Our program.

On June 6, we have our day one tracks: tailored sets of talks with something for everyone — whether you’re just starting out, deepening your expertise, leading a team or doing research as a designer. We also have our full-day Research Ops workshop, for those who are building a research practice from the ground up.

On June 7, we have a full day of talks, featuring best in class speakers talking about groundbreaking new ideas and timely issues in UXR.

June 6 – Tracks & Workshop.

Research Foundations.

Dive deep into lesser-known methods and emerging perspectives to build and shape your UX research toolkit.

Who's it for? Students and newer UXRs looking to strengthen their execution skills, broaden their technical competencies, and make steps to level up.

  • Don’t Start With Data: A framework for scoping impactful research

    – Behzod Sirjani, Slack

...In this talk, Behzod shares a framework for scoping impactful research that he's developed through learning from his own mistakes. He covers why doing the exact thing you're being asked is often not enough and provides the audience with tools for engaging with your team in order for everyone to become better producers and consumers of research overall.

  • Research: the goal, the role, and having an impact

    – Dave Hora, Dave's Research Company

We're riding the wave of User Experience, and design is moving towards a steadier state, while for many of us, the research component is new and uncharted. To advance this work, we need an actionable picture of what it really means to do UX research. This includes how ought to fit into the organization, and what it means to work and grow as a successful researcher...

  • Quantitative Research

    – Heather ONeill, Pixels for Humans

Most user research is qualitative – with good reason. We need to understand why people do what they do, to create products that work for them. But that shouldn’t mean excluding hard numbers or quantitative data. Learning a few quantitative research methods can take your research to the next level, and help you make the case for more (and better) qualitative research...

  • Doing Guerilla Research Right

    – Maia Ottenstein, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals

This talk gives a detailed overview of guerrilla research, including: what it is, how guerrilla methods compare with traditional methods, and how to strategize and conduct your own guerrilla research study. Maia will also showcase two distinct case studies to demonstrate the dissimilar forms guerrilla methods can take, and how different approaches fit the needs of different projects...

  • Amplifying insights from underrepresented users to build more inclusive products

    – Nanako Era, Airbnb

...What can we, as researchers, do to proactively include and amplify the experiences of underrepresented users who don’t feel a sense of belonging? This talk will look at the gap between how underrepresented users experience products vs. the general population, and how this gap can help to guide where efforts should be focused to make products more inclusive. It will dive into case studies and practices we can adopt in research to build better, more inclusive products that aim to provide equal access for everyone, and the ways in which Airbnb is tackling inclusivity at scale.

Advancing Your Practice.

Learn how well-developed methods are being adapted in challenging contexts and innovative ways.

Who's it for? Intermediate and senior UXRs looking for fresh perspectives and ideas.

  • I don’t talk like that! Research methods and ethics for natural language interaction.

    – Abby Bajuniemi, Gomoll Research + Design

Language is a highly complex and socially constructed phenomenon. We use language and our voices to indicate identity, group membership, emotion, and to create closeness/distance, among other things. Language use and voice can change based on factors such as gender, age, region/location, or disability. This intense personal connection to language means that there are particular ethical and sensitivity considerations to researching natural language for the digital space. Not only do people have very strong opinions about language, they often say the exact opposite of what they do. It can be incredibly difficult to get natural language samples, especially in a research setting...

  • Making Hiring Human

    – Adam Mansour, Google

...What does it look like to build enterprise products that value personal connections and equity, just as much as scalability and speed? What research methods and deliverables best communicate recruiters’ needs and values to product managers, designers, and data scientists? In this talk, I’ll be sharing how my team conducts and advocates for UX research that helps users feel more human at work, and tools to help you do so too.

  • How to survive and thrive during a 3-month diary study

    – Alison Post & Rubén Perez-Huidobro, Shopify

..From the full arsenal of tools and methods that researchers have available to them, a diary study can be an appealing option, but difficult to put into practice due to budget and timing constraints. However, investing time into conducting a diary study can result in impacting your team from a tactical and strategic standpoint long after the study is over...

  • Researching the end: What doing user research in funeralcare has taught me

    – Gillian MacDonald, Co-op Digital

..Gillian has been a user researcher on the digital team responsible for maintaining and continuing to build this live product for the last 6 months. She spends a lot of time hanging out in funeral homes across the UK, getting to know the colleagues who work there, learning about how they manage their daily work life, and trying to understand how this new digital tool has shaped their experiences.,,

  • Plotting: User Interviews Made Visual

    – Jing Jing Tan, The Working Group (TWG)

User interviews are one of the most versatile tools in a researcher’s toolbox. However, we’ve also dealt with their limitations from time to time. When there are multiple items or topic threads for the researcher to follow up on, there can be significant cognitive load for both researcher and interviewee. To address this, Jing Jing has been experimenting with ways of making user interviews visual called plotting...

Leadership in Research.

Hear stories from research leaders about how they manage their teams and elevate the role of research in their organizations.

Who's it for? Research Leads and Managers looking for perspectives on leadership in UXR.

  • You're already a researcher

    – Gregg Bernstein, Vox Media

When everyone in an organization shares useful, insightful information, wonderful things happen: we align our company strategies and our teams toward common goals, and we make great user experiences.Research leadership unlocks that information by advocating for users and soliciting insights far and wide. It encourages everyone in an organization to think like a researcher, and empowers colleagues to vocalize and share their valuable perspectives to make better decisions. Research becomes everyone’s job in a customer-oriented organization...

  • Measuring trust when conversion isn't enough

    – Ling Hu & Nicole Hill, Groupon

...In this talk, Ling and Nicole will show you how they mixed qualitative UX research with the field of psychometric scale development to create a survey tool for measuring consumer trust in Groupon’s online ratings and reviews. They will introduce this powerful approach, explain the scale creation process and discuss some of the challenges and lessons learned when undertaking such an endeavor...

  • How to succeed as a UXR Manager: Capitalizing on your strengths as a researcher

    – Monal Chokshi, Lyft

Want to be a better manager? Look no further than the skills that got you to where you are...In this talk, I'll explain what makes for a great manager, especially in the domain of UX Research, and how utilizing your skills learned as a researcher can further enhance your capabilities and success as a people manager and strategic leader for your company.

  • Toward a More Perfect Union: Strategies to Equalize the Value of Research and Data Science at Your Organization

    – Ovetta Sampson, IDEO

Pitched a research trip to senior leadership only to be denied in favor of “data-driven insights?” In the middle of a research share when a client questions the number of people in the qualitative study? Gulf between UX Research teams and data scientists at your organization seen too wide to overcome? At this talk, Ovetta will share practical strategies and activities you can use to transform an organization that's "drunk on data," into one that realizes the value of marrying data science work with qualitative research...

…and more to come!

Research Through Design.

Learn from practitioners who are rooted strongly in the context of design practices and include design methods within their research toolkit.

Who's it for? Designers who have one foot in both the world of UXR and design that are looking to hear stories about how they’re uniquely positioned to be catalysts for change.

  • How might we future proof user experience?

    – Ariel Sim, MaRS Discovery District

If user experience is on a mission to perfect functional and incremental design, design anthropology is on a mission to illuminate the social transformations that comes from large-scale changes to technology and systems. We will start by exploring a theory of social change that challenges us to broaden our view of design from tomorrow’s innovations to the 20-50 year view of how our designs reshape our behaviours and rules of engagement. We’ll then deep dive into the responsibility of designers, the transdisciplinary nature of modern design, and we will play with some scenarios of possible futures...

  • Real talk: Doing UX research as a designer

    – Kristina Rostorotsky, Loblaw Digital

More and more designers are expected to conduct hands-on research. But how do you know you’re doing it the “right” way? And how do you juggle design and research on daily basis? Whether you are a designer at a small startup or a large organization, this talk will give you 5 ways to be a more effective researcher—and feel more confident in the process. We’ll also discuss some fears around doing research the “right” way—let’s face it, we’ve all had them...

  • Involving stakeholders in design research: a primer for success

    – Ron Bronson, Independent

Design research involves more than just talking to users. Bringing everyone inside of our organization or company along at every stage of the process, is a key piece of the research puzzle. In this talk, Ron will explore the ways to actively involve stakeholders through every stage of the research process by exploring his past work on website redesigns in local government...

  • Design it wrong: How designing for research is different

    – Shruti Ramiah, N26

When we design, we try to get the answer right; to eliminate potential errors and create the best possible experience. With the tools and kits available today, designers move from initial ideas to what looks like finished designs faster than ever. Consequently, too much of user research focusses solely on confirming that the answer at hand is right enough. But designing for research is not about getting it right. It's about designing to enable effective response and meaningful feedback from people...

…and more to come!

Research Ops Workshop.

Alongside our tracks, we'll also be having our full-day Research Ops workshop, for those who are building a research practice from the ground up.

  • ResearchOps 101: How to Get ResearchOps Off the Ground

    – Kate Towsey, Atlassian

Over the past decade, user research has matured significantly. It’s increasingly more common for large organisations to have dozens of people doing user research, whether as part of a dedicated team of researchers or other design roles. Growing team sizes and increasing organisational demand has meant that the pressures placed on people doing research have grown too. To meet demand (and be efficient, impactful and compliant) researchers in growing teams need more rigorous operational support.

ResearchOps is rising to address these needs, but most efforts fall short because they focus on individual elements and tools rather than stepping back and viewing the broader ecosystem. We need to deliver ResearchOps as a seamless ecosystem that supports researchers and the organisation in the full research workflow.

In this full-day workshop, you’ll learn about all the elements of the ResearchOps ecosystem and how they fit together. You’ll explore and map where to start in building out a practical, achievable and maintainable ResearchOps function that’s appropriate to your organisation’s maturity and scale. You’ll be able to troubleshoot with someone who’s done and is doing it all.

The workshop is fun, fast paced, interactive and engaging. You’ll get a small amount of preparation work to do so that you can make the most of the day.

June 7 – Main Stage.

  • Dynamic UXR: Ethical Responsibilities and AI

    – Carol J. Smith, Uber

Artificially intelligent technologies are exciting and with them come a lot of new UXR responsibilities. How do we understand and clarify our users need for transparency, control, and access (and more) when the system is constantly changing? These dynamic systems are already part of our everyday lives and quickly becoming part of our jobs. What are our responsibilities with regard to ethics and protecting users from bias?

  • Reclaiming the Promise of UX Research

    – Christopher Geison, AnswerLab

The disconnect between technologies’ promise and their failings is more stark than it’s been in decades. New technologies like voice UIs, connected products, AR, and AI have extraordinary promise to improve users' experiences at the same time the news is filled with stories of tech companies’ ethical lapses. We want to build a better future, to disrupt and innovate, but we won’t accomplish those goals if all we do is ‘test & iterate.’ While usability testing and prototype explorations are critical, there is a suite of methodologies we can bring to bear to solve the more substantive problems confronting tech...

  • Building a product within a product: How research saved Lookback from a long, painful death

    – Kacie Wise & Henrik Mattsson, Lookback

You can build a “great product”, packed with powerful features and tech, but if it’s not informed by users - it will likely fail. Similarly, you can build a “great company”, packed with smart people and ideas, but if it’s not informed by it’s users (employees) - it will likely fail too. Both fail in ways that are hard to notice. In this talk, we’ll share how research became a core strategy in every area of our business—whether the customer’s experience of our product, or with our own employee’s experience of our company.

  • The State of ResearchOps: More Than Just Theory.

    – Kate Towsey, Atlassian

...In 2018, through the work of the ResearchOps Community and its #WhatisResearchOps initiative, the nascent practice of ResearchOps was given shape: via a series of global workshops by researchers and for researchers, the Community explored what ResearchOps should look like and produced a framework to map its various parts. But what’s behind the theory? What does ResearchOps actually look like in the world today? And who are the people leading the way?...

  • How To Serve A Nation

    – Mithula Naik, Canadian Digital Service (CDS)

How do you serve an entire country? The Canadian Digital Service (CDS) solves large-scale government service problems with federal organizations by conducting meaningful research with people from all walks and stages of life. This talk focuses on the intricate process of developing inclusive digital solutions for diverse populations including newcomers to Canada, low-income Canadians, Veterans and more. Often, these may include vulnerable people who rely on government services that aren’t provided by anyone else...

  • Taking a Different Tack: How We Built Up Research at Slack

    – Michael Massimi & Christina Janzer, Slack

About 3 years ago, Slack decided to create a Research team. In this talk, the founding members will share their experience building the team from the ground up, and how their team has evolved since then. They will share how they coordinate among many disciplines, methods, and business units to create a unified roadmap for the company. The principles will be illustrated with a case study examining how research prepared Slack for launch in Japan. The talk concludes with a set of lessons learned along the way.

  • Strive For A Child's Mindset: Lessons I’ve learned about research and design from my 4 year old daughter

    – Noam Segal, Wealthfront

Children are courageous, experimenting with everything that comes in their path. They notice the little things, including the things that evade most of us grown-ups.. A child will embrace their creativity and failures, and never cease to ask why, again, and again, and AGAIN. Children have the makings of a brilliant researcher, but typically we are so focused on TEACHING children, we forget that there is much to LEARN from them. In this talk, Noam will invite you on a journey into a child’s mindset, and how he became a better researcher when he strived to be more like his 4-year-old daughter.

  • The Siren Call of Self-Neglect

    – Vivianne Castillo, Salesforce

In many ways, UX Researchers are suppose to protect, elevate and advocate for the humanity and needs of people who engage with designed experiences. Unfortunately we often try to accomplish these goals at the expense of our own health and well-being while simultaneously working at companies and organizations who don't know how to mentally and emotionally support us as we wade into the complexity and messiness of humanity within our research...

…and more to come!