User Experience Professionals Association of DC

The Washington DC Chapter of the
User Experience Professionals Association  


Speaker Biographies

Keynote Presenters

Peter Morville

Peter MorvillePeter Morville is a writer, speaker, and consultant. He is best known for helping to create the discipline of information architecture. His bestselling books include Information Architecture for the World Wide Web and Ambient Findability. Peter’s latest book, Search Patterns, was published by O’Reilly Media in 2010.

He advises such clients as AT&T, the American Psychological Association, Harvard, IBM, the Library of Congress, Microsoft, the National Cancer Institute, Vodafone, and the Weather Channel. His work on information architecture and user experience has been covered by Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal.

Peter lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Knowsy. Peter is president of Semantic Studios and he blogs at

Rahel Bailie

Rahel BailieRahel Anne Bailie is the principal of Intentional Design, and brings substantial business, communication, and instructional design experience to her projects, where she and a select group of professional partners help organizations create and better manage their communication products.

Her focus on performance improvement means beginning with an analysis of business goals and ensuring that any improvements support those goals.

Rahel has many years of experience in the areas of content development and user experience environments, including environments producing localized and/or internationalized content. She understands the complexities of content architecture and flows, and synthesizes her findings to match business requirements to user need.

A self-identified geek, Rahel is drawn to technology like a moth to flame, and embraces technologies that serve to improve the performance of communication products and the processes to create and maintain them. She was elected Fellow of the Society of Technical Communication in 2009, is involved in a number of content strategy communities, and holds memberships in related professional associations such as the Information Architecture Association and Usability Professionals’ Association, as well as local groups such asVanUE, in order to keep current in pertinent practice areas.

Grand Ballroom South

Session Presenters

Theresa Smith

Theresa Smith is from Sphere of Influence’s Software Product Design Group. She leads Sphere of Influence’s product design efforts on retail, financial and government products. Her efforts have included designing and developing business software that supports USAID projects around the world, point of sale systems for quick service restaurants, payroll systems, and large-scale government systems. Theresa has been a speaker at several conferences including Agile 2008 with the topic “Product Innovation is Practical, Important, and Possible.’ She is currently working on a book on software product design. Theresa received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Marianne Sweeny

Marianne Sweeny considers herself most fortunate to be able to combine her passions for search and the user experience. However, her deep enthusiasm for technology was accompanied by an unfortunate ineptitude at programming. Consequently, she decided to bridge the gap between the people who use and those who develop search systems by designing a strategic approach to search optimization, online demand generation and enterprise search configuration. Through her company Daedalus Information Systems, Marianne works with companies of all sizes and individuals to help them better understand search technology and how to make it work more effectively in achieving business goals and objectives. Prior to devoting herself full-time to Daedalus, Marianne built the search marketing and optimization practice for Ascentium, a digital agency headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. She was a Web Producer/Information Architect at Microsoft for over 7 years. Marianne is a frequent conference presenter on search-related topics.

John Whalen

John Whalen has a PhD in Cognitive Science with over 10 years of User-Centered Design experience. John’s specialty is improving user experience using a mix of one part in-depth user study, one part business needs, and one part use of expert knowledge of human vision, visual attention, memory and language. John has experience working with Fortune 500 clients in the financial, healthcare, ecommerce and government verticals. Prior to consulting, John was an award winning teacher and Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UCLA. John’s latest research interest is in learning how mobile devices and persuasive design will change the user experience.

Jim Jarrett

Jim Jarrett is Principal User Experience Architect for BoxTone, a global Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Software and Services provider, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. For more than 20 years, he has led design teams to deliver breakthrough experiences in enterprise software and hardware products. He has worked across diverse domains such as multimedia education, industrial automation, and healthcare/bioinformatics. Jim is now pursuing his personal mission (“Delight. Collaborate. Grow.”) in the third digital revolution — mobile devices.

Nicole Burton

Nicole Burton is the User Experience Evangelist in the Center for Excellence in Digital Government at GSA. As the program manager of First Fridays Product Testing, she teaches usability testing to GSA staff and government web managers. In addition, she promotes usability best practices for government websites and web applications; and teaches courses for Web Manager University. Before joining GSA, Nicole worked as a usability analyst at the Financial Management Service of the Department of Treasury, and at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She is a Certified Usability Analyst (Human Factors International) with a BA in English from the University of the District of Columbia, and a member of the Usability Professionals’ Association. Nicole is also a published playwright and memoirist, which she believes enhances her human factors practice.

Kate Walser

Kate Walser, CX Insights’ Principal Consultant, is a Senior User Experience Designer with more than 13 years experience designing enterprise Web applications and software that promote usability, productivity, and accessibility. Her focus includes designing interactions and applications for enterprise collaboration, using rich Internet application frameworks, web 2.0 and social media tools. She has worked with large organizations including the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Navy; Internal Revenue Service; and others to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing objectives. The initial launch of her latest design — a rich internet app that replaced an existing e-procurement system ’s cut business process time by 35%. Kate is a frequent speaker in international and local venues on social media, user experience, and accessibility. She has spoken at South by Southwest, IXDA’s Interaction conference, International Usability Professionals’ Association, and various business and government conferences. Kate led Usability and Knowledge Management Centers of Excellence at SRA International and the Usability Center and user experience teams at American Management Systems (now CGI), both publicly-traded 6000+ employee companies. She founded CX Insights to focus on improving customer and citizen experiences through great design, emphasizing usability and accessibility. Kate is a member of the Center for Plain Language and various user experience groups, including Interaction Design Association. She served on the federal Section 508 Refresh Advisory Board and DC Chapter of Usability Professionals’ Association. Kate has an MBA in strategy and international business and an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering.

12:05 - 12:35 Room A

Ginny Redish

Janice (Ginny) Redish has been a passionate evangelist for plain language and usability for many years. She is an internationally-renowned consultant and speaker, widely-recognized for her pioneering work in bring clarity to web sites, documents, and software interfaces. Ginny is co-author of two of the classic books on usability and author of numerous papers and book chapters on plain language, user research, writing for the web, and other topics. Reviewers have raved about her most recent book, Letting Go of the Words — Writing Web Content that Works. Highly sought after as a speaker and workshop leader, Ginny is a dynamic instructor who has trained thousands of writers and subject matter specialists in the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe in how to write clearly. Ginny has keynoted conferences in the U.S., China, England, Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, Slovenia, and Spain. As President of Redish & Associates, Inc. in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, Ginny works with private companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to help them make their web sites meet both their business goals and their site visitors’ needs.

Jimmy Chandler

During the day, Jimmy leads UX team on a web application project for a U.S. federal agency in the health care field. In his spare time, he presents at and helps to organize UX-related events, including IXDA, UPA DC, Accessibility DC, and UXCamp and MobileUXCamp. Jimmy started his web/UX career in 1997. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife @coolacctngchick.

Bennett Lauber

Bennett is a User Experience Architect and UX Director/Manager with over 20 years of experience working with teams that design, develop and test enterprise-class data management systems.

Lisa Goldberg

Lisa has 18 years of experience providing user-centered design solutions to government and nonprofit clients. Currently working as a senior information architect, she has also managed creative teams and projects. Lisa is an active member of UPA DC and the Information Architecture Institute.

Adelle Emery

Adelle has over 16 years of experience in User Experience focusing on information architecture and interaction design, usability testing, analysis, and project management. Adelle is a veteran in the user experience field serving various industries for over 20 years. She helps clients identify a strategic advantage by linking their strengths of service with their business and user needs.

Carla Briceno

For the past two decades, Carla has worked with companies, non-profit organizations and consumers in the US Hispanic community and in Latin America. Prior to co-founding Bixal, she worked on Sprint Nextel’s Hispanic corporate website where she managed and grew the Hispanic eCommerce Team and provided leadership on three major Web initiatives. Carla’s unique career path includes working with the Hispanic immigrant community in Southern CA, serving as a Health Nutritionist with the Peace Corps in rural Guatemala, managing international development projects in Latin America, programming in open source and proprietary technologies and developing online communications and technology strategies for the Hispanic Market. Her diverse background has provided her with a strong understanding of the cultural, linguistic, and technical issues involved in communicating and connecting with the growing online Hispanic and Latin American community. An avid blogger and presenter on the online Hispanic Market and an active technology enthusiast, Carla is passionate about using new and innovative technologies, including websites, social media and mobile technologies, to effectively communicate and engage the Hispanic community. Carla has an M.A. in International Public Administration and Advanced Spanish from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from California State University, Long Beach, and a Certificate in Business Programming from the Chubb Institute.

Bill Killam

Mr. Killam is the President and Founder of User-Centered Design, Inc. and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research in George Mason University’s (GMU) School of Information Technology and Engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech and his master’s degree in psychology from Marymount University. He holds professional certification from the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics as a Certified Human Factors Professional (CHFP) / Certified User Experience Professional (CUXP). Mr. Killam is also a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for Computing Machinery, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and Usability Professionals’ Association. He has been providing Human Factors Engineering, user-centered design, user experience design, and usability services for 30 years. He has worked for, or consulted to, companies such as GTE, TRW, IBM, and The Mitre Corporation; Federal agencies including the US State Department, the US Geological Survey, the US Courts, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and commercial organizations such as Nextel, CapitalOne, GEICO, and AOL.

Thom Haller

Thom Haller, (teacher, speaker, writer, and user-advocate), teaches principles of performance-based information architecture and usability. He has more than 20 years’ experience developing communication products (technical, instructional, and marketing materials) for government, associations, and business. Thom has been teaching adults since 1991 and has been teaching information architecture/user experience classes since 1998. In addition to teaching, he serves as IA editor for the ASIST Bulletin and volunteers time in support of plain language. Previously, he managed an IA consultancy for 10 years and served as executive director at the Center for Plain Language. Thom’s current work focuses on helping people improve their writing and helping organizations improve user experience.

Dana Douglas

Dana Douglas is a user experience specialist at UserWorks. She has conducted usability testing, focus groups, and user surveys for a variety of government and private sector clients. She has been the lead researcher on a recent international remote usability study conducted at UserWorks. A member of the Usability Professionals’ Association, Dana has a master’s degree in human-centered computing from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

Ann Walter

Ann Walter is a user experience specialist at UserWorks. She has conducted usability testing, both in-person and remote, for a variety of government and private sector clients. She was heavily involved in a recent international remote usability study conducted at UserWorks. A member of the Usability Professionals’ Association; the American Society for Information, Science & Technology; and the Society for Technical Communications, Ann has a master’s degree in interaction design and information architecture from the University of Baltimore.

Troy Winfrey

Troy is currently completing his dissertation in Communications Design while working full-time as a user experience designer on contract to a large federal agency. His interests include user research, the role of UX within innovation, and interactive strategy. Currently he is looking into the role of formal frameworks in solving design problems. He is also actively seeking contributions for a UX anthology he is putting together. Oh, and he really likes board games — the cool kind.

2:05 - 2:35 Room C

Suzanne Coutchie

Suzanne is currently working as an experience designer for a major corporation on contract to a large federal agency. Professionally she has spent many years in product design, which includes design and development, strategy and implementation. Her goal is to bring solid engineering principles to the job of creating web applications and to bridge the gap between user-centered design and behavior-driven development. Her educational background includes both a Master’s of Science in Information Technology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University.

2:05 - 2:35 Room C

Alycia Eck

Alycia Eck has been managing web sites professionally for over 13 years — 10 with HHMI where she manages their enterprise portal, MyHHMI. She also provides interface design and usability support for HHMI’s custom web applications group. She has an M.A. in English (Professional Writing and Editing) from George Mason University.

Jasmin Phua

Jasmin Phua is a user researcher and user experience designer with over 12 years of experience leading the design of usable and productive user interfaces for complex transactional applications and information-rich big data applications. She is an active member of the EHR Usability Taskforce for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) where she co-authors white papers and provides usability guidance to healthcare practitioners and health IT vendors.

Duane Degler

Duane Degler is a partner in Design for Context, a Washington DC/Baltimore-based usable design consultancy. He specializes in the design of large-scale search and sophisticated interactive applications, backed by 25 years consulting experience in knowledge management and business performance. He has led web and software projects for commercial and government clients in the US and Europe. Along with his client consulting work, Duane curates, co-organized the Semantic Web User Interaction workshop series, and is the strategy and technology advisor to the UPA Usability Body of Knowledge project.

Carol Smith

Carol Smith is a regular presenter at conferences internationally and has been working with kids for her entire career. Through her business, Midwest Research, LLC, she researches and communicates user needs to clients to help them improve products and also conducts usability tests on websites, software, and consumer products. She is the Research Director for iTwixie, Inc. a Web site that challenges girls to express their unique talents, creations, natural beauty and true interests. Carol has a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction and is the Treasurer and Director of Education and Training for the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA). Carol tweets @carologic and enjoys running and spending time with her husband and kids.

Michael Summers

Michael has watched over 700 real consumers make real end-to-end purchases on the web in the past year. Prior to his current role a Principal in Summers Consulting, Michael held user research roles at TrueAction, Nielsen Norman Group, Scient, and USWeb/CKS. Michael has been invited to speak about how user research improves products to the American Center for Design (ACD), the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group in Computer-Human Interaction (SIG-CHI), and the Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA). Along with journal publications, He also co-authored a university textbook called Creating Websites that Work that includes chapters on understanding people before prototyping begins, and the value of iterative user testing.

Malia Nagle

Malia leads TrueAction Network’s usability practice. She has 10+ years of experience managing teams to produce highly effective and engaging user interfaces that dramatically improve business outcomes. She brings a keen, hands-on focus to her user experience passion and has personally observed and tracked thousands of users interact with a broad array of digital content and follow end-to-end purchase paths. Malia’s usability recommendations have resulted in dramatic improvements in average order value and revenue for her clients. Prior to TrueAction Network, Malia held senior user experience positions for Booz Allen Hamilton and worked for the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services. Malia has frequently lectured at universities and has presented at numerous industry conferences. During her graduate study at the University of Baltimore, she co-published a highly referenced usability study of Drupal.

Kyle Schaeffer

Kyle Schaeffer is a Senior SharePoint User Interface Consultant. He is a popular speaker on topics related to User Interface design and SharePoint. Kyle’s background includes years of experience in interface programming, creative design, branding, styling, graphic design, content strategy, SEO, and content management. He is also a contributing presenter for the ASAE Technology conference. Kyle’s presentations at past SharePoint Conferences have been among the most popular and best attended.

Bonnie Strong

Bonnie Strong is an Experience Architect who works with communications staff, organization subject matter experts and technologists to deliver satisfying online experiences for both end users and content managers. Bonnie started working in information architecture since 1999 in London, using paper prototypes and Visio wireframes to test how users approach heavy content sites — when the Internet was nascent and consumer bandwidth limited. As the technology advanced, Bonnie has leveraged new tools and strategies to assist organizations in developing effective, intuitive and practical information architectures while fully optimizing the user experience on their content-rich sites. Bonnie has a Master’s Degree in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.

Mariana Cavalcanti

Mariana Cavalcanti is the Vice-President of User Experience for the eCommerce team at Marriott International. She and her 50-person team are charged with continually improving the user experience for Marriott’s flagship corporate site, as well the localized, country-specific versions of the site. Since an increasingly larger proportion of Marriott’s bookings happen online, her team’s expertise – in user research, interface design, information architecture, and content development – has become a central part of Marriott’s. Mariana studied architecture and graphic design in her native Brazil before coming to the United States to experience firsthand the Internet boom of the 1990s.

Claudette Archambault

Claudette Archambault has worked at the Senate for nearly 7 years as a Principal IT Specialist, concentrating on usability, web-applications design, website content writing, business analysis and project management. She has over a decade of experience in design, content writing and usability testing, and several years experience in writing mark-up and CSS. In her former life, she conducted qualitative and quantitative research for about a decade. Ms. Archambault also has experience in training design and delivery experience. She holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology.

4:50 - 5:20 Room B

Casey Bishop

Casey Bishop has worked at the Senate for over 2 years as a Senior IT Specialist, concentrating on usability, interface design and front-end development. Prior to working at the Senate, Casey has had several years experience working with different agile software development teams creating solutions for a variety of clients. Her most recent projects at the Senate have included redesigning a project tracking system and redesigning an office products/services request system.

4:50 - 5:20 Room B


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