Closing Keynote

Congratulations! Over the past decade UX has shifted from the fringes to everyday business everywhere from the Fortune 500 to Silicon Valley startups. IAs and UX designers are hot commodities. And yet, in that success lies the seeds of failure. That same decade has seen UX focus on pixels instead of experience across channels, on wireframes instead of vision and value. Other disciplines are taking on the leadership roles that companies need to be successful in a cross-channel world. Those companies and their customers are missing out on the strategic value that UX can provide if only we would take the next steps.

With his trademark wisdom and insight, Harry Max will challenge the complacency of success. The UX community should be more than a commodity. Based on decades of experience with the world’s leading companies, Harry will point out the opportunities for each of us and the steps we should take to prepare for a greater leadership role in our community and in our own careers.

Addressing Service Breakdowns

Picture this scenario: Your flight is delayed. You don’t know why, the screens at the gate show no information, and nothing is available on the airline’s mobile website/app. The attendants at the gate are flooded with questions, and cranky people.

Most of us have been in this type of situation, where a service provider did not handle a breakdown well. In the world of cross-channel interactions – where people interact with the service provider on multiple channels – the chances of there being a breakdown increase. How a breakdown is handled deeply affects our perception and trust in the service provider. So, handling breakdowns becomes an important design consideration.

In this talk, I want to explore the following: What causes breakdowns in services? What are some good ways to handle a breakdown? How can service providers be more prepared for breakdowns?

10 Things We Learned From Shipping Our Own App, Stories of Success and Failure

A tell all behind the scenes look at moving from consulting to a product company. We’ll show what it’s like to build your own app, discuss our design and development process, how we handle release schedules, and customer support. We’ll even discuss the not so glorious side of things and how we handled them, like nearly going broke (more than once), realizing our production database is out of sync by 2 weeks, even the dumbest customers in the world, are still your customers and how you can learn from them.

Clutter is King: The Story of Filing, Piling and Beyond and How People Really Get Things Done

It’s pretty obvious that people love to pile up paper and documents in their offices — it’s one of the big reasons that the mythical paperless office has yet to materialise.

There’s been a lot of research around this, and a variety of fascinating academia looking at the ways we can design support systems for such messiness.

It’s all very interesting but nobody thinks about applying this knowledge — the knowledge that people are inherently messy and often find it more empowering and easier to be messy, and actually feel quite organised by being messy — to the design of real world products and applications.

In this fast paced session, hear the adventures of two information management/HCI researchers who also work in the game design industry and learn how our UX and product design can be informed by people’s messy desks.

Hats are optional for all attendees, but are strongly recommended.

Tablets and Kids: Creative Opportunities with Apps Empowering Young Children

Young children use tablets in ways they do not use mobile phones and computers. We find evidence in developmental theories that touch interfaces and larger screens afford better usability, while tablets’ social nature keeps them accessible to children. Because of that, they have become powerful consumers of digital content.

An increasing number of apps is made for them, but the digital world has far to go in its child-centric offering. App stores have yet to explicitly support searching for children’s apps, and some apps are well-intentioned but misguided in their experience designs.

How to proceed? Apps like PizzaBot, a game designed by 12-year-old Harry Moran that briefly ousted Angry Birds from the bestseller spot in the Mac App Store, show that we underestimate kids to our peril. This talk discusses different ways to involve children in the design process, not only as informative users, but also as designers and decision-makers.

Designing the Mobile Wallet

Mobile network providers, device manufacturers and banking corporations are working together to provide the solution you never knew you needed – the mobile wallet. But what is a mobile wallet and how should it work? What are the customer experiences that a good mobile wallet solution should support? In this session we will talk about a project for a major network provider and what we learned about designing the mobile wallet, including understanding and validating the multi-channel user journeys, designing and developing wireframes and prototypes for multiple mobile devices, conducting usability testing with multiple mobile devices and working with multiple technology platforms and service providers. We’ll discuss what went well, what went not quite so well and what caused us to throw mobile devices across the office (clue: this happened quite often).

Getting More Out of Social with Focus on Social Comfort

By putting the focus on social comfort and its three elements: people, tools, and content you will have greater ease at what the hinderances are for users of social platforms and features. This focus also provides an easier means to see how to resolve the issues through as they map to how people are social. This focus helps not only see the limitations of how people interact socially, but how to bring social comfort into the mix to help resolve the issues and meet your goals.

Comfort made understanding the problems easier and the use of it with social issues around people (a large hurdle in social for mainstream use), tools (few people understand social interaction elements), and content (people may want to share but are far from confident in the subject matter).

Having comfort as a focus for projects helps seeing problems and their solutions in a different light.

Ubiquitous Information Architecture

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” presents an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine 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. And, we’ll explore how experience maps and “IA thinking” can improve the process and product of information architecture and user experience design.

Designing for Complexity

Simplicity is a frequent mantra for designers and a worthy goal. But life, well, life is infinitely complicated, and sometimes software become quite complex as well. So what does a well-intentioned designer do when faced with the challenges of designing for a complex system?

This session will first explore some common examples in well-known applications that involve intricate workflows, massive amounts of data, and generic rocket science type complexity. Next, six general heuristics for handling complexity will be discussed with in-depth examples and case studies:

  1. Prioritize Tasks
  2. Be Consistent and Use Patterns
  3. Use Data Visualizations (wisely)
  4. Adapt UI to Roles
  5. Learn and Habituate Based on Behavior
  6. And Remember, the Simplest UI is no UI

At the end of this presentation, you will no longer fear the complex. Instead, this session aims to inspire attendees to embrace, solve for and even celebrate complexity.

Applying Value-Sensitive Design Principles to User Engagement

Values have increasingly come to the forefront in discussions around information architecture. Our solutions must address ethical and cultural values such as privacy, trust, security, and sustainability. Value-sensitive design principles can assist us in identifying the context, systems, and values necessary to solve complex problems in a meaningful way, while ensuring our designs retain integrity for ourselves, our clients, and all impacted users.

We can help guide this conversation as part of design strategy, using practical methods to assist in framing product purpose and user engagement. Understanding the implications of our design decisions greatly increases our chances of finding the best solutions across channels and stakeholders.

This presentation will explain the tenets of value-sensitive design, and show examples of these principles being used in the design process. These techniques can be used to solve problems around complex interactions with a multitude of touch-points that can effect a variety of users.