UX Australia News

UX New Zealand

6 February 2014

UX New Zealand 2013 was a fantastic conference. We had wonderful talks and a great, engaged audience. There was good food, good discussion and many beers afterwards.

Unfortunately, we’ve decided not to run it in 2014.

When we initially budgeted it, the dollar was about $1.24, we assumed we’d be able to get a NZ bank account for you to pay into and us to pay out of; and an Australian bank had a great looking multi-currency merchant account that would mean we’d be able to take credit card payments in $NZ. It all seemed like it would be easy.

Then we couldn’t get a bank account (we apparently can now, but a year ago every bank said no). The Australian bank asked for $80,000 up front as security for the merchant account (or a house for security!!) and the dollar fell. We started taking payments with PayPal only to find they’d lied about the ability for you to pay via credit card without a PayPal account. We finally got it all working via PIN payments (who have an awesome service, with reasonable fees).

All this meant that from our side, the conference was just hard work, and the bank was the only one who made money – taking both the spread in the exchange rate, a fee for everything we paid out, a fee for most of what was paid in, and sneaking fees from people we paid money to.

There are ways to work around all of these issues, but it will still be harder work than we’d like. And when work isn’t fun, the conference suffers.

So we won’t be running it again in 2014. We’re sad about that as it was really great to see so many UX folks hanging out and bonding over shared frustrations and joys.

If someone is interested in picking it up and running it again, please get in touch. We can talk about how we could support you and help it happen.

Conference audio

4 December 2013

For all of our conferences, we collect audio-recordings from all sessions. It costs a fair bit more, but is absolutely worth it so attendees can listen to the sessions they miss, and we can share the speakers’ stories beyond the immediate conference.

We’ve just finished all the audio for UX Australia 2013, and have started on the audio for UX New Zealand 2013. Each conference has an iTunes podcast, a standard podcast, or you can listen online.

So while you wait for next year’s conferences, why not subscribe and have something to keep you going until then. It’s just like a conference, but without the uncomfortable chairs!

UX NZ, credit cards & PayPal

18 September 2013

When we decided to run UX New Zealand, we wanted to do everything we do to make sure it was dead easy to pay us, and it didn’t feel like you were paying an overseas country.

We wanted to create a local bank account for direct deposits and take credit card payments in $NZ. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Not so easy – we couldn’t create a local account and had enormous problems applying for a multi-currency merchant account (the bank wanted us to put up $80,000 as security) so we decided to run with PayPal, given they had an option that would allow you to pay in $NZ, by credit card, without a PayPal account. It sounded like a perfect solution – high fees, but we could live with that as long as it gave you a relatively seamless payment process.

So we implemented it, tested it and opened registration. Payments started coming through, but a couple of people were stuck – instead of the ‘Review and submit’ button we were seeing, they were only seeing an option to create a PayPal account. That seemed odd, as PayPal had assured us that people could pay without an account.

We sent off a message to PayPal to find out what was going on, and this is where things started to get ridiculous. Not only did it take them weeks to get back to us, these are the types of answers we were getting:

  • “I checked your account and it shows that you are able to receive payments from non PayPal account holders. If your customer is being prompted to create a PayPal account before completing a payment, you may advise them to contact PayPal to have their account checked.” Ummm…the point is that they don’t have an account, so certainly can’t contact you to get it checked.
  • “If a New Zealand buyer will make a payment on your website, they will be required to open an account to continue with their purchase.” This was also untrue – we’d been receiving payments from people who hadn’t used a PayPal account.
  • “Only those who already have an existing PayPal account can send payments through Guest checkout. The system will can determine if the buyer has an existing PayPal account through the email address being used during payment checkout.” Also not true – people were being prompted to sign up well before they entered an email address.

I did some digging around on the internet, where many people had this same problem, and couldn’t find a solution. I wondered whether it was a cookie issue, cleared all my PayPal cookies and was all of a sudden prompted to create an account.

Here’s what I think is happening. If you’re a NZ resident, you DO need a PayPal account to pay by credit card (so the last email from them was partly correct). If you have logged into PayPal before, there will be a cookie that tells them you’re a customer, and you can pay with your credit card. If there’s no cookie, you get prompted to create an account.

This is completely mad. It seems their support team have no idea of how the products work, and there is no documentation around saying which countries can pay without an account. It’s the exact opposite of the solution we were aiming for.

We’ll now be exploring another solution, but it will no doubt take a few weeks to get set up, tested and implemented. In the meantime, if you would like to pay with your credit card, you can register for the conference, choose the ‘pay later’ option and we’ll let you know when we have a working solution.

We’re sorry about this mess. The last thing we wanted to do was make things hard for our customers. We do take pride in creating a good experience, and it hurts when you email us to tell us that our UX is awful.

UX Australia 2013: Almost sold out

18 July 2013

There are only 45 tickets remaining for UX Australia 2013 (18 July, mid-afternoon). Keep an eye on our twitter @UXAustralia for updates.

Tickets are still available in most workshops, but are also selling fast.

Optimal Experience & Optimal Workshop: UX New Zealand event partners

1 July 2013

Running a conference overseas is a little challenging. So we’re very excited to have Optimal Experience and Optimal Workshop as our event partners for UX New Zealand. They’ve been great supporters of our Australian conferences in the past, are very involved in the UX community in Wellington, and all-round great people. We’re looking forward to working with them.