Design the Future
January 19–20, 2016: Training
January 20–22, 2016: Conference
San Francisco, CA

The new fundamentals conference sessions

Thursday, January 21

Add to your personal schedule
1:15pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Generals Residence Dining
Dan Hon (Code for America)
Average rating: ***..
(3.80, 5 ratings)
Empathy is a real business value, and companies ignore it at their peril. Today, we aim to design products and services that genuinely meet real user needs, a new emphasis that relies on understanding and empathizing with users. In this new world, the companies that don't do so stick out like a sore thumb. Dan Hon explains how you can start building a culture of empathy in your organization today. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
1:15pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: The Chapel
Average rating: ****.
(4.43, 7 ratings)
GitHub has an abundance of quantitative data about what people are doing. Over the past two years, it has built a practice of qualitative research dedicated to uncovering the why. Qualitative research surfaces blind spots with product and customers and has changed the way GitHub ships features. Using three examples, Chrissie Brodigan shares how GitHub rolls features out as controlled experiments. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
2:05pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Kathryn McElroy (IBM Watson)
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 18 ratings)
Prototyping is now a necessary skill in all areas of design. Kathryn McElroy explores current approaches to prototyping for both physical products and digital software and outlines multiple prototyping methods that you can immediately apply, from high-level best practices to an understanding of the basics of user testing those prototypes to gain the best insights for your product. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Claire Rowland (Independent)
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)
Claire Rowland examines how the IoT breaks direct manipulation, the UX convention underpinning most successful consumer interfaces. This creates significant UX challenges. Claire explores how using the IoT is conceptually similar to programming and why that proves a challenge to many consumers. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Generals Residence Ballroom
Adam Connor (Mad*Pow)
Average rating: ****.
(4.67, 21 ratings)
Real critique has become a lost skill. Critique is intended to help teams strengthen their designs, products, and services, not allow individual members to assert authority or push agendas under the guise of “feedback.” Adam Connor and Aaron Irizarry discuss what critique really is and explain how to give it, get it, and use it to improve your team’s designs, communication, and collaboration. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: The Chapel
Livia Labate (NPR/OpenNews)
Average rating: ****.
(4.67, 6 ratings)
Design practitioners are beginning to understand the practical utility of writing code as a way to make design happen, but the obstacles to skill building are a significant barrier to entry and require designers to reframe how they think about work (and their own learning). Livia Labate offers guidance on how to navigate these challenges. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Generals Residence Dining
Abi Jones (Google)
Average rating: ****.
(4.73, 11 ratings)
Abi Jones compares human-to-human and human-computer conversation and interaction to explain how their differences impact system design. Learn what makes for great human-computer speech interaction from the first turn to the last, how computers interpret speech, and why it’s more enjoyable and addictive to talk to a 1960s chatbot than any intelligent assistant available today. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Festival Pavilion - Main Stage
Dan Saffer (Saffervescence Inc)
Average rating: ****.
(4.47, 17 ratings)
When we think about creativity, it’s usually the creativity of artists and musicians, novelists and poets. That is, people who create to express. But there’s another kind of creativity: that of designers and craftsmen, scientists and engineers. Those who create to solve problems or to invent. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Simon King (CMU Design Center)
Average rating: ****.
(4.88, 8 ratings)
As computation and network connectivity extend beyond the screen into products and environments, interaction designers find themselves addressing new UX challenges in the physical world. Although the context is new, much can be learned from long-standing principles of industrial design. Simon King highlights relevant examples and their applications to the IoT context. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Thursday, 01/21/2016
Location: The Chapel
Judd Antin (Airbnb)
Average rating: ****.
(4.45, 11 ratings)
Companies today routinely use behavioral metrics for tactical and strategic decision-making at scale. Effective use of sentiment survey data—information about users' attitudes, values, and beliefs—is more challenging. Judd Antin shares tested best practices and examples of how to make sentiment data useful for every stage of product design and evaluation. Read more.

Friday, January 22

Add to your personal schedule
1:15pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Festival Pavilion - Main Stage
Christian Roman (Pixar Animation Studios)
Average rating: ****.
(4.65, 20 ratings)
Christian Roman delves into why we all need stories and explains exactly what it is that makes certain stories great. Christian demonstrates how to nurture a culture of storytelling and creative success in your own work and life and practice engaging approaches to collaboration that can get you beyond obstacles and produce new creative ideas in your own projects. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
1:15pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Generals Residence Ballroom
Molly Steenson (Carnegie Mellon University)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 6 ratings)
The architecture of digital systems isn't just a metaphor. It developed out of a 50-year collaborative relationship between architects and designers, on one side, and technologists in AI, cybernetics, and computer science, on the other. Molly Steenson traces that history of interaction, tying it to contemporary lessons aimed at designing for a complex world. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
2:05pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Festival Pavilion - Main Stage
Steve Johnson (LinkedIn)
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 15 ratings)
Steve Johnson gives an interactive discussion centering around his philosophy on product design, organizational management at scale, and the importance of culture designed around diverse perspectives and inclusion. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
2:05pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Mike Gadow (Fjord), Russell Wilkins (Uber)
Average rating: ***..
(3.76, 17 ratings)
Everyone is talking about transitions and motion in interfaces these days. But how does motion benefit UI? As designers, we face the challenge of communicating how motion should work (and its value) to other stakeholders. Mike Gadow and Russell Wilkins, motion designers turned UI designers, show how they use motion graphics and advocate for motion in user interfaces. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
2:05pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Generals Residence Ballroom
Tags: Innovation
Vanessa Cho (GoPro), Wesley Yun (GoPro)
Average rating: ***..
(3.00, 1 rating)
Technology like GoPro enables us to capture what life looks like from another point of view and share this moment with others. The software design challenge at GoPro is to create a friction-free sharing experience for users. Vanessa Cho and Wesley Yun walk participants through how GoPro is learning to design for the majority of their users that pride themselves on being the minority. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
2:05pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: The Chapel
Jorge Arango (Futuredraft)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 6 ratings)
To be successful, UX designers must understand the environment we are designing for: one made of words, ideas, rules, roles, and relationships. Jorge Arango introduces the concept of the semantic environment as it has been developed in the field of general semantics and explains how to map the semantic environments that affect your project. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Patti Dobrowolski (Up Your Creative Genius)
Average rating: ****.
(4.37, 19 ratings)
Walk into almost any business today, and you’ll see people furiously scribbling their ideas on whiteboards, frosted glass walls, and—the latest trend—erasable table tops. According to the Wall Street Journal, innovators are notorious whiteboard virtuosi. Why not you? In this hands-on session, Patti Dobrowolski shows how easy it is to become the wizard at the whiteboard. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: The Chapel
Ben Brown (Howdy)
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 8 ratings)
Messaging apps and chatrooms are platforms for a new type of application: one that is purely text based. This new type of app requires new processes and techniques and a different set of disciplines than previous apps or websites. Ben Brown delves into how designers are beginning to create these apps and discusses what it will mean for your app, brand, or publication to be all text. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
3:45pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Generals Residence Ballroom
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 4 ratings)
Multiscreen experiences are powerful; we now divide our time between different devices based on context. At the same time, conversational assistants have evolved to be quite usable. But we’re just beginning to see how one assistant might work across an ecosystem of devices. Karen Kaushansky explores the future of designing with voice across multiple devices. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Festival Pavilion - Main Stage
Braden Kowitz (Google Ventures )
Average rating: ****.
(4.82, 11 ratings)
Braden Kowitz discusses the Google Ventures design sprint process. Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Southside Theater
Eli Schiff (Consultant)
Average rating: **...
(2.67, 6 ratings)
The design community has converged on a principle of austerity in the visual design of graphical user interfaces. Leaving behind the textured, dimensional aesthetic, designs today are superficially simple but ambiguous in use. As designers have reached effective consensus in embracing modern minimalism, it warrants questioning: have we lost something essential by rejecting representational UIs? Read more.
Add to your personal schedule
4:35pm Friday, 01/22/2016
Location: Generals Residence Ballroom
Olivia Erickson (Microsoft)
Average rating: ***..
(3.67, 6 ratings)
Virtual and augmented reality is expected to be a $120+ billion industry by 2020, and with the dawn of 3D computing comes a need for innovative interactions and experiences. Olivia Erickson covers the challenges of this new paradigm in computing, from the potential for different platforms and input to the need for new ways to interact with our digital world. Read more.

Get design news and insights, delivered straight to your inbox each week.