Featured Talks

Tuesday is a day of 75–minute talks. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from speakers whose workshops you may have missed. For each time slot, just walk in to the talk of your choice.

Choose Jeff or Abby at 8:30am

Balancing Continuous Discovery And Delivery

in Pacific A–C with Jeff Patton


Different from his workshop.

Photo of Jeff Patton

Lean UX is a collaborative process of rapid development that focuses on the user experience. It isn’t tough to implement. But it is tough to master. Teams must juggle rapid iteration, prototyping, and testing, along with other sundry tasks that support the product. Your attention is splintered easily between a dozen demands, along with the ongoing Discovery work.

As a consultant, Jeff has seen teams struggle and succeed with Lean UX practices. His work has given him an insight into what makes teams successful, and what doesn’t. Hear tips and tricks Jeff has learned from the field about managing your Lean UX process. It’s tough work, Jeff will tell you, but the most rewarding.

Jeff will teach you how to:

  • manage multiple priorities at a time and embrace the chaos that is Lean UX
  • focus on smaller problems, questions, and assumptions
  • keep your assumptions, designs, and results visible until you’ve found a solution
  • combine interviewing, observation, and testing in the same interaction

How To Make Sense of Any Mess

in Pacific D with Abby Covert


Small overlap with her workshop.

Photo of Abby Covert

Businesses are spending more time and money on digital than ever before, and seemingly less time developing clear communications in the language they use and structures they create. User experience designers encounter challenges with merging these languages and structures, often from more than one organization and across multiple channels.

Abby will show you several ways to approach these challenges, and introduce you to tools that will strengthen your information architecture. Help teams reach agreement with new and original diagrams that acknowledge complexity.

Abby will show you how to:

  • illustrate problems and solutions with diagrams that go beyond wireframes and sitemaps
  • find the best taxonomy for your users through testing and iterating on your taxonomic choices
  • choose the best tools and processes that help you make sense of complex subjects and situations
  • communicate with your users consistently through controlled vocabularies

Choose Dan or Cyd at 10:15am

Collaborative Design Discovery: Four Essential Techniques

in Pacific A–C with Dan Brown


Small overlap with his workshop.

Photo of Dan Brown

Product teams are under tight development timelines like never before to bring products to market. No one wants to build a product that falls short of its potential, or that could have been better defined in the Discovery phase.

In this featured talk, we’ll explore ways that designers can overcome these constraints by applying creative and collaborative frameworks to their work. If you’ve ever wondered about the ingredients in great design Discovery, this featured talk is for you.

Dan will teach you how to:

  • recognize when someone’s mindset is preventing them from doing their best work
  • put creative mindsets to use to get the most exciting design alternatives out of your team
  • how the right mindset can help you see the design problem more clearly
  • adopt behaviors that help you and your team to reach a shared understanding of the design problem, context, and direction

Metaphors in Qualitative Research & Analysis: The Force is Strong

in Pacific D with Cyd Harrell


Small overlap with her workshop.

Photo of Cyd Harrell

Our research can produce mounds of user research data to establish customer needs, test hypotheses, and reach actionable conclusions over usability and information architecture concerns. The language our users share with us, and that we use with our teams, is more powerful than you might think.

Cyd will show you how you can approach and break down a design challenge through language gleaned from research. With attention and practice you can access your innate capacity for using metaphor, as well as recognize the hidden metaphors we already use in the work that we do, such as “user journeys.” Cyd will show you a structured approach that makes it easy to extract meaning from research beyond the basic usability and IA issues.

Cyd will teach you how to:

  • use games and tricks to identify the important metaphors within a qualitative dataset, particularly ones that surface hypotheses you can test
  • invite stakeholders who may be focused on quantitative research to see the power of the qualitative side of things
  • turn information into useful data by using spreadsheet programs to tackle big qualitative datasets
  • gain deep insights when you categorize and cluster information more rigorously

Everyone sees Jared at 12:45pm

Photo of Jared Spool

Is Design Metrically Opposed?

with Jared Spool
in Pacific A–D

Photo of Jared Spool

The world of metrics and analytics have often been at odds with how designers work. Design is a process where we finely tune our intuition to create great user experiences. Yet, sometimes, what we think is best rivals the metrics. So which do we believe-our gut or the data?

In the world of measures, metrics, and Key Performance Indicators some practices, like the growth hacking approach to increasing Monthly Average Users (MAUs), have hurt the online experience of Instagram and LinkedIn. While alternatives to satisfaction and net promoter score give insight into the design process and help designers have better instincts.

If you’re ready to talk to your teams about what you really need, help management interpret the data, and create analytical experiments that provide design insights, don’t miss this talk.

Choose Melissa or Peter at 2:30pm

Designing To Learn: Testing Your Minimum Viable Product

in Pacific A–C with Melissa Perri


Small overlap with her workshop.

Photo of Melissa Perri

In the race to get products to market, many product managers misunderstand the purpose of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Companies focus on having the best design and user experience, but often miss the most important step in product development—learning about their customers.

MVPs are not prototypes. They are a golden opportunity to test your product hypothesis and learn about your customers. Melissa will share tips on how to design the most effective product experimentations and MVPs that will lead you to a better end product.

Melissa will teach you how to:

  • approach your MVP as an experiment to test your product hypothesis and learn more about your customers
  • design the most effective product experimentations and MVPs
  • gain support within your organization for using MVPs as a testing method
  • incorporate MVPs into your overall product strategy

The Experience Is The Product

in Pacific D with Peter Merholz


Different from his workshop.

Photo of Peter Merholz

We work and live in an extraordinary age of connectedness. The products that we create communicate experiences that form the basis of our relationship to them, and ultimately to their success. As we move toward more agile processes, with an emphasis on shipping products to market, how do we structure teams to practice in a connected, software-and-services age?

Peter will address the shortcomings of typical product management, the opportunity that experience-driven thinking provides, and new organizational structures to support products that focus on the experience. He’ll also share stories of experience-driven success.

Peter will teach you how to:

  • organize your design team to be more effective in an agile environment
  • engage marketing and product design to be on the same team, designing for the user experience
  • evolve product management to focus more on the user experience

Choose Kim or Nathan at 4:15pm

Preventing the Swoop-and-Poop with Successful Stakeholder Engagement

in Pacific A–C with Kim Goodwin


Different from her workshop.

Photo of Kim Goodwin

We’ve all heard the horror stories before: stakeholders ask for specific solutions, but don’t understand what those solutions mean. They swoop into a project late in the game and add new requirements. Even worse, they return to the project late and tear everything apart. What we often miss in this equation is that stakeholders have a user experience to communicate, and are consumers of our designs too.

Kim will tell us how we can bring empathy to the table, along with our interviewing skills, to identify the wants and needs of stakeholders, before we get into the nitty-gritty of defining requirements. We’ll review ways to keep them involved and engaged throughout the process and how to create a shared understanding of the solutions we’ve defined as a team.

Kim will teach you how to:

  • identify if your approach is contributing to bad stakeholder behavior
  • extract the best information from stakeholders early in the process
  • build your interviewing and communication skills to get to the heart of what they want, and what you need to do to deliver it
  • engage stakeholders throughout the project to get the feedback you need and help them feel their contribution is important
  • adjust your stakeholder approach based on the organizational culture in which they work

And You Thought Designing Buttons Was Easy

in Pacific D with Nathan Curtis


Small overlap with his workshop.

Photo of Nathan Curtis

Designers and developers grapple with simple interface decisions all the time, forming the foundation of their product experience. Knowing when to make the right choices can help us anticipate problems early and avoid having to rework elements we’ve already done.

Nathan will show us how we can think deeply about the impact of color, space, and typography to build stable components. He’ll discuss the importance of laying down a strong foundation of visual style, using CSS tokens to synchronize team efforts and weave design decisions throughout components we build.

Nathan will teach you how to:

  • create a foundation of visual style to weave throughout the components you build and maintain
  • develop an enduring design system by thoughtfully considering color, space, and typography
  • propagate design decisions across a portfolio of products and platforms via tokens