Rosenfeld Media Announcements Blog

  • Enterprise flUX: the evolving practice (and conference) of enterprise user experience

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    In a nutshell: The 2019 edition of the Enterprise UX conference will focus on two new use cases: 1) helping UX leaders and managers more effectively partner with their peers in product management, CX and other parts of the enterprise that share responsibility for delivering great experiences; and 2) helping enterprise UX practitioners up-level their skillsets to become “enterprise-ready”. To keep up with our program’s progress, join our Enterprise UX community mailing list.

    What’s the use case for a conference?

    That may seem like an odd question, but conferences are like any other product—they need a reason to exist. Given their annual nature, you really need to be asking this question every year, especially in a field evolving as quickly as user experience design. That’s hard to do, especially when the wheels of conference production must begin turning well in advance, sometimes more than a year before the event takes place.

    Enterprise UX Conference Panel Speakers

    That’s why we’re making some significant enhancements to the 2019 program to stay relevant.

    Enterprise UX 2018 was the fourth edition of the conference and, in many respects, we really hit our stride: a user research-driven program, exciting and diverse speakers making polished presentations, and a well-choreographed production.

    But the 2018 program repeated many of the same themes as our inaugural program back in 2015. While those themes remained relevant, the industry has changed in important ways over those four years. So we’ve begun planning a new program to match the community’s evolving needs.

    From one use case to two

    Like the good UX folks that we are, we started with the conference’s use case. The inaugural use case looked something like this:

    The Enterprise UX conference provides content and community to UX leaders and managers who are trying to build—and sustain—UX teams within large enterprises.

    The future is famously here but unevenly distributed: since 2015, many of those leaders and managers have succeeded in getting their UX teams established, staffed, and funded. They no longer have to constantly look over their shoulders and worry about regime change, activist investors, and other threats that have decapitated design orgs in the past. UX is now irrevocably a part of the DNA of many—if not most—enterprises.

    Rather than managing up to get a seat at the table, UX leaders and managers now need to shift their focus: managing down (building the right teams) and managing laterally (collaborating with peers from other parts of the enterprise). Ergo, two new use cases for Enterprise UX 2019:

    The Enterprise UX conference provides content and community to UX leaders and managers who need to:
    1) Help their teams acquire the skills they need to succeed in the face of enterprise challenges; and
    2) Understand, align, coordinate, and collaborate with peers in other parts of the organization that impact the user’s experience.

    Use case #1: Managing down

    It’s no secret that the supply of UX talent simply can’t keep up with demand. And perhaps the biggest driver of that demand is the growth of teams at large enterprises.

    This results in placing fairly inexperienced practitioners—many fresh out of short-term programs like General Assembly’s—into settings rife with complex political, cultural, and historical challenges. These practitioners maybe be strong craftspeople, but don’t have the business acumen and soft skills to succeed in an enterprise setting.

    To become “enterprise-ready,” these practitioners desperately need to expand their toolkits, and it’ll take more than a single conference to get them there. But acknowledging the need in a public setting is an important first step. Enterprise UX 2019 will offer a variety of workshops to help practitioners become better at the listening, collaborating, negotiating, empathizing, understanding, and partnering skills they need to create and sustain great experiences at enterprise scale.

    Use case #2: Managing laterally

    In enterprises—large, distributed, and deeply complex—the user experience can’t be owned by UX teams; at best, we’re its shepherds. UX leaders and managers realize that they need to understand, serve, and partner with peers in all the other parts of the enterprise that impact the users’ experience, whether employees or customers. That means learning the goals, motivations, challenges, perspectives, and—perhaps most importantly—the language of people in HR, sales, CX, engineering, innovation labs, analytics, and the C-suite.

    We envision an Enterprise UX 2019 program that takes the bull by the horns, teaching UX leaders and managers how their peers think, feel, and act, and modeling ways—through panels, storytelling, group exercises, and other means—to combine forces to create better experiences for enterprise users.

    Diversity of the multidimensional variety

    At Enterprise UX 2018, we made huge strides in diversifying our speaker roster. The key to reaching underrepresented communities was acknowledging that we, the program curators (Uday GajendarLada GorlenkoDave Malouf, and me) lived and worked in a detached, self-reinforcing network made up of people just like ourselves. The only way to reach beyond it was to let go: to delegate a share of our programming to people who inhabited very different networks. It’s never easy to give up control, but the outcome was well worth the risk.

    For 2019, we face a similar task. In addition to reaching underrepresented communities, we also need to reach beyond UX to our “sister” enterprise silos that impact the experience. We’ll start with these siblings:

    • Customer experience (CX)
    • Product management
    • Engineering
    • Data analytics

    Cross-disciplinary diversity in our program will require a similar approach: adding well-connected members of those communities to our curation team and empowering them to take substantial roles in programming. These ambassadors will help us understand the landscapes of their respective communities in terms of potential speakers but, more importantly, the goals and challenges they face when it comes to crafting successful enterprise experiences.

    Is it still Enterprise UX?

    Most definitely. But the past five years have made it clear that enterprise UX is not owned by the UX team—it’s owned by the enterprise. To make the conference a home for anyone involved with the enterprise experience, we’re considering changing the conference’s name to something more inclusive—perhaps simply “Enterprise Experience”.

    While the name is important, the program and the people it serves are what matter most. If you’d like to keep up on our progress and let us know what kind of program you would like to see, please subscribe to our Enterprise UX community mailing list. That’s where we’ve already been sharing resources, ideas, and discussions about Enterprise UX for many months now, mostly in the form of free monthly videoconference calls. I hope you’ll join us and be part of the discussion!

    DesignOps Summit preliminary program now live

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    We recently posted the preliminary program for DesignOps Summit 2018!

    We say “preliminary” because our sessions’ titles and descriptions will get tuned between now and November. As with all Rosenfeld Media conferences, we spend months torturing, er, working closely with our speakers  to tune their content and presentation style. We also have some “TBD” spaces in the program where we plan to try some different types of content out; more on that soon.

    But for now, know that we’ve planned a great program, headlined by keynoters Leisa Reichelt (Atlassian) and Doug Powell (IBM). Have a gander; hope you’ll join us November 7-9 in New York City!

    Announcing a new conference: The Business Case for Design

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    Justifying design and research is the top challenge that comes up in our user research at Rosenfeld Media. We want to help you get over that hump, so we’ve put together The Business Case for Design, a one-day virtual conference that takes place Tuesday, July 31 (10am-5pm EDT).

    Six industry leaders will share a rich set of perspectives on how to effectively make the case for design:

    1. Nutanix founder Dheeraj Pandey will share a CEO’s perspective on what business leaders need to know about the value of design
    2. Customer Experience guru Kerry Bodine will share case studies of how service design creates business value by focusing on your customers’ ecosystems
    3. Jeff Sauro, author of Quantifying User Experience, will show you scientific methods for using data to drive and justify design decisions
    4. Innovator JD Buckley will model how to demonstrate the ROI of your design work based on a case study from ADP
    5. Author and design educator Nathan Shedroff will help you tap hidden opportunities to create and grow relationships with your customers with a set of new design-centric tools
    6. Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, will arm you with strategies to use design to set you apart from your competitors

    At the end of each session, you will have an opportunity to ask questions. Bring your whole team for a shared learning experience, or attend solo in your PJs—after all, it’s a virtual conference! And you can listen to the session recordings at your own convenience—they’re included in the price of your ticket.business case for design virtual conference

    Save up to US$100 if you register by the end of the day this Friday, June 29. I hope you’ll join us July 31 for the Business Case for Design!

    Join our team

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    We’re hiring a Marketing Manager! It’s a full-time gig—here in Brooklyn, NY, USA—with benefits, flexible work hours, lovely co-workers, and incredibly interesting challenges. Please peruse/share the posting.

    New book: Living in Information by Jorge Arango

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    Happy day; our newest book, Jorge Arango’s Living in Information: Responsible Design for Digital Places, just launched! You might already be familiar with Jorge’s writing; he co-authored the 4th edition of the polar bear book with Peter Morville and me.

    living in information book jorge arango

    Jorge’s background is in architecture and—not surprisingly—his book is structured around the concept of designing places, rather than products and services. As an information architecture guy, I’m really excited by this metaphor; it opens up whole new possibilities in how we understand what we’re designing. We already have a whole vocabulary around place; it’s time we applied it to our design process and saw ourselves as placemakers. Really, we have no choice—as Jorge points out, we are already literally living in information. And i’s up to us to own that responsibility, as recent events make clear.

    I hope you’ll enjoy Living in Information. It’s our latest book on our Two Waves imprint and—like all of our books—is available in PDF, ePUB, MOBI, DAISY, and a lovely color-illustrated paperback printed on high-quality paper in the USA.

    Talking DesignOps

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    You might know that, last November, Rosenfeld Media hosted the first conference dedicated to discussing design operations. The DesignOps Summit sold out, and we’re now planning a second edition for this fall in the US northeast.

    You might not know that we’ve organized a free monthly conference call to keep the DesignOps discussion going. We’ve held two, and our last one had 60 participants. Next one is February 15, 4-5pm ET. We’d love to have you join us too; email info@rosenfeldmedia.com to request an invitation.

    Help Defend Net Neutrality This Giving Tuesday

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    Update—November 29, 2017: thanks to you, we sold 77 books on Giving Tuesday—and raised US$385 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation! Thank you very much!


    Back in the late 1980s, when I was a student in library school, we debated what the dawning “information superhighway” should be. Some classmates saw it as a huge boon to the global economy. Others argued that “information wants to be free,” and money shouldn’t taint public access to the Internet’s information bounty.

    I’ve worked at both ends of the spectrum—as a librarian and as a publisher—and have always taken the middle road: “Information doesn’t want to be free–it just wants to be used.” Although the pendulum has swung back and forth, we’ve managed to find a middle road that works well enough for most of us.

    Until now.

    It all may change in the US if the FCC’s proposed changes to Net Neutrality are approved.

    Companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T would likely transform their policies from customer-unfriendly to completely hostile to the free and open exchange of information. It could jeopardize your career, your kids’ education, free speech, independent journalism, and just about every aspect of contemporary life.

    That’s why this Giving TuesdayRosenfeld Media is donating US$5 for every book purchased to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Please consider making a purchase—or simply donate to the EFF directly.

    giving tuesday - net neutrality

    I’ll leave you with links to learn about Net Neutrality and the FCC’s proposed order from two of our great nation’s most trusted and respected sources: the American Library Association and The Oatmeal. Please read them and spread the word. Thank you.