Conference Program

Session Type:
Time Zone:
Sponsor Session

As we shift into a mobile first world, are you struggling to conceptualize and design accessible mobile experiences? While screen readers are included on both IOS and Android, it can be difficult and overwhelming for designers to learn about them. This session will help you get started! Samuel Proulx, Fable’s accessibility evangelist and a life-long screen reader user, will guide you through the ins and outs of screen readers on mobile. This interactive live demo will show you what an excellent mobile experience can sound like, give you some ideas of things to keep in mind during design, and help you make the case for bringing the voices of assistive technology users into the training and testing at your organization.

Theme One: DesignOps is Changing

The pandemic, the war in Ukraine, layoffs, and now the explosion of AI… These global trends are directly impacting design organizations; we’ll cover what they mean and how they change the way you’ll practice DesignOps in the months and years to come.

The pandemic, the war in Ukraine, layoffs, and now the explosion of AI… These global trends are directly impacting design organizations; we’ll cover what they mean and how they change the way you’ll practice DesignOps in the months and years to come.

Balancing Power, People, and Progress in an AI-driven World

In this talk, I aim to explore the nexus of power concentration within big tech, AI-driven automation, and the ramifications on the tech job market, with a specific focus on design operations and adjacent roles. By examining the underlying dynamics behind power, the recent tech layoffs, and the rapid AI takeover of many aspects of our professional and personal life, I seek to understand the broader impact to the tech industry and the evolution of the profession of Design Operations. This discourse serves as a call for mechanisms to create the pathways for rapid learning and unlearning, and keep pushing designers to reinvent themselves.

With the growing turbulence companies face (e.g. recent financial downturns and the pandemic before that), Design with a big D and its sub disciplines (including DesignOps) finds itself deeply and directly impacted by resource reduction and/or resource re-distribution. In this session, we will bring our years of expertise from working with companies of different shapes and forms to explore techniques that help design leadership shield Design Orgs from the impact of uncertainties and be prepared to have those tough conversation when and if needed. Furthermore, we will explore how you can manage the consequences of these events when they become inevitable, but you still need to maintain a strong Design capability.

Break

Digital products and services are experiencing another challenging inflection point, with cautious and shrinking product organisations offset by the as-yet undefined promise and potential of AI augmentation. Design practitioners are right to be nervous, as components of our core craft become increasingly commodified by automated solutions. At the same time, the current AI goldrush risks driving us towards a series of potential negative outcomes: a flooded marketplace, customer fatigue, and potentially serious long-term harms. In a concise and rousing talk, I hope to highlight how designers are already well placed to shape the future of digital experiences, and can be empowered further by a handful of intentional shifts in where we apply our ‘pressure points of design’ within our teams, organisations and client relationships. Far from being sidelined, I believe by challenging some of our assumed ways of working and changing the conversation, design practice can emerge stronger and more crucial than ever.

A large federal agency was interested in improving the experience that individuals have with their digital services, as well as the velocity at which they were able to improve those services. But through our research, we found that they didn’t have the design roles, tools, or processes in place to support this goal and make it successful.

As a digital services firm that specializes in human-centered design and design ops, we came up with a plan to get them where they needed to be. We started by having a difficult conversation with them about design maturity, what it would take to be successful, and how design ops could help. We then introduced a series of training sessions on human-centered design, which prepared us to have conversations about design roles and processes, as well as tools. And finally, we were able to collaborate with them through a series of engagements to see how these things should work in practice.

Through our experience, we learned this is not an uncommon challenge. There are likely many entities (both public and private) that know they need to evolve their design practices, but don’t know how. By sharing how we introduced design ops to a federal client, we hope to inspire others to help promulgate design ops in a wider variety of sectors and client types.

Break

Sponsor Session

Wireframing is not just making sketches; it’s about team communication. Make handoffs clear, know why you’re wireframing, and annotate your work. Roles like Product Managers, Designers, and Developers all benefit from wireframing for different reasons. PMs can clarify requirements and sketch ideas, designers can generate multiple options, and developers can understand what’s easy or hard to code. So yeah, wireframing is great for teams, not just designers.

Sponsor Session

​Design systems are becoming more prevalent in how digital teams design sustainably at scale. Join Design System University founder Dan Mall in this “Ask Me Anything” session about design systems and learn more about his soon-to-be-released book, Design That Scales: Creating a Sustainable Design System Practice.

In the very realistic future of an AI-driven world, the responsible and ethical implementation of technology is paramount. In this session, we will dive into the crucial role of DesignOps practitioners in driving ethical AI practices. We’ll tackle the challenge of ensuring AI systems align with user values, respect privacy, and avoid biases, while unleashing their potential for innovation.

As a UX strategist and DesignOps practitioner, I understand the significance of integrating ethical considerations into AI development. I bring a unique perspective on how DesignOps can shape the future of AI by fostering responsible innovation. This session challenges the status quo by highlighting the intersection of DesignOps and ethics, advancing the conversation in our field and sparking thought-provoking discussions.

Attendees will gain valuable insights into the role of DesignOps in navigating the ethical landscape of AI. They will learn practical strategies and best practices for integrating ethical frameworks into their AI development processes. By exploring real-world examples and case studies, attendees will be inspired to push the boundaries of responsible AI and make a positive impact in their organizations.

Join me in this exciting session to chart the course for ethical AI, challenge conventional thinking, and explore the immense potential of DesignOps in driving responsible innovation.

Within large rigid corporate cultures, Design is encouraged to accommodate the dominant practices of business and technology. While some accommodation is necessary to successfully partner with other functions, going too far risks leeching the humanistic power from the practice, reducing Design to a mechanistic function.

Design Ops may inadvertently enable this accommodation with the business demanding it focus on increasing effectiveness and efficiency. However, DesignOps is underutilized in this capacity as it is uniquely positioned to protect and advance design practices, culture and growth.

In this session, we’ll advocate for how Design Ops can provide a deeper connection and commitment to championing the sparkle and verve of actualized Design practice through business and cultural practices, programs, and structures.

Wrap up

The Cozy Juicy Real Experience: Connect with the DesignOps Community

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Join us the afternoon of Monday, October 2 to play Cozy Juicy Real – an engaging online board game where the purpose is anything but trivial: creating authentic and truly meaningful connections with your peers.

This is an interactive session and spaces are limited. RSVP is required!

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Looking for a fun and unique way to connect with others in the community? Then this one’s for you!

Whether you’re looking to expand your network, meet your next client or connect with collaborators, this is the perfect opportunity to make it happen.

Cozy Juicy Real has been played in 71 countries and is proven to create stronger team bonds at the world’s most successful organizations – including Google, Adobe and the UN.

“You will connect. Cozy Juicy Real is the best way to foster connection online.”
– Marcia Goddard, Chief Culture Officer, The Contentment Foundation

Learn more…

?️ Teams edition

❤️ Friends edition

⭐️ Top-Rated on Trustpilot

Sponsor Session

Online shopping was first premiered in the 1980s, as a way for people who couldn’t shop in-person to easily make purchases. But how far we’ve come! In this talk, Fable’s Accessibility Evangelist Sam Proulx will walk you through some of the key factors to create an online shopping experience that is accessible to everyone. From his perspective as a full time screen reader user, and drawing on Fable’s thousands of hours working with people with disabilities, Sam will highlight how consistency, convenience, confidence, and customizability enable a smooth experience for all users, disabled or not. Let’s bring online shopping back to its accessibility roots!

Theme Two: DesignOps is Practical

From design systems and documentation to AI tools and DE&I practices, we’ll address the approaches and techniques that you can and should adopt to impact your organization right away.

From design systems and documentation to AI tools and DE&I practices, we’ll address the approaches and techniques that you can and should adopt to impact your organization right away.

I am a Senior Product Designer at a large tech company, leading the Video Gen AI and Growth programs. This talk is a case study about leveraging AI tools to scale and systematize your design process. Some examples include creating better and more thorough user journey lists that capture all types of users, reducing the risk of excluding some users. I will also talk about how to have a Systems Design mindset about UX programs, including how to scale your work across teams and organizations for broader impact.

Design systems have become an integral part of product-driven organisations, promising consistency, efficiency, and improved collaboration.

Amidst the success stories, there are risks, challenges, and failures bound to accompany their implementation and adoption. Why do some design organisations thrive despite it, and others fail miserably?

Because of the pandemic of productisation, strategic product decisions are driven by product managers who want to build fast and break things, and user advocates are cut off from discovery, becoming mere feature producers who pass on unvalidated requirements to the design system. Designers working on the product side claim that the design system hinders their creative process and stifles innovation, when it should enable it, while the design system team prides itself on setting standards of excellence that has become a purpose on its’ own. The pace at which the design system can deliver upon product requirements often leads to it being perceived as a bottleneck by both designers and product managers, and testing their outputs with end users is a no man’s land. So what is the true role of design systems? How can we use them to drive change?

Embarking on a design systems journey is a rollercoaster ride for the entire organisation, not to mention the team that runs it. The success of a design system will depend on many factors beyond the UI inventory or tech stack — they will manifest themselves differently in each organisation, by amplifying communication and collaboration patterns for better or worse.

As an experienced design systems leader, I will share practical insights from my own journey, wins and mistakes, on how to manage design systems that add tangible value to the organisation and initiate positive and transformative changes in our approach to collaboration, design, development and UX. I will share how we can use design systems to drive meaningful conversations, build bridges and create new paradigms.

Break

Sponsor Session

AI’s impact on DesignOps tools: forget the if part–we’ve squarely moved on to when and how. The real question is this: are you ready for how AI will change your work as a DesignOps professional? Join us for a panel discussion with the companies that are envisioning or already utilizing artificial intelligence to dramatically change the practice of Design Operations.

Picture this: You spend weeks writing up your UX Playbook. Your Playbook covers every design and research method your team might use, when to use it, and how. It’s PERFECT. And… no one reads it.

I’ve been there! I’ve led or contributed to 4 Playbooks, 2 toolkits and uncountable miscellaneous “how to” docs in my 8 years as a UX Designer and Operations Manager. In this talk, we’ll cover how to: avoid common pitfalls in documentation, discover what your team needs most, apply a design process to your documentation efforts and deliver incremental value through documentation your team will actually use.

Knowledge management (KM) and KM best practices are not discussed as critical skills for DesignOps team members. DesignOps’ responsibilities should include the management of tacit and codified UX knowledge. Everyone talks about design systems and insight repositories. Still, those tools only cover a portion of the UX knowledge a DesignOps team needs to create, manage and make available to the organization. DesignOps teams are responsible for creating, managing, and disseminating processes, tools, and artifacts to support the teams involved in delivering design value and impact at scale.

Break

Sponsor Session

Your DesignOps journey is a story of ups and downs, lessons learned, and victories won. Join new and veteran DPMs alike in shaping the forthcoming Rosenfeld book, The Design Conductors: Your Essential Guide to Design Operations. Authors Rachel Posman and John Calhoun will guide you through an interactive session to collect the burning questions, inspiring successes, and real-world examples of how DesignOps is practiced in real life by our amazing community, including:

  • Getting into DesignOps
  • The skills and competencies of a DPM
  • DesignOps in the context of your team and organization
  • The tools in your DesignOps toolkit
  • DesignOps case studies you most want to see

Join us on this journey and make your mark on the future of DesignOps!

Sponsor Session

Looking for ways to improve your design planning and management process and tools? We’ve got you covered.
Whether you are an individual contributor or a DesignOps manager, everyone needs ecosystem visibility at multiple levels of altitude to help answer questions like:

  • What components am I working on next?
  • What screens use those components?
  • How many components and templates are complete?
  • What content types will be using those components?

You also need quick access to all the relevant design outputs that aren’t kept in a design system and are updated throughout the design process (e.g. information architecture, content types, taxonomies, interaction models, etc.)

When you work with Limina, we not only help you get UX done, but we empower your teams with new processes and tools to address the design planning and management needs and system thinking gaps in your organization

Interested in learning more?

  • As we partner with you, we will include our design planning and management templates and tools along with the design deliverables. You will see the tools in action during our collaboration, and we will empower you to own and manage the tools going forward.
  • Or, maybe you would prefer the mentorship or coaching approach? We can get to know your current state, introduce you to our process and tooling best practices, and guide you through the learning process

Psst…inside scoop: Design planning and management is a core knowledge management function that is deployed as you iterate through the design process

DesignOps helps design teams be more efficient, effective, and happy by creating the best possible circumstances for design. Whether there are one or more full-time DesignOps professionals available or just several people with the DesignOps mindset, coordination of DesignOps initiatives is necessary to have the biggest impact. It is therefore crucial to be working with a continuously updated roadmap for DesignOps, featuring prioritised initiatives, their rough planning, and expected impact on the design team’s metrics.

This session teaches you how to make sure the right DesignOps initiatives are executed with the right people, to have the biggest possible impact.

Often times our design principles become a propped-up trophy that we’re proud of but never truly use. Or we don’t even realize this trophy may be dusty and needs some cleaning up. This ideology could be applied to our design principles or design process, and hinder us from creating a more updated practice that is inclusive and equitable for our teams to interact with, understand, and improve our products. The very practice and values that our teams live by should be embedded with inclusion and equity at the forefront of what we do, not the end.

This talk is meant to help reimagine what an Inclusive design practice could look like for you and your teams, in hopes that you’ll be able to walk away with a framework or awareness of a streamlined practice that’s conducive to a diverse team. As an Equity-Centered UX Strategist, I collaborate with Design teams to ensure we’re building toward a more equitable practice that’s foundational and not faulty.

Wrap up

Working in Design Operations in 2023 can be overwhelming—and connecting with peers is more important than ever. Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to get advice, vent, laugh, cry, be heard, make new friends, or just be with your peeps, join us for a DesignOps community mixer. We’ll spend most of the hour in a series of small groups where you’ll get to meet, talk, and most of all, connect with your peers.

Opening Remarks

Theme Three: DesignOps+

DesignOps is more than scaling and maximizing efficiency. We’ll dig into the human side of DesignOps, from nurturing your career and lifting up your team, to improving collaboration and growing a more inclusive DesignOps profession.

DesignOps is more than scaling and maximizing efficiency. We’ll dig into the human side of DesignOps, from nurturing your career and lifting up your team, to improving collaboration and growing a more inclusive DesignOps profession.

Theme Three Intro

“How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale” (Adrienne Maree Brown).

To truly put humans in “human-centered design,” we must be care-centered. And how we practice care in our own teams or the “small scale” will influence the downstream impacts of our design work. This session is an invitation to explore how we practice and build ecologies of care, community, and collaboration to shift towards mutual power and symbiotic relationships throughout the design process. Drawing from a perspective of trauma-centeredness and harm reduction, we will all engage in deep (sometimes complex) reflection about what it means to care for yourself, with others, and develop an ethics of care to guide design teams. If the purpose of DesignOps is to build systems, processes and tools to support stronger design teams and individuals, this is the case for care: to show up as humans first, before we are designers, researchers, employers/the employed, technologists, or however you define your role.

Across the industry, design teams are focused on growing and supporting a diverse workforce. But current efforts are often unsuccessful — and despite an increase in time, effort and money behind organization’s DE&I efforts, most teams remain unchanged (and very white).

To truly address bias and support diversity efforts, teams need to stop focusing on feelings and instead create hiring and performance review systems that prevent individuals from acting on their bias. As a Design Enablement and Operations practice, we have worked with designers and their teams to build practices that standardize hiring criteria and reduce the impact of individuals’ bias and racism.

In this workshop, we will work together to:

  • Define tangible core competencies that define each job and the criteria hiring and performance are measured on
  • Create a Portfolio Review “Cheat Sheet” that allows a team to review a candidate with an anti-bias approach
  • Review examples of performance review and correct instances of bias

Break

Sponsor Session

The DesignOps Summit 2023 Expo Floor

Join our DesignOps Summit 2023 sponsors on our virtual expo floor. Get to know their brands
and ask them questions about their product, their sessions, and their expertise in the field.

Join our DesignOps Summit 2023 sponsors on our virtual expo floor. Get to know their brands, and ask them questions about their product, their sessions, and their expertise in the field.

As a DesignOps professional, your work holds power—the power to reinforce systemic marginalization, or the power to dismantle it. Spencer Stultz will focus on the intersection of Operations and equity, and explore the power dynamics and cultural norms that can impede true organizational change. In this session, you will:

  • Learn about ways that Design Operations can (unintentionally) enforce harmful dominant cultural standards
  • Explore alternative approaches to Operations that center equity—by examining community-oriented social justice principles that can address institutional failures and foster change
  • Gather tools to enable and empower you to dismantle harmful systems and processes within your own practice

The Design Operations remit is huge, and since championing and empowering neurodivergents in the workplace, multiple people have asked me why this is something I’m working on, and I always give the same answer: “because someone needs to”. It’s also within every Design leader’s remit to make sure their team is an accessible place to work, and that they put the right measurements in place to support their team to the fullest. As a Design Operations Manager, an empath, and an ally, I’m the one starting the conversation in our workplace, but it’s something every individual should be supporting.

Design Operations is about listening, researching, and finding areas for improvement. We have to change our offering depending on the person, team and time. Since the pandemic, there’s been an increase in adult women being diagnosed with ADHD; it’s finally being recognised and diagnosed outside of the stereotype of the naughty little boy in school, and this is something organisations need to recognise and adapt their processes to. This presentation talks about the ways we’ve identified some of the people we need to support, how we’re supporting them, and how we’re creating broader awareness.

Break

Sponsor Session

The DesignOps Summit 2023 Expo Floor

Join our DesignOps Summit 2023 sponsors on our virtual expo floor. Get to know their brands
and ask them questions about their product, their sessions, and their expertise in the field.

Join our DesignOps Summit 2023 sponsors on our virtual expo floor. Get to know their brands, and ask them questions about their product, their sessions, and their expertise in the field.

Over the past year, Abbey Smalley, former Head of Design Programs at Amazon has taken a deep dive into the types of Design Ops roles and levels that exist in the market. She’s collected the themes of her findings as well as synthesized insights from interviewing several Design Ops professionals and hiring managers into a newly developed framework that will help you better understand the types of opportunities that exist in the field. She’ll also share recommendations on core skills to learn and present in your portfolio to help you land your next dream role.

What happens next with your career? Engage with a panel of Design VPs as they share their leadership and career advancement journey. They’ll discuss their perception of the DesignOps practice as it’s matured over the years and how DesignOps has impacted their role. You’ll learn about the leadership qualities and mindset necessary to unlock your next opportunity.

Wrap up