Keynote

Opening Keynote

Opening Keynote

This year's conference includes a special treat - an opening Keynote from internationally-renowned Design Researcher, Steve Portigal. Steve has been working in the field of design research for a couple of decades and garnered a reputation as a deep thinker and very practical practitioner. He will be sharing that experience with the audience, and helping us all improve our practice.

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Long presentations

Just add water: Tips and tricks to help non-designers conduct impactful research

Just add water: Tips and tricks to help non-designers conduct impactful research

Meld Studios has been experimenting with different ways to help design newbies conduct impactful research. In this talk we will share what we’ve been trying and how it’s been working.

This year has seen a surge in requests relating to teams of non-designers wanting to conduct their own research. In response, we’ve been experimenting with different ways to help non-designers conduct impactful research. This talk covers tips and traps around:

- Scoping and planning research activities 
- Briefing teams to independently conduct research for the first time.
- Helping teams to make sense of their research.

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Old tools can do new tricks: Using Trello to conduct qualitative research more efficiently

Old tools can do new tricks: Using Trello to conduct qualitative research more efficiently

Academia might give us the standards for rigour in research, but it certainly doesn’t have an edge in innovating on how we do this kind of work. Trello, invented for project management, actually serves quite nicely as a digital space for qualitative data collection, synthesis and analysis. You will learn when and how to leverage this tool in your next qualitative study.

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On empathy: Defining empathy and its role in design research

On empathy: Defining empathy and its role in design research

Empathy is one of those over-used words, particularly in design, it’s almost lost its meaning. By taking a research approach, this talk aims to define empathy, it’s meaning and purpose in the context of design research. It will leave the audience with tangible examples of applying empathy in the world of design research and sharing it within organisations.

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Research is a team sport: Lessons from including developers, PMs and whole teams in design research

Research is a team sport: Lessons from including developers, PMs and whole teams in design research

Collaborative research can be an incredible tool to keep whole teams thinking user-centred. And the diversity of perspectives available from developers, PMs and is an incredibly important asset for designers to harness. I'll share my lessons from including whole teams in research - how to do it, and pitfalls to avoid!

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Return on Research (RoR): How to Quantify the Success of Design Research

Return on Research (RoR): How to Quantify the Success of Design Research

Ever received push back from decision-makers when justifying conducting research to inform your design work?

Need to quantify the business benefits that customer research provides?

Ever required a more compelling rationale for research than “we need to be customer centred”?

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Shifting the dial on the UN Sustainability Goals through targeted design research

Shifting the dial on the UN Sustainability Goals through targeted design research

Design research can become transactional and ad hoc. Aspiring to shift the needle on the UN Sustainability
Goals provides ThinkPlace with a focus to undertake design research that has relevance, depth and meaning to
enable richer insight and deliver better outcomes. Come and learn through our case studies how we are
experimenting with design research methods to create deeper impact.

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Taking the driver’s seat: our journey to change hearts and minds

Taking the driver’s seat: our journey to change hearts and minds

The presentation will cover how we’ve been creating customer-centricity through research, particularly drawing on
journey-led change. We will showcase a journey of our journey mapping journey at UniSuper, including the pain
points, our thoughts, our feelings, the challenges and the opportunities at each step.

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The truth doesn’t cost anything. But a lie could cost you everything.

The truth doesn’t cost anything. But a lie could cost you everything.

Do you know when participants are lying to you?

Is there anything you can do to uncover the truth?

I can guarantee that as a UX researcher or tester who has conducted interviews, test sessions and especially focus groups you would have participants who have lied to you. Why do users lie to us when we are trying to help create a better user experience for them?

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20 minute presentations

7 skills I wish I learned before becoming a UX Researcher

7 skills I wish I learned before becoming a UX Researcher

It's essential to know how to use different research methodologies and how the design process
works to be a UX Researcher. But there are skills they don't teach you in university or General
Assembly that are critical for being effective in a company setting. Learn about the 7 skills you
should master to be a successful UX Researcher.

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Creativity in research: designing your own methods when the usual ones won’t cut it

Creativity in research: designing your own methods when the usual ones won’t cut it

What happens when you’re faced with a research question that none of your usual methods can
address well enough? How might you tailor your approach to such a question, without losing out
on the validity that traditional methods guarantee? This talk will present frameworks for creative
thinking and method selection, and use them to explore how you can strike the delicate balance
between observing rigour and breaking new grounds when it comes to design research.

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Crowdsourcing insights

Crowdsourcing insights

That old line about the best way to eat an elephant* being "one bite at a time" is all well and good, but who really has time for that big a meal when it comes to understanding past research? Learn about a technique that will reduce how long it takes to digest and synthesise all that research, while also getting your whole team working together and building consensus on where you need to focus your new research activities. 

*No actual elephants were harmed in the making of this talk.

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Dealing with Compassion Fatigue

Dealing with Compassion Fatigue

There is a dark pathway; we don’t talk about, a pathway that a good number of design researchers have been taking about of late. It’s a path into situations that are emotional demanding, spilling into engagements with high levels of compassion.  This can have a lasting effect on you.   

Find out what can you or your colleagues do about this?  Is it just part of the role we take on as story collectors or is there something else we can do here.

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Keen to understand users? Research their social world!

Keen to understand users? Research their social world!

In design research, other than observing user-product interaction, we need more consideration for users’ social interaction – who do they talk to, who do they live with, who are important to them, how are they influenced by other people and by whom etc. All people are socially related - whether they are our users or not. Social interaction is a crucial part of user context and it’s helpful to understand user experience. I’d like to share my thoughts and case study to suggest more attention to be paid to human social interaction in design research.

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Move over stigma! How design research helped us navigate past barriers to help seeking

Move over stigma! How design research helped us navigate past barriers to help seeking

How do you engage young people with mental health support if they don’t identify as someone with a mental health issue? Find out how ReachOut created a campaign which navigated around the stigma surrounding help seeking through design research with young people.

This presentation will be of interest to anyone exploring issues where people fear judgment, and will give practical tips on how to approach sensitive conversations. It is also for those interested to hear the benefits of using a mixed platform approach to design research.

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Overcoming the user researcher’s fallacy

Overcoming the user researcher’s fallacy

The user researcher's fallacy: "My job is to learn about users". Truth: "My job is to help my team learn about users". 

It might seem like a tremendous challenge, but democratisation of user research is possible for all of us. Kathleen will share how she and her team of user researcher tried, failed and finally succeeded in achieving this in a large Product & Tech organisation in Scandinavia. 

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Play Time! Exploring digital experiences with board games, trainsets & 3D printed toilets

Play Time! Exploring digital experiences with board games, trainsets & 3D printed toilets

Designing for digital experiences can sometimes feel like you’re in a ‘user interview-prototype-A/B test’ rinse-repeat research cycle focussed around screens and missing the juicy human stories.

PlayTime! is for those eager to open the toy-box and experiment with low-tech everyday objects to break the cycle and craft better digital experiences. Design Anthropologist Shae Quabba will share her methods for using tangible tools during design research, their application in digital contexts and the qualitative insights that can be derived from playing with board games, trainsets and 3D printed toilets.

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Unicorns and Rhinos: the rise of the hybrid UX Researcher + Data Analyst

Unicorns and Rhinos: the rise of the hybrid UX Researcher + Data Analyst

If collecting data is easier than ever and UX tools are readily available, why is it so difficult to make smart product decisions? If big data is here to stay, where does regular research fit? Is a new breed of UX Researcher emerging? I'll illustrate how Data Analysts and UX researchers blur the lines at carwow and mine insights together to unlock the best designs. I’ll also walk through how, when paired together, qualitative and quantitative data can get everyone interested in user behaviour.

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