July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Articulating design decisions

Tom Greever (Bitovi)
1:40pm–2:20pm Wednesday, 07/22/2015
Design D135/136
Average rating: ****.
(4.83, 6 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Prerequisite Knowledge

Attendees should have past experience talking to other people about their designs, have purposefully ruined the user experience because of stakeholder changes, or have cried themselves to sleep after a design meeting at least once.


Designers lacking the ability to convince people why they did what they did end up on the losing side of an argument, forced to make changes they disagree with. The result is a compromised user experience, simply because they were unable to fend off these requests. We need to be articulate and use skill to help people see that our UX decisions provide the best possible solution. Being articulate will help us (and our projects) be successful.

The purpose of this session is to help designers become better communicators: to expertly explain their design decisions to the people who have influence over their project. The talk centers around a meeting with clients or stakeholders where we present and talk about our designs. Everything is presented with this meeting in mind, before, during, and even after. Everything that we will walk through is meant to help you become better at leading, participating in, and saving the day in these situations.

We will talk through the process of discussing design to people with specific advice for each step of the process, providing examples from my own client work:

  • How to get into the mindset of a manager or developer and understand their perspective
  • Understanding what motivates people and why everyone has an opinion about design
  • Walking through common scenarios like the “CEO button” or “homepage syndrome”
  • How to listen to and respond to feedback, including tips on what NOT to say
  • Useful phrases and common ways of describing UX decisions. How to say why you did what you did.

Talking to people about design might seem like a basic skill, but it’s actually really difficult to do. Designers and developers have a difficult time adequately communicating to each other in a way that’s effective. Learn how to better communicate to stakeholders, keep your sanity, and deliver the best user experience.

Photo of Tom Greever

Tom Greever


Tom Greever is a designer, consultant, and trainer for Bitovi.com – a UX design and JavaScript consulting company. He has been designing interfaces for 15 years in a variety of environments, from small ad agencies to internal corporate teams, and as a freelancer.

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Wyclif Luyima
08/04/2015 12:32am PDT

Thanks Tom!

Picture of Tom Greever
Tom Greever
08/03/2015 10:41pm PDT

Yes, you can find the slides here: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/wuebyx3M9rm2YN

Also, here is a recording of the same talk from Madison, Wisconsin a few weeks earlier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKNnMHf9TJM

Wyclif Luyima
08/03/2015 9:45am PDT

Hi Tom, is possible for one to get access to the presentation slides for this session? Thanks!

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Tom Greever
06/03/2015 7:55am PDT

Hi everyone! I’d love to have you join me for Articulating Design Decisions. This is an important skill for every designer. Please feel free to post comments here or track me down on Twitter as @tomgreever – I would love to hear from you.