Portland, OR. Nov 6-8

Fulfilling the Designer’s Mission

ITX hosted its first-ever UX conference in Portland, OR on November 6-8. Through jam-packed workshops, networking, and keynote talks, the conference stressed how designers learn, do, and measure the impact of their efforts.

ITX UX 2019: Beyond the Pixels. Portland. A view of the event hall filled with UX designers and Product People.

ITX UX 2019: Beyond the Pixels PDX design conference covered a lot of territory in the vast UX field. Attendees learned how the Design Sprint process came to be – more than a decade ago now – emphasizing the importance of setting aside things that distract us and focusing on only those things that matter. We were also guided by industry leaders through a framework that supports continuous, lifelong learning. Finally, we gained insight on how to leverage the right metrics to make sure we are fulfilling the designer’s mission: to improve the experiences and the lives of our products’ users.  

Jared Spool Giving his Keynote presentation at ITX UX 2019 Portland ITXUX2019: Beyond the Pixels, Portland. Hall event filled with attendees asking questions. Jake Knapp giving his presentation in ITXUX2019: Beyond the Pixels, Portland Jared Spool at ITXUX2019: Beyond the Pixels, surrounded by attendees during his presentation Kate Rutter in ITXUX2019: Beyond the Pixels, Portland An attendee asking a question during a keynote guest speaker at ITX UX 2019: Beyond the Pixels, Portland

In bringing together thought leaders, designers, and product people, ITX’s goal was to ignite exciting new conversations about what design can – and should – become, while gaining insights from industry leaders and each other about how we tackle tomorrow’s design challenges today.  

Mission accomplished!

Key Takeaways by Speaker

Jared Spool, keynote speaker at ITX UX 2019, Portland, OR

“design is the rendering of intent. designers have an intention in the world, and we’re going to render it. that’s what we do.” 

In his talk, “Is Design Metrically Opposed?” Jared asks us to get smart about data science. We have to understand and use it to drive our quantitative agenda from our qualitative research. We need to ask, “What’s the qualitative experience our users are having?” Then use metrics to figure out how we measure whether we’re improving that experience. We need to accept and embrace the world of metrics and use our amazing powers to change the way we’re doing things. Design is not metrically opposed.

Jake Knapp, keynote speaker at ITX UX 2019, Portland, OR

“the design sprint allows us to shift our focus away from the obvious, and direct our attention to things that truly matter.”

More than a decade ago, during a bleak and bitter winter week in Stockholm, Jake joined two colleagues and figured out a way to redesign time. They called it the Design Sprint – an unconventional step-by-step process that frees designers from the low-risk security of the “default” and encourages us to focus on things that matter. The sprint allows us to fail or succeed quickly, while learning with every experience. In his talk, Jake tells the tale that launched a thousand…a million?...sprints since that time and encourages us “to change our defaults, to redesign the way we use time, and to focus our attention where we truly should.”

Kate Rutter, keynote speaker at ITX UX 2019, Portland, OR

“product work dances to the tempo of digital invention. we must continue to learn if we are to grow and evolve.”

In her talk, “Chunky Learning & Tender Timelines – Building a Continuous Learning Team,” Kate presented compelling evidence that supports the need for individuals, teams, and organizations to invest in and sustain continuous learning. She then guided us through a framework of learning activities that are simultaneously structured and flexible. Together, we learned how to find the collaborative sweet spot between seasoned design veterans and their early-career teammates to grow their skills together and advance the UX design industry.

Great Minds Came Together

ITX UX 2019 Team Panel discussing key issues related to UX and product design

To close the conference,  Anya Kogan Mezak, and Amelia Abreu – both Portland-based UX design specialists, writers, and researchers – joined Jared Spool and Kate Rutter in a lively and informative panel discussion. Facilitated by local sales consultant and coach, Liston Witherill, our speakers and panelists responded to audience questions related to the unique opportunities available to designers and product people to expand their knowledge and better understand how to learn more, do better, and measure accurately the impact of their designs. 

Encouraged by thought-provoking leaders on the dais, and the wisdom of designers and product people in the audience, all conference attendees departed PDX Beyond the Pixels 2019 inspired to innovate.

Group Shot at ITX UX 2019: Beyond the Pixels, Portland.

UX designers networking at the end of the event ITX UX 2019 event hall with UX Designers and product people networking during one of the breaks ITX UX 2019 Attendees exchanging ideas during the event.

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