Saturday, May 20th
241 Center St., 5th floor, New York, NY

Conference Program

8am Meet & Greet with breakfast (provided)
9am Morning Sessions
12pm Lunch (provided)

12:45 Afternoon Sessions​​​​​
5pm: Happy Hour


Opening Keynote
A 360° Lens on the Customer Journey: From a Research and Product Design Perspective
​​​​​Tammy Sachs, Sachs Insights 
& Jay Meany, Condé Nast

Having participated in the birth of thousands of digital and omni-channel products, services, sites, apps, environments, etc. two common challenges persist even in 2017! 1. The Discovery phase gets “skipped” so who the most likely audience is and what the key drivers for engagement are get replaced with ASSUME, BUILD…TEST. 2. Each channel gets its own experience as it lives in a separate silo in a company.  While customers touch many channels, each delivers a different experience.

Sound familiar?  This is what companies need TO AVOID to get to market faster, smarter, and with a clear, consistent vision for success.  When this happens, business, brand, and customer goals align. This talk will focus on strategies for effective discovery that engage all key stakeholders and prospective customers.  What this looks like from a customer’s perspective – every touchpoint works in tandem to engage, delight and retain.

Janine Coover, Consultant
Be Flexible: Combining a Structured and Creative Approach to Research
Education and training teach us how to think about what we see, hear and learn. It provides a structure that helps us make sense of reality, and tools for engaging with what we experience in the world. Creativity comes from being open-minded. Its less structured nature gives us the flexibility to see and interact with things differently. It allows us to rearrange what we already know in ways that may be completely unique and untested.

As researchers, we benefit from combining these two. With tried and true techniques as a starting point, we can be consciously flexible about how and when to break out of conventions. We can avoid getting trapped into predictable approaches, and be open to new ways of responding to reality. By creatively applying the tools we've learned, we can address the unique and varied objectives of whatever we're asked to investigate, and keep our approach to research fresh, fully engaged, and personally satisfying.
Basel Fakhoury, User Interviews
How to be A Single-Person UX Team
Changes in technology and business trends have increased the speed of product creation and iteration. While this has allowed an explosion of new innovative products, it also means a single UX researcher often has to take ownership of a whole iteration cycle. In response to this problem, an array of new tools are being built and offered that allow single-person teams to perform high quality research. This talk will show how you can still be a user research focused organization with limited resources - including best practices, evangelizing user research within an organization, and automated testing tools.
Rebecca Deery, EPAM
Planning a Multi-Phase, Multi-Region, Multi-Language User Research Program
A client delivered a mandate to prioritize user research on an e-commerce redesign for websites across 15 different countries in North and Latin America, available in 2 languages, without a sense of how to execute such plan, or the feasibility of such a plan. Pretty daunting to even a seasoned user experience professional!

This talk will cover the creation and socialization of the plan, and how, holistically, it was turned into a program for the client, to carry on good research practices beyond the lifecycle of one project. Gather your questions for an open Q&A dialog as the following story unfolds:
- How we created the initial proposal for research.
- How we integrated research into an agile development lifecycle.
- What research methodologies were included and why.
- What iterations to consider to build out a program.
Jessica Zhang, Audible Amazon
Successfully Delegating User Research: Why, When and How
Maybe your organization has strong research buy-in but not enough user researchers. Maybe you are a researcher and you need to demonstrate the power of user research to get more buy-in at your organization. Or maybe you are a user researcher who wants to eventually lead a user research team. 

One effective way to achieve all of these goals is to master when, why, and how to successfully delegate user research to your colleagues and stakeholders. As more and more teams are working in an agile process, the user researcher's role is no longer about working in a silo and spitting out data as quickly as possible. The user researcher’s role is now to effectively guide the team and stakeholders as they explore your users, their needs and their relationship/interaction with your designs. 

In this session, you will learn why it is important to delegate user research (you are NOT delegating yourself out of a job), when to take advantage of good opportunities to delegate user research, and how to build a process to create bigger impact through delegating user research.
Scott Weidman, EPAM
Iterating Understanding:
Participant Observation for Product Design
For the past few years, I’ve been practicing a research and design approach I’ve called "agile collaboration", but its lineage lies in classic participant observation. Through an iterative series of conversations and working sessions, researchers and participants (product owners, end users, business stakeholders) develop and refine a shared understanding of behaviors and processes, identify challenges and frame solutions. This approach is particularly valuable for researchers working in product/service design and user experience because the output of their work must necessarily be actionable, and it acknowledges that research responsibilities are often shared across a continuum of team roles (designers, strategists, technologists). I’ll lead the audience through a collaborative exercise to model the approach and illustrate its strengths and benefits.
Hina Shahid, OnDeck Capital
Expanding the Role of
Design Research
This presentation talks about integrating research in the entire design / value-creation process. We as designers and researcher recognize the limitations and scope of research. On a daily basis we are challenged with making research relevant beyond AB testing and hypothesis validation. So how do we change the conversation? Is it a matter of building new skills or is it a matter of reframing? How do we make research dynamic and effective? And most importantly, how can we expand the role of research in our organizations?

By taking the audience through a framework that breaks the research in multiple layers, each layer has a distinct role.
1. Research as an understanding of customer needs
2. Research as an evaluation of the business context
3. Research as a tool for creation of new products, services and experiences
4. Research as tool for planning implementation and service delivery

The presentation will provide a toolkit for each aspect / layer of the research, from user to business and from creation to implementation. Additionally it will talk about building a holistic research practice within an organization.
Anita Sedgwick, nventive
The Path to a Winning Co-Creation Workshop
Anita will share with the group what defines successful co-creation, the path associated with getting there, and bring to life what co-creation can mean for companies and organizations large and small. She will walk us through the key stakeholders, their role, associated activities, and UX research elements needed in the journey to co-creation. Anita will also provide an outline of how to set up co-creation workshops, things to avoid, and how to ensure people stay engaged. She will include some of the games used in co-creation that keep things fun and bring out the best in people. Anita is a big fan of co-creation and has brought them come to life for many companies and has seen first hand the incredible changes they have created for brands. To bring this to life, she will share a real-world co-creation case study and associated results.
Val Pucilowski, Etsy
Beyond the Report: Facilitating Effective Workshops
The Etsy Research team runs stakeholder workshops to streamline the process of analysis and reporting and help bridge the gap between insight and action. This presentation will help participants understand when it might be appropriate to run a workshop with stakeholders, and what skills are required to run an effective workshop. Attendees will walk away with an understanding of how to use workshops as part of the research process, as well as some simple frameworks and examples that will help them plan their own engaging workshops.
Closing Keynote

Blind Spots, or Bright Spots? Unlocking Opportunities By
Designing In Context

​​​​​Michael Welsh 

Understanding design means understanding what space exists between stimuli and response across every interaction, as knowing the human in these transactions is more critical than ever before. Attention is already at a deficit at home and at work. Context switching is reaching an alarmingly high rate just as companies are struggling more than ever to meet actual human need.

Seeing blind spots as bright spots can change how we think about and approach the practices we follow each day. This closing keynote will share actionable takeaways around unlocking opportunities by designing in context for you to apply in your next interview, workshop, pitch, or readout. It will also include case studies that offer some recon on how others tackle these topics.

Speaker Bios

Tammy Sachs
CEO, Sachs Insights

Tammy has run a customer experience research consultancy, since, well before the internet. In 1993, Sachs Insights built the first commercial customer experience lab. She has taught agile research within Sachs Insights and the Sachs team delights in teaching each other and clients through Sachs Academy. For 7 years, Tammy has also been part of the Rutgers Mini Masters program where students envision, discover, build, test, and refine in one week.  Approaching UX from a marketing perspective has been a strategic asset as marketing needs to embrace technology and sales needs to converse with customer service. This journey has been fascinating – participating in the exponentially shorter and shorter cycles when technology disrupts and changes how customers interact with each other and your brand. 

Jay Meany
Director of Product Design, Condé

Jay’s current role with Condé Nast brings to bear his long history as a passionate advocate for elegant user experiences. His approach to empathic software experiences via organizational culture design has led him into B2B, B2C, marketing orgs, external initiatives, internal initiatives, agency side, client side, bootstrapped startups, NPO’s, NGO’s, and his own consultancy. His mantra, “healthy culture makes healthy software makes healthy business” is a strong foundation for his ultimate aim which is to make the world a better place, one interaction at a time.
Mike Welsh
Chief Creative Officer, Mobiquity
If, indeed, creativity comes from the right side of the brain, then that part of Michael Welsh’s cerebral hemisphere must get an incredible workout. For 20+ years, Welsh has lent his expertise in strategy, design, marketing, and user experience to various companies and clients across all industries including healthcare, retail, hospitality, and financial services. As Mobiquity’s chief creative officer, he is responsible for creating compelling creative moments and leading strategy sessions to help show the impact of digital innovation and guide clients through the journey.

Rebecca Deery
Director of UX, EPAM

Rebecca is a user experience professional that leverages her well-rounded career path to deliver a unique perspective to her projects. Working mostly in the e-commerce vertical over the last 16 years, she combines her powers of system thinking and user-centered design to create simpler, happier experiences for retail consumers worldwide.

Rebecca has enjoyed working with global clients, global colleagues, and diverse professionals in the technology industry. She holds a degree in Management Science & Information Systems from The Pennsylvania State University, and currently works at EPAM, a global end-to- end technology solution company.
Jessica Zhang
User Researcher, Audible Amazon
Jessica guides designers, developers, product managers and researchers to explore users and their relationships with products. She leverages Design Thinking to engage stakeholders and make user research drive agile co-creation even on remote teams. She believes in the power of Design Thinking, visual storytelling and a really good cold brew coffee.

Janine Coover
User Research Consultant

Janine's experience in user research is broad and deep. She combines a natural curiosity with over 20 years experience working in user research, website design, and project management to inform her flexible approach to answering strategic and design questions for clients across all industries at all stages of the product lifecycle.
Basel Fakhoury
Co-Founder, User Interviews
Basel Fakhoury is the co-founder of User Interviews. User Interviews’ mission is to make it easier for companies to build products that users love. As our first step, we've built a platform that automates the process of recruiting, vetting, and scheduling participants for product tests and usability studies. Product managers and designers at over 250 companies, including innovative companies like Pinterest, Spotify, and Dropbox, use our platform to coordinate their user research studies.

Scott Weidman
Director of User Experience, EPAM

Scott Weidman envisions and creates effective, compelling digital experiences based on deep research and collaborative insights. Drawing from his training in anthropology, linguistics and psychology, his experience over the past 20 years ranges from the design of an in-car navigation and entertainment system and knowledge management software for research chemists to ethnomusicology in West Africa. Currently, he leads research, experience design and strategy engagements as an Experience Consultant at EPAM, a global product and software development company.

Hina Shahid
Manager, User Research,
OnDeck Capital

Hina is a multidisciplinary designer with 12 years of design research/ user research & design strategy experience in industries such as financial services, healthcare, consumer electronics, hospitality and retail. Her current body of work is focused at the intersection of service design and design research. Throughout her career she have worn many hats- researcher, design strategist, interior designer, entrepreneur and design educator. Her work spans across a diverse range of sectors- insurance / finance, healthcare, retail, consumer electronics, textiles, non-profit and architecture and interiors.

Val Pucilowski
UX Researcher, Etsy

Val partners with cross-functional teams to conduct research studies with Etsy’s global community of buyers and sellers. She takes a collaborative, holistic approach to research, ensuring that product and strategy decisions remain rooted in a deep understanding of human needs and behavior.

Anita Sedgwick
VP Marketing & Strategy,

Anita is passionate about understanding consumers and solving business problems to deliver results. As VP of Strategy, she thrives on being a quick study. One who helps clients understand how thoughtful design thinking can change their business, their services, their products, and the way they are perceived. Her career has given her an opportunity to work with large and small organizations that have very complex challenges. She always brings a helpful and actionable approach to crafting and leading UX/CX style market and user research, uncovering actionable insights, strategic planning, brand building and driving growth. She is known for building high-performing, collaborative teams that challenge the norm with breakthrough thinking. She has worked with brands such as TEDTalks, National Geographic Learning, BMW, TD, and Mondelez. 
REcon 17 Sponsors 

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