop needs to be created with customers. When PepsiCo released an ad of Kendall Jenner solving a political issue with a Pepsi can, it caused a lot of outrage, this was in part due to the fact the brand had not established the authority to send that kind of message, it lacked authenticity and did not line up with any of their previous messaging, plus did not follow up with a specific action.
60% of people will pay more for ethical brands, and in the case of millennials this is 99%, brands need to take ownership of their brand positioning and the message they want to send to conscious consumers. Talk to us if you are keen to develop an authentic brand tone of voice or develop your brand strategy.
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