GET CHARGED UP: Takeaways from Sudbury’s First Design and Tech Conference

Lindsay Lane Blog

The Charged 2017 Design and Tech event has come and gone and, with a sold out workshop and conference, Charged promised – and delivered – an educational and inspiring event committed to strengthening and helping Sudbury’s design and startup tech communities thrive. Reflecting on the first ever event, there was a lot to take in. Here are three takeaways that captured our attention:
 
  1. User experience is everything: Davis Neable, U/X team lead at Shopify Plus, led the afternoon workshop and discussed the importance of story mapping in order to prioritize work based on what will bring the most value to users. UX is the experience, emotion, intuition and connection a user feels when using a site or product. In terms of design, user experience is just as important as visual identity. It doesn’t matter what your site or app looks like if people don’t know how to interact with it. And moreover, they need to enjoy that interaction – or it will fail. Check out these resources to learn more:   User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton and  Mapping Experiences by Jim Kalbach
 
  1. It’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing: Darrin Henein, senior U/X lead at Shopify, created Lastronaut, a hit indie iPhone video game app, as a homage and thank you to the makers and players of the games that entertained him growing up. Foregoing both a huge budget and large team, Lastronaut was built step by step by Darrin himself. Going in without any prior experience or knowledge in game development, Darrin taught himself two new programming languages, piecing together various online tutorials and learning new skills throughout the process. The result? After two years of hard work, a completely handcrafted experience – every pixel, animation and note of music done by Darrin himself – was released on the Apple App Store.
 
  1. Finish what you start: Another lesson from Darrin. The biggest challenge of Lastronaut was not actually the creation of a playable game, but rather in finishing it. The beginning stages of a new project are exciting, as are the final stages, when the end is in sight. But the middle stages – full of tweaking, refinements, fixing the nitty gritty details - can result in a loss of motivation that takes an extraordinary level of both dedication and perseverance to push through. But that feeling at the end, the pure exhilaration of creating something from nothing and putting it out there in the world to see it succeed, is worth the pain.

Startup life is challenging, but also exhilarating. To create a successful, sustainable business, it takes more than just guts to reap the glory. Hearing stories from people who have “been there and done that” can help determine what’s next on your own startup journey. For more valuable takeaways relating to the start up journey, register for Startup 101, a free 25 week program that provides practical, relevant and hands-on knowledge for those interested in starting their own business. The course feature 25 lectures and runs on Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm- 7:00pm at the NORCAT Centre.