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Top User Experience Design Panels for SXSW Interactive 2010
Aug 24th, 2009

Now that SXSW Interactive has opened the panel picker for the 2010 event and seeing how many panels
there were to sift through I had a hard time trying to find the gems in the mix. So, inspired partly by SXSW
Design, I decided to create a list of panels that have been submitted that focus specifically on user experience
design (i.e. UXD is more than just a bullet point that is covered in the panel, and often is the central focus of
the panel).

So here it is, my guide to the top user experience panels for SXSW 2010 I broke the panels out into ten
groups, namely User Experience in General, User Experience Careers, Teams & Evangelism, Optimization &
Conversion, Analytics, User Research, Usability & User-Centered Design, Information Architecture,
Interaction Design, Content Strategy, Social Media, and Mobile User Experience. I felt visual design was
pretty well covered on the SXSW Design other site so I left those out of the mix. If you see a session you like
go ahead and click on the thumbs up icon to vote for it. Voting will help ensure the panel makes it into the
SXSW Interactive 2010 program.

User Experience in General

An Introduction to User Experience
Mike Dunn
Some describe it as making things enjoyable and easy to use. Others describe it as all of the elements
that impact one’s perception of a product or system. From information architecture, to user research, to
user testing, this presentation is about what UX (User Experience) is and why it should be an integral
part of every website or application project.

Experience Design: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Jessica Petersen
We interact with interfaces on a daily basis. Some of the experiences we have are great. Others are
shockingly poor. What makes a good experience and why? What makes a bad experience? How do
user experience designers identify both? What can we learn from the good experiences to improve the
bad ones? This will be an interactive discussion. Come with your thinking caps on and ready to learn!

Re-Invent the Wheel!: Redesigning your Design Process
Christopher Fahey

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It’s the start of a new project. You’ve got requirements, guidelines, data, research. Now what? Like an
artist staring at a blank canvas, designers of interactive products often don’t know where to start.
Instead of following a rigid methodology or waiting for the perfect idea to appear out of the blue,
designers must invent new tools and tricks to foster real UX innovation.

Strategic User Experience: Not Just for Products Anymore
Karen Bachmann
The success of an organization is no longer measured by many or even happy customers and users. The
relationships have changed. Successful organizations cultivate advocates and partners with a strategic
approach to the total user experience. Panelists will discuss the culture and practices required for a total
user experience strategy.

The Ten Commandments of User Experience
Nick Finck & Raina Van Cleave
User experience is the result of your interactions with a product or service, specifically how it’s
delivered and its related artifacts according to the design. In this presentation we will explain how
following the ten commandments can boost your project’s ease of use, appeal, conversion rates, and
more. Longer version: User experiences are your everyday experiences—anything from operating a
car, to making a pot of coffee, to ordering a pair of shoes online. User experience is the result of your
interactions with a product or service, specifically how it’s delivered and its related artifacts according
to the design. In this presentation Nick Finck and Raina Van Cleave will explore the ten characteristics
of a great user experience. They will cover all aspects of user experience design such as user research,
information architecture, information design, technical writing, interaction design, visual design, brand
identity design, accessibly, usability and web analytics. Nick and Raina will also explain how following
the ten commandments can boost your web sites, web app, or mobile app’s ease of use, appeal,
conversion rates, and more.

User Experience Without Design
John Zeratsky
Web user experience is virtually synonymous with design. But there are plenty of other factors that will
make or break the user experience of your web-based product, service, or publication. This
presentation introduces holistic user experience design and proposes a number of ways to improve the
user experience… without design.

User Experience Careers, Teams & Evangelism

Creating a User Experience “SWAT Team”
Joseph Dickerson
With increased demand for UX professionals often comes increased pressure - multiple projects and
stakeholders vying for limited resources. How to cope? In this panel, Joe Dickerson, User Experience
Architect for Fiserv, discusses methods that can help you to build a UX “SWAT Team” to adapt to this

Career Wayfinding: Tools and Techniques for UX Professionals
Margaret Stewart
UX professionals enter their professionals from all sorts of angles. And many dabble in several
“careers” throughout their life time. So what does it mean to help yourself and members of your team

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through “career planning”? A seasoned creative manager will share concrete tools to chart career goals
for yourself and your team.

Demonstrating the Value of User Experience Design
Jessica Petersen
Are you a User Experience Designer who feels undervalued in your organization? Are your decisions
constantly questioned? Are you at a loss as to how to demonstrate the value of what you bring to the
table and earn the trust of your colleagues? We will offer you some great tips on how to diplomatically
demonstrate your value and earn trust in your organization.

Leveraging Animation in Communicating the User Experience
Kate Ertmann
The User Experience is the wave-of-the-future in transforming ideas into next-generation products and
services. Learn how animation can be leveraged as a key strategy in communicating this human-
centered research to decision makers, venture capitalists and customers. This presentation will discuss
important considerations as well as two real-world case studies.

Before Giving Up: Your Users Desperately Need You
Lance Christmann
Why is it that businesses – large and small have a hard time implementing basic, obvious improvements
to their user experience? Why have you given up hope that any good ideas will ever make it to your
company’s end user? Learn why companies are having a hard time adopting UX practices and how to
cut through the political ‘red tape’ by employing strong collaborating and socialization techniques to
radically transform the customer experience.

Optimization & Conversion

The Neurobiology of Optimal Human Design
Ben Sykes
We’ll examine the biology of the human experience, the triggers employed to create an optimal
experience as it relates to interface design, marketing, and retail spaces, and how to integrate these
common factors into ones product to impact positive emotional association, memory, and thus increase

Slacker Website Triage: Addressing Purpose, Usability and Conversion
Pat Scherer
How well does your website perform its purpose? Our panel will walk through examples submitted by
the audience to discuss the fine points of designing sites around audience, purpose, usability and

Designing the First Fifteen Minutes
Rob Goodlatte
That user who just signed up is about to bail. And a thousand other people just stopped in but didn’t
even bother to register. Your product is great, but your users don’t stay long enough to find that out.
The first fifteen minutes of your product are the most important. Learn from the successes, mistakes,
and insights of designing new user experiences for products.

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Persuasive Design: Encouraging Your Users To Do What You Want Them To!
Andy Budd
So you’ve designed a great product, fixed a stack of usability problems and spent a fortune on
marketing. The only problem is, people aren’t using it. In this session you will learn how to get your
users to do what you want them to through good design, human psychology and a touch of mind

Beyond the Click: Converting Website Visitors into Customers
Ayat Shukairy
For an online business, persuading visitors to purchase your product or service is crucial to increasing
sales. Using the science and art of analytics analysis, marketing, usability and software, discover how
the Conversion Framework approach can convert online visitors into customers such as RHDJapan and
Metro Uniforms.

On User Experience Design… and Screenwriting
Joseph Dickerson
All the people who practice user experience design are all, to some extent, screenwriters. All the ideas
used to create affective designs and the best possible user experience - domain research to understand
users needs and motivations, create representative personas and user stories… all of this is what our
best screenwriters do as well.


Finding Insights In Data
Whitney Hess
Do you have any idea what your users are actually doing on your site? Are they getting their needs
met? Are they doing what you want them to? In this session you’ll learn how to use web analytics to
design better user experiences and ultimately improve your bottom line.

Data, Data, Everywhere: Drowning in a Sea of Analytics
Marissa Goldsmith
A Web site gives a nonprofit access to data that makes old school direct marketers salivate. But many
organizations find themselves getting bogged down in producing graphs every month, obsessing over
drops in pageviews, throwing their hands up on the air, and deciding they don’t have enough resources
to maintain this kind of analytics analysis. Stop obsessing about the small stuff, and start learning about
creating a goal-oriented, actionable analytics plan that can help your Web site thrive.

What Are Analytics? A Guide To Practical Data
Blake Robinson
Analytics are often a confusing and convoluted mess, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be. The
Guide to Practical Data will help ensure you’re reaching your full analytical potential. Learn how to
analyze public and proprietary data to accelerate the success of any initiative. Featuring detailed
demonstrations from top bloggers, corporate execs and analysts.

Site Search Analytics
Marko Hurst

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When it comes to understanding users both User Experience & Web Analytics are inherently flawed by
focusing on only 1/2 the story: Motivation & Behavior. If you want to make the best design decisions
possible you need to develop a complete user model and the only way to do that is to combine your
qualitative & quantitative data. learn how by applying simple techniques of Site Search Analytics you
can inform and improve: Design, SEO, SEM, IA, Navigation, Metadata, Content, etc. to deliver a
superior user experience.

User Research, Usability & User-Centered Design

FAIL: When User Research Goes Horribly, Horribly Wrong
Steve Portigal
Best practices for user research are not hard to come by, but experience is the ideal way to develop
mastery. And with experience inevitably comes failure. Embarrassing, awkward, hilarious failure that
gives the gift of self-improvement. We’ll share our own unvarnished examples and what they taught us.

All About Audience: Improving User Experience
Brenda Huettner
Whether you’re preparing a presentation, designing software, or writing a pitch, you must understand
your audience in order to create a compelling experience for them. This presentation covers the basics
of audience analysis, including personas, ethnographic research, task matrices, and other elements from
the technical communication and usability toolkits.

My Three-Year Old Is My Usability Expert
Dave Stanton
Children are perfect testers for the innate usability of visual structures. Learn how neuroscience and
cognitive psychology research can make your designs and interfaces more intuitive.

Earning and Keeping Your User’s Trust
Carl Smith
People often talk about usability and learnability when discussing web and application development.
Things have to be intuitive and familiar to increase conversions and trial… blah blah blah. All of this is
really important. But what does it really boil down to? It’s all a matter of trust.

The Human Interface (or: Products are People, Too!)
Christopher Fahey
More and more, users are interacting with web sites and software on a conversational, physical,
psychological, and emotional level—just like we’ve always interacted with other people. UX designers,
then, must stop thinking about interfaces as dumb control panels and begin using technology to envision
interfaces (literally!) as human beings.

Practical Digital Anthropology: Getting to Know Your Users
Marc Vermut
Most modern analytics attempt to boil complex behaviors down to statistics; but is that the whole story?
Are your design decisions informed by actual behaviors, instead of near approximations? We present
digital anthropology: practical, high-touch techniques that will give you an edge in understanding what
really makes your users tick.

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What Can Carl Sagan Teach Us About The Web?
Mark Trammell
2010 is the 30th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Not only is his explanation
of our universe relevant today, it can teach us a great deal about how to create better websites.

Information Architecture

The Right Way to Wireframe
Russ Unger
This session will provide a step-by-step explanation of how four designers in the User Experience space
approach wireframes. An external resource will provide clear business requirements to the UX
designers. Each UX designer will choose their own tool for exploring the requirements via wireframes
and specifications. In addition, each UX designer will work with their own graphic designer of choice
for visual design exploration. Each UX designer will present their results and fully detail their process
and their final deliverables to the audience. The audience will be provided ample time to critique and
ask questions of the UX designers.

Devil in the Details: Wireframe Fidelity
Mike Dunn
Wireframes can be executed in many different ways; From hand-drawn napkin doodles to very precise
layouts. Is one better than the other? When is the right time to do a sketchy wireframe versus a
high-fidelity one? When should you take it to the next level and turn it into a functional prototype? As
the nature of the web and the way we use it changes and adapts to advances in technology, so too do
we need to change and adapt how we define user experiences on the web. Wireframing needs may
differ from project to project, and it is vital to retain a level of flexibility when determining your

User Experience Design Deliverables: Expert’s Choice
Lilia Manguy
A myriad of user experience deliverables are available to the UXD practitioner: sitemaps, interaction
diagrams, wireframes, storyboards, and much more. But which are most effective for capturing the
design concept, process, and vision? A panel of veteran designers share their preferred sets of
deliverables and give pointers for choosing yours.

Rough Wireframes and Clickable Prototypes
Vitorio Miliano
Wireframes support iterating on page, interface and interaction designs without getting caught up in the
visual design. Learn how we used Balsamiq Mockups’ “hand-drawn” wireframes on client
engagements, and how custom tools (soon-to-be-released as open source) added the flexibility of
HTML and JavaScript prototyping without losing the low-fidelity look.

Interaction Design

Work Smart: Dynamic Prototyping with Sketchflow
Sara Summers
Building prototypes in same medium as the final product is something other industries have done

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forever. Sketchflow in Expression 3 offers real collaboration and live solutions. Remove ‘fuzziness’
from meetings, with lo-fi, interactive prototypes. Showcase instant value with rich, tangible, interactive
narratives. Dynamic process allows you to: test instantly, FEEL and share the user experience and keep
ideas light and non-destructive. It’s time to take frustration out of your work!

Rapid Development - Where’s The UX?
Preston McCauley
This presentation takes a look at the skills, techniques,and problems that face UI & UX designers as
they work in a tight AGILE process. The goal is to provide some direction and help to those thrown
into this situation and lost as to where to go.

The Art & Science of Seductive Interactions
Stephen Anderson
Usability? Meh. Let’s talk about persuasion. Are you designing serendipity, arousal, rewards and other
seductive elements into your applications? We’ll discuss specific ways that sites like Dopplr, iLike and
LinkedIn leverage basic human psychology to motivate and shape online behaviors.

Add Some XBOX to Your UX
Josh Knowles
Tricks and techniques from the game design world can be applied to non-games—social apps, creative
tools, etc.—to improve user experience, user enjoyment, and results. We’ll look at traditional UX in a
new light: from the perspective of games and gamers (and zombies, aliens, and goombas).

Prototyping Web Apps - Nobody Loves a Wireframe
Michael Leggett
Wireframes and mocks aren’t enough on their own. Functional specs are boring. We’ve found
prototypes to be an incredible tool for bringing a design spec or concept to life. Learn how to make and
present prototypes to improve all stages of the design and development cycle.

Content Strategy

Content Strategy FTW
Kristina Halvorson
11th hour copy. Fix-it-later launches. Our users deserve more than the last-minute content we often get
stuck with. And you have the power to change the game. Learn how to introduce (and sell) content
strategy into your web design process.

Designers Aren’t Writers: Why You Need a Content Person
Roby Fitzhenry
Small and mid-size design firms don’t have the resources to employ teams of writers and information
architects on their projects. However, with a confident team of two (one writer and one designer),
boutique firms can conquer any project and deliver a compelling user experience that fits the brand
visually and contextually. This dual preso will give insight into the collaborative process a designer and
writer should take to deliver the gold.

Will User-Generated Content Wipe Out Technical Writers?

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Sarah O’Keefe
Official technical documentation competes for attention against user-generated content. If
organizations want their information to be relevant, they must shorten publishing cycles, allow readers
to comment and modify documentation, and increase the candor of their documentation. Otherwise,
users will ignore the professional content.

Making Content Relevant To Me, Here And Now
David Maher Roberts
In a world where content is available anywhere, at any time, users will consume more content if
relevant and personalized… based on location, time, entourage, tastes and mood. The panel will talk
through practical examples of using data to better match relevant content to users and increase

Oh, Go Service Yourself! Interactive Content for Humans
Colleen Jones
You know the self service schpiel. It lowers support costs and lets customers take care of their own
needs, on their own time. Designed well, interactive self service makes everyone happy. More often, it
frustrates and confuses users. On any platform for any industry, improve content and design
practices—and take self service from sucky to super.

Social Media

Social Design for Enterprise 2.0
Adina Levin
Enterprise 2.0 adapts Web 2.0 software for organizations. There are significant differences in social
design patterns between the public internet and private organizations. Differences include identity,
groups, “friending”, object-sharing, scale, adoption, privacy, and administration. This session helps you
think through the design, evaluation, rollout and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 software.

SocialMania: Designing Social Interfaces - The Game
Erin Malone
Learn about designing social interfaces through interactive, collaborative gameplay. Players will use
interaction patterns, principles, anti-patterns, and lucky cards to design a social experience and deliver
the best product before time runs out. Teams will collaborate, but have to watch out for other teams
who may sabotage their efforts.

Mobile User Experience

Making the Mobile User Experience Simpler
Giles Colborne
Mobile interfaces offer the greatest challenge to interactive designers and product managers. But why is
it so hard to create simple interfaces? Do you think simplicity means removing features or reducing
options? This presentation overturns those myths and at last gives clear rules backed up with examples.

Time + Social + Location. What’s Next In Mobile Experiences?
Josh Babetski

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As more devices become location aware, social uses will continue to evolve beyond just who and what,
to WHEN. Adding the temporal dimension creates new opportunities for social interaction. Learn about
ways to leverage and use technology to add features at the intersection of temporal, social, and

Mobile Technology: What’s New, What’s Out, What’s Next?
Anup Murarka
There’s lots of talk about creating engaging experiences for consumers on their mobile phones… but
what’s the reality? Hear some of the industry’s top players as they hash out what’s hot with mobile
technology, what needs to be changed, and what the future holds.

About the author

Nick Finck is a user experience professional who has dabbled in the web for over a decade. He specializes in
information architecture, interaction design, usability and user research. Read more

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All Content Copyright © Nick Finck 1994 — 2009.


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