• 01 Aug 2016 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    With UX being recognized more frequently as important by everyone in the organization, we find ourselves spending more time justifying our designs, and how we approach explaining our work can make or break our success in doing so.

    Some of us know this first hand because we've created really great work only for clients to not like them (and sometimes *really* not like them). We blame ourselves for not conveying all the details, or not spending enough time advocating for the user, or not facilitating the right conversation with the right client. Knowing how to lead these conversations is a skill of any good designer.

    Tom Greever, author of Articulating Design Decisions (O'Reilly), visited us last week for tacos and a talk on how best to prepare, listen, and respond when it comes to explaining our design solutions for stakeholder buy-in.


    As with any meeting, preparing for it can help with its overall success. Tom recommended rehearsing and anticipating reactions so we are better equipped to discuss our work thoughtfully and not in a reactive rush. Our own mental preparation is important, too. We need to be prepared that we're not always going to be right and others could be. Your stakeholders may have information about the business you don't have, so check our ego at the door.


    When it comes to listening, it's really about leveraging basic communication skills. We should be allowing others to talk, pausing before we speak, and diagnosing the real issue at hand. Often, a client might suggest something that isn't the right solution. As designers, it's our responsibility to get to the heart of the issue – what problem are they trying to solve and how can we provide a solution serves the needs of the user as well as the business. Listen to the words behind the words. One way to do this is to convert “likes” into “works” to understand the reasoning behind their suggestion. For example, it’s more impactful to hear “this dropdown works because…” instead of “I like this dropdown.".


    Tom has an IDEAL way to respond, which includes:

    • Identifying the problem
    • Describing your solution
    • Empathizing with the user
    • Appealing to the business
    • Locking in the agreement

    Once you've identified the problem and have found common ground, it's imperative to lock in the agreement, because without it, we can't move forward. Tom offered a few examples we can use for responses based on his previous experiences. His book also has plenty of great examples that illustrate how to use the IDEAL method in realistic scenarios.

    If you joined us for this event, we'd love to know how you've used some of Tom's methods when it comes to discussing your design work. If you weren't able to join us, we hope you can make another one of our events soon!

    Author: Michelle Chin

  • 21 Jun 2016 8:09 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    All Things Open is an annual conference that "explores open source, open tech, and the open web in the enterprise." It's been held each year in downtown Raleigh at the Raleigh Convention Center.

    The speaker lineup features a few UX speakers, including Rachel Nabors, Bermon Painter, and Sarah Kahn.

    Triangle UXPA members can save 15% off registration by using the code TUXPA15.

  • 13 Jan 2016 10:02 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    The first ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR) (pronounced “cheer”) which will take place at UNC Chapel Hill on March 13-17, 2016.

    The keynote speakers are Mark Ackerman from the University of Michigan, and Pia Borlund from the University of Copenhagen.

    Description from the CHIIR site:

    CHIIR provides a forum for the dissemination and discussion of research on the user-centered aspects of information interaction and information retrieval. CHIIR focuses on elements such as human involvement in search activities, and information seeking and use in context. The conference represents a merger of two successful past events: the Information Interaction in Context conference (IIiX) and the Human Computer Information Retrieval symposium (HCIR), which have run since 2006 and 2007 respectively.

  • 05 Apr 2015 6:14 PM | Andrew Wirtanen
    This year's Innovate Carolina one-day conference is on April 24 at UNC Charlotte. Here's the description:

    Too often, corporations develop products or services based on what they think customers want, rather than taking the time to fully understand existing needs and unmet needs. There are a range of proven techniques to discover important and unmet needs, but far too often practitioners don’t think they need to investigate needs or rely too heavily on easily obtainable secondary marketing research. These approaches lead to shallow insights and “me too” solutions that don’t interest or excite customers. 

    If you are designing, building or managing products, or considering creating a new product, service or business model, you want to know that what you launch will be valuable to potential customers, differentiated in the marketplace and meet important needs. Innovate Carolina is for you.

    Learn more and register at

  • 09 Mar 2015 10:47 AM | Andrew Wirtanen

    GIANT Conf 2015 (Charleston, SC) has announced their schedule. The workshops are on Sunday, June 14 and the 3-day conference starts up on Monday. 

    The Early Bird Registration rate of $700 expires on March 31. Only 100 tickets are available at this rate. Visit for more.

  • 04 Mar 2015 3:01 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    Everett McKay is offering Triangle UXPA members a 50% discount off his UX Design Essentials 3-day workshop (Monday 3/16 -Wednesday 3/18). The workshop is normally $1800. Go here to register: He is also giving away a couple of free tickets to any of our members that are between jobs. Email if this applies to you and you would like to win a free ticket. 

    Also, we have reached capacity on Everett's talk on Monday 3/16. You can join the waitlist here:

  • 10 Dec 2014 1:50 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    GIANT Conference 2015 have announced their six keynotes and 63 other speakers. The conference will once again be held in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The six keynotes are:

    • Aaron Draplin (Draplin Design Company)
    • Dan Willis (Cranky Productions)
    • Denise Jacobs (The Creative Dose)
    • Leslie Jensen-Inman (Center-Centre)
    • Scott Berkun (The Year Without Pants)
    • Sonya Looney (Professional mountain biker)

    Head to for the complete speaker list. Early bird registration is open till February 28, 2015. Stay tuned for potential Triangle UXPA discounts.

  • 15 Oct 2014 5:34 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    The folks behind the GIANT Conference have announced a new one-day conference series. The first one will be in Charlotte on Friday, January 23, 2015. Registration is open now and only $99 to the first 50 people.

    The keynote speakers are Lou Rosenfeld and Jared Spool.

    Visit for more info.

  • 15 Oct 2014 5:26 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    Congratulations to Triangle UXPA member Bill Albing, who will be presenting at the WritersUA Conference in Charleston on October 28, 2014. Bill's talk is titled Using Customer Analysis in UA Design (UA: User Assistance).

    Registration is still open for the conference at

  • 12 Aug 2014 5:06 PM | Andrew Wirtanen

    The inaugural Hopscotch Design Fest schedule is now available. The 2-day festival features keynote sessions from architect Shohei Shigematsu, tech leader Harper Reed, organizational innovator Sarah Miller Caldicott, IBM designer Doug Powell, and artist/designer Elle Luna. The Triangle UXPA is proud to be a Design Partner of the event.

    Learn more and download the schedule.

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