Build & maintain complex distributed systems
October 1–2, 2017: Training
October 2–4, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

The impact of design: How design influences outcomes

9:30am9:50am Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Location: Grand Ballroom West
Average rating: ****.
(4.86, 7 ratings)

Engineers are responsible for the code, and designers are responsible for the user, right? Well, contrary to popular belief, designers and developers have very similar jobs: both are responsible for solving problems for their users.

Consequently, the existence of a user experience designer on a team doesn’t mean that developers are unaccountable for the users’ well being. Developers make design decisions daily that impact users in significant ways that are not always obvious. For example, algorithms define what and when we see things, security considerations create trust and prevent loss, performance and accessibility defines who gets to use a product, and clear instructions and error handling can save lives.

We like to think that technology can make the world a better place, but we (conveniently) forget how it can make it worse—poorly designed products can anger, sadden, exclude, and even kill people who use them. Primum non nocere (first do no harm) is the first concept taught in medical school, serving as a reminder of the possible harm that any intervention might do. Cynthia Savard Saucier challenges the tech industry to come up with its own fundamental principle.

Photo of Cynthia Savard Saucier

Cynthia Savard Saucier


Cynthia Savard Saucier is director of design at Shopify, where she has sprinkled her creativity in many important projects, notably the company’s web and mobile interfaces. Passionate about human beings and their means of communication, Cynthia has always sought a deeper understanding of how people think, interact, and connect. In a field that is not always fully understood, she excels by creating smart, emotional connections between companies and users. Cynthia has a knack for strategic design, ergonomics, and problem solving. Her wide range of experience has brought her broad recognition as a leading expert on multiplatform interface design. She was awarded the 2010 RAÉDIUM prize for Chouette!, a technological communication platform to strengthen intergenerational relations. In addition to her day job, Cynthia mentors startups and is regularly invited to speak at events around the world, where her playful approach both startles and charms. In her conference presentations, she shares her passion for her point of view: user-centered design is a reality, not a utopian methodology. Cynthia holds a degree in industrial design from Université de Montréal.