Midwest UX 2012 schedule

Thursday 31st May 2012

  • Let's Sketchnote!

    by Veronica Erb, charlene mcbride and Binaebi Akah

    Before we begin a design, we must listen—to stakeholders, clients, coworkers, and most of all, our users. Listening and successfully recording what we’ve heard directly effects whether we ultimately succeed with our design.

    Sketchnotes use a visual language that expands on traditional note taking. Because of the time it takes to enhance notes with arrows and stick figures and fancy lettering, we encourage ourselves to practice the art of listening. As an active sketchnoter, you will better understand, remember, and communicate the information you consume.

    The sketchnotes themselves are more than a happy byproduct—they can communicate ideas, record user experience research, and enhance our visual language.

    Participants in this studio workshop will learn sketchnoting techniques and take time to experiment with sketchnoting components. As we practice together, we will share what we’ve learned in both small and full group discussions and exercises. At the end of the session, we will practice with a sketchnoting dry run.

    What you’ll learn:

    *Basic elements and practices of sketchnoting (typography, lines, people, color)
    *How to hear important points of the discussion or event you are recording
    *How to shape your sketchnote to enhance its message
    *How sketchnoting can help your UX practice
    *How to practice and develop your innate ability to draw
    *All beginners and active sketchnoters are welcome to attend. Whether you’re starting from scratch (“I can’t even draw a straight line”) or you’re comfortable with sketchnoting components (“I love drawing, but haven’t figured out how to put it in notes”), this studio workshop will provide you with dedicated practice time and a group of folks to exchange questions and ideas.

    We are here to help you adopt a method that will improve the way you understand concepts and solve problems.

    Come begin the journey to find your sketchnote style!

  • Zen and The Art of Planning

    by Corey Allenbach and Derren Hermann

    At 9:00am to 12:00pm, Thursday 31st May

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Designing Mobile Apps For Behavioral Change

    by Haig Armen

    The evolution of mobile devices and broadband connectivity give us an incredible opportunity to design for real-time and sometimes long-term behavioral change. Leveraging the mobile platform as an advanced interconnected social ecosystem provides us with the direct contact that's often needed for making a lasting impact.

    This workshop focuses on social responsibility and includes an intense lineup of participatory design exercises that touch on a series of methods for designing compelling user experiences. Participants are introduced to psychological and business model concepts to help teams craft unique mobile engagement and experiences. Working through user motivations, perceived abilities and discovering opportune moments for triggering habit changing actions, teams will explore applying behavioural psychology to empathize and connect with intended mobile users.

    Everybody's got an idea for an app but this workshop teaches participants how to craft viable innovative mobile applications. Within two hours, teams produce design brief, user flows and wireframes that result in far-reaching, beneficial effects.

    At 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Thursday 31st May

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Hands-On Responsive Web Design Workshop

    by Ben Callahan

    This workshop will be a chance for you to dig into responsive web design. We'll build a site from start to finish and talk about how mobile first responsive web design turns the web design and development process on it's head. If you have a team, bring them all and work together. If you're on your own, come and join a few others. You'll leave with the ability to take this skill back to your organization.

    At 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Thursday 31st May

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

Friday 1st June 2012

  • Ubiquitous Information Architecture: A Framework for Cross-Channel Strategy

    by Peter Morville

    At the crossroads of ubiquitous computing and the Internet, information blurs the boundaries between products and services to enable cross-channel, trans-media, physico-digital user experiences. This “intertwingularity” offers an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine information architecture. Never before have we been able to employ such a powerful combination of networks, devices, and sensors to capture and share knowledge and to create meaningful user journeys. In this session, we'll connect the dots between classic and cross-channel information architecture. We'll pay special attention to the integration of mobile and social into a "web strategy" that's responsive and future-friendly, while also highlighting key relationships with content strategy, findability, analytics, and governance. And, we’ll explore how experience maps and “IA thinking” can improve the process and product of information architecture and user experience design.

    Three Questions To Be Answered

    1. Why is information architecture even more important in an era of mobile, social, and cross-channel user experience?
    2. How can we apply "systems thinking" and "IA thinking" to improve our products and services?
    3. How do we design for customer journeys that encompass a growing array of physical and digital touchpoints?

    At 9:00am to 10:30am, Friday 1st June

  • Building a Design Culture

    by Brad Colbow

    Design is the flavor of the month. Startups see design as a key differentiating factor in their products and services. Large organizations look at the success of companies like Apple and try to emulate the look and feel of their products. But is that all design is?

    How can design rise above being just a pretty coat of paint and become an integral part of an organization. What separates a design centered culture from the rest? And how can we incorporate the zest for user experience into ever decision that we make?

    At 10:45am to 11:05am, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Designing the Election Experience

    by Kaleem

    Holistic, cross-channel experience design is a dream role for any UX designer. We are moving beyond our traditional domain of electronic information into the physical world. We blend the physical, digital and ambient to design for a holistic experience and millions of people.

    I will discuss the lessons learned from leading design strategy on a cross-channel election experience design that bridges the Web, mobile, physical and ambient elements. Considerations and requirements included design research and strategy, complex stakeholder interactions and communications, accessibility, information architecture, interaction design, a highly regulated and constrained legal environment, and immovable delivery dates — and that's before it became challenging.

    The citizen experience across all channels is often confusing, inhumane and demoralizing. The good news is that our governments are beginning to understand the importance of a positive experience to a healthy, engaged citizenry. The cross-channel citizen experience is critical to any functioning democracy. Learn from a real-world case study in an election year.

    At 10:45am to 11:30am, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Your English Teacher was Wrong: Plain Language for Digital Environments

    by Lauren

    Learn linguistic tips and web copy tricks to get findable, stay optimized, and say what you mean. Plain language is the practice of replacing fancy words, seven commas deep, with the language of your audience.

    Straightforward words express ideas more clearly than verbose marketese or industry jargon: trousers might seem great to the marketing team, but the 2AM shopper is browsing for pants. Study linguistic concepts and technical implementations for the keys to precise, usable, and elegant communication.

    At 10:45am to 11:05am, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • A Brief History of New Media Art

    by Matt Nish-Lapidus

    At 11:30am to 11:30am, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Designing Better: Thinking Beyond the Device

    by Derek Featherstone

    Responsive Web Design is just one of the tools we use to create better designs. In this session, we'll explore what "better" design is, and apply that in new ways as we craft interactions between people and web sites and applications.

    In this talk, Derek looks at content, context and design, bringing them together in ways that show us what we can do to create truly responsive sites that meet the needs of the people using them, when they're using them, and how they're using them. When we're thinking beyond the device, we need to start with the device, of course, but then refine our designs to take into account the device's form factor, capabilities and features.

    After this session, you'll see why these examples and concepts had one of the world's leading design teams nodding their heads frantically as they looked to apply these principles to their own work. Salivating. They were practically salivating.

    At 11:30am to 12:20pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage note

  • On 'Shrink It and Pink It': Designing Experiences for Women

    by Jessica Ivins

    Women have become the digital mainstream. In the US market, women make up just under half of the online population, but they spend almost 60 percent of e-commerce dollars. Women are online gamers, shoppers, bloggers, and social media consumers. They share content, influence purchasing, and engage in more social interactions online than their male counterparts. And yet, we still don’t know how to design for them.

    The immediate impulse when designing for women is to “shrink it and pink it,” meaning products are splashed with the color pink, and content and messaging are dumbed down. But women want what’s relevant to them. They want products and online experiences that are intuitive, not insulting to their intelligence. They want function, not frills.

    This session reviews the historical and contemporary landscape of designing for women. We’ll review misguided, yet well-intentioned designs based on assumptions and stereotypes that have flopped. Likewise, we’ll review success stories of well-designed products and experiences that truly meet women’s needs.

    We’ll also look at when gender should factor into your design and when it shouldn’t. By understanding how user behavior varies among the genders, we can understand how to design for a gendered audience. Ultimately, when designing for women (or men, or both), you’ll want to get it right.

    At 11:30am to 12:20pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Digital Hoarding - How Information is Suffocating Your Audience

    by Matthew Grocki

    We promote content in the interest of providing our audience information. But lately too much information is getting in the way of what our users need.

    Let’s explore how much information is too much, and when to spot the warning signs of digital hoarding. We’ll define what digital hoarding is, and how to minimize it. We will identify redundant content types within your designs and map the easiest ways to get users the information they need and on with their day.

    This session explores how to balance the cavalcade of information your audience requires without turning your website into a dumping ground of PDF links, PowerPoint decks or pages of scrolling paragraphs.

    We will navigate the politics behind content providers and how to prioritize whose information really is the most important. And finally, we will learn how to govern content and when to archive it (Spoiler: it’s not about masking your website as an online repository).

    At 1:45pm to 2:15pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Resize Your UX

    by Marti

    This project has a $50,000 budget. This project has a $350,000 budget. This project is for your Mom’s book club, to be paid in tea cakes and Sunday dinners. How do you resize your user experience research, efforts, and deliverables to match the scope of the project and the size of your (client’s) wallet? And how do you keep user experience top of mind when there isn’t room for it in the top of the budget? Hear our tips and tricks for loving your users at any price point.

    At 1:45pm to 2:05pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Building Bendable Content

    by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

    Responsive. Adaptive. Mobile first. Cross-channel. We all want a future that’s flexible, fluid, and unfixed from the desktop, right?

    Great. Then it’s time to get to the core of the matter: the content.

    Fixed firmly to inflexible pages, today’s content is too often stuck in meaningless blobs—blobs that break under the weight of responsive designs, mobile sites, and cross-channel distribution.

    Which elements are most important? What’s primary and what’s corollary? What’s related or interdependent? What stays, what goes, and what gets truncated on small screens?

    When we can answer these questions—and structure our content accordingly—we’ll replace those messy blobs with content that bends, shifting and reshaping to fit varied displays and devices.

    To accomplish this, we need to bring our skills in organizing and architecting information to a micro level, breaking content down and lending it the structure it needs to maintain its meaning in an increasingly unfixed web.

    After all, we can't keep creating more content for every new device and channel—our writers and content wranglers will never keep up. But with IA skills applied to this new challenge, we can stop asking for more content and start asking our content to do more.

    This session will help UXers advocate for and architect content that goes further by discussing:

    Why adding structure actually makes content more flexible
    What we can learn about structure from technical and CMS folks
    How to analyze content and understand its meaningful elements
    How IA skills apply to this new challenge—and also how they’ll need to change

    At 2:30pm to 3:20pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Extreme Design - The Secrets to Successful Design Pairing

    by Samuel Mikel Bowles

    Become a better designer, see the designers and developers you work with improve, and make working together more enjoyable. A set of simple practices stolen from some of our favorite programmers can help you get to better ideas faster and instill greater empathy for design throughout your company.

    Samuel Bowles will explore how he has adopted the principles of design pairing in a number of contexts and teams. His observations are based on the contrast between his work in traditional design firms and more recently as a member of various Agile development teams.

    At 2:30pm to 3:20pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Bring the Future to Life

    by colette vardeman

    Great design is not based on what you make but how you make people feel.

    No matter where people are, or what people are doing, they are using technology to connect, to work, to live better, more satisfying lives. The sheer variety of these day-to-day experiences has raised the bar for consumer and business products alike. People have grown beyond ‘easy to use’ to demand experiences that anticipate their needs (compelling), support their workflow (natural), behave in an expected way (intuitive), and are delightful to use (emotionally engaging).

    In the end - we need to make a product or service that delivers the functions people want in a form they love. Historically designers have used an understanding of intent, interaction, behavior, and expectation to deliver both function and form. While we use this type of information to design for function, we also translate people's emotions into the form to create experiences that delight them.

    This presentation will focus on why function + emotion drives design of form to deliver experiences that are compelling, natural, intuitive, and emotionally engaging.

    At 3:30pm to 3:50pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Building a Responsive Web Design Process

    by Lydia Whitehead

    You've heard the buzz about responsive design. You might even have read a few posts and had some discussions about it, but enough with the thinking — how can you actually implement a responsive design process that works for you and your team?

    It might be easy for a designer/developer to hash out a responsive design, in, say, an afternoon, but what happens when you need to work with multiple stakeholders, designers, developers and the rest of your team? With insights from real life case studies (including the fine folks at Angie's List), this talk offers up a few ideas of how responsive design can fit within a typical website design and development process.

    You'll learn:

    *when to go responsive (hint: not always)
    *what tools to use
    *where to start with content and design
    *ways to get the rest of the team involved
    *ways to set expectations with the client

    At 3:30pm to 3:50pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Interaction Design Through Mixology

    by David Farkas

    Most Interaction Designers like to drink. Let’s face it, it’s a part of our professional culture - the happy hours, the conferences, the karaoke. While cocktails come in a variety of forms, mixing drinks is actually an artform - a special classification of alcohol. Mixology is the process of combining flavors and layering alcohol for complex and often savory experiences.

    Sound familiar?

    Mixology and Interaction Design in many ways are one and the same. Over the last year, I have adopted mixology as a hobby and in doing so found more similarities to my professional work than I initially wanted to admit. As in Interaction Design, mixology is about iterations, trial and error. There is no such thing as a design that comes out perfect in the first pass, regardless of how much research is performed. Similarly: There is no perfect cocktail the first time around, whether you are dealing with something as complex as ginger and lemon infused vodka with iced tea or something as basic as cucumber gin and tonic. User testing is key--my tastes are not like everyone else’--and mixologists must elicit feedback from others in everything they do. As with designer’s process and methodology, no two mixologists are the same.

    My talk is intended for practitioners of all levels. Young practitioners may see a new way to approach Interaction Design as the learning curve is reduced from an esoteric field to something we address every day. More seasoned veterans will enjoy an opportunity to connect their social hour to work in a manner providing both personal satisfaction and client understanding (they drink too, right?).

    Together we will address the shift around process, training and methodology as some bartenders are classically trained and others self taught; some use traditional methods and others use more modern technology. Attendees will leave with an appreciation for the complexity of Interaction Design in a more analog and tangible form and, timing permitting, with a homemade infusion in hand.

    At 3:30pm to 3:50pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Apprenticeship Now

    by Alla Zollers

    At 4:30pm to 5:00pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Living with Wearable Tech

    by John Wayne Hill

    Wearable computing has come a long way. Devices of yester-year were clunky, hard to use, and fashion backward. As computers continue to miniaturize, the world will see more and more wearable devices. Manufacturers and product makers will continue to try and figure out how to put technology into wearable products and into our lives. As devices make leaps and bounds towards usefullness, utility, and connectedness we will see more and more technology integrated into our lives. How that technology fits into our lives, depends on designers advocating for the best possible experience. Wearable computing takes on a broad range of topics, but most important is the relationship between the person and the technology. Because wearable technology is with us, and on us, throughout most of the day, it's important to remember how the technology fits into the lives of individual people and the context in which they interact with the technology. This quick presentation describes my relationship with wearable technology and puts forth insights gained from living with the technology through a user experience viewpoint.

    At 4:30pm to 5:00pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • Which Way?

    by Alaina Kraus

    At 4:30pm to 5:00pm, Friday 1st June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

Saturday 2nd June 2012

  • Design and Development of Post-Digital Experiences

    Nathan Martin, CEO of Pittsburgh-based post-digital shop Deeplocal, will discuss the process behind several of the company’s well-known projects, including the tweet-printing Nike Chalkbot robot that debuted at the 2009 Tour de France. Deeplocal, which works both in marketing and product consulting, has strong opinions on speed and innovation.

    Nathan will present several examples of post-digital projects that bridge the online and offline worlds and the challenges that each campaign faced. Nathan will also discuss Deeplocal’s culture, which reflects his background as a fine artist and punk rocker, and talk about his company’s mission to support and sustain artists in Pittsburgh.

    At 9:30am to 10:15am, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage sketch note

  • Evolving Mental Models

    by Daniel Eizans

    We're all familiar with the concept of mental modeling, but why do we typically only use this practice in the design of a system? We obviously think about content when we’re starting to brainstorm a design and we think about content when we interview our users, but why don't we leverage the mental models we’ve created when we take on a new digital project when we plan the content and materials that eventually populate that system?

    I believe mental models can work harder and can be a key driver for creating a content strategy that can evolve with our users.

    This talk will present an alternative (or extension) to the traditional mental model by focusing on the material that populates our digital experiences. We’ll cover how to add content specific inquiries to the information gathering process used to inform traditional mental models; and how to modify them to inform everything from story mapping, content planning and long term governance of digital systems over time.

    This type of mental modeling will be illustrated via case study.

    At 10:45am to 11:15am, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Upselling UX: Moving From Pixels to Strategy

    by Jim Laing

    When it comes to user experience, organizations often begin with just a toe in the water: a designer is brought on board to cleanup a few features and answer developer questions, or a researcher is hired to run usability studies. However, in many organizations these well-meaning attempts to improve user experience end up being largely ineffective: band-aids on fundamentally flawed products. This is because unclear product strategy and a lack of user advocacy in early-stage planning often lead to unfocused solutions and unresolvable design issues later in product development. If such organizations are ever going to create great user experiences, it is necessary that the UX team begin to provide strategic leadership.

    But how does a fledgling UX team transform its self from playing tactical support to helping define strategy? In this session, we'll look at just what is strategic UX and what skills are necessary to operate at the strategic level. We will also discuss how you can explain the UX team’s role in strategy to your stakeholders, and how can you demonstrate the need for involving your team in product discovery. By upselling UX, you can increase the contribution of your team and tackle user experience problems where they begin.

    At 10:45am to 11:05am, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Mapping the Experience

    by Chris Risdon

    As services become more interconnected across channels and devices—and more importantly across time and space—it’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to gain insight about customers’ interactions with your service.

    Experience maps offer a framework for mapping human experiences across multiple situations and interactions, helping to ensure that every occasion where your organization touches or connects with a person’s life is appropriate, relevant, meaningful, and endearing.

    In this presentation I’ll talk about orchestrating touchpoints and their channels through experience maps. I’ll review an experience mapping framework that includes key dimensions and how they’re used for designing for a multi-touchpoint experience. The presentation will discuss the activities that feed the map so that it tells a tangible story, the key elements make up a useful and actionable map, and how to then define the characteristics of your mapped touchpoints. Experience maps are intended to be catalysts, not conclusions.

    (this will include a detailed case study with actionable lessons, and also discussions touches on 'design beyond the screen')

    At 11:30am to 12:22pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Working with Developers for Fun and Profit

    by Jack Moffett

    There has been a lot of discussion recently within the UX community about what is required to be an Interaction Designer. Do you have to be good at visual design? Do you have to know how to code? These are the wrong questions. The question we need to ask is, “What skills and methods will make us better Interaction Designers?” The answers will vary greatly depending on the context of your work: the type of company you work for, the makeup of your team, the types of projects you work on, and so forth.

    I strongly believe that a closer working relationship with developers and participation in more of the development process will improve your ability to deliver outstanding products and will increase your job satisfaction as a designer. I will outline a collaboration lifecycle in relation to project schedules and the design process and show designers how they can extend their influence, insuring design integrity and improving the quality of the final product, through greater participation in the entire development process. The presentation will address use of developer tools, documentation, the designer's ability to code, and designer–developer relationships.

    At 11:30am to 12:20pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Bridging the Mobile Design Gap

    by Jen Matson

    Small screens, varying contexts, varying form factors -- challenging, inspiring, or both? Our perspective on how we view these many aspects of designing for mobile can usually be traced back to how and when we came to be working on the web.

    For those of us who have been pushing pixels since the medium's infancy, mobile is just the latest, though most profound shift. Web standards and even, yes, the much maligned <table>, have served important roles in helping to push the web forward by highlighting its weaknesses, whether in the area of emotionally engaging design or findability of information.

    In this session, we'll examine the history of design disruption on the web as a foreshadowing of the mobile web revolution. And we'll discuss the effects of those disruptions on those of us trying to trying to craft great experiences when we often have such different ideas about what the web is, or should be. Because it's only by understanding our shared history, and examining our assumptions and expectations dragged along from print, software or Flash-based design, that we can ultimately move the mobile web forward by simply creating a single, universally-accessible web.

    At 1:45pm to 2:05pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage slide deck

  • How to Rapidly Prototype Multi-Touch Applications

    by Amelia Campbell

    Prototyping is used to quickly and inexpensively simulate the design and functionality of user interfaces. UX designers accomplish this across a range of fidelities— from sketches and paper prototypes to a digital prototyping tools—to iteratively explore and evaluate different design possibilities.

    Prototyping techniques for traditional GUI interfaces are widely used and well understood. But how effective are these techniques as we shift from desktop and laptops to touchscreen devices, which detect and resolve one or more touch events using styli or fingers? It is expected the more discrete touch points that can be processed simultaneously, the more prototyping for interfaces on these devices becomes complex and challenging.

    This session will report on a series of interviews with working UX designers about how they prototype applications for multi-touch surfaces. Do prototyping methods as practiced for web sites and traditional applications work for multi-touch surfaces? What do designers know and how do they prototype multi-touch applications? What are best practices for prototyping emerging interactive technologies?

    At 1:45pm to 2:05pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

    Coverage sketch note

  • Usable Security: It Isn't Secure If People Can't Use It

    by Darren Kall

    The weakest link in online security is not technology but people. But it is not their fault. The developer, IT implementer, administrator, and end-user each create vulnerabilities if the system wasn’t designed to be usable for each of them.

    By taking a user-centric approach UX professionals are improving security products. But to improve the whole system security UX professionals need to go beyond the product and apply those same techniques to security processes, implementation policies, security management activities, metrics monitoring and visualization, etc. Security UX may not be glamorous but it really tests your UX research and design chops.

    At 1:45pm to 2:05pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Customer Journeys: Designing for Disagreement

    by Boon Sheridan

    Sometimes there’s nothing better than being wrong.

    Customer Journeys, maps, stories, flows. Whatever you want to call them they’re a powerful tool for understanding touchpoints, interactions and moments of engagement between a company and an individual. Given the level of detail they contain they often require long cycles, multiple lanes of research and many rounds of review to complete. What if you took a different approach and created a set “on the fly” with a little information, some inspiration and a few hunches?

    I’ll take you through the idea of Designing for Disagreement - deliberate and willful acts of creativity with the goal of sparking discussion, identifying unspoken biases and uncovering insights and feedback. Then we’ll walk through a project and show how going into a rapid-fire design exercise of customer journeys yielded some surprising results. We’ll take apart the challenge put down by the client and project teams, the framework used to build the experiments and take a look at the final product and the workshop it created.

    You’ll walk away armed with a set of reasons why you should try it on your next project, a framework to build your own and a few tricks and tips on how to present them for maximum effect.

    At 2:30pm to 3:20pm, Saturday 2nd June

    In COSI: Center of Science and Industry