Announcing the program for Web Directions Design

Over the last decade or more here at Web Directions we’ve started our fair share of new events. But that mixture of excitement and apprehension (with my kids we call this being ‘anxited’) never fades. You put everything into creating the best possible lineup, and then hope others agree!

So, today we’re anxited to be announcing the full lineup for our brand new conference Design! If you want to see who we’ve lined up, jump over to the site, and take a look at the full schedule.

But if you’re interested in learning a little bit more about why we are doing this event, and what it’s all about, read on!

Why Design?

Our events have, since the beginning, focussed as much on design as development. But when we started, all digital design pretty much fell under the term “Web Design” (and perhaps “usability”).
In the years since, the digital design field has increasingly specialised, team sizes have grown dramatically, and businesses and organizations, at least the more forward looking ones, have come to realise the strategic value of design for success, and even survival.

Digital Product and Service Design

And so, just as back in 2012 we took the developer-focussed track from our end of year event, and created a new, single track, Melbourne based conference, Code, in 2018 we’re taking the same approach with design, and creating Design, a single track conference, in Melbourne, focussing on the breadth of digital product and service design.

Who’s it for?

Whether you lead and manage design teams, or are relatively new in your role, whether you focus on research, interaction design, UX or strategy, Design features world leading experts, to stimulate, challenge, inform and engage you.

Curated themes

When we program our conferences, we think of the major themes that we feel are currently shaping our industry. Two key themes have emerged as we brought together the Design program.

The impact of design

If there is an overarching focus of the design profession now, it’s the impact of design in the broadest sense–on the teams we work in, on the clients, businesses or organisations we work for, even on our society and culture. Design has sessions that address all these in depth.

  • Sara Wachter Boettcher, author of the just published Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech will consider how we can create less toxic, more inclusive products and services.
  • Hilary Cinis will present a UX Guide to Crafting Ethical AI Products and Services, something that they consider extensively at Data61 where she is UX Group Leader.
  • Nathan Kinch will consider how we can design for trust, one of the most precious and easily squandered commodities in government and industry today.
  • Kate Conrick will address how we can do good (through) design in government (lessons readily applicable to other large, at times bureaucratic organisations).
The impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Another theme that has emerged, something that has very deeply interested us over the last couple of years here at Web Directions–as it has the design profession as a whole–is the role of machine intelligence as a medium for design (through voice and bot interfaces, through the access to increasingly large amounts of data, often in realtime, about our users), and the potential impact of AI on the practice, even the profession of design.

We have a number of sessions which address these issues directly, including

  • Darla Sharp, a voice interaction designer formerly on the Alexa team, now working on Google Voice, on lessons she’s learned designing for these voice interfaces
  • Cory-Ann Joseph, UX Lead at ANZ (and serious poker player), on the potential impact of AI on the existence of design roles at all, and why a poker-playing AI should have designers looking for a new job

All this alongside sessions on design research from former senior Mailchimp and Telegraph UK design researcher Stephanie Troeth, content strategy for better UX from Sally Bagshaw, design systems at scale at Adobe with Sarah Federman, outsourcing design, and even blockchain for designers! 20 sensational sessions in total.

See the whole schedule here.

Early bird pricing is available on our three levels of ticket, priced for every budget, starting from $999.

Key Dates for Design and Design Leaders

  • 2 March Design and Design Leaders Early Bird Pricing Ends
  • 23 March Design and Design Leaders Middle Bird Pricing Ends
  • 11 April Design Leaders Conference
  • 12–13 April Design Conference

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