Monday Featured Talks

Your Chance to Pick and Choose!

Monday, November 2 is our "sampler day," where our conference speakers give informative and entertaining 90-minute presentations in two tracks. Note that some speakers are presenting a different topic than in their full-day seminar.

There is no advance sign-up for the featured talks. Attendance at each session will be limited only by available space. Monday also includes lunch and an entertaining (and often controversial) keynote address by our very own Jared M. Spool. And, be sure to join us for the evening conference reception from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Simple Steps for Effective Visual Design

Dan Rubin

Dan Rubin, Webgraph

We've all been thrown into situations where we have no idea how or where to begin. For anyone responsible for their site's design, or even those who want to make a difference but don't know how, the process can be daunting. Even the term "web design" implies knowledge and understanding of something visual, creative, even artistic ability.

Thankfully, the skills you need to discover and fix many of the most common design problems do not require that you have an art degree or to be a finalist on Project Runway. Dan Rubin will show you the simple steps you can master to create great visual designs. He'll teach you how to recognize common design mistakes and effective ways to make your site look good, whether you're a natural artist or not.

Designing to Delight the Information Seeker

Donna Spencer

Donna Spencer, Maadmob

Finding information is not the user's goal. It's a means to an end. You need to look at what they desire.

Maybe they desire to locate a fact to prove a point. Perhaps buy a product based on important criterion, or locate the best deal. Maybe they desire to compare features before they make a decision, or keep an eye on current events. Or, maybe they just desire to re-read something they saw on an earlier visit.

Each of these information-seeking desires demands a very different approach to the information architecture, the information design, and the page layout. Donna Spencer will show you the key features of each behavior and what you need to include in the design, with both good and bad examples of each. You'll go away with skills that take your users beyond just finding the information, helping them to use the information to achieve their goals.

10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

How to be a User Experience Team of One

Leah Buley

Leah Buley, Adaptive Path

Whatís the best way to evolve design ideas quickly? One way is to get together with other designers and brainstorm. This works because team structures have naturally creative properties. But even when you donít have a group of other design professionals at your disposal, itís still possible to achieve the benefits of team thinking by adapting the methods of larger user experience groups.

Leah Buley will discuss some of the lightweight techniques for generative problem solving that Adaptive Path uses, and show how to put them to use as a team of one. You will see simple, flexible tools that enable you to explore a variety of solutions quickly, enlist the support of non-designers, and speak about design decisions with confidence and authority.

Web for All: Making Your Web Site Accessible

Ginny Redish

Ginny Redish, Redish & Associates

Like well-designed ramps and curb cuts, the solutions for people with special needs don't have to be "special." By building in good design practices from the start, everyone benefits from the enhanced usability.

Technically savvy users are getting older, with seniors being one of the fastest growing online segments. The prices of assistive technologies are making it easier than ever for new audiences to reach our content. When we design our sites to meet the needs of these growing populations, we also make it easier for everyone else to benefit from our designs.

Ginny Redish has been at the forefront of the research in this area. She's worked with a variety of organizations, such as the AARP, to help them make sure their web sites are accessible by everyone. She'll show you a wide variety of examples, with specific ideas and techniques that you can implement immediately to make your web site work for all.

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Lunch and Keynote: Revealing Design Treasures from The Amazon

Jared M. Spool

Jared M. Spool, User Interface Engineering

On its surface, Amazon.com just seems like a large e-commerce site, albeit a successful one. Its design isn't flashy, nor is it much to write home about. But deep within its pages are hidden secrets - secrets that every designer should know about.

If one looks closely at what the team at Amazon has built, it's filled with innovative functionality and clever designs, all of which creates a delightful experience for its users and directly produces regular profits for its shareholders. But not all is perfect. Some design changes in the last few years have not been the success that the team hoped for. Amazon's exceptional qualities and imperfections are critical knowledge for any designer that wants to dig deep into what makes the site tick.

In this entertaining presentation, Jared will share some of UIE's latest research into the hidden treasures of (the) Amazon. You'll learn:

  • The simple Yes/No question that increased revenues by more than $1 billion
  • The elegant subtlety of Amazon's security system
  • Why Amazon's business model is more than meets the eye (and why designers need to care)
  • The wins and losses that Amazon has had with social media functionality

2:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

The Psychology Behind Search

Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern, Customer Carewords

How do you measure how well search works on your web site? Not the mechanics of producing results, but the effectiveness of supplying answers to your users questions.

It turns out the psychology of search is much more important to know than the technology of search. To have a successful search capability, you need to know both the "how" and the "why" behind your users inquiries. Only then can you be sure you're providing search results that will drive your users' success.

Gerry McGovern will show you a simple, yet powerful model for measuring when people find what they are looking for when using your web site or intranet's search engine. You'll see why the best long-term strategy for search success is to optimize for the searcher, not the search engine. You'll learn why you need to identify the pages you don't want to rank and why sometimes the words people search with are not the words they want to read when they arrive on your web site.

Agile and UX (con)fusion: What Happens When You Try to Ship a Web App in 3 Days

Todd Zaki Warfel

Todd Zaki Warfel, Messagefirst

Designers and developers have a love/hate relationship with each other. Sure, we play nice together in public, but behind closed doors, you'd think we were bitter arch enemies.

Recently, a group of designers and developers decided to do something about that love/hate relationship. Something crazy, something extreme, like the Quick Fire challenge on Bravo's Top Chef. So we came up with an insane idea, design and ship an application in just three days.

There was just one BIG catch. The app had to go through a full user experience design lifecycle. That's right: To be a success, the team had to conduct field research, craft personas, create a prototype, iterate the design, and ship a working piece of software in a three-day sprint. It was the extreme AgileUX mission impossible challenge.

Todd Zaki Warfel will share how a team of user experience designers and agile developers came together to try the impossible: ship an iPhone Web App in just three days. He'll discuss the triumphs and failures of the experiment and the lessons you can take home to your teams.

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Two Hours Every Week: Building Constant User Feedback into Your Process

Dana Chisnell

Dana Chisnell, Usabilityworks

There's lots of pressure to deliver designs faster. You're forced to streamline the design and development process, but you don't want to make bad design decisions. Teams conducting user research and usability testing at project milestones get solid data to base their major decisions on.

However, much of our design work is about the thousands of tiny decisions that make up the entire experience. How do we get the data we need for those decisions? Research shows that those teams that create the best user experiences are constantly gathering user research through out their design and development process.

Dana Chisnell will show you an aggressive, yet strikingly simple plan that's easy to implement and complements your existing user research projects. She'll walk you through six quick steps you'll need to develop a plan to collect continual user input. You'll get an action plan for conducting weekly two-hour usability sessions, so you can observe users, get data, and make smart design decisions.

How to Master Presenting & Pitching Ideas

Scott Berkun

Scott Berkun, scottberkun.com

All creative people have to present their ideas, whether to clients, programmers, bosses or co-workers. Some of us deliver our presentations with substance and style, but most people fail with their own ideas by expecting them to simply sell themselves.

If you wonder why your wonderful ideas never get implemented, or are brutally ripped to shreds in meeting after meeting, it might not be your design talents that are the problem. How effectively you frame, shape, and pitch your ideas to others, could be the problem.

Scott Berkun will help you in this fun, brutally honest, and interactive presentation, which he's loosely based on his upcoming O'Reilly book Confessions of a Public Speaker. He'll give you everything you need to know to present, pitch, convince, and sell your design ideas effectively.