A moonlit night.



Registration & Continental Breakfast

Imperial Foyer and West Lounge

Welcome & Kickoff

Imperial Rooms A & B

Jared Spool


Kim Goodwin

VP of UX, PatientsLikeMe

You’re Hired! Strategies for Finding the Perfect Fit

Imperial Rooms A & B

In the UX world, Kim Goodwin is a big deal. A regular on the UX conference circuit. Bestselling author of “Designing for the Digital Age.” Team builder and UX evangelizer at PatientsLikeMe. Kim knows design—and designers. She’s hired, fired, and coached loads of them for her own teams and for clients, too.

Kim understands the challenges of a competitive job market. The candidate with the most impressive résumé isn’t always the smartest choice. It’s not always easy to tell the diamond-in-the-rough from the shiny-but-fake. But Kim’s figured out how to find the hidden gems.

Kim shares insights that help folks on both sides of the interview table. Learn how to define and articulate the skills you’re hiring for, and how to build a framework for evaluating candidates. Understanding what makes a good hire will help job seekers present themselves to hiring managers in the most effective manner.

Read Session Description



West Lounge

Des Traynor

Co-founder & VP of Customer Success, Intercom

Product Strategy in a Growing Company

Imperial A & B

Des Traynor cares about the details. He has to—he’s responsible for customer happiness! He’s consulted with over 100 growing companies to help them shape a product strategy around their core features. He co-founded Exceptional (now part of Rackspace) and Intercom, where is currently VP of Customer Success.

Customers have opinions about how a product should evolve. It’s tricky to know when to go for it and when to draw the line. Without a strategy, products are forced into a feature matrix to win imaginary comparison wars. It’s a vicious cycle that hatches the biggest product, but rarely the best.

Strong product management requires frequent hard decisions and compromises, based on a healthy balance of data and intuition. Join Des to plan a product roadmap that focuses on growing the value—not the feature list—of your product.

Read Session Description


Leah Buley

Principal Analyst, Customer Experience, Forrester Research

Hunches, Instincts, and Trusting Your Gut

Imperial A & B

Leah Buley didn’t set out to become a one-woman UX design team. She transitioned gradually from web developer to interface designer, thanks to her knack for recognizing what separates the great from the good— and the ability to explain why. For over 15 years, Leah has helped companies learn to embrace human-centered design.

The challenge for all designers is how to critique the work, your own or someone else’s. Can you translate your gut feelings into a clear, credible point of view and communicate it to others?

Don’t miss your chance to hear Leah share simple techniques for intelligent critiquing, from evaluating information hierarchy to judging the effectiveness of layout, typography, and messaging. You’ll leave feeling more confident about trusting your gut and expressing your opinions.

Read Session Description


Mara Zepeda

Co-founder and CEO of Switchboard

Bringing IRL Online

Imperial A & B

Mara Zepeda has a résumé that could make even the most accomplished person feel like an underachiever. Ivy League creds. Stints at National Public Radio. Co-founder and CEO of Switchboard, the online community building platform. Mara believes that generosity and altruism can thrive in the online space. It’s just a matter of building trust.

The challenge for Mara’s team was fostering that sense of trust in a strictly online community. People are hungry to connect, to help and be helped. But how much community building can you do if people never get together face-to-face?

Mara shares how Switchboard became a place where people can get what they need from people they trust. By limiting content and functionality. By making deliberate aesthetic choices. And by reaching out to community influencers in-real-life to foster a sense of trust between folks who might never meet face to face.

Read Session Description



Continental Room 6

Choose a Session


Abi Jones

Design Lead for Google Books, Google

Helping Teams Become Design Independent

Imperial Room A

Abi Jones has always been about independence. She’s been helping folks feel capable from the very beginning—when she taught third grade. Abi’s more recent work on the MySpace redesign team and her current gig as an interaction designer for Google Books support that same goal: giving people confidence to tackle the hard challenges.

She recently worked with a Google team to design a flexible, reliable feedback system. Abi was reminded that jumping into a pre-existing team is hard—especially when it’s a team of engineers and you’re a designer. How do you define your role and create a model that works? How far do you take a design before production? How do you give them the skills to continue once you leave?

In her debut presentation, Abi will share how creating and modeling product principles, scoping iteration, and trusting specialists (like writers) are all part of the magic. You’ll hear about the challenges that reshaped her process.

Read Session Description


Steve Portigal

Principal, Portigal Consulting

Designing for Unmet Needs

Imperial Room B

Don’t be surprised if Steve Portigal, author of Interviewing Users, invites himself to your family breakfast or follows hotel maintenance staff to the boiler room. For more than 15 years, he’s led hundreds of interviews that help clients understand customers and turn insights into design opportunities.

Steve knows that our success depends on letting the unmet needs of our audience shape our designs. Okay—but how do we hit a target we can’t see? How do we design for people who aren’t us? How do we solve for the complexity of those people?

Dig into the details, ditch the guesswork, and join Steve to engage deliberately with the people we’re designing for. Look at ways to acknowledge the complexity of your users. Offer solutions rooted in the connections you make with people. Get unstuck and discover opportunities for design that adds value.

Read Session Description


Amy Jackson

Matchmaker, AmyJacksonTalent

Avoid Saying Yes to the Wrong Job

Imperial Room A

Amy has been described as the fairy godmother of UX professionals and designers. She’s a recruiting maven for top UX design positions. She’s known for matching the right people to the right jobs for a long-term fit. Amy helps professionals get the information they need to find their ideal design job.

Job candidates and potential employers send each other the wrong messages—Amy’s spent more than 25 years watching this happen. We assume companies know what they need and that our work speaks for itself. Those assumptions land us in situations where the expectations are unrealistic and maybe even impossible. But Amy’s experience has taught her how to avoid this disaster.

Amy will help you turn interviews into a discovery process that sets expectations and evaluates options. She’ll show you how to communicate your value, ask the right questions, and get the answers you need to land the right role. Avoid the wrong fit and love what you do.

Read Session Description


Jessica Harllee

Product Designer on the Seller Experience Team, Etsy

Redesigning with Confidence

Imperial Room B

Jessica Harllee has designed for Kickstarter and Modea. Today she’s a product designer at Etsy where she does everything from wireframing to front-end development. She’s obsessed with process, organization, and uncovering the best way to do something.

Jessica and her team recently released a fresh design for onboarding new Etsy sellers. It was an obvious improvement on the original, but early experimentation revealed that it was underperforming. Knowing this would negatively impact new shop owners, the team took a step back to find the problem. When they targeted specific metrics and tweaked for improvement, they struck gold.

Join Jessica to find out how data can focus design decisions and anchor a well-designed experience. She’ll share how small changes can have big impact.

Read Session Description



West Lounge

Braden Kowitz

Design Partner, Google Ventures

Designing for Startups

Imperial Room A

Before joining Google Ventures, Braden Kowitz led design for many Google products, including Gmail and Google Apps for Business. For the past five years, Braden’s team has helped startups connect the dots between pretty designs and products that deliver lasting value to consumers.

Most startup designers focus on delighting customers with how their products look and feel. But if a product isn’t solving a problem or meeting a need, customers won’t care how pretty it is. So, how can design be used to help shape the core of products? And how can designers convince their teams to let them go beyond visual design?

Braden Kowitz will share his insights into what startups really need from designers, as well as his team’s “Design Sprint” process for rapid prototyping. You’ll learn how user research lets you move faster and take more risks. How to work at the right level of fidelity. And how ugly things can lead to great design.

Read Session Description


Hiten Shah

Founder, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics

Using Analytics to Solve the Right Problems

Imperial Room B

If there was a Nobel Prize for Entrepreneurial Assistance, Hiten Shah would have gotten a phone call from Sweden by now. He’s shared his ideas, energy, and startup expertise with hundreds of fellow entrepreneurs. With Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, he harnesses the power of the scientific method to help people create amazing user experiences.

The challenge for designers is how to measure their design work to ensure that it’s solving the right problems—before the designs are implemented. Analytics are a powerful tool. But if you don’t understand the “why” behind the data, it’s not going to do you any good.

Hiten Shah brings his customary generosity and enthusiasm along with a crash course in how to measure the success of your work. You’ll learn how to think like a scientist, using a hypothesis-driven approach to design, and creating successful tests to help you improve your work through focused iteration.

Read Session Description


Christina Wodtke

Principle, Wodtke Consulting

Accomplish Big Goals With Objectives & Key Results

Imperial Room A

Christina Wodtke has devoted her career to tackling monumental tasks. She’s helped grow companies like LinkedIn, Yahoo, and the New York Times. Nowadays she works with startups and entrepreneurs, sharing her strategies for success and inspiring them to pursue big goals and outlandish dreams.

Christina knows how to inspire diverse teams to work together, going all out in pursuit of a single, ultra-challenging goal. Hint: It’s not about to-do lists and accountability charts. How do you get your team to commit to bold goals? How do you stay motivated despite setbacks and disappointments? And is failure ever a viable option?

Christina Wodtke will demonstrate how she uses objectives and key results to help teams tackle and realize big goals in a methodical way, leaving nothing to chance. You’ll learn the beauty of a good fail and how regular check-ins can keep you on track to success.

Read Session Description


Amritha Prasad

UX Designer/ Design Lead of API & Partnerships, Uber

Building Magical Experiences Through Smart Iteration

Imperial Room B

Amritha Prasad and her team at Uber have transformed the boring, tedious task of getting from point A to point B—an accomplishment that would satisfy most people. But to Amritha, the journey’s just begun. She’s committed to continually raising the bar for what drivers and passengers expect from an Uber experience.

Research is the key to understanding what will delight users. But if your team’s working under tight, hard deadlines, you’re going to have to cut some corners. How can you strategically build your MVP so you can learn the most about your users? When and how often should you test? Are crucial features falling through the cracks?

Come along for the ride as Amritha shares her insights on early concept testing, prioritizing features, and the dangers of making assumptions about your users. Learn why you don’t have to nail it on the first try, and why any feedback is good feedback when you’re moving fast.

Read Session Description



West Lounge

Aviva Rosenstein

UX Research Lead, DocuSign

Thought Experiments for Data-Driven Design

Imperial Rooms A & B

Aviva Rosenstein’s got a mad love for research methods and a fascination for how people use technology. Before joining DocuSign, Aviva spent a decade helping Agile teams ship usable, useful web and mobile applications.

Product managers sometimes assume that getting user feedback is simply a matter of putting a text field on a form so users can share their reactions. But when teams find themselves buried under an avalanche of user feedback, they realize they forgot to ask an important question: what happens to the data on the back end?

Hear the key insights Aviva and her teams at DocuSign, Salesforce and Yahoo have gained from their experiences. She’ll share how they learned to think beyond interface to establish a process for collecting relevant data by asking, “What happens next?”

Read Session Description


Samuel Hulick

Principal, UserOnboard.com

Growing Your Userbase with Better Onboarding

Imperial Rooms A & B

Samuel Hulick is the author of The Elements of User Onboarding. He’s combined UX savvy and a cat-like curiosity for measuring UX impact to become an expert in onboarding. His approach is shaped by over a decade of web experience, theories taken from behavioral psychology, video game design, and even filmmaking.

Frustration drives people to sign up for products in hopes of improving their lives. The space between the intolerable “before” and the ideal “after” is your project’s “improvement trajectory.” And once this is defined, it’s easier to identify key moments in the customer journey and match them to design patterns.

Samuel shares strategies that help you stop hemorrhaging signups. You’ll learn to create quality onboarding experiences that target your users’ frustrations and move them from A to B in their lives, instead of just A to B in your app.

Read Session Description


PJ McCormick

Manager of Creative Services’ Global Browse UX Program, Amazon

Fostering Effective Collaboration in a Global Environment

Imperial Rooms A & B

What gets PJ McCormick fired up? The creative process, the relationships that fuel it, and companies that put users first. At Amazon, he leads a small but mighty team of ultra-talented UX designers and web developers. They take on the superhuman task of supporting a globally distributed internal user base.

PJ’s team recently transitioned from reactive, agency-like project work to a proactive, self-driven roadmap. They had to figure out a way to collaborate efficiently across 5 different disciplines—and a bunch of time zones—to make awesome products for their customers. And, they had to convince everyone else at Amazon to get with the program.

Find out from PJ how talking and listening can be the key to creating meaningful change. He’ll share everything his team learned about winning allies, building responsive systems and processes, and meeting the needs of a user base that spans the globe.

Read Session Description



West Lounge

Maria Giudice

Director of Product Design, Facebook

Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design

Imperial Rooms A & B

Creativity has become the number one driver of economic growth. It’s time to look to design to model a new kind of leader—the Design Executive Officer. The DEO sees every business challenge as a design problem, solved with the right mix of imagination and metrics.

In Rise of the DEO, Maria Giudice and her coauthor explore the intersection of creativity and business smarts. They look at how and why this unlikely coupling produces leaders capable of solving our increasingly complex business problems.

At Warm Gun, Maria will lead a conversation that focuses on techniques, tactics, and intuitions that create stronger leaders. She’ll untangle the characteristics and qualities that distinguish great creative leaders. She’ll introduce you to today’s role models and rule breakers. Join us to uncover your own skills to build, revive, or reinvent the next generation of great companies.

Read Session Description



Imperial Rooms A & B

Jared Spool


Networking Reception

Continental Room 6