MSU UARC is shutting down effective June 30, 2021. We are no longer taking on new projects.


Using Contextual Shifts to Design with Intent

Jen Atanasovski, Customer and Industry Research Pathfinder, Ford Motor Company

When it comes to design, we always talk of innovation, desirability, usability, usefulness, sustainability, needs, pain points... But where do we start? What is the foundational knowledge we need as designers? Join Jennifer as she discusses how we need to understand contextual shifts over time to discern relevant trends and to go deeper in understanding the "why" of things - if we are to design our future.

Making Open Data More Accessible

Kat Hartman, Director of Innovation & Emerging Technology, City of Detroit

In 2015 the City of Detroit adopted the GO DATA executive order, outlining an open data policy. Since then, the city has released over 100 datasets on the open data portal. Releasing the data is an essential and important first step, but improving public access, as dictated by the executive order, is more challenging than it may sound. The Innovation and Emerging Technology team has been exploring other ways to make open data more accessible, user friendly, and useful to city residents. This talk will summarize some of our approaches and thoughts, including information about our local Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup).

Influencer Secrets 101: Government Edition

Christopher Patten, Design Researcher, Center for Civic Design

Layers of red tape and bureaucracy can make designers feel like they're reading hieroglyphics when it comes to working with government websites. The best UX professionals can pull through and produce guidance that, if implemented, can dramatically impact citizens' experiences. Only after the tidy PowerPoint and set of recommendations are documented, however, do we confront the real battle: implementation. How do designers build support for change among government staff? How do they convince leadership? This short talk will highlight examples from projects ranging from state election websites to online licensing systems. Christopher will start by sharing specific examples of usability issues identified in government sites. Then, he'll share ways his team has tackled the buy-in process, highlighting both successes and challenges that came along the way.

Gearing up for Ethnography

Carol Smith, Senior Research Scientist - Human-Machine Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

Prepping for UX research can be intimidating, and there is never enough time or resources. Carol will share her personal experiences in the field, both good and bad. She has learned the hard way, doing observations in moving vehicles, coal mines, hospitals, schools, homes, and offices. She will also share interesting anecdotes from colleagues and review both ethical and behavioral standards for researchers. The key is to prepare well, learn to be flexible and to adapt to the situation.

Real-World Accessibility: Disabilities and Usability

Sarah J. Swierenga, PhD, CPE, Director, Michigan State University Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting

It is vitally important to incorporate users with disabilities into your design thinking ("inclusive design"), and gather feedback on your design from representative users who have disabilities themselves, in order to obtain an accurate understanding about the practical accessibility of your products. This presentation will offer some insights and experiences my team has gained from working with clients who want to include the voice of diverse users in their design process.

Project to Product: Leveraging UX to Deliver Value

Phillip Tularak, UX Manager, Thomson Reuters

Many industries and companies are grappling with the concept of Digital Transformation and with it adopting practices such as Lean Startup and Design Thinking. Oftentimes this process involves adopting concepts like Agile, Scrum, Product Management, etc., but in the rush to change there are many missed opportunities to have a real impact on our end users and customers. In this talk, Phil will focus on lessons learned in living through the process and how user experience design is positioned to help organizations transform from project focused to product focused. Many industries and companies are grappling with the concept of Digital Transformation and with it adopting practices such as Lean Startup and Design Thinking.