The User Experience for Life Science team held their 2nd Pistoia Alliance User Experience for Life Sciences Conference on the 8th-9th May 2019 at GSK, Stevenage, UK. It attracted 120 delegates, from over 50 organisations along with some special guests, who gathered for two days of sharing knowledge and hands-on workshops. The conference was designed to foster community collaboration and allow UX practitioners to share best practices in the Life Sciences. In addition to a diversity of talks, a number of hands-on workshops were run alongside the main talks to translate knowledge into practice. This year the conference also had a “new to UX stream” for “non-expert” delegates interested in UX to gain useful insights.


Vendor Workshop attendees discussing

Pharma and Vendor workshop delegates discussing key issues.

Conference organisers set out to create a diverse mix of relevant topics over the two days including:

  • Cognitive bias and why it is important
  • Design Ops for the life sciences
  • Design Systems and Teams
  • UX implementation in the life sciences compared to other domains
  • Digital Transformation
  • User testing tips and techniques in the life sciences
  • Various introductory workshops covering UX topics
  • UX considerations for data visualisation
  • Facilitation of UX training in your organisation
  • Design of onboarding experiences


The common theme amongst all the presentations were the candidness of the speakers and their passion to help others with similar problems. The breadth and diversity of audience participation also helped to create a community atmosphere of sharing.


Pharma and Vendor workshop delegates reviewing proposals brought forth by delegates.


During the conference, the UXLS project team, also sought to tackle a common challenge of how to improve the overall user experience of vendor purchased software, especially by Pharma with a panel discussion and also a hands-on workshop. The UXLS project will continue working on this topic using the output generated in this workshop.


The feedback received has been overwhelmingly positive and the UXLS project team hope to put on future conferences. 


Below are some of the anonymous feedback received:


Relevance, variety, quality of talks, venue and facilities left a great overall impression.”


“Good balance of talks and workshops for newbies alongside some good theory and method sessions.”


“The diversity of experience and passion”


The conference would not have been possible without the generous funding from our hosts GSK and sponsors Cognizant, ChemAxon, CCDC and Futureheads.

Sketchnotes by Jenny Cham on UX and Agile