UXPA Minnesota

World Usability Day - 14 November 2019

Speakers and Sessions

Specific schedule coming soon!

Register Here!


KEYNOTE - The Siren Call of Self Neglect

Vivianne Castillo

Senior Researcher at Salesforce

In many ways, UX Researchers are supposed to protect, elevate and advocate for the humanity and needs of people who engage with designed experiences. Yet, how often do we acknowledge and process the orthodoxies that impact both the professional and personal life of the UX Researcher? What are the lasting consequences on the world if the pursuit of championing people’s needs and desires are achieved at the expense of our own health and well-being? How can we focus on improving the world while simultaneously working at companies and organizations who don't know how to mentally and emotionally support us as we wade into the complexity and messiness of humanity within our research? In this talk, we will begin some of the challenging personal work necessary to acknowledge the holistic toll of our profession, the symptoms of compassion fatigue and trauma within our industry, the impact it has on research, design, and our future. Together, we’ll start moving in a new direction: forward.


I don’t talk like that! Research methods and ethics for natural language interaction

Abby Bajuniemi

UX and Human Factors Consultant

Language is a highly complex and socially constructed phenomenon. We use language and our voices to indicate identity, group membership, emotion, and to create closeness/distance, among other things. Language use and voice can change based on factors such as gender, age, region/location, or disability. This intense personal connection to language means that there are particular ethical and sensitivity considerations to researching natural language for the digital space. Not only do people have very strong opinions about language, they often say the exact opposite of what they do. It can be incredibly difficult to get natural language samples, especially in a research setting. 

Abby will teach you how to conduct ethical research around natural language, give guidance on how to get natural language samples, and how to get impactful results from your research by explaining how and when to use quantitative vs. qualitative methods and the considerations for data analysis.


An Accessibility Case Study: Expedia

McLean Donnelly

Maker-In-Chief at The Makery

As a design executive with vision impairment, accessibility is important to McLean professionally and personally. While in design leadership at Expedia, he was able to help lead a company-wide initiative to formulate the strategy and execution of a AA compliant user experience for the Expedia platform that scaled to over 80 million users located in over 120 countries. 

During this talk, McLean will discuss this transformation in the form of a case study - highlighting their approach, as well as lessons learned. By the end of the talk, the audience will know how to: 

  • Build a Network of Accessibility Champions
  • Establish accessibility as a capacity, not a project
  • Calculate the ROI of accessibility


Interruptions: Living in a World of Divided Attention

Molly Hillstrom

UX Design Lead at OST Minneapolis

Interruptions and distractions are the reality of today’s modern world, but how is this constant barrage of alerts, alarms and notifications impacting our lives? This talk will examine the cost of interruptions to our companies, our families, and our personal wellbeing. We’ll explore techniques for fighting distractions in our own lives, as well as how we can do a better job of considering this digital age pitfall in the design of products.



Opportunities and Challenges in the Voice Interaction Space

Ellen Lucast

UX Researcher at Best Buy

Combining academic linguistics with UX, Ellen will offer informed speculation about the future of voice assistants. She will give a brief background on the inner workings of human language and communication, then propose a map of the future voice space that includes three main opportunity areas to consider: 

  1. technical, such as sorting out complex syntactic structures; 
  2. social, such as having bots recognize and even speak in different regional, ethnic, and gendered language varieties; and 
  3. cognitive, such as the surprisingly difficult problem of understanding conversational context.


Symbiotic Product Relationships

Beth McKeever

Principal Product Designer at Target

As a designer, you can do some of the best work of your career if you have a solid, trusting relationship with your Product Owner. But often, it can be incredibly hard to build up that necessary foundation. On top of that, it's easy to feel like you need to "stay out of each others' sandboxes". But instead of drawing more lines in the sand, what if the future is embracing the blurry line between these two critical roles? This talk will illuminate lessons from high-functioning PO+UX duos, and give attendees frameworks to understand and embrace the blurry line.


Beyond the Designer as Auteur

Jeff Sussna

CEO at Sussna Associates

This talk explores design as a continuous process of making and repairing promises. It will describe the inspiration designers can take from DevOps and industrial safety about seeking out and learning from failure rather than trying to ban it. It will present the view that operations needs to be an input to design and not just its output, and that organizations must continuously redesign themselves as part of redesigning the services they operate.


Empowering People Through Tech

Liz Tupper

Director of Product Strategy at Software for Good

The Arc Minnesota set out to make their services more useful and accessible to all Minnesotans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. User interviews showed that there is no “one size fits all” solution — people need different support depending on their abilities, their cultural background, and where they are in life. To create an experience that would meet and guide people where they are, Software for Good started simply with a new website for The Arc, and planned a roadmap to add personalized profiles, community forums, and chatbot and video chat support over time. Software for Good's work with The Arc demonstrates how technology can empower people to choose their own personal journey — not one prescribed for them.
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