Category Archives: Events

July Event – Whit Hour LIVE Featuring Whitney Hess

Whit Hour is an open office hour where independent User Experience consultant Whitney Hess answers many of the emails she receives around going freelance, how to transition to UX, life in NYC, and her thoughts on the overlap between real life and UX practice. Whitney doesn’t prepare topics for her conversations and takes questions as they come from the chat room which, in this case, will be you the audience! Come prepared with any questions you might have for Whitney as we relax with her after her presentation at the Wharton UI Conference.

Date: Thursday, July 14, 2011
Time: 6 PM – 8:30 PM (Social time & Announcements from 6-6:30)
Jon M. Huntsman Hall (Wharton)
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

There will be light snacks and drinks provided.

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About our Speaker

Whitney Hess is a user experience design consultant based in New York City. She helps make stuff easy and pleasurable to use. Whitney consults primarily with startups, most notably Boxee, House Party, NeedFeed, and RedStamp. In addition, she has collaborated with Happy Cog on projects for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Scientific American.

Prior to going independent, Whitney was on the design team at Liquidnet, an international financial software company. Previously, she was an interaction designer at Digitas and Tribal DDB, where her clients included American Express, The New York Times, Allstate, Claritin, Tropicana, and EarthLink.

Whitney received a Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and a Bachelor’s in Professional Writing and HCI, both from Carnegie Mellon University. She writes about improving the human experience on her blog, Pleasure and Pain.

About our Sponsor

Wharton - University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania — founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school — is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, Wharton bridges research and practice through its broad engagement with the global business community. The School has more than 4,800 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and an alumni network of 86,000 graduates.

As an strategic asset of the Wharton School, Wharton Computing provides the technology resources and environment to promote the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

June Event – User Experience Research

Is there an Academic – Practitioner Divide?

Rather than draw a distinction between academic and practitioner research, Michael Zarro and Michael Carvin will present a view of research based on its contribution to fundamental understanding and considerations of use. Research in the fields of usability/user experience and the social sciences can be more alike than not with motivation and presentation being a primary difference.

In addition to discussing the similarities and differences of academic and practitioner research, they will look at academic research specifically and the role it can play in improving day-to-day projects for UX practitioners. They will share tips on finding the appropriate research papers and articles, understanding their contents and examples of how projects have directly benefited from such research.

Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Time: 6 PM – 9 PM (Social time & Announcements from 6-6:30)
Drexel University, Rush Building
30 N. 33rd Street, Room 014
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Pizza and soft drinks will be provided courtesy of the iSchool at Drexel University.

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About our Speakers

Michael Zarro is a doctoral candidate in Information Studies at Drexel University. Research interests include digital libraries, healthcare informatics, search, and social media. He holds an MS in Library and Information Science from Drexel and a BA from The George Washington University. Previous experience includes time spent as a Project Lead / Developer at The University of Pennsylvania, Web Applications Developer at Bryn Mawr College, and Information Architect in industry.

Michael Carvin is a Principal Experience Designer at Red Privet, with more than 16 years of experience in evidence-based design, usability testing, analysis, and information architecture. He seeks to engage, enable and empower everyday people through simple and enriching online experiences. Previous experience includes Trellist Marketing & Technology, where he helped businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 1000 companies realize their business goals through improved user experiences, and at Thomson Peterson’s, an industry leader in college search and selection publications.

About our Sponsor – The iSchool at Drexel

The iSchool at DrexelStudents, faculty, and staff collaboratively uniting technology, people, and information to make a fundamental difference in tomorrow’s knowledge society.

The iSchool defines knowledge society as a society in which citizens collaboratively and freely create and share knowledge, and utilize information and technology to promote growth, prosperity, and well being. The iSchool will actualize its vision by educating citizens and leaders who will be the foundation of tomorrow’s society.

May Event – Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Us vs. Them. Why does it always seem to come down to “us” and “them?” The Creative Director who looks at IA deliverables and thinks “Clearly, I can do better.” The IA or UX Designer who sees their totally usable designs shredded by the creatives once the wireframes get thrown over the fence. Clients and agencies who speak different languages and see our roles differently. Project after project, client after client, the frustration grows into resentment.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We’re more alike than not, and although a lot of progress has been made over the last several years, more work needs to be done.

This month, we’re going to put an Interactive Creative Director, and a Principal of User Experience on stage to have conversation about:

  • How do we differ and how are we similar?
  • How do we come together to deliver a holistic brand experience?
  • How do we frame ourselves and our teams to our clients and stakeholders to get them the most value from using us, while we gain influence in their organizations?

If you attended PhillyCHI’s February event with Dave Cooksey, you heard some great stories and advice on how you can play well with others across a broad team. We’re hoping this event follows up on that, and helps us all understand each other a little better and build tighter long-term teams who can deliver superior solutions time and time again.

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM (Social time & Announcements from 6:30-7:00)
The Field House (Close to Reading Terminal Market)
1150 Filbert Street, Philadelphia PA 19107

Appetizers will be provided courtesy of our event sponsor Onward Search.

Register for the Event

About the Panelists

Livia Labate is a User Experience Designer with over 13 years of industry experience. She currently works as Principal of User Experience Design with Comcast Interactive Media in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She spends most of her non-working time volunteering with organizations and projects that advance the practice of user experience design. Visit her at and follow her via twitter @livlab.

A 14-year veteran of digital marketing, Chris Reif (@chrisreif) is the Digital Creative Director at Neiman Group in Philadelphia. In early 2007, he launched the agency’s digital practice as well as their Philadelphia office. He now does his best to get out of the way of the talented folks on his team, and help them get beautiful and useful work out the door.

Event Sponsor

If you have talent, or need talent, Onward Search will help you reach your goals. We connect the top interactive design, Internet marketing and mobile application development professionals with the best companies in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area. Our team specializes in sourcing and staffing professionals who can act as interim staff, project consultants, or subject-matter experts for your organization. Whether you need help with search engine optimization, developing your creative materials, or redesigning your website, we have the professionals to help you get the job done. Put us to work for you.

April Event – Field Research Methods in the Business Context

In this presentation, Natalie Hanson, PhD will share her experiences using ethnographic methods (e.g. shadowing) as part of an internally-focused User Experience consulting practice in a large corporation.

Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM (Social time & Announcements from 6:30-7:00)
Philadelphia University, Kanbar Campus Center
4201 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19144

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About the Presentation

Natalie will talk about what ethnographic methods are and the potential benefits of those methods, as well as how she sees them fitting into an overall set of User Experience offerings. She will share some of her insights regarding the impact and value of those methods in relationship to other forms of user research.

Natalie will also talk about the roles & responsibilities within her project team, including how design, research, and business stakeholders work together to ensure the entire project team shares and effectively transmits insights, while delivering business impact through a deeper understanding of the end-user.

About the Speaker – Natalie Hanson, PhD

Natalie Hanson, PhD has been working and researching at the intersection of business strategy, technology, social science, and design for nearly fifteen years. Natalie’s research explores the ways in which institutions respond to macro-economic, industry, and regional trends, and how those organizational changes affect the lives of employees. She currently holds the position of Global Senior Director, Strategic Programs & User Experience Consulting at SAP. In her role, she is responsible for identifying emerging trends from market data, executive messaging, and user experience research, and using those insights to create and execute innovative and pragmatic programs aligned with corporate strategy.

About our Sponsor

Philadelphia University’s College of Design, Engineering and Commerce (DEC) brings the multiple disciplines of design, engineering, and business into an innovative, integrated educational experience that will prepare students with multidimensional understandings that they will need to be successful in their rapidly evolving fields of choice.

Many students will enter jobs that did not exist when they began their education. These students will need process-based skills that are portable to future challenges not yet known. Students also need to develop perspectives that allow them to view their futures on a continuum that includes “white spaces” where new fields may emerge as a result of social, political, environmental, economic, and technological forces. A notable example is social media, which has led to transformation and democratization of branding and product development.

Philadelphia University DEC graduates will be informed and versatile professionals with knowledge and skills that are transferrable across increasingly dynamic professional boundaries.

The User Experience of User Experience with Dave Cooksey

PhillyCHI is pleased to welcome David Cooksey as he presents ‘The User Experience of User Experience’ at the William Way Community Center.

The User Experience of User Experience
Thursday, February 24th 2011
6:00PM – 8:00PM (Social time and announcements from 6:00-6:45PM)
Hosted at The William Way Community Center
1315 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Get Directions

Register on Eventbrite

The User Experience of User Experience

Have you ever labored on a design only to see it not implemented or changed so drastically that it’s not really the design you crafted anymore? Have you ever felt confined to discrete portions of the design projects, completely left out of decision making?

If so, you’re not alone.

As designers of experiences, we spend our time thinking about users. We research them and their environments. We forge strategies centered on their needs and desires. And we create designs with their tasks and goals in mind. And that’s how it should be.

But what about finding better ways to work with clients and colleagues? Have you ever wondered what the quality of experience is like for them in working with you to create those experiences?

In this presentation we will discuss the attitudes and approaches that enable an active role in engaging clients and colleagues. Approaches that will not only make their experience in working with us better, but ultimately ensure better products and services for the user.

We will also discuss:
– the privileged role of documentation and the virtues of leaving wireframes behind
– the double-edged sword of expertise
– the benefits of being perceived as an advisor and not simply as a service provider
– and tips and hacks for designing with clients and not just for clients

This presentation and discussion is for anyone who would like their user experience work to have more influence with their clients and colleagues. It will also be a good time for folks needing a little inspiration for their design practices. Examples and explanations from consulting services and design thinking will be given freely.

About Our Speaker
Dave Cooksey is Founder and Principal at saturdave, a user experience / information architecture consultancy based in the City of Brotherly Love specializing in site strategy, information architecture, user research, and taxonomy design.
Dave is a proud member of PhillyCHI, the Philadelphia region’s chapter of the ACM’s interest group on Human-Computer Interaction (SIG-CHI) and the Information Architecture Institute (IAI).
Contact Dave at or follow him on Twitter @saturdave.

5th Annual PhillyCHI Design Slam

We are excited to announce PhillyCHI’s 5th annual Design Slam!

Hosted by Bresslergroup at the Marketplace Design Center, Lower Level
2400 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
(one block from 30th Street Station)
Get Directions

Register on Eventbrite

Each year, attendees participate as either design teams or “research participants” in a fast-paced race to create the best design solution to a truly real-world problem. Awards will be given to the victors, but everyone gets punch and pie!

This year’s event is special. Not only is it the 5th anniversary of the Slam, but it’s also the first time we’re partnering with a sister organization, the Industrial Design Society of America. That’s right – this year we’re doing a hybrid CHI/Industrial Design challenge, facilitated by Rob Tannen, Bresslergroup’s Director of Research.  The project for the Slam this year will include the design and integration of product and user interface design.

What is the Design Slam? The design slam is an annual collaborative event, where a design challenge is presented, and teams have an hour to collaborate on a solution.  Teams then present their solution to the group, and bragging rights go to the winners.  In the tradition of the past Design Slams, we invite observers to watch as the teams collaborate, and last year’s winners are the judges for this year.

HUGE thanks to our partners for this event!

BresslergroupBresslergroup is an award-winning product design and development firm. We provide a full range of services including human factors research, user interface and industrial design, engineering and production sourcing. We work across consumer, commercial and medical categories, with expertise in integrated design processes.

Based in Philadelphia since 1970, Bresslergroup has developed products for clients including Black & Decker, Kodak, and Siemens, has won more than 80 major design awards and has authored more than 125 patents.

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) is the world’s oldest, largest, member-driven society for product design, industrial design, interaction design, human factors, ergonomics, design research, design management, universal design and related design fields.

IDSA organizes the renowned International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) competition annually; hosts the International Design Conference and five regional conferences each year; and publishes Innovation, a quarterly on design, and designBytes, a weekly e-newsletter highlighting the latest headlines in the design world.

IDSA recently created the Human Interaction Section (HIX) a community for the disciplines that converge to collaborate and deliver engaging experiences for both traditional physical products and digital products and services.