PhillyCHI presents: Defining “UX”

Please join PhillyCHI as we present a panel of local user experience professionals who will share their definitions of the term “user experience” (UX).


About the Event

Over the past decade, our profession has struggled to pull together a unified definition of itself from many different titles, roles, and responsibilities. Many of us have adopted the title “User Experience Designer”, but what does that mean? Is UX Design a product or a process? Is it an individual role or a team approach? Please join PhillyCHI and Archer Group at Philadelphia University for a panel discussion where we will look to answer the question, “What is User Experience Design?” Our panel is made up of local user experience professionals who will discuss their own definitions of this term, and how they’ve applied user experience design throughout their careers. Each panelist will give a brief presentation, and then we will open the floor for a moderated panel and audience discussion.

About the Panel

Angela Colter, Electronic Ink

Angela Colter is a principal of research and strategy at Electronic Ink in Philadelphia. Over the past 15 years she has worked on improving everything from the readability of credit card disclosures to the efficiency of truck maintenance facilities. She is co-author of a chapter on low literacy in the forthcoming book, Eye Tracking in User Experience Design.

Henken Bean, Comcast

Henken Bean is currently working in a broad range of areas involving user experience design, service design, usability, information architecture, and product strategy. She has designed experiences for platforms and services across the web, TV, and mobile devices: from concept development to iterative design, development, and QA cycles. A passionate advocate for collaboration through communication, she has experience moving between different types of teams and processes: small agencies, large companies with waterfall methodologies, and in-house teams that embrace agile development cycles. She believes great design comes from great communication: first and foremost with customers, but also within internal teams. She is also involved in the Philadelphia dance community as an improvisational dancer and makes jewelry, drawings, and other semi-crazy creative experiments.

John Ferrara, Vanguard

John Ferrara is an information architect at Vanguard and the author of the book, “Playful Design: Creating Game Experiences in Everyday Interfaces,” published by Rosenfeld Media. John has worked as a user experience designer for over twelve years, designing web sites, desktop software, and video games. In 2010 he co-founded Megazoid Games, which focuses on creating mobile, social, and educational player experiences. John’s nutrition education game “Fitter Critters” was a top prizewinner in the 2010 Apps for Healthy Kids contest, awarded by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wonderful wife and superhero daughter.


Matt Thomas, Bresslergroup

Matt Thomas is a versatile interaction designer and researcher at award-winning Philadelphia product design firm, Bresslergroup. He designs and builds sophisticated prototypes which demonstrate integrated interaction and industrial design; and then tests them with users to insure cohesive product experiences. With nearly a decade of creative technology experience, he has worn many UX hats to include designer, developer, information architect, researcher, and project manager.  Matt is really excited about the vast possibilities that extend beyond the screen for the near-future user experience professional. Matt recently (finally) completed his master’s thesis entitled “Measuring the Differences in Flow and Performance Between Touch-screen and Mouse-based Interactions.” Ask him about it.


Mike Pitone, Urban Outfitters

As Senior Manager of Product Management and User Experience at Urban Outfitters, Mike is responsible for driving the company’s UX process, design requirements and usability research. He was also most recently the Director of User Experience for eBay Enterprise (formerly GSI Commerce).

Mike is an Interaction Designer with a degree in Fine Art and 15 years experience in interface design, information architecture, usability, rich-media applications, front-end development and product design. In his work, Mike takes a pragmatic approach to unifying visual design, system interactions and technology. A whole-systems thinker and believer that form follows function, he recognizes the value of stunning visual design and technical innovation, but not at the expense of delivering well-crafted functionality and a meaningful experience.

About Our Sponsor: Archer Group

The Archer Group ( is the region’s largest independent full-service digital agency, offering brands a single integrated partner for digital strategy, marketing, and technology solutions. Archer’s clients include AAA, Barclays, Chase, Comcast, Delta Dental, ITG, March of Dimes, Pfizer, Sungard, and Wawa.

About Our Host: Philadelphia University, Strategic Design MBA Program

The Strategic Design MBA at Philadelphia University is for high-potential professionals who want to be well-positioned for big opportunity — whether in a major corporation, nonprofit or entrepreneurial venture. This program combines the best of business school with the best of design thinking.

Design thinking is a way of approaching innovation and problem-solving borrowed from engineers and designers. It is used by companies like Nike, Starbucks and Google to introduce new products and services and by city governments to address social issues like illiteracy. Design thinking is the skill these same companies look for when they recruit individuals with both a creative and business mindset.

Combining design thinking with the analytical intelligence of business prepares graduates to solve problems better in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world. Learn more about the SDMBA program:

About PhillyCHI

PhillyCHI is the Philadelphia region’s chapter of the ACM SIGCHI, an interdisciplinary academic and professional group interested in Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience, Usability, and other related disciplines. PhillyCHI holds monthly meetings and socials to network and discuss current topics in HCI. Learn more at or follow along on Twitter at @PhillyCHI.