As the new decade begins, it’s time to take stock of what events, activities, and opportunities the Modus Experience practice shared throughout 2019.
This was certainly a full slate that spanned continents, disciplines, and mediums, but there was a consistent theme from every single talk, workshop, or blog post: that a customer-centric transformation starts with improving the product development process and examining how organizations view their relationships with their users.
Let’s go month by month and reflect on what we learned from each of these engagements.
Head of Customer Experience and Design Chris Avore spoke at Interaction19, the premier interaction design conference in Seattle, Washington. His talk focused on how design leaders need to evolve design maturity, elevate their approach to leadership, and expand the design practice in their organizations.
Chris Avore again took the stage at the Information Architecture Conference in Orlando Florida. Chris’s talk explored the relationship between a focused design transformation within a broader digital transformation effort. In short, trying to accomplish any digital transformation without also evaluating product development and design processes is likely to be incomplete and any changes temporary at best.
Read the write-up here.
Modus Create Senior User Experience Designer JD Jones begins his blog series How to Manage 6 Challenging Personality Types in Meetings.
JD Jones also spoke at the NERD summit in Amherst, Massachusetts about the definition of ready when designing UI components for design systems. His talk explored common design decisions that designers often neglect when designing UI components, as well as how to avoid long arguments when making these decisions.
Chris Avore facilitated the InVision Design Leadership Forum in New York City with over 25 of New York’s design and product development executives. Topics ranged from challenges trying to articulate the value of design, scaling design throughout the organization, and recruiting a diverse pipeline of effective designers.
JD Jones published the next two entries into his series: How to Manage 6 Challenging Personality Types in Meetings – Part 2: The Swoop-and-Pooper and Part 3: The Great Debaters.
JD also spoke at the University of Maryland’s iConference about tying design decisions to business outcomes. His talk focused on how organizations can objectively measure their user experiences, and which metrics to track given a company’s business model and company stage.
Modus attended the Forrester Digital Transformation & Innovation 2019 in Chicago to better understand how other management consulting firms were positioning their digital transformation capabilities and to learn from industry leaders who had undergone their own digital transformation efforts. While many talks focused on a narrow use of the term digital transformation to suggest moving from data centers from on-prem to the cloud, some speakers explored how to apply digital transformation to the full product portfolio, including how to adjust funding based on the results of experiments during the product development process.
JD continues his series on managing many types of personalities in meetings with How to Manage 6 Challenging Personality Types in Meetings – Part 4: The Multitasker.
Chris keynoted the San Diego UX Speakeasy Interaction19 Redux, which gathered speakers from the Seattle event in February to deliver their talks to a warmer, perhaps more tanned audience than those who saw it the first time.
JD wraps up his blog series with How to Manage 6 Challenging Personality Types in Meetings – Part 5: The Unclear Communicator.
Modus sponsored the annual Leadership By Design conference in Chicago and Chris spoke about changing trends in design leadership facing organizations and their managers. Modus also hosted an evening shuffleboard event for conference attendees and speakers and Chicago-area product development leaders to further raise awareness of who we are and what we do.
JD writes What You Need to Ask Before Starting A Product Design Project for the Modus blog.
At the end of the month, Chris and JD attended the Clarity Conference in San Francisco. Clarity Conference is positioned as a design systems event, but the talks, attendees, and overall vibe of the conference trend much heavier to a broader systems thinking event. Whereas design systems must take many parties’ needs and motivations into account to deliver functional, useful software at scale, we must also examine how the people themselves fit into the broader system. For every talk about how to better use tokens in design systems, there were also talks asking the audience to reflect on their own standing and human experience in a complex system.
This month was busy heading south. First, Chris delivered a talk exploring how to strategically position design further upstream in the product development process right across the street from the Modus Create Costa Rica office in association with IXDA Costa Rica.
Then, two weeks later, Chris led an 8 hour workshop called Design Ops for Design Leaders at Interaction Latin America in Medellin Colombia. The material focused on assessing the pain points and obstacles teams currently face today and then prioritizing where DesignOps approaches, such as governance, communication, and repeatable, predictable process can help delivery and scale.
JD protected the homefront by speaking at DCUX. His talk Governing Conflict in Your Design System: Build it Faster without Wanting to Kill Each Other examined helpful approaches to conflict resolution when building design systems.
Though certainly not a customer experience event, much of Modus leadership attended Amazon AWS re:Invent to better hone our own cloud offerings, particularly as it relates to broader digital transformation efforts within large organizations.
While looking back at all the hotels crashed in and airline delays—err, miles— we have racked up can be exhausting, we can’t totally exhale just yet.
2020 will see Modus at Interaction20 in Milan, Italy to observe any trends in how digital transformation and modern product development are changing in Europe relative to the Americas. And maybe one Aperol Spritz and a gelato, even in February.
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