Explore. Learn. Transform.

Share the UX Journey at UXSYM

Nov 29, 2023, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Campus Center, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Welcome to UXSYM 2023, the premier symposium that bridges the gap between academic and industry UX research. Our mission is to share valuable insights, cutting-edge methods, and shape the future of UX research together.

About UXSYM

As a bridge between academia and industry, UXSYM aims to create a rich and dynamic platform where professionals and researchers can learn from each other, exchange ideas, and shape the future of UX research. Our symposium features leading experts, enlightening workshops, and engaging panel discussions designed to empower the UX leaders of tomorrow.

The conference this year focuses on harnessing the power of AI to create value with exceptional user experiences. The event offers a unique opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research and engage in discussions about the future of AI and UX with leading innovators in our field.

UX Research

User experience (UX) refers to how people interact with technology in their daily lives. UX research refers to research for creation, testing, and improvement of experiences that are not only practical but also intuitive and enjoyable for users. It plays a pivotal role in developing innovative digital products, from specialized workplace tools like organizational decision support systems and robotics to everyday consumer items such as smart appliances, websites, and apps. As an interdisciplinary field that draws from business, design, and technology, UX research has a broad impact on product innovation in various industries including Healthcare and Medical Services, Information Technology (IT), Financial Services and Banking, Retail and E-commerce, Hospitality and Tourism, Entertainment and Media to name a few.

Program (Updated Regularly)

 

8:30 AM
Registration & network (continental breakfast)
9:00 AM
Welcoming Remarks
9:15 AM
Workshop: Unlocking UX Insights with Eye-Tracking: Bridging Theory to Real-World Applications (Soussan Djamasbi), Odeum A
This workshop will provide an overview of user experience (UX) research using eye-tracking technology. Attendees will learn how to use eye tracking to capture dynamic elements of user experience, such as attention and effort, that are typically challenging to assess using conventional UX research techniques. Through real-world case studies, attendees will learn how to use eye-movement data to test design options and provide insight for design improvements.
Workshop: The AI-UX Dialogue: Today’s Landscape and Future Prospects (Matt Ferguson and John Wyatt), Hagglund
This workshop will provide an overview of artificial intelligence (AI) and explore compelling business cases where AI can become a transformative force for positive change. The workshop discusses current and future AI/LLM tools and processes that can transform the way we harness the potential of AI in business and social value creation.
10:45 AM
Networking break & posters
11:00 AM
Keynote: “Let’s talk, I am not going away”, said the elephant. Discussing the impact of AI on the UX practice and how to best prepare (Alexandra Candelas), Odeum A
HBR (Harvard Business Review) states that generative AI “has already displayed a breathtaking ability to create new content such as music, speech, text, images, and video…” If you are wondering about the future of our practice, let’s talk about how the language of the business might be our next frontier
12:00 PM
Lunch and networking
1:15 PM
Talk: From Insight to Impact: Traditional and AI-Driven UX Research for Value Creation (Soussan Djamasbi), Odeum A
UX-driven innovation focuses on creating intuitive products and services that prioritize user needs. This talk discusses a scientific framework for product development that leverages AI’s potential to address the challenge of satisfying the continually increasing market demand for innovation in today’s fast-paced digital economy.
2:00 PM
Networking break & posters
2:15 PM
Panel Discussion: Navigating the AI Frontier: Seizing Business Prospects, Crafting Strategies, and Shaping Policies (Matt Freed, Andy Piggott, Alec Rooney, Brian MacLaughlin, Moderator: John Wyatt), Odeum A
This moderated discussion explores the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, offering insights into successfully navigating this frontier for creating value with user-centered innovations. Discussions will span across multiple dimensions, from seizing promising business opportunities to crafting robust strategies, and even influencing the development of impactful policies.
3:15 PM
Networking break & posters
3:30 PM
Talk: The Hidden Costs of Feature Updates (Matt Ferguson), Odeum A
The cost of developing new features is often underestimated. It’s not just the money you spend on development. You also have to consider the cost of users having to learn and remember how to use new features, as well as the environmental costs of developing and maintaining those features. We will discuss the various costs of feature development and how to minimize them. We will also talk about the importance of considering user cognitive load and environmental costs when developing new features.
Fireside Chat: Why can’t we all just get along? (Mike McGovern and Ellen Carey), Mid Century
The practice of UX research is essential in most organizations today but without a direct correlation to business metrics and technical feasibility, a researcher’s work often falls on deaf ears. In order to become a valuable asset to your organization, join Mike McGovern and Ellen Carey as they share their journey from combatants to collaborators. As Chief Technologist at Gartner, Mike was at first reluctant to introduce a user-centered approach to the development process. As lead UX researcher, Ellen was trying to understand why her findings didn’t have more impact. Listen to the evolution toward a mutual respect and understanding of the need for UX and IT to work together to achieve results that lead to organizational transformation.
Innovate with Purpose: Unveiling the UX-Driven Framework Transforming Foodglance App from Ideation to Product (Prateek Jain), Hagglund
The UX driven innovation (UXDI) framework uniquely addresses the challenges of growing user expectations for continual innovation because it employs an innovation lens in its framework for developing user-centered solutions. It uses a bottom-up approach emphasizing the creation of novel solutions by synthesizing information about users (e.g., needs, desires, challenges, etc.) that is gathered directly from users (e.g., through open ended interviews, focus groups, ethnography, contextual inquiry) or indirectly about users (e.g., through market or competitor research, interviews with key informants, etc.). This talk discusses implementation of UXDI framework to create a novel decision support system app named Foodglance that helps users in making healthy food decisions.
4:45 PM
Closing Remarks
5:00 PM
Networking Reception & Posters

Speakers (Updated Regularly)

Alexandra Candelas

Alexandra Candelas

Alexandra Candelas is a user experience executive, early pioneer of the user experience practice, educator, mentor and coach. She helps organizations and C-Suite executives navigate the complexities of customer value through product design. Her focus is on digital innovation and how to strategically steer a company’s transformation towards customer excellence. In academic circles she is known for nurturing students to have a leadership mindset, mentoring them well beyond their academic tenure.

Ellen Carey

Ellen Carey

Ellen Carey, a usability evangelist and empathy researcher, has spent her career caring about and working to improve the digital experience for news, television, technology and software organizations. With more than 10 years designing and conducting user research across employee, marketing and client experiences, she has facilitated and observed thousands of people interact with websites, applications and physical environments around the world.
Soussan Djamasbi

Soussan Djamasbi

Professor of Information Systems, Director of User Experience and Decision Making (UXDM) Lab, WPI

Dr. Djamasbi is the founder of the Neuro Information System (Neuro IS) research program at WPI and is internationally recognized as a leader in the application of eye tracking in UX research. To provide valuable design insights, she leverages eye tracking as a powerful tool to capture dynamic aspects of user experience, such as effort and engagement, which are often challenging to capture with traditional UX methods. Her research also harnesses the power of AI to develop intelligent systems capable of detecting user experiences, such as cognitive load, and assessing health status, such as chronic pain, through the analysis of eye movements.

Matt Ferguson

Matt Ferguson

Chief Digital Officer & Acting CEO, Right Side Shift

Matt is a visionary leader that specializes in optimizing businesses for the digital age. With a passion for innovation and a relentless drive for excellence, Matt has a proven track record of transforming organizations and driving them towards greater efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness. His unwavering commitment to harnessing the power of technology for driving positive change, has made Matt a respected thought leader in the world of technology and business.

Matt Freed

Matt Freed

Matt Freed is the former CEO and co-founder of Malamute, a startup dedicated to integrating artificial intelligence within industrial frontline workforces. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from WPI (2019) and a Master of Engineering in Computer Science from Cornell Tech (2020). His expertise is centered around elevating user experiences through the strategic application of AI.

Prateek Jain

Prateek Jain

UX Design Researcher, IKS Health

Prateek is an expert in UX-driven innovations, with a passion for the intersection of human psychology and technology. He is committed to developing healthcare solutions that not only deliver exceptional user experiences but also contribute to improving patient outcomes. Particularly noteworthy is Prateek’s skill in translating complex health-related decision processes into intuitive and accessible user interfaces.

Mike McGovern

Mike McGovern

An established business executive with proven experience integrating technology and business solutions for multiple companies. Expert in defining technology, product, and program strategy, as well as securing buy-in across an enterprise.
Brian McLaughlin

Brian McLaughlin

Brian McLaughlin is a passionate and proven visionary in the areas of innovation, user experience, usability, design, standards compliant UI construction techniques, and mobile devices. As a former Chief Experience and Design Officer, Brian has been a member of the executive management teams as well as having spent countless hours as an individual contributor in his early years as a designer, illustrator, and frontend developer. Over the span of his 40 year career, he has led creative design teams, user experience teams, product innovation teams, as well as technology and development teams to deliver best-in-class customer experiences across several different markets.

Andy Piggott

Andy Piggott

Andy is a seasoned growth strategist and executive leader, renowned for his expertise in propelling companies to reach and surpass their aspirations. With a career spanning across diverse industries, Andy has spearheaded cross-functional teams to triumph in realms of product development, product management, and marketing. His deep understanding of product innovation, unwavering focus on enhancing customer experiences, and proficiency in product-led growth have enabled him to guide companies on their journey from early-stage startups to prominent public enterprises.

Alec Rooney

Alec Rooney

Alec Rooney’s passion is building. He switched from mechanical engineering to software because he wanted to iterate more quickly and build at a greater scale. He moved from working at HP and Cisco to helping to found and build startups because that fed his passion for building and scaling solutions in a way that working within a bigger organization, even one with immense resources, did not. Early in 2023 Alec realized that AI was a technology that would disrupt software and the way we use and interface with computers on the same scale that the internet and mobile computing did. Excited to be part of the disruption, with his co-founder he has focused on building Casie (https://casie.ai), an AI powered co-worker that can help companies make their employees more productive by tapping into the company’s knowledge base. When he’s not helping to build companies, Alec likes to build tree houses and wooden boats with his family in Maine.

John Wyatt

John Wyatt

Sr. UX Researcher, Amazon

With over a decade in the UX/UXR realm, John has empowered both Fortune 100 titans and nimble startups to launch and scale UXR programs, converting insights into actionable outcomes. John believes in UXR’s potential to not just spearhead product innovation but to also instill a customer-centric ethos. A leading member of UXSYM’s organizing committee since its inception, he remains captivated by the partnership and innovation from academic-industry collaborations.

Organizing Committee
Soussan Djamasbi

Soussan Djamasbi

Professor of Information Systems, Director of User Experience and Decision Making (UXDM) Lab, WPI

Matt Ferguson

Matt Ferguson

Chief Digital Officer & Acting CEO, Right Side Shift

Prateek Jain

Prateek Jain

UX Design Researcher, IKS Health

John Wyatt

John Wyatt

Sr. UX Researcher, Amazon

Sponsors & Contributors