Newsletter – December 2016

  • Happy New Year! | January/February 2017


    Hi – it’s great to see you here in 2017! Join us as we prepare for a year of growth and change in our User Experience field.

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  • Jod Typo Redirect Fix
    1. ux-tips-jan-2017Design Cultures, Not Things
      Ideas—expressing them and giving form to them are at the heart of a designer’s rich interior life. It’s the “good part.” The “why we wake up” part. And it’s also the part we try to skip to after sitting through the endless drone of the ambiguous early calls where we decide what the most valuable problem worth solving is and why we’re doing it.Then we give our baby away and hope for the best, placating ourselves that it’s all really out of our hands and the suits will raise our child in the wild. The problem with this mindset is it keeps designers in an anecdotal role. Our real goal is not to make deliverables but to make holistic experiences that change cultures—both the client’s and the customer’s.After all, a culture change offers metrics at the fundamental level that you’ve changed or enhanced the way people think, their values, their processes and perspectives, and that you’ve created a platform for the iteration of new possibilities and paradigms that will exert possible futures. This is the greatest gift we could offer our clients: a  hospitable platform for processing and realizing “dangerous” ideas.This can come from client co-creation in activities such as workshops and pilots but it also may require partnering with a change management specialist to set up steering committees for innovation. I think the goal for the designer in respect to designing cultures is to enlarge their personal sense of responsibility beyond the output.They need to realize that in order to achieve impact they have to get engaged and embrace the constraint of the orthodoxies that exist in these client cultures, factor them into their proposed solution so that what they produce sees the light of day and can absorb the volatility of the market.
    2. Take 100% Responsibility for Every Relationship
      Design is a social discipline and requires multiple minds and skills because the systemic problems we tackle are so complex. What people forget is that trust and respect—even more so than ability in many cases—must exist for the work to be great.Trust and respect are not simply neutral. They are not the absence of mistrust and disrespect but are active energies that must be drawn upon to produce great work. They are earned.And I’ve found the best way to earn them is not only to trust and respect yourself (which you should), but to take 100% responsibility for every relationship you have on your team. That includes account managers and PMs and other “non-designers.” We weaken ourselves and our ability when we say “this person should act this way.”  We become victims instead of active transformative agents that forge a collective trust that benefits the group.If you take 100% responsibility for each relationship on your team you are less likely to bottle up your personal power because it’s all “out of your hands” and because that “guy is an a-hole.”  Taking 100% responsibility means you commit to always being engaged in every relationship. You may not change Napoleon into Bambi but you will take ownership over how your disdain for that person effects the larger morale and creative energetic flow of your team. And the collective energy of your team is the difference between mediocrity and high performance.
    3. Great Design comes from the Marriage of Intention and Emotion
      Jared Spool has said that “Design is the rendering of intent” which I believe to be true. Intent allows us to contain a hypothesis that can only be answered by a previously unknown truth. The designer’s intent should aspire to include a mechanism that will deliver new knowledge to the world.Knowledge, as in a way of knowing the world differently,  can contribute directly to the evolution of our planet and species. Knowledge is the gold and information is simply the raw data. But additionally I believe the designer must not only have an ambitious intention, but that they should also seal their intent with emotion, which becomes the breath of life for what we propose.If emotional connections drive our ideation then emotional detachments improve them. But where we screw up is we don’t cycle back to the emotional connection after we’ve detached, traumatized by the drama of the design process.That last step, to achieve kaizen is through coming back to your emotional connection. To believe in it. To give a damn before you unleash your finished design upon the world.  This artful marriage of intent and emotion through the trials of ebb and flow are what draw waves into particles. It’s extracts possibilities from an impossible universe.

    jod-kaftaJod Kaftan
    Group Design Director

    Design and Innovation from Accenture Interactive


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  • Carol Rossi | Getting Started with UX Research, Part 2 | @crossiUX


    In the December 2017 newsletterwe talked about how a well-designed usability study can tell you how users respond to your design and give you plenty of input on how to improve it. We also talked about the importance of planning the study and including your key stakeholders in that process, not just winging it on your own.

    So now that you’ve identified the objectives of the study, your target participants, and what tasks you’ll give participants during the test, you’re ready to run the study!


    Step 1: Greet participants
    You’ll need 5 or 6 participants for your study. Schedule each person individually (focus groups are the F-word of user research) and arrange a quiet space where you can meet. Once you’re with the participant, don’t forget to be personable and put your participant at ease. Greet the person, thank them for coming in, and chat for a moment to help them relax. Introduce the study by saying “I’m going to show you our site and get your input. There are no wrong answers, and please be honest – you won’t hurt my feelings. I’d like you to narrate your thoughts out loud as you work through the site so I know what’s on your mind.”


    Step 2: Run the study
    There are two mistakes I see people commonly make when they first start running their own research: they talk too much and they ask leading questions. The problem with both is that you bias your results by planting ideas in the participant’s mind that they would not have come up with on their own. If you can conquer these (bad) habits your results will be infinitely more useful.


    Instead of asking leading questions (“Do you like the red button more than the green one?”) ask open-ended questions (“Tell me more about your response to the red button.”). Instead of talking too much, just give the participant the task (“Find a recipe you want to make for dinner tonight”) then stay silent, watch what the person does with your site, and wait for the person to talk. Asking “tell me more” is a great way to bring out more feedback in a non-leading, non-threatening way.


    Get one of your key stakeholders to take notes while you run the study, just ask them to remain silent just like you will be. At the end you can invite the notetaker to ask any questions of the participant. Don’t forget to tell the stakeholders about the non-leading question thing.


    Most importantly, don’t forget to relax! Running the study is the most fun part of the process so allow yourself to enjoy it.  


    Step 3: Going from raw data to insights
    I think about data at many levels: there’s the raw data (e.g., “participant A could not find the Join button”), the trends that come out of that (e.g., “most people couldn’t find the Join button”), and the insights that come from those trends (e.g., “the Join button needs to be more prominent”).


    First, get your stakeholders in a room and determine what you saw. The easiest ways to organize insights is to look at each task separately. What did you learn from all 5 participants about how they found recipes? Then go onto the next task.  

    Once you’ve got the insights, I suggest you prioritize them into levels from severe (people could not complete the task, you really need to address this issue) to irritant (people were mildly annoyed), so you can easily identify the things that need to be fixed right now vs. later or not at all.


    Then you’re ready to think about possible solutions to address the insights you identified. Caution: don’t confuse insights with solutions. An insight would be something like “The Join button needs to be more prominent” and a solution would be “Make the Join button red.”


    And there you have it! You’ve just successfully run your first usability study. From here you can continue to deepen your usability testing skills.


    Step 4: Hone your skills
    Getting a quick intro is great to start but ongoing mentoring and feedback is key to really deepening your skills. There is SO much info available, from online courses to books to in-person courses. Here are some to get you started.


    • Steve Krug’s books Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy are classics for a reason. These are a great place to start.
    • If you search “User Experience Research” on Medium you’ll find posts by awesome UX leaders around the globe.
    • User Research for Everyone. Set of 8 talks by leaders in UX Research. Highly recommended!
    • Observing the User Experience. The book of everything research, with detailed instructions on setting up and running usability studies and every other kind of study.
    • If you really want to get serious about adding research to your skillset, I suggest you take a longer term course so you really get to practice. Santa Monica College, UCLA Extension, and CSU Fullerton all have courses in UX research that will give you an opportunity to learn and practice techniques with a mentor.


    About Carol Rossi


    With 20+ years of experience, Carol has led projects around vision and strategy setting, brand retention and building, as well as tactical UX research. Learn more at and on LinkedIn.

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  • UX Tips for 2017 from the Experts

    We asked even more experts to offer their advice on UX in 2017. We are grateful for the contributions from pros like Jod Kaftan, Helle Martens, Whitney Quesenbery, Tomer Sharon, Marianne Sweeny and Susan Weinschenk! Be sure to read, reread and read again their insightful tips throughout the year.

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  • Helle Martens’s 3 UX Predictions for 2017 | @snetramelleh

    helle-martenAs a UX conference designer, I follow trends in the field, and create themes for my conferences that reflect the most buzzed about topics. One of the recurring themes in 2016 was “empowerment”, which will be the theme for my upcoming UX Copenhagen conference in March: “Empowering the End User With User Experience Design.” The conference will focus on how successful user experience (UX) design empowers people, and how good  experience design must center around giving humans a sense of self-efficacy, while at the same time focusing on how a product makes them feel. As for 2017, I see three important directions for UX:


    1. I see behavioral design trending in UX, and I believe that it will become imperative for UX professionals to have a much deeper understanding of this field. The return of human-centered design is a direction that I have been advocating for, and that I am happy to see it re-emerging. We will need to know more about human behavior to study not only how our product makes our customers feel, but also to learn specifically about customers’ expectations, and how this aligns with the actual experience.


    2. I see UX’ers becoming strategic business partners. After working in the field of UX for almost two decades, and spending most of that time fighting for the importance of UX, I finally see UX design becoming a significant factor in strategic business planning in upper-level management. More UX professionals are being hired to infuse UX/design thinking methods into the company’s DNA, and I see businesses profiting from this change.


    3. I think that there will be an increased focus on information ethics in UX. In a world where AI data processing is omnipresent and unavoidable, interfaces are changing, and even becoming invisible. We need to be sure that information is being used ethically, and that people understand how their data, and data about them, is being used, especially as interfaces disappear. Looking ahead, I am super excited to be in the field as it broadens and develops. Here’s to a great new year in UX!

    Helle Martens is an experienced UX freelancer. Her main focus is creating user-friendly solutions to technically complicated digital systems. For the past three years, she has convened several successful UX and behavioral design conferences. Learn more at, and on LinkedIn.

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  • Whitney Quesenbery’s UX Tips for 2017 | @whitneyq @civicdesign

    Whitney Quesenbery 11. Get your research out of the echo chamber. We do too much of our research with the people who are easy to find and easy for us to interact with…people too much like ourselves. Expand your recruiting to people who might be less digitally literate, interact in different ways, come from a different culture. You’ll have to make an effort to make these people part of your research: Recruit through community organizations, schedule sessions when they are available, and go to them instead of making them come to you. It’s worth the effort. I can guarantee is that they will give you new perspectives to bring to your work.


    2. Design for extremes. Get out of the habit for designing for that ideal situation in the center of the curve and think about the edges. This includes extreme users – very low and very high abilities; and extreme contexts – when things go wrong or assumptions break. Is your product a good experience in the audio? Can someone use it in a bouncy vehicle or if they don’t have much dexterity? Does it translate well across languages and literacy gaps? We know how to be responsive to different devices – now add being responsive to different people.

    3. Design with and not for.
    This is a mantra of civic design and civic tech. It’s a reminder to think about the people who will use what we create as partners, not ‘research subjects.’ Find ways to make them your partners in exploring the context of use or reacting to prototypes. Let them teach you about their lives and tell you their stories. They may not be skilled UXers, but through you they can have a voice in creating the things (you hope) they will use.

    Whitney Quesenbery 2At the Center for Civic Design, Whitney Quesenbery brings her UX skills and passion for understanding the story behind the data to making every interaction with government easy, effective and even delightful. Because democracy is a design problem.  Follow her at @whitneyq and @civicdesign


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  • Tomer Sharon’s 3 UX Tips for 2017 | @tsharon

    1. Go Rogue. Make a habit of testing your designs in very early stages. It took me an hour to create the sketch below, phrase a task (“Book a flight to Punta Cana”), and launch a first-click test. Results helped me design a much better next iteration. You can do it too. Within the hour.


    2. Go Deep. When you face a design challenge, first fall in love with the problem rather than jump to solving it. Falling in love with a problem means you make an effort to learn what is the problem, why it happens, who has it, how much they care about it, how do they solve it today, are they happy with how they solve it, why or why not, etc. It’s much more important to deeply fall in love with real problems real people really care about first, rather than developing the coolest app ever.


    3. Just Go! Stop talking about how user research is important and actually get up from your seat, take action, and do it. It’ll make you more honest about what you do, and so much more confident about your design. A small tip within a tip: research is most beneficial when you validate assumptions about which you are mostly confident. You’d be surprised!


    tomer-sharonTomer Sharon is VP, Head of UX at WeWork in New York City leading a team that designs work and living spaces, communities, and services around the world. Formerly a senior user experience researcher at Google Search, Tomer is the author of the book, Validating Product Ideas through Lean User Research (2016) and author of, It’s Our Research: Getting stakeholder buy-in for user experience research projects (2012). He founded and led The Israeli Chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association Tomer-Sharon-Bookand has been preaching and teaching UX at Google’s LaunchPad program, a bootcamp for early-stage startups around the world, in conferences, and at Treehouse. Tomer holds a master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University in Waltham, MA. He is @tsharon on Twitter and Instagram.

    Tomer’s Book Discount
    Get a 20% discount on Tomer’s recent book, Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research, when you purchase it directly from Rosenfeld Media using the code tomernews with free shipping in the US.

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  • Marianne Sweeny’s 3 UX Tips for 2017 | @msweeny

    1. Pay attention: Information Architecture, user experience and content strategy will become popular in seemingly unrelated disciplines. The online behavior world has changed beyond our current horizons. Tools that users deploy to find our experiences have become “smarter” through machine learning algorithms that use heuristics designed by computer engineers. Scared yet? You should be. All is not lost though. This appropriately named artificial intelligence is limited while our ability to creatively reverse engineer is not. Pay attention to the SEO and data science communities read as much as you can until your brain hurts. Like marathon training, eventually you’ll find yourself understanding more and your brain hurting less. I’ve given you a “starter kit” below.

    Searchmetrics ranking report | Machine Learning for Designers


    2. Be Astonished: 2017 will be a year of cross-channel collaboration like we’ve never known before. Have you noticed that we’re always talking about the same things? Service design. Storytelling, personas, taxonomy. We focus on our standard core areas at the exclusion of the world that surrounds them.  I see 2017 as the emergence of true cross-channel collaboration and not just within our UX/IA/CS mini-greek systems. Last year, Giles Colborne spoke at the IA Summit on algorithms. I have been a constant irritant about user experience and information architecture at SEO, Marketing and business conferences. Others within our ranks have peaked over the walls of Castle Black and found an illuminating landscape that is hungry for what we have. We should do the same. Break out of your routine. Find webinars and meetups outside of your discipline and support them.


    3. Tell (and do something) About It: 2017 becomes a year where we broaden the audience and participants in conversations focused on what constitutes intelligence and experience. Have you looked around at our conferences? Pretty monochromatic when it comes to diversity. We talk a lot about it. The conferences all have impactful statements about their commitment to it. Yet, I look around the room and see lots of white, upper middle class individuals. On stage and behind the podium, we find the usual suspects. 2017 will be the year that our communities take diversity head on; starting with the 18th IA Summit, March 22-26, Vancouver, Canada. Co-chair Dave Cooksey has done a brilliant job of bringing action to the words with submission mentoring along with planned on-site activities.Let us build on his good work. Reach back as well as forward. Find a way to encourage individuals of diverse race, gender-identification, belief-systems, all types, abilities and interests.  to consider a career in computer human interaction, information architecture, user experience and content strategy. Volunteer to be part of career days at local high schools. Make diversity a focus for your work (accessibility anyone?). Shows like “Halt and Catch Fire” made nerdy computer engineers interesting and sexy. Let’s do the same for our fields.



    Marianne Sweeny is the co-chair of IA Summit 2017, an information architect, a SEO renegade, and a user experience advocate that believes cross-discipline is where we beat the bots. She is also a lecturer and a speaker based in Seattle. Be sure to say hello to her at the IA Summit 2017 in Vancouver from March 22 to 26.

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  • Susan Weinschenk’s 3 UX Tips for 2017 | @thebrainlady

    1. Get yourself ready to design for new technologies — I know there are plenty of apps, software and websites that still need to be designed and re-designed, but if you are in the field of UX for more than the next 1-2 years then you need to get up to speed on designing the user experience of what is to come, including:
         a) the UX of virtual reality,
         b) the UX of voice-only virtual assistants (Echo, Siri and so on),
         c) the UX of augmented reality,
         d) the UX of social robots, and more.
    Set a 2017 resolution to become familiar with the UX of at least one of these products that you haven’t designed for yet.


    2. Get ready to design for younger generations — If you are between the ages of 20 and 80, realize that a new generation of users is coming up that has different expectations than you have for technology. People who are 35 and up are used to designing for people in a different generation, but if you are younger than 35, especially if you are in your 20’s be aware that you (like everyone else!) have generational biases and expectations that are different from the teens of today and younger. Spend some time watching people who are 10-20 use technology so you can start to understand their mental models.


    3. Read at least 3 new books in 2017. There are so many great books that have direct applicability to UX out now. It can be hard to make time to read a book, but it’s worth it. Make a list of the top 3 you want to read and then set aside some time every week to make progress.


    300x300v2Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology, is Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO at The Team W, Inc, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin. She consults with Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, governments and non-profits. Dr. Weinschenk is the author of several books, including 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, and How To Get People To Do Stuff. Clients include Medtronic, Walmart, Disney, Amazon, and the European Union Commission.

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  • Interaction Design Foundation + The Los Angeles User Experience Meetup


    Interaction Design Foundation (IDF) teams up with The Los Angeles User Experience Meetup

    IDF’s Los Angeles Chapter and LA UX Meetup are joining forces in an effort to bring high quality UX learning opportunities and career advancing activities to Los Angeles UX professionals. The Interaction Design Foundation offers Ivy-League UX certificate courses to its members and the local chapter provides in-person opportunities to connect with UX professionals in the Los Angeles area.



    Membership Benefits | Join IDF now – 3 months free

    • Comprehensive, instructor-led and instructor-graded online courses – beginner, intermediate and advanced levels
    • Ivy League-level education in UX, Product Design and Human-Computer Interaction
    • All courses are free to members with no additional costs and no extra fees. No limits either.
    • Course materials are developed by leading practitioners as well as by academics from top-tier universities like Stanford University, MIT.
    • Course certificates issued by the Interaction Design Foundation are recognized by industry-leading corporations.
    • Membership provides in person opportunities to get to know local UX peers and pros and visiting UX thought leaders, speakers and authors. Be sure to form lasting relationships with members in our local UX community. It’s a part of managing your career.




    The_Interaction_Design_Foundation__A_movement_to_create_accessible_and_affordable_Ivy_League-level_design_education___Interaction_Design_Foundation 2

    The Foundation’s Executive Board and top leadership ensure the courses are of the highest caliber.

    Join the Interaction Design Foundation and make a difference in your career trajectory! It’s your responsibility to keep those UX skills sharp and not fall behind in this fast paced and ever changing field. Can you afford not to?

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  • Tools, Resources and Discounts


    Rosenfeld Media – 20% off of Tomer Sharon’s latest book –  Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research, when you purchase it directly from Rosenfeld Media using the code tomernews with free shipping in the US. Get 20% off your copy of Tomer Sharon’s latest book.


    Interaction Design Foundation – 3 Months free  Get your very generous 3 months free when you purchase an annual IDF membership. Interaction Design Foundation is an online community offering affordable Ivy league-level design education. As a member, you can take as many classes as you prefer without any limits or extra fees and receive course certification. All courses are led and graded by instructors and as a member, you will have access to an online community where you can turn to for help, make connections and receive career advice! Sign up for Interaction Design Foundation membership now!


    Rosenfeld Media – 20% off of Steve Portigal’s new book – “Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries — User Research War Stories” by Steve Portigal is available from Rosenfeld Media. To get the discount, be sure to purchase your book from Rosenfeld Media, not Amazon. Discount code: la-meetupsGet 20% off your copy of Steve Portigal’s new book.


    UX Kits – 35% off anything digital from UXKits
    Look professional fast with these portfolio-friendly, beautiful and functional UX deliverable templates. Offer is good from Jan. 25 – Feb. 8 (2 weeks), Discount code: laux2017. Get 35% off your professional-looking UX templates.


    Jessica Brown, Emerson Dameron, Katie Huang, and Noel Saw.

    We rely on sponsorships and donations to plan and organize events for you. Please help us pay for food, beverage and other event expenses with a contribution using our PayPal account (Neochrome, Inc.)

    Want to contribute an article? Awesome! Fill out our newsletter article submission form for consideration.

    Have a great career opportunity you would like to share? Visit our career postings page.

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  • Happy Holidays UXers | December 2016

    Happy Holiday UX'ers!
    The holiday season is here! We hope that you are connecting with friends and family and planning ahead for a great 2017. This issue is packed with forward-thinking UX ideas, including essential UX wisdom from Carol Rossi. Dig in!

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  • Carol Rossi | Getting Started with UX Research | @crossiUX


    As user experience professionals, we all realize the importance of getting real insights from real users and not just making decisions based on a hunch. So what can you do if you’re a designer who doesn’t have trained researchers on your team and you want to go beyond throwing your prototype in front of a few friends?

    Well, here’s some help to get you started! This month and next we’ll lay out some steps so you can learn basic research skills and start to collect your own insights. This month, we’ll focus on preparing to run a study. In January, we’ll cover things to think about when you’re actually doing the research and need to roll up what you’ve learned into insights.

    First thing to consider: Preparation is crucial

    Step 1 of 4: Focus on usability testing
    A well-designed, practical, usability study can tell you how users respond to your design and give you plenty of input on how to improve it, whether your design is a low fidelity prototype or a fully functioning product. Focus on usability testing and leave the interviews, surveys, and other techniques to the pro researchers for now.


    Step 2 of 4: Create a test plan
    I firmly believe anybody can learn to run a usability study, but unfortunately without preparation the study isn’t likely to provide the answers you need. Prep doesn’t have to be a formal process – you can keep this really simple and the whole study can be done in few days. First, think through three key questions:

    • What are you hoping to learn from the test (the objectives)? Your objective might be to see what issues participants encounter with your site when trying to find recipes they can cook for their family, or what keeps them from finding a car they may want to lease.
    • Who is your target audience and how will you find people like them? Are you more interested in professional chefs or stay-at-home moms? People who work full-time and need to make a quick weeknight dinner? And how will you find those people? Can you recruit them from your site with a tool like Ethnio, find them through a local cooking Meetup, or at a mommy and me yoga class? Recruiting the target audience may take some time and effort, so if finding those people is impossible then run the study with anyone who approximates them. It’s best to NOT use direct friends and family – people 1 or 2 levels removed from you is fine.
    • What will you ask the participants to do (what tasks will you give them) to address your objectives? It’s important that you GIVE PARTICIPANTS SOMETHING TO DO with your site and NOT ASK THEM HOW THEY FEEL or whether they like it. A great task would be “Find a recipe you can cook for dinner tonight” or “Find a price for a car that has the features you want.” People are lousy at predicting what they would do so don’t bother asking them, just see whether or not they can complete the task you’re giving them.


    Step 3 of 4: Don’t go it alone
    Before you go too far, it’s ESSENTIAL that you involve the rest of the team, which depending on your company might mean a developer, a product manager, someone from marketing, other designers, etc. Include these key stakeholders throughout the process as a way to get everyone to agree on how you’ll run the test so they’ll be more likely to accept the results.


    Step 4 of 4: Confirm alignment with stakeholders
    Write a short test plan to communicate the details of the test. This step is crucial to get all stakeholders aligned. Don’t worry about making it fancy – the plan could be literally a single page. Include in the plan all the things you’ve just worked out with the team: the objectives, the target audience and how will you find participants, and the tasks you give them to do.

    Once you take these steps you’ll be ready to run your study! In January I’ll give you tips for running the test and turning what you learn into actionable insights. 

    Continue reading | part 2

    About Carol Rossi


    With 20+ years of experience, Carol has led projects around vision and strategy setting, brand retention and building, as well as tactical UX research. Learn more at and on LinkedIn.

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  • Hilary Bienstock’s Tips for 2017 | @hilaryue
    1. Observation is a universal UX research building block. At the same time, it applies to much more than just UX research. Why didn’t we know that Trump was going to win the election? I would argue it was because the pollsters and reporters were so focused on quantitative polling data, and on demographic groups (white college-educated voters, etc.). More nuanced qualitative data collection and, dare I say it, personas, could have helped us understand the American electorate in more detail. Just as the 2000 Butterfly Ballot debacle brought information design and usability to the forefront of the discussion, I would argue that this election brings the need for qualitative research as a whole into the limelight as never before. Where can you use your observation skills in unexpected ways in the next year?
    2. Mobile and remote research are the way of the future. As research becomes quicker, more agile, and better integrated into the product lifecycle (we hope), it’s important to be smart about the use of remote tools and techniques such as remote moderated and unmoderated usability testing, remote card sorting, and even remote analysis techniques and tools. At the same time, there’s no substitute for the rapport developed by an in-person connection. Pick your tools and techniques wisely.
    3. Mix and match research methods. A single research method won’t necessarily answer all your research questions. Come up with a multi-phase approach, or a tiered proposal. Or create a new research method from the tools you already have. Do you need to conduct an in-person session that’s half usability test and half card sort? Do you need to combine qualitative and quantitative work to see the bigger picture? Do you have one question that’s best answered by ethnography and another that should be addressed in the lab? Think creatively about how to get to the answer you need, even if it’s a combined or hybrid methodology that isn’t in any of the books you’ve studied. And never fear if you don’t get to do everything you proposed — research is an art, not a science, and some is always better than none.

    Hilary Bienstock


    Hilary has been working in UX for over a decade, focusing on UX and design research projects for clients large and small in the LA area. Her favorite type of study is ethnography triangulated with quantitative data.

    Hilary Bienstock on LinkedIn

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  • Jon Fox’s 3 Tips for 2017 on UX | @JonFoxUX
    1. As new designers enter the field of UX, it is increasingly important that they know that UX is often more of a business function than a design function. In order to succeed at not only the design aspects but in actually being a change agent for innovation in an industry, the designer must understand their role in the business a be able to drive business decisions that stem from user needs. 
    2. One of my central philosophies has always been that wherever a user (customer, consumer, candidate, etc.) and a brand intersect is UX. Whether working on a consumer application or enterprise software, the function of design thinking can have a broader impact on the operations of a company by including any user-centric disciplines. In this way, UX can not only improve the products that the customer uses, but also the culture of the company that develops the products themselves paving the way for increased hiring and retention, brand awareness and ultimately revenue. 
    3. In promoting yourself and growing your career, it is important to be able to tell your story and in order to do this, you must play to your strengths and focus on what you do well. If visual design is not your strong suit, don’t lead with it. Focus on what you are great at and have an opinion about why. Sell yourself on your core skills and use any opportunity to grow yourself in the areas that your are less proficient in – as long as they are of interest to you. Lead by example and show the complete picture of what you contributed.

    Jon Fox


    Jon is a Director of User Experience with over 20 years of experience working on digital products at tiny startups and large corporations. His work focuses on bringing an Agile design process to business strategy, bringing research and design methodologies that demonstrate the direct impact UX has on user satisfaction and business goals. He is a UX design leader, having managed and scaled teams throughout Los Angeles but has recently turned his eye toward the Northeast LA design community through NELAUX, a local meetup organization he co-founded. He regularly teaches and speaks on design thinking at local meetups and conferences across the country.

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  • Jason Gillard’s 3 Tips for 2017 on Technology and UX | @jasongillard
    1. Know the Technology. If you want to guide and inform the engineering you should understand the technology. Attend code reviews, ask questions, dig in with developer tools, participate in the design the API. You’ll gain the trust of the development team and get a realistic sense of the design problem. The team will be much more receptive to your UX magic if you make an effort to speak their language.
    2. Design for Latency. In the world of consumer ‘smart things’, connecting devices to the cloud or a wireless network can be a real buzzkill. Keep the delight flowing by making sure the user is aware of the system status during some of the more ambiguous moments. Show them that the system is working and/or what can be done to troubleshoot an issue.
    3. Make it Clear. A lot of the industrial applications out there are super complex. Since people use these to perform real world, life-or-death tasks, they can only be simplified so much. You can, however, reduce cognitive load by making things clearer. By unifying disparate elements and clarifying the necessary details, the experience will be less obtrusive and the product will make more sense.


    Jason Gillard
    Jason is a UX Engineer with Leviton where he leads design and research in the company’s smart home division. Follow him @jasongillard.

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  • Jeff Gothelf’s 2 Tips for 2017 on UX | @jboogie

    In my work I meet with many companies who have jumped aboard the Agile train. Their journeys have had mixed results with a few organizations truly adopting agile values while others (the majority) adopt agile rituals more than anything else. Regardless of their dedication to true transformation, all of these companies are recognizing that user experience and design are critical to their success. They’re investing in design leaders and practitioners but continue to struggle to integrate the user-centric approach these colleagues advocate. 2016 drove an organizational understanding and demand for these skills. 2017 will provide the opportunity to integrate UX skills in more meaningful ways. Why? Two reasons:


    1. Outcome-based management — Regardless of the maturity of their process most companies now recognize that out-featuring your competition is not how you win in the market. Instead, delighting your customer, making it easy and efficient for them to achieve a goal and providing a modern experience are the factors that keep customers loyal. In a software-driven world, these are measurable success criteria. Companies will increasingly be asking their teams to achieve these outcomes rather than simply shipping features (aka output). This trend will highlight the need for user-centric teams — cross-functional teams that truly understand the motivation behind user actions and are continuously optimizing the customer experience towards those needs. UX’ers will have the opportunity to lead many of these efforts, bring teams closer to their customers and power the engine that drives market-based evidence into how the teams work.
    2. Leadership empathy gap —  UX leaders have a new opportunity in 2017 as well. As companies large and small hire VP+ level designers they have executive leadership’s ear. These are executives who often have an industrial-era management mindset. And it’s served them well until now. They believe that strategy, direction and creativity emanate from the executive suite. As new UX leaders get installed, it’s their responsibility (and unique opportunity) to bring empathy to the executive suite. These leaders have bought into agile but they think it simply amps up production. UX leaders in these orgs now have the opportunity to show how agile rituals —  short cycles, continuous feedback loops and a relentless focus on the customer —  can yield far organizational agility (values) through increased usage, loyalty and revenue.You can see these conversations start to play out already in some of the more enlightened companies. We’ve (Josh Seiden & I)  covered these topics extensively in our new book Sense & Respond and strongly believe that this is the future of management, leadership and great customer experiences.


    Jeff Gothelf

    Jeff Gothelf

    Jeff is the author of Lean UX and the upcoming Sense and Respond, a speaker and organizational designer. Over his nearly 20 years in digital products and services Jeff has worked to bring a customer-centric, evidence-based approach to product strategy, design and leadership. Jeff has worked in various roles and leadership positions at iXL, Fidelity, AOL, WebTrends, and TheLadders. Most recently Jeff co-founded Neo Innovation (sold to Pivotal Labs) in New York City and helped build it into one of the most recognized brands in modern product strategy, development and design. As a principal in Neo’s NYC office, Jeff functioned as head of executive training, coaching, workshops and education. Jeff is regularly keynoting conferences, teaching workshops or working directly with client leadership teams across North America, Europe & Asia.


    Sense and Respond: How Successful Organizations Listen to Customers and Create New Products Continuously 

    Sense and Respond: How Successful Organizations Listen to Customers and Create New Products Continuously

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  • Star Kimm’s 3 Tips for UX’ers | @xfishnet

    Star Kimm has been smiling and dialing for over 20 years, enticing candidate to join companies that are out of this world. Star has worked at some of the best companies such as: Faraday Future, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, just about every Entertainment Studio and even more Start-ups all over Southern California. Star is a proud UCLA grad but dropped out of law school because, well the glove did not a fit. For more entertainment, look her up on linked in.

    1. As a recruiter, I work with hiring managers who emphasize the importance of having a publicly available portfolio online. We often use Dribbble and WorkingNotWorking to find UX/UI professionals. These platforms are easy to use which makes a difference in a busy world. It’s all about fast and friendly. If you aren’t using these sites, you should consider placing your work there.

    2. And, be sure to include a link to your online portfolio on LinkedIn and similar sites. Candidates often forget this.
    3. The #1 reason candidates don’t hear about open job opportunities is because their email addresses can’t be found. It should be front and center instead of treating it as a visual design element. So, double check your portfolio and profiles on WorkingNotWorking, Dribbble, LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites to make sure your email address is prominent. Often, the career opportunity goes to the UX professional who has an easy-to-find email address and responds first with their availabilities. We work fast and furious so speed is the key. Want an edge over other candidates? This is it. Andale!
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  • Steve Portigal’s 3 Tips on UX Research | @steveportigal
    1. Research is everywhere. I continue to marvel at the growth of research. Back in the day, people would write to ask me if they knew of any research openings; now they write to ask me if I know of anyone who they could hire for their research position. We shouldn’t get cocky, as demand for research can lead to commodification, degrading research to a tactical, evaluative tool rather than the strategic powerhouse it is.
    2. Research is necessary but not sufficient for innovation. It’s just one of many parts in making business decisions. Research identifies unmet needs but design, technology, service, etc. all figure out how to address those needs. Research assesses solutions but only in certain contexts. Some things can’t be fully evaluated until after they exist (consider the invention of the Post-It, for example). This is an innovation problem, not a research problem. 
    3. Harness storytelling for teaching and learning. Stories take us through a process of an experience, from the beginning, to the middle, through to the end. Crucially for learners, they can highlight mistakes and failures as much as successes. And stories can tell it like it is, providing a level of authenticity that more traditionally presented instructional material can’t convey. And finally, we respond to emotionally to stories: drama, suspense, pathos, humor all facilitate engagement and end up sticking around in our memory.

    Steve Portigal


    Steve Portigal helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights. He is principal of Portigal Consulting, and the author of two books: The classic Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights and new, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories. He’s also the host of the Dollars to Donuts podcast, where he interviews people who lead user research in their organizations (including Citrix, Airbnb, eBay and Pinterest). Steve lives in a small coastal town just outside of San Francisco and actively seeks out new ramen restaurants.
    Steve’s New Book
    Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries – User Research War Stories

    Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries - User Research War Stories

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  • Alastair Somerville’s 3 Tips on Sensory Design | @Acuity_Design
    1. Senses. Smells, sights, tastes, textures and sounds: what people love and what people hate in sensory experiences are a mixture of both conscious thought in the moment and subconscious memories from the past. It is possible the two are in conflict yet a person cannot easily describe that to you. Test with empathy and use observation and chat carefully.

    2. Emotion is in the moment of perception and sensing. Emotion helps focus meaning making for the user so they can make decisions and act faster. However, emotion also constricts cognition. What seems the obvious action to take in a design may not be obvious to the user in the moment of sensing and emotion. Build and test with feeling.

    3. Transcendental Experience Design. Talking about awe and wonder are ways of exploring the diversity of sensory capacities of people. Transcendental user experience is one way in which Neurodiversity and Cognitive Accessibility are being framed in design. How we can apply research in making products and services that go way beyond…

    Alastair Somerville


    Alastair Somerville is a sensory design consultant in the UK. He works with organisations on multisensory and accessible design projects and facilitates personal development workshops on new forms of person-centred and sensory design for design professionals. He is running a brand new usability practice workshop at Interaction17 in New York on 2/5/17. More information:

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  • Joe Welinske on ConveyUX | @conveyUX
    1. Five Design Tools for Voice UX. In addition to being the producer of ConveyUX, Blink UX is deeply involved with helping clients with user research and design. The Blink blog presents an on-going parade of interesting ideas based on projects. Recently, Blink posted an article that talks about design tools to assist in working with voice-interfaces.
    2. Keyboard Interaction for Accessibility. ConveyUX has hosted a number of accessibility experts in our annual program. One of the issues that is often neglected in today’s design of sites and apps is keyboard navigation. For most people, clickable and touch interfaces are the main way we interact with software to do work and gather information. However, blind and low-vision users count on robust support for traditional keyboard access. Assistive technologies, like screen readers, use the tab and heading structure to provide shortcuts and establish mental models. An easy first step in assessing the accessibility of your design is to try and navigate it strictly through the use of a keyboard. There are numerous articles on the web on how to address the issues that you will undoubtedly expose.
    3. Free Educational Content. Dozens of hours of conference sessions from past ConveyUX conferences are freely available on our web site and YouTube channel. The best way to keep up on the latest content is by connecting to us through social media.
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  • UX Holiday Fest 2016

    New for 2016! The UX Holiday Fest featured a mini UX conference and holiday party rolled into one in DTLA on Saturday, December 3. We assembled a team of panelists with decades of experience in VR/AR + UX.

    Our moderator and panelists included: John Root (founder of VRLA + work for Magic Leap + Digital Domain + ID software), Mack Reed (projects for Fox, Microsoft, Dell), Jimmy Johansson(projects for EA and Activision), Kat Harris (certified HoloLens evangelist) and Ed Moore (Amped UX).

    Panel produced by: Ed Moore & David LaFontaine



    Apply UX to your Life by Raymond Soon at 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
    How can UX Design processes and methodologies make your life goals more achievable and… dare we say it…”happier”? Learn mindfulness exercises you can use for the rest of your life in this experiential, hands-on workshop. Raymond will help teach participants how to create “tiny habits” that can result in big changes. By understanding our behavior and habits, we can then use this insight to systematically design habits for users, creating better apps, products, and lives.

    Adobe XD Overview by Jessica Brown at 3 pm to 3:30 pm
    Learn more about Adobe’s Experience Design program and what recent updates have been made to the program and will it ever be able to compete against Axure, Sketch, InVision, etc.?

    Just added! Axure Overview by Shraddha Swaroop from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm

    Sketch Overview by Ramon Martinez at 4:00 to 4:30 pm
    Ramon will provide a broad overview of the popular Sketch design app for beginners.

    Three Way App Comparison 4:00 to 4:30 pm
    At the end of the Sketch session, Shraddha, Ramon and Jessica will do an “Apples & Oranges” comparison between the three apps (Axure vs. Adobe XD vs. Sketch) to help you decide which one of the three is better suited for you.

    Breaking into UX Research by Developing Empathy for Users Through Personas by Shri Jambhekar and David Nguyen at 4 pm (Limited to 10 seats)

    Shri and David will help kick off our upcoming UX Research sub-group in 2017 by covering how to leverage the beginning of the UCD (user center design) process. Learn how to gather, analyze and get hands-on with creating personas.

    VR/AR Panel with Ed Moore, Jimmy Johansson, John Root, and Kat Harris from 4 to 5:30 pm
    See details above.

    UX Holiday Party 5:30 pm to 7 pm
    We’ll wrap up the day with a generous selection of adult beverages and appetizers. It’s your chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues in the design community and celebrate the holidays together.

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  • UX Fest’s VR/AR Panel Discussion


    By Arvia Glass

    UX Fest 2016 took place on Sat., Dec. 3rd at Blankspaces DTLA, where a number of experts were in attendance, including a panel of virtual reality specialists. The moderator and panelists included: John Root (founder of VRLA + work for Magic Leap + Digital Domain + ID software), Mack Reed (projects for Fox, Microsoft, Dell), Jimmy Johansson(projects for EA and Activision), Kat Harris (certified HoloLens evangelist) and Ed Moore (Amped UX).

    During the discussion, they focused on where the industry currently stands, VR’s potential, and what this means for UX designers. There is no doubt that design practices will undergo an inevitable shift, as new technologies demand new solutions to problems.

    Generally, when thinking about design practices for virtual reality, consider these tips from interaction designer Jonathan Ravasz. In his personal quest to understand what approach to take when designing for an immersive 3D environment, he delved into behavioral and environmental psychology, architecture, sound/lighting design, and physics. The first thing a designer should consider when shaping a virtual environment is orientation and scale. This is achieved by creating a virtual ground and atmosphere. These elements give users a sense of up/down and near/far. Terrain features like paths, obstructions, and cliffs aid in creating an intuitive environment to navigate through. Sound, visual cues (i.e. moving contextual objects) and recticles can be used to guide and direct a user’s gaze. Recticles are like cursors, used mainly on mobile VR platforms, which enable user interaction in virtual reality. Changes in size, shape, color, and movement act as a guide through your designed, virtual experience.

    A tried and true set of design principles for VR doesn’t currently exist. While this emerging industry is still in its nascent stage, it’s up to the UX and UI design professionals of today to experiment and think outside of the box in order to create good content and the best virtual user experience possible.

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  • LAUX at TechJobsLA Event 2016

    Networking is stressful. Looking for work is stressful. These things are stressful on an existential level and there is no use pretending they are not.

    The 2016 TechJobsLA Job Fair, at the DTLA location of BLANKSPACES, was an overwhelming experience for all concerned. To its credit, it did not try to be otherwise. All rooms were jam-packed throughout. The noise level hovered at a low din. The coffee flowed like wild rapids. What made it such a successful event was that it packed so many radiant brains into a small place and packed so much cerebral stimulation into four hours that the net effect was pleasantly overwhelming. It was stressful in a fun way.

    10448482_785165668228963_3629425531949290046_oFor job seekers and recruiters alike, job fairs are a bit like speed-dating. It’s a less lonesome and futile way to spend a few hours than endlessly attaching PDFs to emails and hitting walls of Applicant Tracking Software. But, in person, there is significant pressure to make a strong and immediate impression.

    There were hot startups and top agencies, and there was more. The organizers also invited the UCLA Extension, Girl Develop It, True Talk Advisors, and other organizations offering not just acceptance or rejection, but opportunities for continuing self-improvement. Anyone who didn’t get hired on the spot at least walked away with an expanded peer network and some inspiration and opportunities to grow and hone their skills on their own time and/or for a good cause.

    For anyone who got burned out on introductions and wanted to listen to someone else for a bit, the quality of the presentations was sterling.

    For the UXers in attendance, Ed Moore’s “Frontiers of VR UX” was arguably the biggest draw. Moore examined some of the unique challenges and opportunities of virtual reality from a user experience perspective, honed in on some market imbalances that ambitious designers and developers can potentially exploit, geeked out with some cool tools, and provided a tight and inviting introduction to one of the most exciting new trends in tech. The only thing wrong with Moore’s presentation was that it overlapped Evelyn Masso’s “Designing for Physical Interactivity,” an equally challenging and relevant topic in UX. Perhaps the two of them can collaborate on some new way to be in two places at once.

    14362510_1137780459634147_4040123835299602296_oThe star-studded Digital Entertainment Panel touched on VR as well; Jinsoo An managed to clear up some confusion around his work in “virtual eating” without diminishing its intrigue. Overall, it took a broader view of trends in technology and made the case for why storytelling is still key and Southern California is still the place to be.

    In order to become more adept storytellers, some job seekers may benefit from gaining some clarity on the stories they tell about themselves. That’s Jamie Douraghy’s department. When he’s not running the recruiting firm Artisan Creative, Douraghy imparts unusual career advice that is more about self-discovery than it is about bringing down the big bucks. Douraghy and the Digital Entertainment Panel’s Dan Greaney (a veteran Simpsons writer with a gleefully dark sense of humor) addressed the career concerns of introverts and rebels, reaching out to those who tend to struggle the most not only with networking, but with career satisfaction. After a quick interview, Douraghy provided one attendee with a read on her personality, struggles, and goals that left her with goosebumps.

    Aside from opportunities to meet people, the best job fairs give harried job seekers opportunities to share some moments of real connection. The TechJobsLA fair excelled not just in its roster and its content, but also in its humanity. Based on the likely word of mouth about this year’s event, 2017’s edition may need a bigger crucible.



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  • 5th Annual TechJobs LA Jobfair + Workshops

    Be a part of the 5th Annual TechJobsLA Job Fair + UX Workshops on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Joining us are a number of highly specialized recruiters who focus on UX and creative design space opportunities.

    New this year! UCLA Extension will offer mini-workshops so that you can preview some of their classes and boost your skills. How cool is that, right?

    This event gives you the opportunity to meet several of the top names in UX talent staffing one on one. Hear first-hand where the job market is going and receive professional coaching advice targeted to your needs.

    To prepare you even more, Vitamin T and Artisan Creative are sponsoring a workshop on interviewing techniques and a session offering portfolio reviews.

    We’ve just added a “Wandering the Frontiers of VR as a UX Freelancer ” talk by Ed Moore. His first talk on the same subject at SoCalUX Camp was well received, and we’re excited to get a chance for more people to watch Ed in action.

    (Note: Raymond Soon’s originally scheduled workshop on “Tiny Habits + UX” at 1pm will be rescheduled later as LAUX Meetup event. We apologize for any inconvenience.)

    You can also check out “Designing for Physical Interactivity ” with UCLA Extension instructor, Evelyn Masso too!

    We’re also putting together a Digital Entertainment panel with high-level leaders from major entertainment companies. Panelists include:

    • Dan Greaney, Producer on The Simpsons/Fox

    • Jinsoo An, Virtual Reality/Mobile Manager for NFL

    • Thomas Rigler, Everybody Walk/Kaiser and CityWalk/KCET/PBS

    • Arturo Perez, Kluge Interactive

    • Michelle Chin, Senior UX Manager at Disney

    • Just added: Kim Adelman, UCLA Extension Instructor for Entertainment Studies, and previously Fox Movie Channel

    This panel discussion will be moderated by Luetrell Toler.

    Company Booth/Sponsors
    If you’re a company or know of a company looking to hire UX designers and want to be a sponsor booth, please visit:

    Community Partners
    Many community meetup groups and community partners within our SoCal tech ecosystem will be there. This is a great opportunity to get to know them and get involved. Among the groups joining us are Grid 110, Girl Develop It, LAdobeSoCal Web Designers & Developers, and TrueTalk LA.


    Event Over

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  • Philosophy and Design

    Early on in his talk “A Metaphysical History of Western Philosophy and Design,” Arturo Perez warned that it would include some cerebral stuff. “It’s okay if you zone out and let the abstraction take you somewhere.”

    He was not kidding. For the next hour or so, the founder and CEO of Kluge took members of the LAUX Meetup, assembled in the front area of the Downtown co-working establishment Blankspaces, on a dizzying tour through the history of human philosophy from Plato to Derrida.

    True to his profession, he color-coded three distinct eras of thought: Realism (blue), idealism (purple), and post-idealism (red). Although he revealed a personal affinity for the Blue Era of Plato, being and becoming, and a common trust that people could perceive their reality correctly through the senses, it was his exploration of the Red era and Derrida (“As soon as there is language, generality has entered the scene”) that seemed to get him most fired up.

    It was IMG_0296during the Red portion of his talk, covering an era roughly dating from the early 1900s onward, that Perez began to address and challenge the design field directly. Stating that “the religion now is science,” he compared and contrasted the Scientific Method with the Design Method. The idea of design as a distinct discipline, he said, arose with the industrial revolution, and designers hoisted the weighty legacy of the philosophers.


    As he slowly built on his earlier points, Perez shifted to exploration and provocation, emphasizing the responsibility that designers bear not just for their users’ experience, but for their users’ souls – and the designers’ own. He called out a few design thinkers, including Herbert Simon, Simon Glynn, and Glenn Parsons, who have pointed in new, more philosophical directions designers might consider. And he elucidated how Kluge’s event series Evenings at the Loft carried on the legacy of philosophical salons.

    As his presentation gradually unfolded, Perez focused not on strategies or tools, but on some of the biggest questions in the world. “If you say you’re comfortable with the unknown,” he said, “you have to own that.

    You can reach Arturo via:  Twitter /  LinkedIn 


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  • 2015 UX Holiday Party & Panel Discussion

    Join us to celebrate the holiday season and catch up with long lost UX friends from the other side of town.

    We’ll also have appetizers (food) and drinks + UX Discussion Panel with our awesome senior UX panelists as we review the results of Vitamin T’s yearly Talent/Industry survey.

    Our panelists will give us their thoughts on the results of the survey as well as UX trends, skills development, career paths, and more.

    Jon Fox (Open X, NEALUX)
    Chris Chandler (Fandango, LAUX co-founder)
    David Nguyen (Rakuten, OCUX + SoCal UX Camp)
    Shri Jambekhar ( & Art Center)

    Super Thanks to our Gold Sponsor: Vitamin T


    A big thanks to Cooper and Kluge as co-sponsors!


    Special thanks to BLANKSPACES for hosting us!



    Signup Today

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  • Hackathon by Grid110

    Calling all UX Designers (& UX Unicorns)!

    The LAUX Meetup and TechJobsLA are proud to collaborate with Grid110 on the “FashionTech Hackathon” on the weekend of Dec. 5th & 6th (Sat. & Sun.). The event is scheduled to be held at one of DTLA’s hippest and cool boutique hotels, The Standard.


    GRID110 is a economic development organization committed to activating the startup ecosystem in Los Angeles. For our first Hack, we are bringing together fashion designers, students, UX/graphic designers, engineers, and developers to create a wearables prototype.


    Tickets are only $22 and change. You can be on a Team or just join us for the final session with the judges and a mixer at the end of the event. Either way the entry fee is the same!

    There will be prizes for the winning idea.

    Our Senior Design/Product Mentors available during the Hackathon event. Listed In alphabetical last name order (+company background):

    • Jinsoo An (Deutsch)
    • John Ayers (Pepperdine)
    • Tim Fulmer (Hop Skip Drive)
    • Paul Lumsdaine (Ness & prev. Cisco)
    • Geremy Mumenthaler (The Noun Project)

    Special thanks to them for being generous with their time and support of our hackathon participants.

    We’ll soon have full details on PRIZES!

    Do you love fashion, technology and startups? Wearables, advanced materials, e-commerce, data science, biometrics and tech-infused avant-garde couture are all part of a wave of innovation that will revolutionize the $1.2T global fashion industry. Come get on the ground floor.

    GRID110, the Standard Hotel and the LA UX Meetup are joining forces to host one of the coolest Hackathons you’ll ever see. Hackers will spend the night at the iconic DTLA hotel to come up with a FashionTech wearables prototype. Teams of 4 will present their prototype to a killer panel of judges, and the top teams will walk away with some amazing prizes!

    We’re looking for fashion designers, programmers, engineers and industry market specialists. Unlike other Hacks, teams will not only mock up a Minimally Viable Product (MVP), but explain how their idea will penetrate and dominate the market. Judging will take place at a cocktail mixer where Hackers can show their prototype, meet other cool techies and unwind after a crazy night. Sign up and let’s get you on a team!


    Dori Howard (Founder, Wade & Belle)
    Mike Macadaan (Founder, This Is Ground)
    Noel Saw (Head, LA UX Meetup)
    Jason White (VP Marketing, Beats By Dre)

    Things To Remember

    • We will be building prototype mock-ups, NOT actual​ products. Hack Teams can present schematics, blueprints, websites, 3D mock-ups, slide presentations, etc. All Hack Teams will present their work on a simple website or presentation platform that will be screened to the audience during the Mixer at the end of the Hackathon.
    • Hack Teams of 3-4 will be decided by GRID110/Standard Hotel. The point of the Hackathon is to inspire community and team-building in the DTLA FashionTech community. Interested Hackers can sign up according to their interests and skill sets. GRID110 will alert attendees of their Team leading up to the event.
    • This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) event. Hackers are asked to bring their own laptops, hard drives, software, cloud storage, etc. The Standard Hotel will provide basics such as electricity, snacks, A/V equipment for presentations and other event amenities. GRID110/Standard Hotel will not be responsible for any lost, stolen or broken equipment, so it’s important to safeguard your valuables.
    • Hack Teams can bring in materials to mock-up a real prototype, provided such a mock-up does not require hazardous materials or fabrication, or any activity that would reasonably be considered disruptive or dangerous in a public hotel. Furthermore, such a mock-up will not give Hack Teams a special advantage in judging.
    • Hack Teams will be required to present their mock-up during the judging portion of the Mixer. Teams will be asked questions about design, construction, materials, production viability, market viability, business plans and so on. Judges will decide the winners of the Hackathon at their sole discretion.
    • There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for Hack teams. All prizes are gifted at the sole discretion of GRID110/Standard Hotel and are subject to change.
    • There will be a strict code of conduct during the Hackathon. Abusive, sexually explicit, bullying, discriminatory, hateful or otherwise unfriendly behavior toward fellow Hackers, judges, organizers or others’ property will not be tolerated. Any attendees who display such behavior will be asked to leave, and their Attendance Fee will not be refunded.
    • By signing up for the Hackathon, and paying the Attendance Fee, you consent to the above.

    Special thanks to our partners and sponsors: The Standard, Downtown LA, Los Angeles User Experience, Silicon Valley Bank, Strategic Law Partners, LLP,, LA Tech Digest, General Assembly, Califia Farms

    Use the coupon code “LAUX” to get 50% off!


    Signup Today


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  • UX Master Class with Jaime Levy

    We recently helped Jaime Levy launch her UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products That People Want book earlier this summer at Cross Campus. So now Jaime’s going to help you build a better UX for your products in person!

    Who Should Attend: 

    • UX designers who are working professionals at a startup, agency or enterprise. You have already created wireframes and sitemaps for a dozen+ projects but want to get more knowledgeable and involved in making product-strategy decisions.
    • Digital product stakeholders ranging from product managers and developers to startup founders. You want to learn effective ways to balance great UX design with market opportunity and budgetary constraints in order to increase the likelihood of a successful online product.

    What You Will Learn: 

    In this challenging, captivating and hands-on masterclass, Jaime will teach you and your teams:

    • Why the empirical practice of user experience strategy is crucial for devising successful online products
    • How to validate a real customer and their real problem to get to a real solution with market demand
    • Why it’s so important not to reinvent the wheel and strive for a “Blue Ocean” opportunity
    • How to identify direct and indirect digital competitors of your value proposition
    • How to collect and capture quantitative and qualitative data for doing thorough market research
    • How to conduct a methodical analysis so that you can take a stance on the opportunity space
    • How to turn your insights into killer user experiences that make for a unique product using storyboarding techniques

    What Else: 

    • All attendees of the masterclass get a free copy of Jaime’s book UX Strategy.
    • Having a laptop is recommended but not required. You can work in teams of two on the exercises that require a laptop.
    • Coffee, water and snacks will be provided.
    • There will be a one hour break for lunch; attendees will find a plethora of amazing and affordable local restaurants in Little Tokyo at which to dine.

    Who’s the Teacher:

    Jaime Levy is an author, professor and a user experience strategist.

    Her new book is called UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want (O’Reilly Media 2015). It presents a solid framework on the practice, which lies at the intersection of UX design and business strategy. It is available on Amazon and at O’Reilly Media

    For over 25 years, Jaime has been a pioneer in the creation of innovative digital products and services. Currently, she runs a UX design and strategy consultancy called JLR Interactive that is based in Los Angeles. She also teaches a graduate level course on UX design and strategy at the University of Southern California in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

    Jaime speaks at design and innovation conferences worldwide and conducts public workshops and in-house training. You can find Jaime online at, follow her @jaimerlevy and read more about her on Wikipedia.

    Signup Today!

    Continue reading →
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  • Seeking an experienced Mandarin Speaking UI/UX Designer

    Please email:

    A top Digital Media Firm in Los Angeles, CA., is seeking an experienced Mandarin Speaking UI/UX Designer to join their team.

    This role requires strong UI/UX skills, as well as the ability to create beautiful visual design. The ideal candidate will have a strong understanding of user experience, including user research, user flow, personas, etc. Must show samples of interactive experience across platform (websites, tablet, mobile, email campaigns, etc). Designer will have an understanding of the Chinese design philosophies and mobile usage patterns and preferences.

    PAY: DOE

    Required Skills:
    • At least 3 years of UI/UX Design experience
    • Fluent in Mandarin
    • Proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
    • Ability to design mobile apps; Knowledge of Chinese app design

    Please email:

    Continue reading →
  • UX Strategy Book Interview & Launch Party w/ Jaime Levy

    UX Strategy Book Launch Party w/ Jaime Levy
    Location: Cross Campus, Santa Monica, CA.
    Date and Time: July 17th at 6pm
    Cost: $10 General, $28 w/ copy of printed book

    Come Celebrate UX in LA with O’Reilly Author: Jaime Levy + Q&A conversation with Skot Carruth. UX Strategy is a hands-on guide that introduces lightweight strategy tools and techniques to help you and your team craft innovative multi-device products that people want to use. Along with business cases, historical context, and real-world examples throughout, you’ll also gain different perspectives on the subject through interviews with top strategists. It is available now in print on Amazon and as an Ebook!

    Special thanks to Vitamin T for being a Gold Sponsor of the event.


    We had a great event with chairs occupied + standing crowd!

    Can’t make it to the event? Please check out the book on Amazon.

    Interview with Jaime Levy
    We asked our friend Michael Haggerty-Villa (@SoCal Content Strategy Meetup) to ask Jaime more about her upcoming book and background.


    Q: To begin, let’s quote from your book:”What the hell is UX strategy?”

    A: UX strategy is the process that should be started before the design or development of a digital product begins. It’s the vision of a solution that needs to be validated with real potential customers to prove that it’s desired in the marketplace. Although UX design encompasses numerous details such as visual design, content messaging, and how easy it is for a user to accomplish a task, UX strategy is the “Big Picture.” It’s the high-level plan to achieve one or more business goals under conditions of uncertainty.


    Q: Many UX/UI designers are brought onto projects after the product strategy has been determined. Do you believe they have options, or is it too late?

    A: I believe they have options, and that’s the primary reason I wrote this book. I too have been a wireframe monkey, cranking out design deliverables. I felt like I had hit a wall. I didn’t have a business degree or marketing expertise, but I had the trench experience. My book advocates that product makers of all shades have options for being intrapreneurial with or without buy-in from stakeholders or clients. The way to push back is with evidence, not more subjective opinions. So I teach techniques that are focused on collecting this evidence, whether it is gathered through competitive research or prototype experiments. If you want to get ahead in your career, you can’t be sitting around waiting for permission.


    Q: Can designers really learn about business strategy and marketing without getting a business degree?

    A: Absolutely. A business degree from a prestigious university is certainly useful for making connections. But it’s not any more “useful” for an aspiring strategist than someone taking a surfing class without getting out there into the actual waves and getting bashed around. Like design, strategy is something you can only learn by doing. It’s also a vernacular, and I highly recommend actually reading (or listening to) all the books that I discuss in Chapter 2, which includes The Lean Startup, The Startup Owner’s Manual, and Blue Ocean Strategy.


    Q: You’ve been teaching about UX strategy for a while. You offer a UX Strategy Toolkit to help guide entrepreneurs and designers along the UX strategy path. How many years did it take to develop the toolkit both as a teacher and a design practitioner?

    A: Oh man, quite a while. I developed the Competitive Research and Analysis tool from scratch and have fine-tuned it over the last five years with clients and students. I taught how to do analysis in my UX classes, but I didn’t really nail the subject matter till I finally sat down and methodically wrote out how to conduct competitive analysis in my book. Now the tool has all the possible business factors and UX attributes in there for understanding the digital product landscape. As for the Funnel Matrix, I developed it only in the last two years, as I became more obsessed with both growth hacking techniques and running structured experiments.

    By the way, here is the UX Strategy Toolkit that you can download for free:


    Q: You write about killer UX design and guerilla user research, and you quote Art of War by Sun Tzu. Battle metaphors have been a part of business how-to books for years. Do the metaphors hold up for the field of UX strategy? How dangerous is UX strategy?

    A: Great question. Conducting solid UX Strategy is very dangerous for all involved parties. In a startup, your fortune is on the line, and in an enterprise, careers are at stake. New products fail because they aren’t truly desired in the marketplace. So instead of blowing steam up our stakeholders’ collective butts, we are pushing back, questioning assumptions, and quite often invalidating business models. The trick is not to be just a naysayer, but to become a person who can present alternative solutions for offering unique value to the marketplace.

    The market and workplaces are competitive. Studying great strategists like Sun Tzu facilitates moving to market faster where there is a true need.

    UX strategy is also dangerous business because it’s hard sometimes as consultants to walk away from projects (and money) once we realize that making a bad product is just a waste of time and resources. But this is our life. Why should we waste it when we have the ability to invent utilities and experiences that can make a positive difference in the world?


    Q: Your book is almost entirely set in Los Angeles. What’s that all about?

    A: I’m an L.A. native who was raised in the San Fernando Valley. I watched both my parents start businesses here, and I talk about what I learned from watching my mother succeed with hers and my father fail with his. And then I got to watch my father pick himself up and become a successful CEO.

    Failing in a place like Los Angeles, where people can be so darn materialistic, is not a fear of mine. After I bottomed out in New York after the dot-com bubble burst, I came back here and started teaching UX design at several colleges. In the book, I share a narrative following two of my UCLA Extension students as they go through the process of chasing a made-up value proposition during a UX strategy course from last spring of 2014. In other examples, I discuss three Los Angeles startup founders as they make their way with their ventures and how I tried to help them with user research studies and experiments conducted all over Venice and Silver Lake.

    Los Angeles is an awesome place to live as a UX practitioner. Unlike New York or San Francisco, it can be affordable, and we have a strong creative class developing in places like downtown L.A. and Pasadena. What makes me happy as a person and a strategist is getting to live in a vibrant city that is a wonderful place to raise a child. I’m personally over dealing with noisy cities, bad weather, hyper-competitive people and tiny apartments. I think we just need to be careful not to blurt out that this is the best city in the world to be product makers or we’ll just get flooded by more people! So shoosh!

    Next Steps:
    Buy the book

    NEW: Take Jaime’s Masterclass!

    Continue reading →
  • Late June LAUX Newsletter

    This newsletter is sponsored by:

    Introducing our new logo and website!
    Special thanks to Geremy Mumenthaler, Design Engineer at The Noun Project for designing it and collaborating with us. How do you like our new Logo? Let us know:

    This month we’re excited to announce Jaime Levy “UX Strategy Book” Launch Party.


    Continue reading →

    Learn Axure in Two Days!

    Saturday, June 13, 2015 – Sunday, June 14, 2015
    Opodz, Downtown Los Angeles

    **Sign Up on Eventbrite, LAUX Members save 20% (up to $100 value) **

    The format of the course will be a project tutorial with ‘real life’ examples.

    Best practices will be stressed throughout the training. We will cover how to incorporate multiple types of UX deliverables into your Axure prototype.

    A tutorial document will be given to everyone in the class at the beginning of training so they can refer to it as we go through the steps. This will be theirs to keep and they can take notes in it and refer back to it when doing other projects.

    A completed project file will be available to all attendees so they can investigate how something was built, learn from it, and reuse elements.

    While it is up to the individual to decide how much effort will be put into learning, at the end of this course, all users will have completed an advanced prototype.

    Two Days, Three Teachers

    In order to insure that the material is fully covered and that each of our attendees get the attention they deserve, we are providing three instructors for this two day workshop.  This is unique compared to other workshops and shows our continuing dedication to provide the best learning experience possible. This course will be taught by three approved Axure trainers.

    Instructors: Beth Wegner, Patricia Bellantoni, Paul Lumsdaine

    AB Collective is one of only four preferred Axure trainers in the United States.

    LAUX members save up to $100 off the general admission price!  

    **Sign Up on Eventbrite, LAUX Members save 20%**

    Continue reading →
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  • Hiring UX Design Lead | Santa Monica, CA | Long-term Contract

    Our client, a cutting-edge digital agency, is looking for a seasoned UX Lead to join their team in Santa Monica. This is a long-term, contract opportunity to work alongside and lead top creatives at a top agency.

    What you will do:
    – Partner with some of the best creative professionals and strategists in their field
    – Serve as a key connection between the client and the account, strategy, and creative teams
    – Serve as a guide and advocate for an iterative, cross disciplinary design process
    – Lead and facilitate workshops and other work sessions with internal and external teams
    – Manage a team of UX Designers

    – Bachelor’s degree required
    – 10+ years of professional work experience
    – Strong experience in large digital projects that extend beyond web
    – Desire to challenge the norm
    – A solid working knowledge of the latest versions of applicable programs (i.e. Mac, Invision, InDesign, Keynote, etc.)

    If you are interested and ready to start right away, please apply now:

    Or send your resume directly to:


    Continue reading →
  • Newsletter, May 2015

    It’s a great time to be a UXer in Los Angeles! There are a number of phenomenal events up ahead, so make sure you mark your calendars!



    Conducting Competitive Research & Analysis: Informing the Strategy of Your Digital Product

    Location: Webinar with

    Date and Time: Tuesday May 19th at 11:00am

    Cost: Free

    Details: When building a digital product you need to learn as much as you can about your competition. You need to know what’s out there, what’s worked, and what hasn’t. Thorough research can provide insights into current trends and reveal outdated examples of mental models. These insights will inform your work and help you build a better, more useful product.

    Balanced Team Salon Los Angeles

    Location: Rhubarb Studios, 633 West 5th Street, #1400, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Date and Time: Wednesday May 20th at 6:30pm

    Cost: $5.00

    Details: The theme of this evening is “What is the customer’s role in a balanced team?”  The agenda is in your hands, so please bring your ideas. Balanced Team experts (from Kluge Interactive, Pivotal Labs, JibJab Media, and ABC) will be on-hand for those interested in learning more.

    Interviewing Strategies: DTLA UX Study Group & Peer Mentorship

    Location: BLANKSPACES DTLA, 529 S Broadway, 4th Floor, Los Angeles, CA

    Date and Time: Wednesday May 20th at 6:30pm

    Cost: Free

    In this fast-paced and interactive workshop, participants will quickly learn and incorporate a framework for interviewing that takes out a lot of the guess work and promotes immediate confidence on both sides of the interview table. Through rapid exercises of about 2 minutes each, participants get immediate, immersive, and high-impact experience in self awareness for improved interview performance.


    Global Accessibility Awareness Day

    Location: Yahoo! 2400 Broadway Ave, Bldg D, 1st floor, Santa Monica

    Date and Time: Thursday May 21st at 6:00pm

    Cost: Free

    Details: Ismael Herrera will provide an introduction to ‘what is assistive technology’, providing a brief history of a variety of devices used by persons with various disabilities. He will also speak on the assessment process used to determine the type of assistive technology needed by individuals with disabilities.


    Future of Visual Language

    DRAFT.LA by the Noun Project

    Thursday May 21st at 7:00pm

    Cost: Free

    Join us on Thursday May, 21st in downtown Los Angeles for an enlightening panel discussion about the “Future of Visual Language.” Moderating the panel will be ethnographer and culture analyst, Sharon Ann Lee. Panelists include Able Paris, visual communication artist, Maritza Yoes, Social Strategist, and Yasmin Kahn, Graphic Design Professor at OTIS.


    Evenings at the Loft with Kluge

    Location: Kluge, 4133 Redwood Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

    Date and Time: Friday May 22nd at 6:00pm

    Cost: $20 (Get 20% off w code LAUXLOVE)

    Speakers include:

    • Jaime Levy, author of UX Strategy, How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want
    • Bud Caddell, founder of Nobl Collective, former SVP of Invention at Deutsch, speaker and author
    • Jeremiah Gardner, author of the Lean Brand


    [UX design] Learn by Sharing: peer-to-peer projects review

    Location: Techbow, 1000 Corporate Center Dr, Monterey Park, CA 91754-7600

    Date and Time: Friday May 22nd at 7:00pm

    Cost: Free

    Details: In this session, we give each presenter 10-15 minutes to share the status of her/his project. This will include a quick presentation plus Q&A session. We encourage you to listen and learn but also give useful feedback to each other.


    Idean UX Happy Hour in LA

    Location: 1450 N Spaulding Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046

    Date and Time: Friday May 29th at 5:00pm

    Cost: Free

    1450 N Spaulding Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046


    Javascript 101

    Location: Indie Desk, 816 S. Broadway Los Angeles 90014

    Date and Time: Sunday May 31st at 12:00pm

    Cost: $90

    Details: JavaScript is the most in-demand skill in the tech field today! Get started with our JavaScript 101 class, designed just for beginners including UX designers who have some HTML experience.


    Peer-to-Peer Design Reviews + UX Office Hours with I.K. Olomu

    Location: BLANKSPACES SANTA MONICA, 1450 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA

    Date and Time: Monday June 1st at 7:00pm

    Cost: Free

    We will be reviewing each-other’s’ work, providing helpful feedback and have an open discussion for a peer-driven conversation about  emerging UX developments and concerns. In addition, Ikponmwosa (I.K.) Olomu is offering one-on-one UX office hours.


    Psychological Architectures: Winning combinations of psychological principles

    Location: Rhubarb Studios, 633 West 5th Street, #1400, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Date and Time: Wednesday June 10th at 6:30pm

    Cost: Free

    Details: Join Brian Cugelman, PhD who will discuss Psychological Architectures and discuss the winning combinations of psychology that drive a wide range of design patterns.


    UX in a Nutshell

    Location: BLANKSPACES SANTA MONICA, 1450 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA

    Date and Time: Saturday June 13th at 1:30pm

    Cost: $28

    Details: Want to learn more about “User Experience” Design? Take a 2 hour “Introduction to UX” with Noel Saw. We’ll cover a lot of the basics of what “UX” is and what it’s not. UX is a popular buzzword these days in the tech and startup world, but what does it really mean? And how does “UX” work?


    Jose Caballer’s CORE 2: Advanced Strategy Workshop

    Location: Santa Monica

    Date: Saturday & Sunday, Aug 1st & 2nd

    Cost: $2,399

    $100 Discount Code: lauxmeetup100

    Details: The CORE 2: Advanced Strategy Workshop is two days of hands on activities for designers who want to apply CORE strategy to their sales process, marketing, hiring and help better manage their teams.



    Check out the ongoing UX events at AIGA so you don’t miss out on great opportunities like this sold out workshop:

    To get AIGA discounts to events and other benefits, considering joining AIGA:

    AIGA Los Angeles Membership


    And finally, Downtown LA is becoming the next hotbed of Startups & Tech companies. So join us for an upcoming Downtown LA Tech Morning Coffee Mixer in May 28th. We’ll be at IndieDesk at 8 am sharp so join us for a cup of joe and some bagels.

    Continue reading →
  • Psychological Architectures: Winning Combinations of Psychological Principles 2

    During this 2-hour workshop, you will learn foundational concepts in persuasive design, enjoy an overview of key principles, and understand how to build science-inspired technologies that blend creative insight with strategic thinking.

    The secret behind successful websites is rarely a superficial design pattern that you can copy and paste. Rather, their secret sauce is something conceptual, their Psychological Architecture—the winning combination of psychological principles that influences how their users think and behave.

    Join Brian Cugelman, PhD who will discuss Psychological Architectures and discuss the winning combinations of psychology that drive a wide range of design patterns. By the end of this session, you’ll understand how scientific, creative, and analytical experts can work together, to design higher impact technologies and campaigns.

    This event, is derived from Cugelman’s full day workshop, learn more at


    6:30 Arrival

    7:00-7:15 Announcements

    7:15-9:15 workshop



    Winner of free ticket to Psychology for Digital Behavior Change Workshop @Cugelman’s  2 day #workshop #LA May 4, 5.  @Janette_Shew “@cugelman & @LAUXmeetup  There is no such thing as UX without psychology!”


    Brian Cugelman, PhD

    As a specialist in digital psychology and data science, Dr. Cugelman has trained experts from over 400 companies, to use psychology in order to build more effective websites, apps, and digital campaigns. Brian’s popular workshop on digital psychology frequently sell out, and he has received notable invitations to train teams at Samsung , Salesforce, and even the Pentagon asked Dr. Cugelman to educate their stakeholders on digital psychology. His scientific research is published in JMIR, the world leading scientific e-health journal. And through his consulting firm AlterSpark, Brian provides corporate and public training on digital behavior change, consulting support, and data science services for online consumer insight, marketing, and behavior change.

    Instructor: Brian Cugelman, PhD | @cugelman

    Organization: AlterSpark | @AlterSpark

    Workshop home:


    532 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
    Underground parking open 24-hours. Weekday evening cost after 5pm approximately $7 and subject to change.
    VALET BY LUXE (Like UBER for parking)

    Luxe is leading the charge on a new industry of on demand services that address a ubiquitous urban challenge: finding a parking spot.
    Download the app now and let them do the parking.

    633 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA #1450  — Please RSVP.
    Only those on the list, or waiting list, will be admitted by security.

    Continue reading →
  • Downtown UX Study Group & Peer Mentorship

    This gathering is about peer mentorship. It is an opportunity for you to share with your colleagues something you’re interested in, whether it be to get feedback on a project, practice for an interview, to demonstrate a proficiency you can share with the community e.g. you do killer infographics, workflows or usability reports; discuss how to work with other professional teams, practice presentation skills – you can make it whatever you want it to be! Participation will be highly encouraged, but not required.  Our sole purpose for gathering is to support one another in our professional growth.

    If you are

    • an independent consultant looking for a second (friendly) opinion

    • looking for project collaborators

    • working on amping up your portfolio

    • just getting started in your career as a UX designer

    • a seasoned professional who’d like to help others grow in their careers

    • interested in upping the stakes in your involvement in the community

    or just curious what this is all about, please join us at the UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship event at BLANKSPACES in DTLA!

    Be creative and use this time for whatever you need to move forward in your career.  Everyone is welcome: designers, user researchers, content strategists, developers, project managers, entrepreneurs and others.

    Time for individual presentations to the group will be divided based on attendance so please be prepared to be flexible in your presentation time as it will be somewhere between  5 to 10 minutes.  After the presentations we’ll have 60 minutes to mingle, collaborate, and connect with the people who most resonated with you, or work a bit on a project and get more feedback before the night ends.

    6:30 doors open, set up

    7:00 Structured group critiques, inspired by Lane Haley’s presentation on “Structured UX Design Critiques

    8:00 Everyone is a Peer Mentor, inspired by Chris Chandler’s and Lynn Boyden’s presentation “Other People’s Problems

    9:00 wrap up

    Please bring a project, portfolio or even just your resume to practice presenting and getting feedback on. Don’t miss this opportunity, bring business cards and be prepared to make lasting relationships.


    530 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
    This lot has an automated exit and accepts both Mastercard and Visa. They usually are open 24-hours. But, be sure to ask before parking there.
    Weekday evening cost is approximately $7 and subject to change.

    512 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
    Conveniently located right behind BLANKSPACES DTLA. This lot accepts cash only but sometimes closes at 8PM. So, be sure to ask before parking there.
    Weekday evening cost is approximately $5 and subject to change.

    If you cannot make it this time, we hope to see you at the next one! Downtown UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship gatherings will be held monthly in the downtown Los Angeles area, generously sponsored by General Assembly and BLANKSPACES.

    Continue reading →
  • Peer-to-Peer Design Reviews + UX Office Hours with I.K. Olomu

    The Peer-to-Peer UX Design Reviews + UX Office Hours takes place on the first Monday of the month at 7pm sharp at BLANKSPACES SANTA MONICA. Please come planning to help your UX peers by contributing to the review session. We will be reviewing each-others’ work, providing helpful feedback and have an open discussion of the evening at the end for a peer-driven conversation about  emerging UX developments and concerns.

    Occasionally, the gathering will be a “no host” event. Regardless, please meet to give and receive useful feedback to each other. By regularly attending these gatherings, you’ll have the opportunity to strengthen your connections within the local UX community, improve your work and polish your communication skills.

    The ability to self-organize (see the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto) is an important one. Use this opportunity to work on your self-organizing team skills as you provide helpful feedback to each other.

    Also, feel free to bring friends, co-workers, your mentor or those you are collaborating with.

    In addition, Ikponmwosa (I.K.) Olomu is offering one-on-one UX office hours​. To meet with him, please let him know you are coming him in advance. Just leave a message in the comments area below.


    More photos of these gatherings can be found here:

    We will meet in one of the conference rooms so we can use a projector to view each other’s work. At the beginning of the event, each person will introduce herself or himself. Please tell everyone what project you are working on and what kind of help you might need. After that, please tell everyone how you may be able to help them. Please use the “UX Design Critique Conversation Starters” guide by Lane Haley >>

    Important notes:

    • We will be starting at 7PM sharp so plan to arrive at 6:45PM.

    • Once you have signed-in, make sure your computer is ready to project your work using the monitor display.

    • Don’t forget to bring any dongles or adapters you might need.

    • At the beginning of each meeting, we will use 15 minutes for everyone to introduce themselves. Please prepare a 30-second introduction about yourself and/or your project.

    • During the introductions, share your name, what you do (designer, developer, etc.), and what kind of help you need.

    • Each presenter will get 15 minutes of time. I recommend that you use 7 minutes to present and 8 minutes for feedback. To help you keep track of time, we will set a timer and let you know when to stop.

    • If you want to present, please mention it in the comment section below. At the event, be sure to add your name to the presenters’ sign-in list on the whiteboard.

    We will continue to iterate on the format as we go. Can’t wait to see you there!

    Continue reading →
  • Interviewing Strategies: DTLA UX Study Group & Peer Mentorship

    SPECIAL SESSION: Interviewing Strategies for Seekers and Hiring Teams by Lesa Evans In this fast-paced and interactive workshop, participants will quickly learn and incorporate a framework for interviewing that takes out a lot of the guess work and promotes immediate confidence on both sides of the interview table. Through rapid exercises of about 2 minutes each, participants get immediate, immersive, and high-impact experience in self awareness for improved interview performance.

    Although not required, feel free to bring your resume as a reference tool or portfolio samples.

    6:30 Doors open, set up, mingle

    7:00 Announcements

    7:15 Workshop begins

    9:00 Wrap up

    Lesa Evans is a Los Angeles recruiting consultant with nearly 20 years of experience in tech, and over 10 years of training for recruiters, leaders, and teams.


    This monthly gathering is about peer mentorship. It is an opportunity for you to share with your colleagues something you’re interested in, whether it be to get feedback on a project, practice for an interview, to demonstrate a proficiency you can share with the community e.g. you do killer infographics, workflows or usability reports; discuss how to work with other professional teams, practice presentation skills – you can make it whatever you want it to be! Participation will be highly encouraged, but not required.  Our sole purpose for gathering is to support one another in our professional growth.

    If you are

    • an independent consultant looking for a second (friendly) opinion

    • looking for project collaborators

    • working on amping up your portfolio

    • just getting started in your career as a UX designer

    • a seasoned professional who’d like to help others grow in their careers

    • interested in upping the stakes in your involvement in the community

    or just curious what this is all about, please join us at the UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship event at BLANKSPACES in DTLA


    530 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
    This lot has an automated exit and accepts both Mastercard and Visa. They usually are open 24-hours. But, be sure to ask before parking there.
    Weekday evening cost is approximately $7 and subject to change.

    512 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
    Conveniently located right behind BLANKSPACES DTLA. This lot accepts cash only but sometimes closes at 8PM. So, be sure to ask before parking there.
    Weekday evening cost is approximately $5 and subject to change.

    If you cannot make it this time, we hope to see you at the next one! Downtown UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship gatherings will be held monthly in the downtown Los Angeles area, generously sponsored by BLANKSPACES.

    Continue reading →
  • Partner Event: Break into UX

    Interested in becoming a UX Designer? Curious about how the role differs depending on where you work? Join us for a panel to learn more about what a UX Designer does day-to-day, and what skills you’ll need to be successful in the field.

    Come to hear the stories from inspiring designers, and stay to connect with a community of aspiring UX practitioners.


    NOTE: Please REGISTER HERE in order to be added to the OpenX security list.  We must have your first/last name on file in order to admit you into the building.  Thanks!

    About Our Partners

    General Assembly is an educational institution that transforms thinkers into creators through education in technology, business and design at fourteen campuses across four continents.

    OpenX is a global leader in digital and mobile advertising technology. We create highly efficient, high quality programmatic advertising markets that deliver optimal value to buyers and sellers and evolve rapidly to support the growth of the digital economy across screens and formats.

    Northeast Los Angeles UX (NELAUX) is dedicated to establishing a community of UX Designers, Entrepreneurs and Engineers to develop and promote innovation in Northeast LA.

    Continue reading →
  • Huge