• Conference Schedule

    November 14, 2019

  • What's wrong with the World Wide Web? Why are people so mean to each other online, and why do the web development and design community keep making things that seem unethical and unsafe? In this dynamic keynote, Lisa Welchman will explore how the web got into the mess it is today. And, lead a conversation about the steps people, digital workers, and business and government can take to make the web a safer and kinder place.

  • As UX researchers, we help shape transformative products with the power to influence millions of lives. From ballot design distorting voter intent, to the mode error that caused Air Inter Flight 148’s fatal crash, it’s clear that user research is integral to protecting people’s health, their rights, even their very lives.

    But how can we empower researchers to gather deeper insights more often, and get those insights into the product itself? Growing organizational research capacity, especially in complex spaces like government or large enterprises, requires both bottom-up and top-down changes that can be daunting.

    Scaling research is a design challenge, and in this presentation I will show how service design and systems thinking can be used to create a framework to increase research’s impact on product. Sustainable change requires collaboration, connection and community. By conducting user research on your own organization’s users, workflows, needs and goals, you can bring enough people together to turn ripples into waves.

    Attendees will learn:

    • design thinking activities for identifying the highest impact “intervention spaces”, in order to decide what areas in the research workflow to focus on
    • a framework for systems thinking analysis to approach the operations side of research ops
    • the steps needed to take a service design approach to address the context of research ops

  • You make the world better through great user experiences. You want to spend more time creating that world and less time explaining the basics, defending your choices, and selling the best approaches in meetings. But in meetings is where you find yourself, and it feels like they often introduce friction, ambiguity, and drag. But the good news is a meeting can be designed just like any experience. By integrating human-centered design itself into our meetings, we can start to recognize our own biases, become better facilitators, and run the better meeting experiences that we deserve.

  • Have you ever had a stakeholder or client…

    … look at a deliverable and get overwhelmed before you can even speak?

    …. give feedback on all the wrong things?

    …. be confused by the terms that you used? 

    …. misunderstand the intended interaction?

    By thinking of stakeholders/clients as the users of our deliverables, we can:

    • with just a little extra work upfront - make life easier for ourselves and those using or reviewing our work.
    • We can also increase the likelihood of our user-centered vision becoming reality.

    • Create a future in which you have less friction and more alignment with non-UX stakeholders and/or clients.

    Attendees will learn:

    • how to avoid confusing or overwhelming a stakeholder/client
    • get the feedback you want
    • create better relationships with users of your deliverables

  • The population of the developed world is aging. Most websites, apps, and digital devices are used by adults aged 50+ as well as by younger adults, so they should be designed accordingly. This talk, based on the presenter’s recent book, presents age-related factors that affect older adults’ ability to use digital technology, as well as design guidelines that reflect older adults’ highly varied capabilities, usage patterns, and preferences.

    Attendees will learn

    • demographics of users of digital technology, by age,
    • age-related factors affecting ability to use computers and online services
    • common design problems that decrease usability for older adults
    • design guidelines that can help designers avoid these common pitfalls

  • Stereotypes and gender biases are ever present in our lives. We’re stereotyped for the clothes we wear, foods we eat, and even the media we choose to consume. Design stereotypes and biases are no different. As designers, it’s our responsibility to overcome these biases of what we unconsciously believe is “feminine” or “masculine.”

    In the design world, we have a mantra to “design for our audience.” Therefore, if our audience is primarily women, it makes sense to use more “feminine” imagery, colours, typography, language… right? These are the gender biases that we need to work towards to overcome.

    I’ve been fortunate to experience working in industries where gender is more of a concept rather than a mandate. My experience designing in healthcare, fitness & now early education has been challenging and beautiful, due to the diversity of my audience. I’ve had the pleasure to lead projects and features that focus on improving someone’s health for the long term, keeping in mind that similar to gender, personal health is also not the same for everyone. My current experience in early education has the potential to be most impactful, since the work my team and I are undertaking will be visible to a younger, more impressionable audience.

    I’m hopeful that designers will embrace the concept of gender-neutral design. Although gender neutrality isn’t the norm yet, I believe it will be a standard in the near future.

    Attendees will learn:

    • Quick & easy ways to “gender neutralize” your designs (colors, typography, imagery)
    • How to convince your team to move towards a more gender neutral solution
    • How large companies are using a gender neutral approach (Amazon, Instagram, etc)
    • Companies that don’t do gender neutral very well (what to avoid)

  • You’ve heard people don’t read online. And while that’s true, it’s an incomplete thought. Unless you run an online publication of some kind, your users aren’t reading your site or app like they would an essay or book. Instead, they’re trying to use those words to do something. As quickly and easily as possible.

    Why, then, do our sites and apps continually contain walls of text that stretch from here to the moon? Why do we force users to toil through mounds of unnecessary, gratuitous, irrelevant words online?

    Because we still think about words as something you read. Online, words are something you do.

    We need to revolutionize the way we think about web content. We need the right words in the right place doing the right job. It’s not easy to do, but we’ll walk through getting started together.

    Attendees will learn:

    • Understand where UX professionals are still falling short of creating usable, effective digital content.
    • Identify content UX problems in their own digital products.
    • Use techniques from the presentation to fix their content problems and improve their site or app's overall experience.
    • Think about usable online content in a new strategic way for all projects going forward.

  • As the UX industry has matured it has become engrained corporate strategy and organization culture. The days of usability (and by extension UX) being seen as a barrier to launch, are coming to an end, and our discipline is more frequently being seen as an enabler for companies. The research and design insights UX practitioners bring to products and services drives conversion, sales, and is a competitive tool for firms. While UX entered the public consciousness as a ‘way to make websites better’ in the early 2000s, we now see opportunities in AI, autonomous cars, IoT, service design, product design, healthcare, technology and others.

    So things are great right? Or are they?

    Recently proposed legislation in the US Congress suggest that our profession has progressed to the point that it may require regulation (DETOUR Act, concern over 'dark patterns', research methods). And there is the perennial debate over licensure and certification for design professions, which has again arisen in social media. Should we embrace these changes or oppose them? What does the UX profession – and the world – look like when subject to licensing and regulation? Should we embrace this future -- or resist it?

    Attendee Takeaways

    • Regulations are often cited as detrimental to industries, adding cost and reducing innovation.
    • However, regulation can present opportunities.
    • Establishing professional standards (licensure) can make government and grant money available for career development.
    • The establishment of regulations and professional standards may be a natural step in the maturation of industries; defying these may limit the progress of our profession.
    • The fact that governments might consider regulations affecting our industry is evidence of the power and value of our work.
    • If regulation and certification is coming, it should be guided by those knowledgeable of what is being affected.

  • Design has always been about problem-solving, however the scale and complexity of the problems designers are solving is at an all-time high, with an intentional focus on designing products, services and solutions that are ethical, inclusive and sustainable. When the stakes are this high, concentrating on outcomes rather than the people we are designing for and the world we share can cause unintentional harm to humans, our culture and our communities. How can designers meaningfully improve the current state when the speed and continuous introduction of new technology seems to make the world more vulnerable? What can designers do when facing dilemmas or conflicts of interest around creating responsible solutions? Now more than ever, designers need to be accountable for decisions they make and the lasting impact their designs leave behind.

    Attendees will learn:

    • What it means to design ethical, inclusive and sustainable solutions
    • Real world examples of how thinking responsibly could have improved the design outcomes
    • How to embed responsibility into the design process
    • Best practices for designing products with responsible intent

  • As producers, designers, engineers and researchers, we might be well-intentioned, but sometimes have a gap in understanding the full context of a situation and the needs within that situation. We are susceptible because of our privilege, without accounting for explicit and implicit bias. We often all use personal nobility as an escape hatch from responsibility of the biases we hold. Our desire as those with privilege is to be noble providing us a means to be excused from accountability. Accountability is important, but it is rarely the most effective means by which we improve others’ results. Nancy Douyon is noted for helping large tech enterprises keep their research honest. In this session, she will share insight on how companies can avoid the nobility complex.