Case study conference

  • Salt Lake City, UT

A two-day, in-depth series of real-world, from-the-trenches case studies by innovative user experience designers and product managers.

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2 full days of insights and inspiration at the Front

Join us this Spring, in Salt Lake City, for two full days of dedicated time away from your desk, learning better ways to work together and to be inspired to grow your career in UX and Product Management. Forge new friendships, enjoy great food, and learn from nearly 700 talented peers, influencing the organizations they work for and changing people’s lives through technology. Immerse yourself in 2 days of real world, from-the-trenches case study talks and interactive panels discussions from innovative, working professionals.

Creating amazing products requires more than brilliant ideas, meticulously crafted interactions, and cutting-edge technology—it requires a fanatical focus on users and a commitment to producing something that is both useful and desireable. It requires cross-functional teams that listen, iterate, and learn.

Design

User experience is everyone’s responsibility, but someone needs to own it. Every team needs an advocate with a keen eye and deep empathy. Learn how to harness the power of your team from these product design experts and evangelists.

Product Management

Achieving greatness through influence. It’s a little like herding cats. Product Managers help their teams ship the right products to their users. These experienced leaders will share how they are innovating through continuous discovery and validation.

Research

The cross-functional team is crucial for effective product design. Delightful, user-focused products only come from organizations that listen, iterate, and learn at every level. Learn about collaboration and culture from other members of the team.

Sponsors

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Schedule

  • 07:30 Registration & Breakfast
  • 09:00 Opening Remarks
  • 09:10 Product vs. Design

    Talin Wadsworth & Tom Krcha

    If you want to lead and build great products, should you be a UX designer? Or a product manager? Does it matter? Join Tom Krcha and Talin Wadsworth from the Adobe XD team as they share case studies and real world experience of getting #$&! done at Adobe. Learn about defining a vision, testing prototypes, building teams, and shipping products that help define the future of digital experiences.

  • 09:50 Talk: TBA
  • 10:30 Break
  • 11:10 Design or Die Trying

    Diogenes Brito

    Let's talk about shipping quality design work and communicating with your team when stakes are high, people have opinions, and you're not even sure you've found the best answers. We'll start with how designers can be most valuable to their team, and cover with how managing communication with your team can help you incorporate feedback into successful designs without loosing your voice.

  • 11:50 Singing in Tune: Efficient and Effective Research and Strategy Projects

    Victor Yocco

    We need user research to create good user experiences. We also need to maximize each opportunity we have to conduct user research. Research can be a hard sell even when budgets and timelines aren't tight. Victor will walk through the purpose, process, and people needed to carry out efficient and effective research and strategy projects. These projects help inform the vision and strategy of your product. Next time a stakeholder suggests cutting the research, you'll sing a tune so sweet they’ll beg for more.

  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 02:10 Design Debate

    Daniel Burka, Geoff Teehan, Mia Blume, Amélie Lamont

  • 02:50 Adopting Continuous Product Discovery Practices Across the Enterprise

    Teresa Torres

    Continuous product discovery is the next evolution in how to build products that customers care about. This case study will highlight how one organization is adopting continuous product discovery practices across the enterprise. It will explore the transformation by the leadership team, by product teams, and by each of the individuals that make up those teams. For companies considering adopting continuous product discovery practices, this case study will give you a blueprint for how to reinforce this transformation and will include gotchas to look out for as you adopt this change.

  • 03:30 Prototyping and the Realism Threshold

    Taylor Palmer

    The design tools market has exploded in the past few years, and designers are often left scratching their heads and wondering which tools best fit their needs. In this talk, I propose that design tools should be chosen based on outcomes instead of features, and outline methods to create convincing prototypes for user testing purposes. I look to other industries to better understand the foundations behind prototyping and soliciting real feedback. I discuss three different kinds of prototypes and how the the Product Design team at Lucid Software crafts compelling experiences.

  • 04:10 Mingle
  • 07:30 Breakfast
  • 09:00 Day two kick-off
  • 09:10 UX+PM=BFFs

    Josh Penrod & Kendall Hulet

    Do you feel like your UX or Product partner is an ally or an obstacle? While both groups have similar goals and objectives, misunderstandings of over roles, responsibilities, and process can get in the way of effective collaboration. Drawing on a decade of experience working together, Josh Penrod, VP of User Experience at Ancestry, and Kendall Hulet, SVP of Product at Ancestry, will share war stories about their time together building successful, collaborative relationships between Product and UX while learning great (and not so great) ways to build, revamp, and kill products.

  • 09:50 The moment of truth for design leadership

    Daniel Burka

    Design has been clamoring for a seat at the table for ages. And, all of the sudden it’s happening. Designers at startups and big companies alike are increasingly being brought into leadership discussions. In my job at GV, I see designers across a broad range of companies and I’m very worried that many designers are squandering their leadership opportunity. Let’s talk about how design is perceived by leaders and where design can truly help shape more beautiful companies.

  • 10:30 Break
  • 11:10 Balance: Prioritizing your roadmap across product stages

    Ellen Chisa

    Every Product Manager is faced with a never ending list of inputs—team member suggestions, executive emails, countless dashboards, and everything coming out of user research. Deciding what goes first on the roadmap feels more like art than science. This is a framework developed to figure out which types of projects make the most sense at each point in time. Ellen illustrates each type of project (art, users, metrics, and team) with one or more specific case studies from her work at Lola, Kickstarter, and Microsoft. This talk can help you re-evaluate how you prioritize your own roadmap, or provide a basis for training new PMs that are joining your team.

  • 11:50 That Time I Wasted 2 Months of Dev Work: When and How to Use Data Effectively

    Vicky Thomas

    We’ve all been told to be data-driven, and we know that opinions and intuition are no substitute for good metrics. But what does it really mean to be data-driven when the rubber hits the road? What good are a/b tests if the user base is too small to reach statistical significance? Are year-over-year or month-over-month comparisons ever appropriate? Does qualitative user research have a place in a world of cohort reports and conversion rate graphs? And how can I get my team involved to build data into our culture?

    In this talk, Vicky will share her experiences leveraging data to build Lucidpress, Lucid Software’s design & layout web app. From user interviews to Design Sprints to multivariate testing, the Lucidpress team has used a wide variety of tools to optimize their product for its 2M+ users. Through real-life examples (like the time they burned 2 months of development time that amounted to nothing), Vicky will share what she’s learned about when and how to use data effectively.

  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 02:10 Product Debate

    Michelle Barber, Zach Sivertson, Joseph Draschil, Christi Wruck

  • 02:50 Designing the Gig Economy

    Joel Beukelman

    Over the last year, Design Inc. has been creating a platform to connect creative talent to startups, entrepreneurs and companies. There has never been a time like today where the accessibility to education, tools, and relationships are so readily available. As we've identified a market and built a robust platform of amazing talent, we've also confronted our blind assumptions, dealt with the complexity of contractual relationships, and worked through the difficult process of building a loyal community.

    Wearing many hats and grinding through the startup journey is as challenging as it is rewarding. As the Head of Design, Ill share some painful failures, company altering learnings, and the evolution of our design solution as we attempt to design the "Gig Economy".

  • 03:30 The PM Misconception: Why Everyone and No One is Prepared to Manage Product

    Mariah Hay

    It’s an exciting time to be in tech, but the pathway to a Product Management position remains shrouded in a fog of mystery. Job descriptions are unclear, roles vary from company to company, and there are few educational programs available to shed some light on what set of skills are needed. So what is someone looking to make a transition to a job like this to do?

    Mariah will tackle pinning down what knowledge is needed for a role that is “ambiguous by nature,” and talk about why many people and companies lack understanding of the true scope of the role. Using case studies, Mariah will illustrate the true value a PM brings to both would-be practitioners and team leaders who are interested in learning more about the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful Product Manager.

Location, travel, and lodging

Venue

The conference will be held at the beautiful Libby Gardner Concert Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. The hall is within the David Gardner Hall, on the University of Utah campus.

Parking

Complimentary parking is provided in the lot West of Rice-Eccles Stadium. The venue is an 11 minute walk North of the parking lot.

Maps and directions

Your best option for getting to and from the conference is the UTA TRAX light rail system.

Hotel recommendations

Each of these hotels are along, or within one block of, the TRAX Red Line.