Conference Program

The industry-defining event for people who build and manage design operations.

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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. As a designer, this could lead to you making design decisions that don’t take into account 20 percent of the visitors to your website. When the SUS was invented, the author encouraged people to change it to suit different needs. In this talk, Samuel Proulx 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.

In 2017 when we first launched the DesignOps Summit, the term “Design Operations” was still capturing the design community’s imagination. Now in its fifth year, we’ve climbed the maturity ladder common to many design disciplines and communities of practice: envisioning, exploring guiding principles and charters, defining, scoping, and mapping out the work, all while doing the work and planning the future of DesignOps.

The DesignOps Summit has been an essential and passionate community for the growth of the field; lead curator Kristin Skinner will review the DesignOps story and the Summit’s role in its evolution.

Theme 1: Establishing and Growing DesignOps

Getting started with Design Operations can be a daunting task. Considerations include what to call it, who should do the work, how to get funding, and what does success look like. We’ll begin by sharing examples and practical advice on how to establish DesignOps as a function and a role, and share practical advice and outcomes from those who have succeeded. We’ll be inspired by teams of one to teams that serve hundreds of thousands of customers, and you’ll gain practical insights and knowledge that you can apply in your own practice.

Getting started with Design Operations can be a daunting task. Considerations include what to call it, who should do the work, how to get funding, and what does success look like. We’ll begin by sharing examples and practical advice on how to establish DesignOps as a function and a role, and share practical advice and outcomes from those who have succeeded. We’ll be inspired by teams of one to teams that serve hundreds of thousands of customers, and you’ll gain practical insights and knowledge that you can apply in your own practice.

Team happiness is an important and oft-mentioned DesignOps metric, but we need to reframe how we think about it. No human* can “”make”” their team happy, and it’s folly to measure ourselves by that impossible standard. But what we _can_ do is create opportunities for our teams—opportunities to get weird, share freely, give feedback, encourage each other, and create their own team culture. And they get to choose whether and how they take advantage of those opportunities.

*If you are a literal kitten, you may indeed be able to *make* people happy just by existing.

You have heard of DesignOps. You know how it can benefit your team. Your designers are tired of chasing requirements and dealing with tooling. But you have no idea where to start with establishing the practice in your organization. This session will help you evaluate what parts of DesignOps you need to implement, and how you can start to introduce the concept to your team.

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Learn all about design operations at Adidas. In this Q&A we will be joined by two design operations managers who will share how they support the design lifecycle as well as team engagement. They will share Miro boards to give you a peek inside the team, from workshops to birthday cards.

This Q&A will be hosted by Shipra Kayan, a design leader at Miro who has over a decade of experience building distributed design teams.

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Defining a design system that’s adaptable, modular and more importantly, future proof, is a monumental task. With several years of contributing to their design system and software suite, Mitchell Bernstein, AI Design Lead, will go through IBM’s experience on this topic, sharing key takeaways about their evolving Carbon Design System. Mitchell will also dive into details on how to adapt any design system to complex, AI-powered software with the help of Sketch.

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Participant recruitment is often regarded as the most difficult part of any design project. Oftentimes companies rely on recruiting agencies to handle finding participants. While there are some advantages to this approach, and cases where outsourcing is the best option, nowadays bringing research in-house can be simple, flexible, cost-effective, and fast.

During this session we’ll be diving into the top 5 benefits of bringing your recruitment efforts in house.

Starting DesignOps at an org feels exciting and daunting at the same time. People who’ve given you the green light are as excited as you – so there’s a bit of pressure to make this work well! In this talk, Michelle will provide a “starter kit” of 10 tips for beginning a DesignOps program—the 10 foundational things she’s learned from establishing DesignOps at her org. Michelle includes how to prepare the program, manage expectations, ensure your success, and keep things sustainable for the long term.

What makes us human in human centered design? How can we optimize our workflows to respect our participants?

Phil will talk through his experiences of creating inclusive research workflows which respect participants rights and agency and how they’ve managed to operationalize and scale them for hundreds of researchers around the world.

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Most design operation professionals will have to make a choice: to work solely as an organization’s internal consultancy or play an additional role in scaling design capabilities throughout an organization. If teams focus on the former, how will they get better projects and collaborators from their organization? If teams settle on the latter, how will they navigate scaling their design capabilities? 

In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss how teams can attract better internal projects and how to transfer essential capabilities, with a particular focus on co-creating and measuring successful outcomes. 

Join Andrew Webster, Vice President of Transformation at ExperiencePoint, to learn:

  • What tools can help facilitate your team’s journey 
  • How to start implementing scaling strategies
  • What successful outcomes look like
Sponsor Session
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Join the Verizon CX Design Ops team for an interactive session about uncovering your super powers, recognizing your kryptonite and flexing your skills to power a growing, global team.

All organizations have a design operating model. But not all organizations are intentional about creating it. It gets established by accident. Design gets fitted around other priorities of business or technology. As a result, organizations struggle to create valuable experiences for customers.

This is why organizations need to design their design operating model.

Inclusive Design is a process, it is how we design. Adopting inclusive design means changing how we work, in our projects and in our everyday work habits. In the beginning it might be accidental, while at its best it is intentional and has operational support. Learn how we are making progress in our journey towards Inclusive Design at Intel. From the public goal that all user experience teams will be adopting inclusive design, to the real talk and challenges that happen within a team where everyone agrees with the goal, but they don’t know how to start.

Trivia Night!

Join us for a Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz! We’ll have four rounds of the finest trivia in the land, safe and socially distant in a virtual format. You’ll team up with your colleagues and play against other colleagues on topics such as pop culture, music, history, food and drink, and some other surprises!
All you need is your web browser to play. Links and instructions will be provided two days before the trivia event so you can join in the fun!

Join us for a Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz! We’ll have four rounds of the finest trivia in the land, safe and socially distant in a virtual format. You’ll team up with your colleagues and play against other colleagues on topics such as pop culture, music, history, food and drink, and some other surprises!
All you need is your web browser to play. Links and instructions will be provided two days before the trivia event so you can join in the fun!

Sponsor Session
Content
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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? How do these effect the way you think about designing websites and apps? How can designers learn to move beyond thinking visually, to create designs that work for everyone? After this introduction, the floor will open to your questions! If you have burning questions about how people who are blind use the Internet, or what design patterns work best and why or why not, this is your chance! Ask any question at all in an open, safe learning environment.

Sponsor Session
Content
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Join the Verizon CX Design Ops team for an interactive session about uncovering your super powers, recognizing your kryptonite and flexing your skills to power a growing, global team.

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

Shipra Kayan, the former head of insights at Upwork, will present the origin story of Upwork’s hugely successful and long-running VoC program. From the moment that triggered the formation of a VoC initiative, the ups, and downs of experimenting with its operating model, to why this program is still going strong 7 years after it was launched. She will field questions like “Who owns the VoC?”, “What is its purpose?”, and “Will we just create another presentation that won’t have any real impact?”

– 15 minutes Upwork VoC case study

– 15 minutes for Q&A

Theme 2: Successful Outcomes for DesignOps Teams

Once leadership buy-in has been secured, the team staffed, and initial wins are confidently put on the board, the art and science of honing an ever better DesignOps team kicks in. DesignOps leaders must hold fast to effective norms as the team scales, persuade peers and partners with increasing finesse, and, of course, continue to deliver remarkable outcomes. On Day 2 of DesignOps Summit, join us as we learn from the hard-won wisdom of maturing DesignOps teams, including: tools of the trade, scaling strategies, deploying standards and systems, staffing models, and more.

Once leadership buy-in has been secured, the team staffed, and initial wins are confidently put on the board, the art and science of honing an ever better DesignOps team kicks in. DesignOps leaders must hold fast to effective norms as the team scales, persuade peers and partners with increasing finesse, and, of course, continue to deliver remarkable outcomes. On Day 2 of DesignOps Summit, join us as we learn from the hard-won wisdom of maturing DesignOps teams, including: tools of the trade, scaling strategies, deploying standards and systems, staffing models, and more.

We believe cross-functional team collaboration delivers value faster for users and organizations. However, it’s not always obvious what exactly cross-functional collaboration actually looks like. What practices are necessary to the team’s success? How do you measure team performance? As a developer and a designer, we have direct experience working together and leading teams on truly cross-functional product design and delivery. In our talk, we’ll provide specific examples of what that kind of collaboration can look like, while sharing some of the values and principles that have motivated us.

TIn their first 60 days at Zendesk, Briana and Christina, a 2 person design ops team, conducted a Program Manager Audit looking at these 3 key areas: People, Process, and Portfolio.

90 days later, Product Design has transformed from a siloed, disjointed team into a well-organized, collaborative environment with a unified tool strategy, inclusive team spaces and more focus on design craft.

In this talk you will learn how to not only conduct a thorough and data-centric Program Manager Audit, but how to come in H.O.T. (Humble, Orchestrated, and Timely.)

Break

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

Participant recruitment is often regarded as the most difficult part of any design project. Oftentimes companies rely on recruiting agencies to handle finding participants. While there are some advantages to this approach, and cases where outsourcing is the best option, nowadays bringing research in-house can be simple, flexible, cost-effective, and fast.

During this session we’ll be diving into the top 5 benefits of bringing your recruitment efforts in house.

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

A Design system is not only about standardizing the UI or accelerating design. In the big picture, it can streamline collaboration between design and development. With this goal in mind, an effective Design system is available to both designers and developers in a format that is native to each discipline. However, getting to this point takes time. But what if we can skip ahead with a starter Design system containing both design and coded components that are ready for use?

Join our activity sessions to see how you can transform your pixel-perfect designs into pixel-perfect code for modern web applications with Indigo.Design. We will also revisit the typical developer handoff by introducing a re-imagined workflow that minimizes rework. In the end, this approach can free up our focus to run Design-Ops better and deliver value sooner.

👉 Part 1 (Thursday): Introducing a starter Design system, and Indigo.Design overview
Part 2 (Friday): Reimagining developer handoff, and introducing App builder
Part 3 (Friday): Indigo.Design overview and exploring the developer workflow

DesignOps takes the lead to author our internal career matrix, so we can objectively and uniformly refresh each discipline, and establish org-wide skills echoed throughout each role. DesignOps at Salesforce is also included within these Career Competencies, allowing for our team to hold more consistent career discussions, and unifying promotions by leveraging the same language when discussing each DesignOps employee. Plus, since DesignOps is seen as a fairly “new” discipline, having it paired alongside more “well-known” disciplines (Designer, UX Engineer), elevates the understanding of our role and skills, and provides a baseline paired alongside our peer’s disciplines. There’s great power in language, and the words we choose to use makes an impact. Making conscious efforts on our word choices and communications with one another can affect change at both the individual level as well as team-wide.

This session will detail how we are capturing metrics on product development and resource allocation. We will discuss how we are capturing people’s time on task to get us to a standard set of recipes that we can use when planning and budgeting for new products. We will discuss how we captured and identified tasks that could be handled by a 3rd party offshore vendor to free up our in-house designer who needs to be focused on strategic and innovative work.

Break

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

Most design operation professionals will have to make a choice: to work solely as an organization’s internal consultancy or play an additional role in scaling design capabilities throughout an organization. If teams focus on the former, how will they get better projects and collaborators from their organization? If teams settle on the latter, how will they navigate scaling their design capabilities? 

In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss how teams can attract better internal projects and how to transfer essential capabilities, with a particular focus on co-creating and measuring successful outcomes. 

Join Andrew Webster, Vice President of Transformation at ExperiencePoint, to learn:

  • What tools can help facilitate your team’s journey 
  • How to start implementing scaling strategies
  • What successful outcomes look like
Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

An essential part of creating a Design System is to make distribution and content flow sustainable. When the task is bringing the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet, the challenge gets massive! How can DesignOps and Automation become a facilitator for this challenge?

Join Senior Software Engineer & Designer Luca Rager from Xbox as he takes us through their innovative take on design systems. Luca will illustrate how Sketch’s flexibility and modern DesignOps automation has allowed Xbox to package, theme and easily distribute component libraries. Furthermore, how their system bridges the gap between the Xbox Design System team and the wider product teams at Xbox.

This session is focused on developing an understanding of how knowledge repositories can lead to deep insights in businesses large and small. It will explore the problem space and present strategies for overcoming those problems. Some example problems knowledge repositories can solve are: missing out on valuable information that can be useful across the company due to silos; repeating research that has been conducted already and inconsistency in research reporting.

Determining a staffing model for the success of your design teams is one of the key elements for driving success. By reviewing the differences between dedicated and agency (or flexible) staffing models, Alicia Mooty will walk the group through a case study of applying these types of models in her work at Adobe.

Break

The best path to achieving a sustainable competitive advantage in a dynamic marketplace is through the development of an innovative and winning corporate culture. In this talk, Susan will define the essence of organizational culture in practical terms, and share a model for building the infrastructure to build and support your culture. Most notably, Susan will focus on the interplay between your culture and your customer experience, and demonstrate why the most consistent and authentic customer experiences are rooted in positive and uplifting work environments where employees are thriving. Susan will share strategies and best practices for leveraging emotion as a differentiator in both the employee experience (driving recruiting, engagement, and retention), and customer experience (building loyalty & capturing market share), allowing you to derive a competitive advantage from your most valuable resource: your people.

Wrap-up

Cooking Class with Chef Sohui Kim

Join your fellow DesignOps Summit 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.

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Join your fellow DesignOps Summit 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.

Sponsor Session
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Putting together a product as designers is a challenge on its own. But what happens when you take ethics, privacy, and data into account? What is the extent of the slippery slope about asking for and storing data?

It’s understandable the key stakeholders need to keep an eye on the KPIs and factor data in when evaluating designs. However, should any ethical dilemmas be considered when gathering such data? Join Matteo Gratton, Design Advocate from Sketch, as he draws more attention to these important topics with real cases.

Sponsor Session
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In this interactive session, Sam Proulx, accessibility evangelist at Fable, will draw from experience as a person with a disability, and from Fable’s thousands of hours of research experience, to answer all of your questions about conducting prototype reviews with people with disabilities. What design systems work best? What disabilities can participate in prototype reviews out of the box, and what types of disabilities might need special adaptations? What information should a prototype contain, to get the best feedback and engagement from people with disabilities? How can you and your organization learn to better shift left, and involve people with disabilities as early as possible in the design process, and why should you? We’ll also have plenty of time for your own questions! If you’ve been wanting to conduct prototype reviews that involve people with disabilities, but weren’t quite sure where to begin, don’t miss this session!

Theme 3: The Future of DesignOps

The Design Operations field has reached a new level of maturity. We’ve moved from defining and advocating for the role’s existence to pushing the boundaries of all that the domain might include. On Day 3 of Design Ops summit, join us as we consider where and how the practice will grow next. Career journey frameworks, future pathing, sub-specialities, analogous organizational roles – we’ll consider all of this, and more, as we explore and define the future of Design Operations, together.

The Design Operations field has reached a new level of maturity. We’ve moved from defining and advocating for the role’s existence to pushing the boundaries of all that the domain might include. On Day 3 of Design Ops summit, join us as we consider where and how the practice will grow next. Career journey frameworks, future pathing, sub-specialities, analogous organizational roles – we’ll consider all of this, and more, as we explore and define the future of Design Operations, together.

DesignOps has been maturing in recent years and the adaptation of the practice has increased. With data from over 200 companies from all over the world, we are taking a deep dive into how DesignOps professionals are structuring their roles and/or teams in different companies. We are learning all about their impact, tools, and practices, as well as how are they adapting to the new normal, and how they are tackling social issues.

Break

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Tess has been building design teams with a relentless focus on team culture.

Join us for a fast paced Q&A where she will share stories and actual Miro boards that she has used to facilitate team engagement at Condé Nast. We will dig deeper into her re-framing of “team happiness”, and what she has learned from her tactics and experiments to cultivate this. If you attended her talk on Wednesday, this is a chance to ask your follow up questions in an intimate setting.

This Q&A will be hosted by Shipra Kayan, a design leader at Miro who has over a decade of experience building distributed design teams.

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

A Design system is not only about standardizing the UI or accelerating design. In the big picture, it can streamline collaboration between design and development. With this goal in mind, an effective Design system is available to both designers and developers in a format that is native to each discipline. However, getting to this point takes time. But what if we can skip ahead with a starter Design system containing both design and coded components that are ready for use?

Join our activity sessions to see how you can transform your pixel-perfect designs into pixel-perfect code for modern web applications with Indigo.Design. We will also revisit the typical developer handoff by introducing a re-imagined workflow that minimizes rework. In the end, this approach can free up our focus to run Design-Ops better and deliver value sooner.

Part 1 (Thursday): Introducing a starter Design system, and Indigo.Design overview
👉 Part 2 (Friday): Reimagining developer handoff, and introducing App builder
Part 3 (Friday): Indigo.Design overview and exploring the developer workflow

Whether you have an established DesignOps team, or you’re just getting started, learn how creating a structure where content strategists operate can go a long way in supporting the strength and longevity of your practice. Learn about the components of the content strategy practice blueprint, how to measure content strategy maturity and understanding within your organization, and determine the best way to incorporate the discipline of content strategy into your future state goals.

We will see how we developed a design maturity model, adapting models from invision, McKinsey and papers measuring design impact from IBM to our particular context, in order to discover the main growth opportunities we had in our design practice and how we used outcomes/OKRs to define a detailed strategy for the designOps team.

Break

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Content
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Research has to come together somewhere, happen somewhere, live somewhere, and—in order for it to have an impact on product—it has to be effectively shared somewhere.

There are more user research tools than ever, and choosing among them can be overwhelming. That’s why the team at User Interviews created the UXR Tools Map, along with a searchable database of over 200 user research tools. We’ll talk about the process behind creating the map, plus share insights and examples of how to create the best stack for your team, regardless of budget.

Sponsor Session
Content
Watch video

A Design system is not only about standardizing the UI or accelerating design. In the big picture, it can streamline collaboration between design and development. With this goal in mind, an effective Design system is available to both designers and developers in a format that is native to each discipline. However, getting to this point takes time. But what if we can skip ahead with a starter Design system containing both design and coded components that are ready for use?

Join our activity sessions to see how you can transform your pixel-perfect designs into pixel-perfect code for modern web applications with Indigo.Design. We will also revisit the typical developer handoff by introducing a re-imagined workflow that minimizes rework. In the end, this approach can free up our focus to run Design-Ops better and deliver value sooner.

Part 1 (Thursday): Introducing a starter Design system, and Indigo.Design overview
Part 2 (Friday): Reimagining developer handoff, and introducing App builder
👉 Part 3 (Friday): Indigo.Design overview and exploring the developer workflow

Does building your DesignOps practice feel like a steep (but rewarding) climb? Maybe you’ve set your sights on a mountaintop, reached that peak, looked around and wondered, “Cool! But where do we go from here?”

This session is for established DesignOps teams starting out on their journey to reach greater heights. How do you spot your next growth opportunity? What roles will get you there? What services can DesignOps offer to adjacent design functions at your company? How can other Ops practices, like BizOps or DevOps, help chart a path to your next peak? Most importantly, we’ll examine how to scale up when you’re always operating sideways, and how adopting a beginners’ mindset (and an explorer’s heart) will help you seek the right opportunities to grow your discipline.

Break

Feel like foresight is best left to economists and business strategists? Think again. Fight your imposter syndrome to harness the power of futures-thinking in your design organization to imagine and pursue preferable futures in how you work, what you produce and even in your personal life. You do not have to stop the world to look, think and act – make the futures mindset a natural habit and make small actions today turn into a better world tomorrow.

Wrap-up

Redeem your digital gift bag offers!