5 Whys one must see UX+ 2020

September 5, 2020

This article was originally published on Medium.

This is not your usual five whys.

Better mark your calendars on Sep. 12–13, 2020, as Asia’s most awaited conference for UX aficionados is resuming in its second year! Annually, UX+ Conference draws speakers to share their learnings with the design community. The 2019 one-day conference was a hit as it was headlined by designers from Dropbox, Google, Twitter, and Youtube — gathering 1300+ attendees. This year, UX+ invited more practitioners hailing from Southeast Asia to Silicon Valley — extending the event to a two-day online conference.

As a hopeful designer, I enrolled myself in an online design school early this year and has been an active member of its local group. In order to further develop my design knowledge, I realized it’s best to hear from the experts themselves — I must see this year’s UX+ Conference. I was still oblivious of UX when the debut conference was held so I was unfortunate to miss it. However, through [User Experience Philippines (UXPH)]’s scholarship and UX+ scholarship, I am glad that I would be able to attend its second installment in a couple of days.

The conference schedule was released a few days ago, and it shared a total of 14 UX+ talks tackling various design issues. But which talks should we look forward to? Of course, it’s highly recommended to check them all out! Nevertheless, if you are someone who’s new to UX just like me, I made a list of talks that I personally believe may motivate you to finally pursue a career in UX design or perhaps push you to dedicate a design team for your upcoming startup.

1. Dear UX: My Tiny Letters to the UX Practice

Surely, you may have encountered the question “What do UX designers do?” Different answers may arise but generally, we could all agree that UX designers make technology easier to use for users. But how? What’s their work process? What are their key deliverables? What techniques or tools do they use? How is their typical workday? These are just some of the questions that may be answered by the designated speaker, Rannie Teodoro.

Rannie is currently _Thumbtack_’s Head of Design. Her talk can be assumed that she’ll share her “UX diary” with us — how she started practicing UX as a researcher up to her current position leading teams. Through her talk, we may see a glimpse of her extensive research and management experience and how UX molded her. She may even share some practices she did for Facebook as a UX researcher. Now that’s pretty interesting!

A man looking at papers posted on a wall

When you practice UX, it is critical to have a good understanding of the discipline.

2. How Can You Evolve in your UX Design Career?

Almost every professional wants to advance their careers and designers are no exception. You may start as a generalist Junior UX Designer and then proceed as a specialist, say as a Usability Expert, or as a UI Designer. If you’re also capable of leading a design team, you may even end up following the managerial track. UX Design is still a booming industry and there are many opportunities to evolve. But how do you end up as a subject matter expert or as a manager? What are the things to be satisfied in order to be successful in this industry?

A professional man with a briefcase climbing a staircase

UX Designers are also climbing the corporate ladder.

The round table discussion will be filled by four Filipino designers who made it big in this industry. I really hope their thoughts can give us tips on how to enhance our UX careers.

3. Self-Discovery, and Finding Opportunities as a Designer

A Glassdoor webpage showing job search results for UX designers

Job opportunities for people with design skills are rising.

Arvi Raquel-Santos is the product design manager for Glassdoor, a job search engine and review site. Arvi will be having a fireside chat concerning self-discovery and opportunities. The topic interests me as I am intrigued by what he meant by self-discovery. Furthermore, we may get tips on how to find job or freelance opportunities, especially during this pandemic.

Since we’re having a fireside chat format, we may also discover Arvi’s personal stories and ideas. As an attendee, you will be cued to think about the questions you may want to ask during the chat. Selected questions will be discussed, and attendees will be listening for the answers, making it an interactive experience!

4. The Design Sprint

If you’re new to UX, it is crucial that you must not miss the talk about the Design Sprint. I learned about design sprints when it was just a lesson under an online course I took a few months ago. _Google_’s design sprint became a standard and never have I imagined that one of its developers will be speaking about it on UX+ Conference 2020 — bestselling author John Zeratsky co-wrote Sprint, featuring guidelines on how to run a Design Sprint process.

A Sprint book orderly surrounded by workshop materials on a wooden platform

Post-It notes, whiteboards, and markers are needed in the preparation of a design sprint.

A design sprint is an extreme procedure where user-centered teams deal with design problems. I suppose John will be showing us the design sprint’s purpose, what a design sprint team consists of, its phases and approaches, the preparation required, and the possible outcomes.

5. Managing Design Teams

Last but not least, we have another fireside chat segment and it’s with Julie Zhuo, former VP of Product Design for Facebook and author of the bestselling book The Making of a Manager. Julie will be chatting with us about managing design teams.

This chat will absolutely interest leads, managers, and directors who are looking to improve the way they manage their respective design teams. This is also beneficial to all C-level executives and startup founders who want to boost their organization by concentrating more on design.

A team of employees working together in an office

An empowered design team can lift your organization’s market position.

I’m quite sure her segment will be the most interactive as I am expecting her to tell us how to enable a design team adequately. Moreover, she may provide us the best methods to manage and support. Lastly, I hope she can also send us tips on how to convince our senior management teams about the significance and value of UX.

Wildcard: Hi! It’s Adobe XD!

I added this particular talk as I feel that this may aid UX newbies on their initial prototyping projects. Some of us may still be using Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator. Be that as it may, Adobe developed a prototyping tool and now competes with other leading products. Adobe XD is a high-fidelity prototyping tool where you can design pixel-perfect interactive prototypes.

Wireframes of a UX portfolio designed in Adobe XD's interface

A user can also use Adobe XD to create wireframes.

Being this year’s official partner, Adobe XD is sending their very own Sr. Experience Designer Ainsley Wagoner to brief us on the wonders of using Adobe XD. I suggest UX newbies should listen to her talk as Ainsley might show us a demo showcasing its features. Another reason why I recommend trying out Adobe XD is that it offers a free Starter plan for beginners. Finally, take note that due to the ongoing pandemic, which forced office closures, they have offered Starter plan users unlimited shared documents, editors, and shared links until October 2020.

UX+ Conference 2020 is definitely pushing through and COVID-19 won’t hinder the design community from learning. Aside from the ones listed above, there are other interesting topics to expect that may even attract non-UX practitioners. An online conference might not be as exciting as attending a physical one, but I guarantee that this year’s conference would still generate fruitful discussions. Besides, the talks will be recorded and attendees will have access to them until the end of the year.

If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you still have time before it officially commences on September 12. I’m eager to make connections with the organizers and other attendees, and I wish that I could work with some of you in the near future. But for now, we all know we have one thing to do this coming weekend — click (or tap) that Log In button.

Learn more about the UX+ Conference happening on September 12–13, 2020!

Visit their website for more details: 2020.uxpl.us

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