UIE Web App Masters Tour: Now hear this: 15 Hours of Audio Recordings from 11 Masters Listen to them OnDemand

Conference Program

The User Interface 14 Conference was a smashing success. Thank you to those who attended. If you weren't able to make it, you can still live the experience with the UI14 Conference Proceedings disc.

Save the Dates for User Interface 15

UI15 will be back in Boston at the Renaissance Hotel, November 8-10, 2010. Information about UI15 will be available starting in June, 2010.

Sunday, November 1, 2009: Full-day Seminars


Good Design Faster: New Techniques for Creative Ideas

Techniques for Designing High-Value Experiences

Leah Buley

Leah Buley, Adaptive Path

Need to generate innovative and creative design ideas? Are you stuck implementing the first idea, without exploring if there are better alternatives? Looking for ways to present your design ideas without being shot down?

Innovation is now a favorite executive buzzword. “Go forth and innovate” is quickly followed by “Can you show us some innovations next week?” We need techniques to come up with innovative design ideas quickly.

We choose the first design we think of. Too often, we choose a design because it’s doable, not because it’s the best we could do. Today’s effective teams use an easy brainstorming technique to get to good designs faster.

When we have great ideas, we struggle to present them. We hear, “Are those really the fonts?” when what we’re looking for is deeper analysis. The best designers focus their critique on the most important decisions they’re facing.

Creating innovative designs requires an innovative process. That’s why we’re excited, experience designer Leah Buley will share her ground-breaking, proven techniques for Design Sprints and Sketchboarding in her full-day workshop, Good Designs Faster.

You’ll learn Leah’s secrets for quickly exploring a range of design alternatives, moving from back-of-the-napkin sketching to mapping out your design's interaction, flow, and form. She’ll demonstrate several exercises that get a team’s creative juices flowing, while staying focused on the needs of the users.

You'll see how to turn your sketches into a professional presentation. You'll come away with essential techniques for delivering amazing design concepts quickly and efficiently.

This full-day workshop is on Sunday, November 1

Planning & Writing Web Content that Works

Content as Conversations

Ginny Redish

Ginny Redish, Redish & Associates

Does your site’s content reflect what your users need? Are users finding the content engaging and persuasive? Do you have control over when you create new content and remove outdated material?

Users come to your site for information, not for the joy of navigating or searching. It’s easy to focus on the structure of the site, forgetting it’s the content that engages the users.

The key to a great web site or intranet is to think about content as conversation. Each time your users visit your site they start a conversation. They want to be engaged by easy-to-find, interactive responses, not long, drawn out monologues.

Successful content only happens when you understand why your users come to your site, which content is most important, and how they desire to read it. You need a strategy to ensure your site remains up-to-date and highly relevant as your organization moves forward.

Ginny Redish is returning to UI14, one of our all-time favorite speakers, to show you how to create content that works for your users. You'll learn how to meet users’ needs with the right words, using the right design, in the right place.

Ginny will show you how to uncover users' needs with personas and scenarios, how to deliver users to their content by carefully selecting and organizing your site's information, and how to develop a cohesive content strategy for your site. You'll come away with all of the tools you need for creating content that works for your users.

This full-day workshop is on Sunday, November 1

Visual Design Essentials for Non-Designers

Effortless Skills for High-quality Designs

Dan Rubin

Dan Rubin, Webgraph

It’s hard, when looking at a web page, to know that something just isn’t right, but not know what to do. Is it the color? Is it the layout? Maybe the fonts aren’t working? How do we get the visual look to match our great ideas?

Good visual design isn’t rocket science. It isn’t black magic. Like many things, good visual design is made of skills that anyone can learn. And, with practice, you can become pretty good at spotting, fixing, and creating your own high-quality pages.

To learn the essentials of visual design, you need a good instructor. That’s where Dan Rubin comes in. He’s one of the web’s rising stars, responsible for many great web site designs. Moreover, he’s a great teacher. He’s got a fun, easy way for anyone to learn the nuts and bolts of graphic presentation.

You’ll start with the basics and work your way into the rich details. You’ll learn solid tricks and techniques to get the color, typography, and layout you want. You’ll learn easy-to-master Photoshop techniques for creating great looking backgrounds and learn to create consistent, flexible graphical button styles that you can use across an entire project.

Dan will also show you the steps from concept to implementation. You’ll start with sketching, move to page description diagrams, look at wireframes, and end up with a look at basic HTML5 and CSS. You’ll leave completely comfortable with the critical visual design techniques and you’ll have a ton of fun in the process.

This full-day workshop is on Sunday, November 1

Information Architecture Essentials

Best Practices for Organizing Your Site's Content

Donna Spencer

Donna Spencer, Maadmob

Few things are more difficult than trying to organize thousands (or millions) of your web site or intranet’s pages. How do you know where to put things? How will your users find the content they’re seeking?

Different users need different things. Some of your users need details while other need a big-picture overview. Some want to look things up by their role, while others want to find things by the topic. Some want to click through a logical category list, while others want to enter their keywords into a search box.

Bringing the chaos of thousands of individual pages into an organized, logical order is the purview of the Information Architect. That’s why you want to meet Donna Spencer. Coming all the way from Australia, Donna’s one of the world’s premier information architects and she’ll be bringing back last year’s most popular workshop.

Under Donna’s expert guidance, you’ll practice important organization techniques, such as card sorting and content analysis, ready to apply these on your own site as soon as you return to your office. You’ll learn how to organize critical content using proven navigation and page layout principles.

Donna will introduce you to a variety of techniques to solve hard IA problems, such as choosing good labels and matching the right organization scheme for your audiences. Once you’ve mastered the essentials of information architecture, you’ll turn the disarray of site content into a tour de force of organization and categorization. And your users will exclaim how easy it is to find things on your site.

This full-day workshop is on Sunday, November 1

Tuesday, November 3, 2009: Full-day Seminars


Mastering Top-Task Management

A Proven, Step-by-Step Method for Servicing Your Users Top Needs

Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern, Customer Carewords

When managing a web site or intranet, we spend a ton of effort trying to get people to use the site. We’ll invest in SEO strategies, create reasons for people to link to us, and market the content heavily. Yet with all these efforts to deliver them to the site, have we done a good job of making users successful once they arrive?

Much of the problem comes from an unclear understanding of why users come to the site. Many teams think in generalizations, “find out more about our products,” while not knowing what those users are doing with the information. Other teams treat all the tasks as equal, giving short shrift to the most important ones. It’s designers with the deep awareness of their users’ most critical tasks that create the most effective site designs.

How do you find out what your users’ top tasks are? We’re bringing back Gerry McGovern to tell you. For 10 years, Gerry’s been studying this problem. From his research, he created a unique scoring method, Customer Carewords, which tells you in precise, statistical terms what your users top tasks are.

Gerry will show you how Customer Carewords works, so you can use it to identify what your users seek. You’ll learn how to discover the words your users use to describe their top tasks. He’ll show you how to measure the success of these top tasks in a way that your senior management will understand and be able to act on. You’ll come out bubbling with ideas on how to improve your site.

This full-day workshop is on Tuesday, November 3

Fast Prototyping Made Easy

Realizing What Your Designs Can Be

Todd Zaki Warfel

Todd Zaki Warfel, Messagefirst

Everybody loves a surprise, except in design. Nobody likes the moment when they reveal all of their hard work and receive an unenthusiastic, “Is that it?”

All too often, this is because too much was built without the right feedback. The design and development went forward, based on assumptions about the users, their needs, the technology, and the business. Yet it turns out those assumptions needed testing and validation.

Prototyping—building a mockup of the design to validate its direction—has never been easier. Designers today have a plethora of tools for every development process stage. New techniques make it fast and easy to get a design working.

To guide us through the landscape of prototyping, we’ve invited Todd Zaki Warfel, author of Prototyping: A Practitioner’s Guide. Todd’s put together an amazing workshop, chock-full of the latest techniques and tools. You’ll see the full gamut of prototyping techniques, from paper to JavaScript and everything in between.

You’ll learn how to avoid the common headaches and mistakes that first-timers consistently run into. You’ll create paper prototypes of some interactive forms, Ajax simulations, and complex interfaces, like a sliding photo gallery. Todd will show you how easy it is to create prototypes of mobile applications in a tool like Fireworks. You’ll get a good introduction to the power of JavaScript libraries, such as Prototype and jQuery.

When you leave this workshop, you'll be ready to tackle your own prototyping projects, and realize what your design can be right away.

This full-day workshop is on Tuesday, November 3

Mastering the Art of User Research

Stress-free, Advanced Techniques for Creating Great Designs

Dana Chisnell

Dana Chisnell, UsabilityWorks

Are you getting enough research information into your organization’s design process? Are you having the impact you’d like on the final design? Are you blocked from doing more research because of perceptions that it’ll cost too much or take too much time?

The most successful research professionals have a solid record of generating critical data that leads their team to a great design. They discovered techniques for reducing the cost and time necessary, thereby making research more accessible and desirable. They developed enhanced methods for analyzing their data, yielding important insights faster. And they devised new methods to bring their findings to their team, making it an essential part of the design process.

It’s true, the basis of good research is scientific, but there’s an art to making research valuable to the team and integral to the design. To help you master the art of advanced research, we’ve called on Dana Chisnell. In this workshop, Dana will share her expertise to help you hone your craft.

You’ll learn advanced methods for planning and executing usability tests, field studies, and other insight-generating research. She’ll show you how you can get your users to generate data themselves. You’ll discover new methods for extracting important insights from your data. And you’ll learn tricks to integrate the research into your team’s design process.

You don’t need to stress over your research process. Now you can master your craft with the confidence to deliver the team everything it needs to build a great design.

This full-day workshop is on Tuesday, November 3

The Myths of Innovation

Expand Your Thinking on What it Takes To Innovate

Scott Berkun

Scott Berkun, scottberkun.com

The need for organizations to innovate has never been stronger. Competitive and economic pressures demand we rethink the way we do things and produce results. But do we have what it takes to innovate on demand?

Innovation is more than just a buzzword. All the great ideas we take for granted today, from the Internet, to the cellular phone, to anti-lock brakes, all started as ideas in someone’s mind, dismissed by leaders of major organizations. How these innovations came to be, and the challenges the managers of those projects faced, are untold stories, creating a gold mine of lessons ready for use today.

In this workshop, bestselling author Scott Berkun takes a careful look at innovation history, including the software and Internet Age, to reveal how ideas truly become successful innovations—truths that people can apply to today's challenges. Using dozens of examples from the history of technology, business, and the arts, you'll learn how to convert the knowledge you have into ideas that can change the world.

Scott will show you why all innovation is a collaborative process, how innovation depends on persuasion, and why the problems are more important than the solutions. Through games, exercises, debates, and conversations, Scott will cover everything design teams need to develop innovative projects in their organization, including creativity, people management, and business thinking.

We’re not surprised this was our top-rated workshop for the last two years. Scott’s entertaining and informative delivery will prepare you for what it takes to create your own innovations.

This full-day workshop is on Tuesday, November 3