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Big Design in Our Backyard

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This year’s Big Design Conference, celebrating its 10th anniversary, was held near our headquarters in Addison, Texas, so you can bet Bottle Rocket was there.

In fact, one of our XD Strategists, Adam Polansky not only spoke at this year’s Big Design, but he’s also a co-founder of the event! The Big Design Conference hosts more than 1,000 of the brightest minds in every arena of design, from user experience and usability professionals to digital marketers, designers, content strategists, and developers.

Each year, the speakers are a combination of local and international presenters, many of them published authors, who share their experiences and knowledge. Keynote speakers Pamela Pavliscak and Amy Cueva gave us new perspectives on how we view familiar environments and how they view us. Other presenters included Margot Danial of ADT, Paul Sherman from Kent State University, Emily Tate, Steve Portigal, Elisa K. Miller, Christian Crumlish, and Kyle Soucey who shared topics that covered career advice, the most tactical approaches to problems, and stories about successes and failures for design in large and small companies.

This year, there was a particular focus on what we’d call Advanced Design Citizenship, punctuated eloquently by closing keynote speaker Alan Cooper. This concept challenged attendees to think and act beyond solving immediate design problems associated with building products. He showed us how the current trajectory of life on this planet is jeopardized when designers divorce themselves from accountability and rationalize their participation in the name of profits, blindly building experiences that have harmful effects. He believes that designers have more power than they realize, and that we have the chance to do more than promote our abilities. If that’s true, and, as Jared Spool said, we really are all designers, we can truly save the world.

The whole event began with workshops on developing ideas creatively, Acroyoga as a tool for learning to work collaboratively, and virtual/augmented reality. The main program kicked off with usability and UX design leader Jared Spool talking about the importance of cross-collaboration in the design process, and then the mayhem started. Day one gave attendees 10 tracks to choose from on topics addressing all facets of design. Whether an attendee was a product manager or stakeholder, information architect, strategist, visual designer, animator, content developer, or engineer, there was something for everyone across nearly 90 sessions!

On Friday evening, attendees were invited to attend the filming of the latest episode of Project UX, a web TV show that pairs startups with a panel of UX pros ready to help them improve their products by looking through the lens of UX. The panel reviewed Noiseaware, an IoT app that pairs with sensors to alert homeowners of the noise levels in their AirBnB or HomeAway rental properties. The panel, which included Debra Gelman, Alan Cooper, Bibiana Nunes, and Jared Spool had some frank and challenging advice to offer the startup, tackling topics such as the importance of direct communication with users and the ethics of their product when in use.

We had a great time learning from and meeting other passionate designers. As innovators, we never rest on our design practices that won us awards in the past. We’re always eager to learn the latest on our craft and put it to work for our clients to design the best experiences with the latest tech.

Want to see what our designers can do for your brand? Let us know at [email protected].


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