Conference Program

Design Leadership, Management, and Craft for the Enterprise

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Theme 1: Ensuring Craft on a Massive Scale

Making, building, shaping, refining—it’s the fundamental aspects of design craft that matter. And they become even more critical when dealing with millions of users, hundreds of thousands of objects in a database, or dozens of geographies with their own peculiar needs. It takes a combination of skill and perspective to retain your focus while designing at scale. And to get there, it helps to hear first-hand accounts from the people who have lived it, and learn how they solved enterprise-class problems with human-scale craft.

Making, building, shaping, refining—it’s the fundamental aspects of design craft that matter. And they become even more critical when dealing with millions of users, hundreds of thousands of objects in a database, or dozens of geographies with their own peculiar needs. It takes a combination of skill and perspective to retain your focus while designing at scale. And to get there, it helps to hear first-hand accounts from the people who have lived it, and learn how they solved enterprise-class problems with human-scale craft.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Modernize without degrading the product
  • Craft a cohesive UX while navigating mergers and acquisitions
  • Avoid the biggest pitfalls of a re-platforming effort
  • Ensure full accessibility for a diverse audience

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 1: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Modernize without degrading the product
  • Craft a cohesive UX while navigating mergers and acquisitions
  • Avoid the biggest pitfalls of a re-platforming effort
  • Ensure full accessibility for a diverse audience

Designing “at scale” assumes conceptual consensus on what the particular levels of that ‘scale’ actually are. In the last few years, UX professionals have specialized into UX researchers, product designers, service designers design strategists, etc. Nowadays, we’re also witnessing the debut of a new term: “system designers”. But do we really understand how these job titles and subthemes of UX fit within that scale of complexity in design?

In this presentation, we’ll introduce the basic levels of a scale of design, articulate how common UX job titles fit on the scale, and map how the work we commonly tackle in both research and design should also be informed by the scale of the problem we’re addressing. We’re also going to critique the (somewhat misguided) ways the current world of UX is handling the widespread growth in the complexity of our work.

Scaling an organization or even just a product, inevitably means dealing with your legacy. Through both they and their colleagues’ extensive experience with legacy modernization work, Meaghan and Fotina found one consistent theme.

View legacy modernization as purely an engineering effort and the outcome won’t be what you want. Legacy modernization needs to be designed. It needs to fit into an overall product strategy and examined through the same lenses of customer, business, and tech impact as anything else. Otherwise you’re just immediately building a new legacy, not something that can scale with you.

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We built Adobe’s design language, Spectrum, to work on a huge and varied product ecosystem. Adobe’s offering includes dozens of connected desktop, web, and mobile experiences with millions of worldwide users. Some of our products are brand new and some have been in the market for decades.

Hear from two of Spectrum’s designers as they give an overview of the design system and answer your questions about building and scaling a design system!

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Technology and design are at the heart of the innovations Compass delivers to thousands of real estate agents. Compass Founder and CEO Robert Reffkin and Sr VP of Design & UXR Greg Petroff chat about the industry and the opportunity for design to make a difference.

  • Learn how technology and design make Compass stand out and deliver digital innovations in a massive industry.
  • Hear about the Compass culture of learning and collaboration that is at the core of high-performing design teams.
  • See how design scales its efforts with the help of product and engineering partners and a powerful set of entrepreneurial principles.
What do you do when Mergers and Acquisitions is your company’s growth strategy and all the products look different. Key design principle to solve this is UX Consistency. But how much consistency is needed? How can you engage all these different teams and align them on a common goal, especially in a decentralized product design environment? Lastly, having design alignment or a common design system is not enough, but ensuring that all the products implement the agreed design consistency across product.

Learn how you can influence and scale to achieve balanced user experience across all products.

Lots of legacy enterprise product suites are being re-platformed to become updated SaaS offerings and offer richer, responsive, device agnostic experiences. While the benefits of such initiatives are many for the business and their customers, it also comes wrought with many major challenges in strategy, technology, time to market and managing change and disruption for the existing customer base. This talk will present a case study and 10 learnings from a 4-year long re-platforming journey of UKG Ready, a HCM product suite. As we follow the journey, we will also learn from UX strategy and contributions at each stage.

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Join us for a wide-ranging conversation on how we are building a thriving team of designers empowered to drive digital transformation at scale. Hear about our challenges and lessons learned. We will talk about team building, employee engagement, design thinking, and design maturity.

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The Experience Org at ServiceNow is a growing and world-class organization, comprised of a diverse team of passionate and creative designers, researchers, writers, and program managers. We all share a superpower in empathizing and understanding our users’ and customers’ needs to create product experiences that people love!

We embrace diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) as a business imperative, a cultural value, and a shared commitment across ServiceNow.

Learn about our amazing culture, the values we believe in, our dedication to DIBs, and the open opportunities we have to join our team!

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Enterprises like Compass need to design experiences for an incredibly diverse audience. These customers pose challenges to our ideas about happy paths and edge cases. How do we build tools for customers with such diverse needs and wants? And how do we build the right teams with the broad perspectives that can best serve these customers?

  • Learn how research can build diverse perspectives and backgrounds into user testing and other research methods.
  • Understand how designing tools for diverse and justifiably demanding customers helps make product design better.
  • Expand our notions of diversity both within the enterprise and with all the customers that the enterprise serves.
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At ServiceNow, we make work work better for people. This past year has shown us the impact the world of work has on productivity, and it is our goal to accelerate its transformation to meet the needs of our employees and customers.

In this session, we’ll cover the who, what, where, and when of the future of work at ServiceNow as well as examples of how we as an organization are putting these methods into practice. We will also discuss trends and opportunities appearing in the new future of work and ways companies can adapt.

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Did you know that the SUS creates biases in your research, affecting one in five people? That’s right! People with disabilities, especially those who use assistive technology, are not considered by most of the questions in the SUS. When the SUS was invented, the author encouraged people to change it to suit different needs. In this talk, Samuel Proulx and Abid Virani from Fable will discuss how Fable adapted the SUS to work for assistive technology users. Drawing from over five thousand hours of research and testing involving assistive technology users, we created the Accessible Usability Scale (AUS). This presentation will include trends in AUS responses since it was released in December of 2020.

The outcome of designing at scale won’t be accessible products unless accessibility practices scale in parallel with design. There are six primary challenges to scaling accessibility:
1) Reliance on human testing which is especially complicated for large/dynamic products.
2) SaaS/Native app “release whenever you want” timelines.
3) Third party code/content managers.
4) Achieving “substantive WCAG conformance”
5) Closing the feedback loop by getting defects/feature requests from people with disabilities into the backlog.
6) Shifting the focus to an accessible experience, not just an accessible product.

Break/Cohort Check-in

Technology teams have finally recognized their social and ethical impacts matter deeply. Tech giants are now pledging to turn over new leaves, to prioritize responsible innovation, and to act in more sustainable and equitable ways. But turning aspirations and promises into operational reality is hard work. Cennydd Bowles, head of responsible design and futures studio NowNext, will report on his findings from years in the ethical technology space. What approaches actually work in growing teams? Is there such a thing as an ethical design process? Should you hire specialists? And who gets to decide what’s ethical, anyway?

Speed Networking

Who says you can’t network at virtual conferences? Here’s your chance to meet peers from all over the world. We’ll bring the introductions and fun ice-breaker questions; you just bring yourself.

Who says you can’t network at virtual conferences? Here’s your chance to meet peers from all over the world. We’ll bring the introductions and fun ice-breaker questions; you just bring yourself.

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No matter if you’re an accessibility expert, or completely new to this exciting and dynamic field, Fable welcomes you to come and network with us for 30 minutes of engaging and enlightening conversations and Q&A. Fable specializes in doing research and testing with people with disabilities, and we’d love to help you by answering any of your questions around how to start, or improve, your efforts in this type of research and testing. We’d also love to hear about you, and your accessibility journey!

Theme 2: The Tools for Success in Enterprise Design

Rapid growth is the singular goal for many businesses. It can also be a nightmare for design teams. Growing pains complicate every facet of a design practice: from projects, to teams, and up to the organization as whole. Fortunately, there are clear cut tips and processes for scaling, without compromising the quality of the work. The right design team, armed with a toolkit of these methods, can successfully navigate the minefields of growth and produce inspired enterprise design at any size.

Rapid growth is the singular goal for many businesses. It can also be a nightmare for design teams. Growing pains complicate every facet of a design practice: from projects, to teams, and up to the organization as whole. Fortunately, there are clear cut tips and processes for scaling, without compromising the quality of the work. The right design team, armed with a toolkit of these methods, can successfully navigate the minefields of growth and produce inspired enterprise design at any size.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Refresh and and simplify enterprise design without adding obstacles
  • Drive a company-wide project—without a design team
  • Use a self-service model to scale design capabilities
  • Solve enterprise challenges with swarm creativity
  • Leverage critiques for quality scaling

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 2: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Refresh and simplify enterprise design without adding obstacles
  • Drive a company-wide project—without a design team
  • Use a self-service model to scale design capabilities
  • Solve enterprise challenges with swarm creativity
  • Leverage critiques for quality scaling

In enterprise organizations, product development work, and therefore, design work, typically happens within a specific business unit or organization. Dedicated and embedded squads means there is a close and tight feedback loop between team members.

But what happens when your company kicks off an initiative that spans across business units? How do you resource and run a design project with no dedicated designers? This case study will cover how we set out a vision, structured communications, built up an ad-hoc design team, shipped our first cross-organization product and all the lessons we learned along the way.

The design team at BBVA Mexico, with more than 170 designers, has the challenge of bringing design to the 600+ projects the organization works on at any given time for them to better achieve the goals of each project in a user-centered way. Because of the limited capacity of the design team, this meant that many projects with design needs were left unattended, managing to solve their needs with whatever resources they had at hand.

To address this, Design at Scale was born, an initiative that aims to develop design capabilities in BBVA, through tools, processes and coaching that helps teams that meet certain criteria to work under a self-management model.

Through their talk Nora and Giovanna will share their journey in implementing Design at Scale at BBVA.

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One of the strongest ways of making sure your customer experiences are accessible is to broaden the definition of accessibility for everyone at your organisation. Here are practical steps to make it happen, from visual and interaction design to content and code.

  • Expose how some interpretations of a11y should be exceeded and practical steps to learn about accessibility as a topic.
  • Real product stories relating to accessibility.
  • Understand how design, content, and code work together to make accessible experiences that are better for all customers.

Making design simple in siloed and dated governmental organization with a baggage of tradition and slumped public reception is not an easy task. This talk presents a case study transforming a large government-regulated gambling monopoly from the product-driven world of the past into the emergent and rapidly shifting markets where the customer is placed front and center. How to refresh an organization without causing more obstacles? Organizing for continuous learning and allowing natural competence development can be achieved with reviewing the foundations of the business model and design organization. This talk presents solutions from the presented case study.

Enterprises, even those with mature design practices, find it difficult to tap into the creativity of all of its workforce. Yet unleashing that broad creativity is now needed more than ever as success of teams depends on having the nimbleness of an ant farm to adapt and find their way around obstacles. Enterprise design processes, systems and ops are often tied to old top-down command/control organizational models. Design Swarms is an approach that has been used and adopted by teams within companies like Amazon, Amgen, Autodesk, Callison, Deutsche Bank, Lilly, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and REI to unleash swarm creativity at scale.

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In this panel, design leaders at JPMorgan will discuss how we focus on people as the key pillar for the work and value we create for the organization. Join us for this interactive conversation with a moderated Q& from the audience.

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In this session, you will learn about Verizon’s model for transforming and scaling our CX operations and design practices, and how establishing a set of Experience Principles has played a critical role in elevating and democratizing CX across the organization.

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The Experience Org at ServiceNow is a growing and world-class organization, comprised of a diverse team of passionate and creative designers, researchers, writers, and program managers. We all share a superpower in empathizing and understanding our users’ and customers’ needs to create product experiences that people love!

We embrace diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) as a business imperative, a cultural value, and a shared commitment across ServiceNow.

Learn about our amazing culture, the values we believe in, our dedication to DIBs, and the open opportunities we have to join our team!

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Chances are good that every department in your enterprise already uses some design thinking tactics in their work. Helping these other partners and departments understand the power of this design thinking is a key to scaling the influence of the design organization and infusing the entire enterprise with more creative problem-solving, collaboration, and purposeful fun.

  • Define design thinking for your design org and also understand how it applies to product management, engineering, marketing, and other departments.
  • Hear about tactics for sharing design thinking and its positive results with partners across your organization.
  • See how design thinking can be built into the systems that fuel design, product development, and critical business processes such as planning.
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ServiceNow builds enterprise products that help companies and their end-users work smarter, faster, and easier. As a team, we strive to create product experiences that people love and make work, work better for people.

In this presentation, George and Joy, designers at ServiceNow, will explore what it means to deliver amazing experiences throughout the design process focusing on our end-users. We will share a case study that empowers designers on building great, sustainable products that are user friendly, visually beautiful, empowering and super charge productivity.

In the last 20 years as a Designer/Researcher, Joe Meersman has learned a thing or two about quality and scale. Join him for a presentation that outlines tactics for delivering quality outcomes, regardless of team size, by practicing critiques. One part Design Ops, one part Design School, Joe will provide actionable tips for facilitating critiques that will improve User Experiences.

Break/Cohort Check-in

We’re always looking to create a high level of design literacy across our organizations, but how do this in a way that creates its own momentum? Wendy Johansson, global product experience leader at Amazon, will share her tried and true methods in scaling design education within orgs of all sizes as a means of scaling design.

Cooking Class with Chef Sohui Kim

Join your fellow Design at Scale 2021 conference attendees for a hands-on cooking class with Chef Sohui Kim, making her famous “Throw-Down Dumplings” long featured on her menu at The Good Fork Restaurant in Red Hook.

Join your fellow Design at Scale 2021 conference attendees for a hands-on cooking class with Chef Sohui Kim, making her famous “Throw-Down Dumplings” long featured on her menu at The Good Fork Restaurant in Red Hook. Chef will share cooking tips, basic knife skills as she cooks along with you, guiding you every step of the way to make delicious homemade dumplings.

Get the recipe and be sure to stock up on ingredients before Thursday!

Vegetarian? We’ve got you covered; get the recipe here.

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Starting out with a ten-minute live demo from an expert screen reader user, Samuel Proulx will introduce you to not only how they work, but the thought processes behind using the Internet with a screen reader. What are some of the most important things to take into account when attempting to construct a mental model of a screen reader user? After this introduction, the floor will open to your questions! If you’ve never worked with a screen reader user before, or if you have burning questions about how people who are blind use the Internet, this is your chance! Ask any question at all in an open, safe learning environment.

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Participating in a project or meeting with MURAL and not sure where to start? Learn the basics about the structure, experience, and key features of the app to succeed while collaborating, all from the perspective of a UX practitioner.

Theme 3: Keeping People at the Center of an Expanding Enterprise

User Experience can only be as good as the people who drive it. And the world’s largest organizations are composed of individuals, each with their own skills and approach to design and research. Focusing on team culture is nice, but every employee has different needs and a different career trajectory. Simply put, the craft and process of enterprise design gets you nowhere without the right people working with the right values. To reliably and effectively scale at the enterprise level, you need to foster true communities of people with a shared vision and real purpose.

User Experience can only be as good as the people who drive it. And the world’s largest organizations are composed of individuals, each with their own skills and approach to design and research. Focusing on team culture is nice, but every employee has different needs and a different career trajectory. Simply put, the craft and process of enterprise design gets you nowhere without the right people working with the right values. To reliably and effectively scale at the enterprise level, you need to foster true communities of people with a shared vision and real purpose.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Lead organizational change with empathy
  • Foster true community over office culture
  • Scale at a truly human level
  • Push for large-scale innovation with limited resources
  • Gracefully transition from management to IC

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 3: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Lead organizational change with empathy
  • Foster true community over office culture
  • Scale at a truly human level
  • Push for large-scale innovation with limited resources
  • Gracefully transition from management to IC

Design at scale is perhaps the most interesting challenge facing the design industry right now. How do you maintain quality and not get bogged down as your team grows? Much of the discussion focuses on systems and processes, but that starting with systems runs exactly contrary to the true value that design brings to companies, which is a humanistic and creative problem-framing and problem-solving approach. In other words, this focus on systems could ironically undercut design’s potential within organizations. In this talk, I stress how “Design at Scale” is humanism at scale, and share what’s needed to keep people at the center of this work.

Organizations of all sizes often struggle to reap the full benefits of change, especially in times of transformation, despite huge investments in technology and process. This is often because employees don’t understand how their role is changing. It may seem simple to just clarify roles and responsibilities, but as with consumer facing products, people are unique, complex, and motivated by factors that aren’t always easy to discover. Additionally, designing for the employee can also mean designing for stakeholder buy-in.

This is a story about a real world approach to building practical application of empathy across multiple disciplines and reporting lines, overcoming reservations, navigating politics, with the goal of building a lasting partnership where employee UX design/execution is a team sport and never outsourced.

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Let’s talk about design careers–and about doing design work under the influence of just the right amount of caffeine. These Compass design leaders guide you through a discussion of a day in the life of product designers at a fast-growing enterprise. And they’ll also talk about their journeys getting there.

  • Hear about design and career opportunities in a technology company that is bringing meaningful disruption to real estate.
  • See what it’s like to design beautiful productivity tools for real estate agents and an industry that seems to thrive on complexity.
  • Get insight into how your own career path is reflected in the many paths that lead to good product design.
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The Experience Org at ServiceNow is a growing and world-class organization, comprised of a diverse team of passionate and creative designers, researchers, writers, and program managers. We all share a superpower in empathizing and understanding our users’ and customers’ needs to create product experiences that people love!

We embrace diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) as a business imperative, a cultural value, and a shared commitment across ServiceNow.

Learn about our amazing culture, the values we believe in, our dedication to DIBs, and the open opportunities we have to join our team!

Scaling design is hard. Scaling design across an established enterprise with more than a century of history and a global workforce of over 70,000 non-designers is even harder. To scale design at that level, you need to anchor people’s identity in design: that’s the power of community. Communities bring people together around a shared vision and purpose. By embracing community, you can create more scalable, human-centered experiences regardless of your industry, location, or design expertise. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned building and scaling ExxonMobil’s Design Community and share how you can do the same.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, constantly busy, and that you never have enough time to focus on what really matters? Learn how to use the design process of divergence and convergence to make space for you and your key relationships in the organization. Learn how to turn difficult relationships into trusted partners as you build influence upwards, with your peers, and with your team. Lead at scale by focusing on people and most importantly, starting with yourself.

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In this session, you will learn about Verizon’s model for transforming and scaling our CX operations and design practices, and how establishing a set of Experience Principles has played a critical role in elevating and democratizing CX across the organization.

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Curious about how we solve problems and design user-centric products at ServiceNow?

During this session, you’ll learn about the framework behind our user experience design process and the various roles and activities involved within each phase. You’ll also get hands-on experience with a rapid ideation session.

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Research helps us understand the customer’s needs, behaviors, and attitudes, design meets those needs through interaction and visual expertise, and content helps make sure the entire experience is expressed in the customer’s language. It seems simple, right? So where does it go wrong? Hear from Compass leaders about how misunderstanding these roles leads to poor collaboration and how we can change the way we work together to deliver incredible customer experiences.

  • Hear from leaders in design, content, and research about the most common ways their role is misunderstood and the impact this has on the customer experience.
  • Learn ways design, content, and research can communicate and collaborate better to collectively create better experiences that scale.
  • Get a better understanding of the unique role design, content, and research play in our customer’s lives and how to use each other’s secret powers to deliver better customer outcomes.


As UX teams scale, how might we evolve the careers of veteran individual contributors who feel compelled to go into management to advance or lead? Often we view management as the only option to lead others, be impactful, and grow their careers. There is an opportunity for talented ICs and their orgs to embrace UX leadership outside of management, leveraging their intuition and leadership skills to build better products faster. Edward Cupps will leverage his experience over this past 18 months, having moved from Director to Principal, to highlight the possible challenges, opportunities, and rewards of such a role for scaling teams and individuals.

The pandemic made it painfully clear that the failure of critical public services causes real harm, both physical and financial. Our healthcare system is being overwhelmed, millions are pouring onto unemployment, and we’ve seen an unprecedented number of people trying to access government programs. It has never been more important for government services to be simple, effective, and accessible to all, yet we’re far from that vision today. In this talk, Sha Hwang, co-founder and chief operating officer of Nava Public Benefit Corporation, will discuss the opportunities designers have to build government services that prioritize equity and resiliency—and the responsibility that comes with designing systems that serve millions of people.

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