User Experience Professionals Association of DC

The Washington DC Chapter of the
User Experience Professionals Association  



8:00 - 9:00

and Coffee

9:00 - 11:00

Opening Session and Keynote Presentations

Peter Morville Ubiquitous Information Architecture

Rahel Bailie The Content Strategy Paradox

11:00 - 11:30

Coffee Break and Poster Sessions


Room A

Room B

Room C

11:30 - 12:00

Gamification as a Method for User Engagement

Theresa Smith

SEO for a Bearish Search Landscape: Designing the User Experience for Google Panda

Marianne Sweeny

The Definitive Guide to Mobile Usability: Burning Questions About Mobile Usability Answered

John Whalen, Jim Jarrett, Nicole Burton


12:05 - 12:35

The UX of Rich Internet Apps

Kate Walser

Content as Conversation: Conversing Well in Web and Social Media

Ginny Redish

12:35 - 1:30

Lunch and Birds-of-a-Feather


Room A

Room B

Room C

1:30 - 2:00

#UXFAIL: Projects That Have Gone Wrong! Oh! So! Wrong!

Jimmy Chandler, Bennett Lauber, Lisa Goldberg, Adelle Emery

Designing an Effective Web Presence for the Hispanic Audience

Carla Briceno, Bill Killam

Triangles, Hula Hoops, and Chopsticks: Exploring Rhetorical Focus

Thom Haller

2:05 - 2:35

Lessons Learned About Orchestrating Remote, Moderated, International Usability Studies

Dana Douglas, Ann Walter

Serious Games in User Research

Troy Winfrey, Suzanne Coutchie

2:40 - 3:10

Au contraire, NNG: Lessons from the REAL Intranet of HHMI

Alycia Eck

Searching: How One Box Can Mean Different Things to Different People

Jasmin Phua, Duane Degler

Little People, Big Challenges: UX with Kids

Carol Smith

3:10 - 3:40

Coffee Break and Poster Sessions


Room A

Room B

3:40 - 4:10

Making Millions through State-of-the-art Mobile and Desktop eCommerce Usability

John Whalen, Michael Summers, Malia Nagle


Making SharePoint Usable and Useful

Kyle Schaeffer, Bonnie Strong

4:15 - 4:45

First Fridays — Implementing a Usability Outreach Program

Nicole Burton

4:50 - 5:20

Interactive Strategy for eCommerce and Mobile

Mariana Cavalcanti, Barney Kirby, Doug Brashear

UX in an Agile Environment

Claudette Archambault, Casey Bishop

5:30 - 8:00

Happy Hour at RFD! A joint event with MobileUXCamp DC

Keynote Presentations

9:00 - 11:00 Grand Ballroom Central

Ubiquitous Information Architecture:
Strategies for Cross-Channel User Experience Design

Peter MorvilleWe are at the crossroads of ubiquitous computing and the Internet, a place where information blurs the boundaries between products and services to enable cross-channel, multi-platform, trans-media, user experiences. This “intertwingularity” presents an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine information architecture. Never before have we been able to employ such a powerful combination of networks, devices, and sensors to create and share knowledge. This is the complex reality that today’s website managers, user experience designers, and information architects must navigate. That’s why we need to draw maps. A map is a powerful tool for navigating and understanding physical, digital, intellectual, and social space. It helps us to look, see, imagine, and show. In this session, we’ll explore how experience maps and “IA thinking” can improve the process and product of information architecture, knowledge management, and user experience design.

Peter is president of Semantic Studios and he blogs at His books include Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Ambient Findability, and Search Patterns. View presentation and related blog post

The Content Strategy Paradox

Rahel BailieThe rise of the term “content strategy” has given legitimacy to a field of practice that continues to be defined and refined. It is still a bit of cowboy country where typical deliverables continue to be articulated, and best practices yet to be agreed upon. On the other hand, content strategy seems to be everywhere, and underpins discussions of digital strategy, internet strategy, publishing strategy, and its subsets: social media strategy, mobile strategy, and content marketing strategy, to name a few. The separation of content strategy from the user experience seems contrived and artificial. Can a practitioner deliver an effective content strategy without considering the digital strategy? Can the user experience be effective without a good content strategy? And where do the boundaries lie between these two disciplines? This presentation explores the connections and intersections between the various functional areas and provides a framework for aspiring strategists and those in complementary professions.

Rahel is the principal of Intentional Design. View presentation (PDF)


Gamification as a method for user engagement

11:30 - 12:00 Room A

Gamification, where serious business or task oriented software uses game-like elements to boost user engagement, is generating both hype and skepticism. Superficially “gamifying” a serious application could easily create a nuisance, but it is possible to borrow techniques from game design to improve user experience by alternating the engagement intensity. There is a natural cadence and rhythm to the work that people do every day. Business software is ordinarily designed to maximize productivity, but this makes the user experience a grind and removes the natural cadence that oscillates between periods of intense engagement and periods of reflection. The reflection periods give people an opportunity to reflect and feel good about their accomplishments. This session will show how to introduce a cadence into business apps to create an experience that increases the overall level of engagement and satisfaction. View presentation (PDF)

SEO for a Bearish Search Landscape: Designing the User Experience for Google Panda

11:30 - 12:00 Room B

Successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) starts with user centered design that builds on an understanding of how the technology works with user behavior. It builds a strategy that is supported by tactics and ends with benchmarks and metrics that are used to refine the design. This session will present a framework for search success that examines Discovery, Planning, Design and Post Launch phases with specific recommendations for tasks, tools and deliverables. View presentation (PDF)

The Definitive Guide To Mobile Usability: Burning Questions About Mobile Usability Answered

11:30 - 12:35 Room C

Audience participation is mandatory in this session as attendees will vote on different usability questions, provide reasons for their choices, and then hear expert commentary and real-life examples from the panelists.  Planned topics and questions include:

  • Mobile devices web browsing will overtake desktop web browsing in 2013
  • iPad and Android acceptance by consumers and industry have outpaced any preceding technology
  • UX for mobile is really no different than UX for the desktop
  • Users need to be proficient and use a specific type of phone to be included in a usability study

The UX of Rich Internet Apps

12:05 - 12:35 Room A

Rich Internet applications are hot. With Flash, Flex, Google Web Toolkit, Dojo, and other development frameworks, developers are ga-ga over web-based applications that function like software.  For user experience designers, understanding the new opportunities and challenges these development frameworks bring can mean the difference between a clunky web-based product and a sleek, intuitive application that users will love. It is important to understand what to look for in the frameworks, what questions to ask developers, and how to communicate important aspects of the application. Attendees will get pointers to pattern libraries, samples of effective wireframes/prototypes and tool comparisons for creating Rich Internet Applications. View presentation and related references

Content as Conversation: Conversing Well in Web and Social Media

12:05 - 12:35 Room B

People come to web sites for the content. Whether they are looking at an intranet, social media, or internet site, on a large screen or a mobile, they aren’t there for the joy of navigating or searching. They come to accomplish a goal: to decide which restaurant to go to, to share their latest thoughts, to get the answer to a question, or to pay bills. UX specialists and designers are often pressured to spend all their time and energy on “find” and not nearly enough time on “understand.” This session will give attendees ammunition to take to their clients and customers to move UX beyond navigation and search to Web content, and provide guidelines to help attendees understand and practice plain language for web sites. View presentation (PDF)

Lunch and Birds-of-a-Feather Discussions

Grand Ballroom South
12:35 - 1:30

The sit-down lunch features chicken and vegan entrees.

Birds-of-a-Feather: there will be different discussion topics placed on the tables at lunch. Sit at a table that interests you, and chat with other professionals that share your interests. We’ll solicit your ideas for themes in the morning before lunch. There will also be unthemed tables.

#UXFAIL: Projects That Have Gone Wrong! Oh! So! Wrong!

We have all attended many conference presentations over the years where the presenters excitedly discussed various user experience (UX) successes in their unique project. With more than 70 years of combined experience in the usability and UX professions, these panelists have had their share of belly flops. They will discuss their failures, what they have learned, and how they changed strategies and procedures to ensure that the same mistakes were not made again. You will learn how to: improve the efficiency of your UX practice, ask the right questions at the right time, avoid jobs that make you cry, and make your UX career more productive and fun! 

Designing an Effective Web Presence for the Hispanic Audience

1:30 - 2:00 Room B

Hispanics are the largest minority group in the nation and there are approximately 32 million Hispanics online representing 14.5 percent of the total US online market.  A larger percentage of these users are foreign born and are either Spanish-dominant or bilingual. This growth of these segments represents an excellent opportunity for companies, organizations and government agencies who want to reach these audiences more efficiently online.  But designing an effective web presence for the Hispanic audience involves more than just translating English into Spanish, especially for groups who are new to the Web. Learn the key considerations for conducting usability analysis with Hispanic users and use the recommendations offered in this session to create more usable websites for the growing Hispanic Community. View presentation (PDF)

Triangles, Hula Hoops, And Chopsticks: Exploring Rhetorical Focus

1:30 - 2:00 Room C

No matter what problem you are working on, you need a foundation that envisions others using the product you create. In this session, you will build triangles with your hands, look through the triangles and ask: Who is my audience? What is their purpose, and what is their context? With this framing, you will be able to see patterns and make decisions. You will also use hula hoops to explore strategic relationships and maneuver chopsticks to envision the structure of an argument. The session will conclude by drafting agile personas and seeing how this unique approach can serve as the basis for any UX project. View presentation

Lessons Learned About Orchestrating Remote, Moderated, International Usability Studies

2:05 - 2:35 Room B

In today’s interconnected world, it is increasingly important to test products with users from all across the globe. Luckily, today’s technologies are making it easier and more affordable to recruit and conduct usability studies with international users. Using web-based teleconferencing tools, learn to conduct moderated usability tests from your usability lab and interact with remotely located test participants practically anywhere in the world that there is a computer and an Internet connection. There are some special challenges that arise in orchestrating studies across borders, time zones, and in some cases, languages, and in locating and recruiting participants. A little organization, a little flexibility, and a lot of patience will go a long way in conducting a successful, yet still affordable, international usability study with the payoff developing a more usable product for a wider range of users. View presentation (PDF)

Serious Games In User Research

2:05 - 2:35 Room C

Gamification or adding game-like elements to non-game designs or products has become a hot topic in user experience. Sites like Foursquare offer badges and many online forums use reputation points or ladders to build communities. But before these game elements are added to a final product, games have another role to play in designundefinedas a potentially invaluable addition to user research techniques called serious games. Serious games have a lot to offer the user experience practitioner. Games are fun, easy to adopt, and using them for research tends to engage users even without other rewards. A successful game tends to create a state of what Mihaly Czsikszentmihalyi refers to as “flow” or intense psychological concentration and absorption. When users are in such a state of mind, they tend to offer more spontaneous and authentic responses. Using a case study format of a federal Web project that used games during the research and early design phases, attendees will see how these techniques can produce surprising and satisfying results and improved user insights. View presentation (PDF)

Au Contraire, NNG: Lessons from the Real Intranet of HHMI

2:40 - 3:10 Room A

In 2009, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched an enterprise portal and six months later the site was included in the Nielsen Norman Group’s “Ten Best Intranets of 2010” report. Two consulting firms with a team of over 13 people assisted with all aspects of the portal project from information architecture to user interface design to programming. However, it was after the usability team rolled off the project, when the site was in production, that the real feedback from end users working with the site in real-time began to arrive. Two years later, the MyHHMI portal is still a work in progress with a host of usability issues presenting obstacles to a more significant adoption rate. This session will address what the NNG report said worked, explore why it did or did not, and examine usability lessons learned from the client’s perspective. View presentation (PDF)

Searching: How One Box Can Mean Different Things To Different People

2:40 - 3:10 Room B

Discover how user mental models relate to online search, particularly for more intensive knowledge work or critical information needs. Real-world examples will demonstrate design solutions used to capture the unique needs of users based on the users’ perception of search and its role in their task, user understanding of how to frame searches, and user motivations at various stages of searching/discovery. Learn about the different types and stages of searching, similarities and differences in user mental models and the effect that may have on what tools and support should be available, and design solutions and patterns that have been employed to support the various search stages and users. View presentation (PDF)

Little People, Big Challenges: UX With Kids

2:40 - 3:10 Room C

Conducting UX activities with school-age children is fun and interesting, though it can also be frustrating at times. Children’s abilities change drastically between ages 5 and 12 and in this brief session participants will learn the characteristics of these kids. When planning a project whose user group includes children, there are many details that need to be paid attention to. These aren’t just little people; they have a completely different range of emotional, physical and learning abilities than adults. What makes the youngest in this group feel at ease may make the older children uncomfortable and vice versa. Knowing the difference is important to your success or failure. This session will teach techniques for: working with kids and how their cognitive functioning and emotional maturity might affect their ability to interpret and understand your questions and follow directions, dealing with situations that can arise during research and testing with these age groups, and analyzing findings to give great recommendations to create successful products and services. View presentation (PDF)

Making Millions Through State-Of-The-Art Mobile and Desktop eCommerce Usability

3:40 - 4:45 Room A

Looking for examples of state-of-the-art eCommerce usability? Selling an item on an eCommerce store is not as easy as you might first think. Through interactive demonstrations with audience members and a review of video snippets from actual high-end eCommerce usability studies, this session will reveal the most important usability weaknesses that eCommerce sites face. We will also look at results from fresh new studies of mobile eCommerce sites and discuss the best techniques for conducting mobile usability studies of eCommerce sites, how smartphones and tablets are changing usability, and what’s next in bleeding-edge usability for the commercial space.

Making Sharepoint Usable And Useful

3:40 - 4:10 Room B

The success of any Enterprise Content Management System (ECM) depends on how well and how willingly employees use it. Employees expect work systems to be as fast, simple and intuitive as consumer technology yet internal business systems— ECM to Intranet — are generally purchased and implemented by senior executives and IT managers who are not the primary end users. Little thought is given to user experience or design as these installations are viewed as utility software such as email or timesheets. Businesses soon discover that installing SharePoint ‘out of the box’ and expecting employees to embrace it does not realize the potential of the technology. Often, after a brief flurry of use by interested first adopters, employees find the evolving interface and architecture difficult to follow and confusing to navigate so they may stop using it and return to their previous information hoarding habits. By applying even the simplest of best practices, governance, and strategies for user adoption, the odds of SharePoint fulfilling its promise increase. Using case studies, attendees will learn how to introduce user experience to commonly IT-driven SharePoint content management and collaboration sites. View presentation (PDF)

First Fridays — Implementing A Usability Outreach Program

4:15 - 4:45 Room B

First Fridays is a monthly session of simple, low-cost product testing designed to find and fix basic usability problems. It’s based on the discount usability testing method supported by industry leaders, including Steve Krug in his latest book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. In addition to helping government web teams find and fix problems, the First Fridays program trains the U.S. General Services Administration and agency staff to learn how to organize and conduct tests for themselves. In this session, you’ll learn how the First Fridays program works, lessons learned through monthly testing of various government websites, and how you can create a similar program at your organization. View presentation (PDF)

Interactive Strategy for eCommerce and Mobile

Mariana Cavalcanti, Barney Kirby, Doug Brashear
4:50 - 5:20 Room A

Successful retail companies are able to innovate new product concepts and define strategies for future enhancements that will drive sales. In order to keep Marriott ahead of its competition and build distinct products, an Interactive Strategy discipline was formed within our eCommerce User Experience group. In this session, you will learn what interactive strategy is and how it leads to market innovations and game changers. We will illustrate Marriott’s interactive strategy process that has been developed and refined over the last three years through a case study of a new mobile product. We will also discuss the unique challenges of mobile and how we addressed them in our strategic roadmap. 

UX In An Agile Environment

4:50 - 5:20 Room B

Agile development involves an iterative and just-in-time requirements gathering-design-development-testing software development process. This session will describe challenges and lessons learned in transitioning to agile development for web-based applications. We’ll share the new philosophy we’ve adopted to succeed in agile projects, including shifting our thinking to “just-in-time”; planning long-term while focusing short-term; daily communications; thinking small but comprehensively; testing the parts and the whole; and trust among team members. View presentation (PDF)

User Focus Happy Hour & Networking Reception at RFD!

Regional Food & Drink, 810 7th Street, NW
5:30 - 8:00

Happy hour hosted by UPA DC's User Focus 2011 Conference and MobileUXCamp 2011

MobileUXCamp partnered with UPA DC to celebrate the close of User Focus 2011 and the opening of MobileUXCamp DC 2011. The reception was at RFD, one block from the Renaissance Hotel.

The reception offered the opportunity for casual networking and schmoozing with our inspiring presenters, DC’s finest usability and design professionals, potential employers/employees, PLUS people who are attending MobileUXCamp DC the next day. Reception was also open to people who could not attend the conference


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