Tough Conversations in UX

Three part workshop: August 27-28 & September 4, 2020

  • Our virtual workshops are designed with you in mind. They combine lecture, discussion, exercises, and office hours—spread out over the course of a week—so you can learn and engage without feeling drained by the end of the day.

    Who’s teaching and what they’ll cover

    Dan Brown - Tough Conversations in UX Worksshop

    Tough Conversations in UX

    with Dan Brown
    Co-founder, EightShapes
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    What you’ll learn

    You may not want to hear this, but if you’re doing your job right all your conversations are “tough”. That is, they deal with complex, nuanced topics like application design or organizational dynamics or performance. They involve people who care deeply about those topics. They require arriving confidently at decisions that matter to your job and everyone’s job.

    But, just because they’re necessary doesn’t make them easy. And sometimes it feels like our training prepared us for everything but the difficult conversation. Sometimes it feels like you all will never see eye-to-eye, or that none of you ever understand each other. Sometimes it feels like you all just keep talking in circles. Sometimes it feels like that one coworker doesn’t even *want* to come to an agreement. No one has these conversations because they want to: they have them because they have to.

    In this workshop, we’ll talk about tough conversations in UX and how to navigate them. We’ll identify and practice techniques that you can bring to your conversations to make them productive. These techniques fall into four categories:

    • Empathizing: Building understanding between people
    • Involving: Drawing people into the process
    • Redirecting: Shifting focus to productive topics or goals
    • Reframing: Adopting a different vocabulary

    These techniques directly address the most typical obstacles in conversations, like lack of empathy or understanding. We’ll look at some of these obstacles more deeply and discuss how fear and confusion are the primary distractors from productive conversation. We’ll develop a framework for facilitating conversations to arrive at meaningful conclusions based on the types of conversations you have. These different kinds of conversations include:

    • Facilitating: Managing a conversation toward a productive outcome
    • Presenting: Conveying ideas to get input or buy in
    • Critiquing: Providing feedback on work to move the project forward

    At the end of the workshop, you will receive a certificate of completion.

    About the instructor

    Dan Brown leads design projects to help clients define digital products and design complex experiences. He uses design and facilitation techniques to uncover problems and align teams around a product definition. Dan collaborates effectively with both executives and practitioners, working to establish an overall product strategy while designing the product experience. He co-founded EightShapes in 2006 to elevate the practice of user experience in the Washington, DC area and beyond.

    Dan wrote three books dealing with making design teams more effective and jump-starting the design process. He designed a card game for designers to help them improve their conflict resolution skills. He’s busy creating a new deck of cards to inspire designers working on difficult information architecture problems.


    Contact us and we’ll be glad to help.

  • Schedule

    Part 1: Thursday, August 27: 11am-3pm EDT
    Part 2: Friday, August 28: 11am-3pm EDT
    Part 3: Friday, September 4: 11am-1pm EDT

    Check your time zone here.

    At the end of the workshop, you will receive a certificate of completion.


    Early bird through July 27: $750
    Regular pricing July 28-August 20: $850
    After August 20: $950

    Group discounts are available. Save $50 per ticket for groups of three or more by choosing the group ticket when registering.


    Virtual: We’ve designed this workshop specifically for remote attendees; learn more from our FAQ.

    This workshop is part of the Enterprise Experience 2020 conference. View the full program.

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