User-Centered Design Panel – Wed 10/22

User-Centered Design: Keeping It Real

Join us as our panelists discuss why great design isn’t just about design. It’s about people.

Date: Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm * Please be aware that in order to enter Huntsman Hall, you MUST arrive by 6:30pm. *
Location: Huntsman Hall, Room 255, University of Pennsylvania, 3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
RSVP: (please RSVP by Monday, October 20, 2008)


As design professionals, we strive to create great products and great experiences, both physical and virtual, for the general public or niche markets. But many times — the cynic would say most of the time — we miss the mark. The world is full of things that are difficult and frustrating to use. And that’s because designers make assumptions about how users think and do things.

Great design is user-centric design.

User-centered design (UCD) is an approach that places the user at the center of the design process from the beginning. By understanding real people’s needs and behaviors during the conception and refinement of a design, we can ensure that a new product succeeds.

This discussion will include perspectives on user-centered design from professionals who create experiences in the fields of architecture, interactive design, and product design. Each panelist will present examples and strategies relevant to practitioners of user-centric design in any discipline.

Those interested in architecture, graphic design, human factors, information architecture, interaction design, product design, usability, and user experience

will find the discussion highly informative and challenging.


Steve Cleff, Account Planner, Avenue A | Razorfish Philadelphia
Steve manages the Account Planning practice in the Philadelphia office of Avenue A | Razorfish, one of the world’s largest interactive agencies. In this role, his responsibility is to gain the consumer insights that inspire innovation. Always seeking to balance business goals and consumer needs, Steve’s strengths are understanding consumer motivations, how they affect consumer behavior, and how his clients can take advantage. Steve has worked in Interactive Marketing since 1995, in all aspects from upfront strategy to end-stage development.

Zoey Juhng, Design Director, Bressler Group
Zoey carries an unique mix of consultancy, corporate and small business experience. She carries a keen understanding of consumer insights, product strategy, industrial design and manufacturing. With her experience, she is able to strategically customize Bresslergroup’s capabilities with the needs of clients. Winning numerous IDEA, ID Magazine, Good Design, Appliance Design and Medical Excellence awards, she has a proven track record of translating winning innovations into profitable business solutions.

Formerly of Kaz, Inc. Zoey managed the design and innovation process for seasonal and pharmacy consumer product markets. Developing products for brands such as Braun, Vicks, Enviracaire and Honeywell, she led the design team and worked closely with her marketing and engineering counterparts to launch new product innovations.

Zoey is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and is actively involved in IDSA. She has also taught as an Industrial Design professor at Philadelphia University.

Michael Summers, Senior Director, Usability, gsi interactive
Michael leads the user research practice at gsi interactive and runs gsi interactive’s state-of-the-art eyetracking lab.

Prior to gsi interactive, Summers held key user research roles at Nielsen Norman Group, Scient, and USWeb/CKS. Most recently, Summers built his own successful user research consultancy where he conducted user research studies throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia for clients like Time Warner-AOL, Avenue A/Razorfish, AT&T, AstraZeneca, Digitas, and the National Council on Aging.
Summers holds a masters from Syracuse University, and has been invited to speak about how user research improves products to the American Center for Design (ACD), the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group in Computer-Human Interaction (SIG-CHI), and the Usability Professional’s Association (UPA). Along with several journal publications, Summers also has co-authored a university textbook called “Creating Websites that Work.”

Maria Keares Wyant, RA, Wyant Architecture
Maria manages design development and construction documentation for many of Wyant Architecture’s projects. Having spent numerous years on the development of award-winning educational and institutional projects, she brings an in-depth knowledge of building systems and materials to the firm’s design process. She approaches each project with clarity of intent and meticulous attention to detail, thoughtfully manipulating space, texture, color and light to strengthen and refine project goals. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University. She is NCARB certified, and is a registered architect in the state of Pennsylvania.


Dave Cooksey, PhillyCHI Chair
Dave is a Strategy Lead in Taxonomy & User Insights at gsi interactive, a division of GSI Commerce, a turnkey e-commerce provider located in King of Prussia, PA. Dave’s work is informed by masters degrees in information systems (Drexel University) and social science (University of Illinois).