• [ONLINE] Summer Mingler

    Online event

    VanUE is proud to host a summer mingler to gather our community together.

    - meet some new people
    - see some familiar faces

    Join us for a fun evening of engaging conversations and connections using Wonder.me!

    Hope to see you there!

    Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn (@kaizennguyen) on Unsplash

  • [ONLINE] Writing for web accessibility: How to create understandable content

    What makes digital content accessible? This question is increasingly being asked, researched, and discussed all over the world. Governments are putting regulations in place. Groups are working to define standards and guidelines. And the content landscape is slowly getting better for people with disabilities.

    But there's still a lot of work to do.

    A big part of creating accessible content involves the technical stuff. Coding content for accessibility and having effective visual design are critical. They reduce barriers for people with disabilities trying to perceive and interact with your content.

    But imagine if, after all that, your users can't understand your content? Maybe the sentences or words are too complex, or the ideas are poorly organized. All your careful coding and visual design work could go to waste.

    In 2017, Statistics Canada found that about 1 in 5 Canadians aged 15 and over had one or more disabilities. Many of them may have trouble understanding your content. What good is information that stays trapped on the page for so many people?

    In this presentation, Farah Hirani will walk you through how to write content that lowers barriers for people with disabilities, and in the process, benefits everyone.

    This session is for anyone in a UX/CX or content-related role that wants to:
    - Understand the content writing aspects of accessibility.
    - Learn how to create content that everyone can understand.
    - Promote better content-writing practices in their organization.

    In this presentation, you’ll learn:
    - Why your business should design content to be accessible.
    - How content that's not written or organized well can exclude people with disabilities.
    - How you can write and organize content in ways that lower barriers for people with disabilities.

    There will be a Q&A session at the end for group dialogue and reflections.


    6pm: Talk on “Writing for web accessibility: How to create understandable content”
    7pm: Networking



    Farah Hirani is a senior content strategist at Content Strategy Inc, Canada’s only consultancy focusing exclusively on content strategy. She helps large organizations turn their unruly content landscapes into lean, organized spaces that all users can understand and act on. This can include:

    - Using a research-based approach to define and understand audiences and their needs.
    - Digging into content to assess and make recommendations around accessibility, SEO, and content organization.
    - Developing tools and standards that will help sustain good content practices over the long term.

    She has over 5 years of experience in content-related roles in freelance, in-house, and consultancy contexts, with industry certifications in UX and marketing management.


  • [ONLINE] Using Agile methods to support an anti-racist and inclusive workplace

    The killing of George Floyd in May 2020—along with the subsequent protests against racial and social injustice around the world—deeply challenged OXD as an organization. Diversity and inclusion have long been a part of OXD’s practice, but these recent events brought to light areas of opportunity where we could do more. We wanted to ensure we were supporting anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work and workplace practices.

    We agreed that real, genuine action was required, and yet we were fearful of not getting it right. How do we understand and meaningfully address our part in perpetuating systemic racism? What does it mean to create an inclusive and anti-racist workplace environment? We realized this was a real opportunity for further change and action in our workplace.

    To strategize and develop solutions, we implemented the methods that we’ve always employed to tackle tough, complex problems: co-creation, experimentation, and Agile development.

    In this session, Jacqueline Antalik shares OXD’s emerging and evolving Agile approaches to their diversity and inclusion work. She will provide examples of how an Agile mindset helped propel the work forward. However, it became evident that a backlog of tasks and standups, while good practice, was not sufficient. Jacqueline will share some of the reflections and ideas the team has around the gaps and how to address them.

    There will be a Q&A session at the end for group dialogue and reflections.

    6pm: Talk on “Using Agile methods to support an anti-racist and inclusive workplace”
    7pm: Networking


    Jacqueline Antalik is a User Experience and Service Designer with OXD, a human-centered design and technology consulting firm based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. She leads a team of designers who utilize user-centric and design-thinking approaches to solve complex, dynamic, and networked problems for clients. Jacqueline and her colleagues champion the use of service design and Agile methods to design, build, and launch digital services that make a difference.

    Jacqueline’s 20 years of industry expertise comes from working on large mission-critical systems and extensive experience in human-computer interaction, business and system analysis, workshop planning and facilitation, and workplace learning and technology. She has extensive experience running both training, as well as innovation design workshops. Jacquline and her team have run sold-out workshops two years in a row at the Service Design Canada conference.

    Jacqueline believes that designing and delivering positive, meaningful experiences isn't just about the tools and methods. End-users have their own unique needs, personal perspectives, and fresh ideas—and it's this opportunity for unearthing the human connection that motivates her as an experience designer.

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/weareoxd
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weareoxd/
    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jacqueline-antalik-5b27aa1

  • [ONLINE] Responsible Design: How Microsoft Empowers the Planet

    Design impacts people’s lives. That impact can be positive or negative – and we are responsible for both. Today, as technology scales the planet and people’s experiences are tied up in digital transformation, UX design has the potential to affect and alter human behavior. Every decision from the minuscule to the systematic has repercussions, many of which we’re only now coming to terms with.

    How did we get here, and how do we meet the challenges of modern design? Join Albert Shum, CVP of Design at Microsoft, for a discussion on the unique power of design to ask why, to be thoughtful, and to build more responsible technology on behalf of humanity.

    6pm: Talk on “Responsible Design”
    7pm: Networking and Job Fair


    Albert Shum is a career design leader currently working at Microsoft. With over 25 years of global consumer brand and design development expertise, Albert has led strategic initiatives across multidisciplinary teams at Nike and Microsoft, scaling design thinking and launching products that influence millions. He currently drives incubation for Microsoft’s web experiences, including search and discovery across a suite of products that reach customers’ lives at work, home, and school.

    Networking and Job Fair:

    Microsoft Design & Research is hiring! After Albert's talk on Responsible Design, please join us for an event in wonder.me (http://wonder.me/) to connect with UX professionals from Microsoft product teams and The Garage Vancouver.

    See Microsoft's open design roles in Vancouver: https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/search-results?keywords=vancouver%20design

  • [ONLINE] A Career Framework that Scales with your Team

    Online event

    Growing designers as you build your design team is not only essential for developing and retaining talent, it is also critical to the success of the business by increasing the quality of the user experience and advancing a user-centred design culture. This talk will appeal to design leaders looking to develop talent expertise in a growing design org as well as designers seeking to advance their career in any size design organization. Several solutions to scaling can be found in the growing field of design ops, this talk will focus on a comprehensive framework that integrates identifying expertise, distributed career guidance, and a culture of design leadership.

    Jack will draw concrete examples from how this has been applied at Best Buy Canada, where the community of user experience designers has more than doubled over the last two years and has achieved a demand for user-centered thought leadership across the company. He'll share how to define a career development framework that sets expectations at all skill levels allowing designers to know where they stand, know what they need to grow, and to target the areas of expertise they seek in their design practice. Through mechanisms like communities of practice, design feedback jams, and practice specialists, we have raised the bar of design excellence by holding each other accountable and bringing mentorship into our daily work. You'll leave this talk knowing how to set up a similar framework and mechanics in your organization, what challenges and difficulties you are likely to face and how to overcome them, and methods to measure the success of your practice.

    There will be time to ask questions and engage with the speakers and other participants.

    • 6pm to 7pm: Presentation plus Q&A
    • 7pm to 730pm: Networking using Wonder.me (link to be shared at the end of the presentation)

    There is no fee for this event.

    About Jack Stockholm:
    Jack Stockholm is a design leader with over 20 years experience growing user-centred design in organizations from Silicon Valley to Vancouver. He is currently the UX Practice Lead at Best Buy Canada responsible for elevating the practice of design across the full omnichannel and service design journey.

  • [ONLINE] UX Maturity: How to grow a UX practice at any organization

    UX Maturity: How to grow a UX practice at any organization, from small businesses to international corporations.

    User experience has become a more sought-after practice in the business world over the last years, which has created a shift about the needed activities for flourishing UX: from an emphasis on evangelizing to strategically integrating UX in organizations.

    As a model outlining the evolution of UX capabilities in organizations, UX Maturity serves as an excellent framework to assess the state of UX at a company. Knowing where you are and where you want to go can give you the map for your journey, and as you traverse across the territory, you’ll need tools to overcome obstacles.

    During this presentation, Veronica will cover the top three challenges to increase the UX maturity at any organization:
    • Framing, how to set the stage for tackling UX Maturity
    • Scaling, how to increase the UX throughput
    • Culture, how to foster user-centred design at a company level

    There will be time to ask questions and engage with the speakers and other participants.

    • 6pm to 7pm: Presentation plus Q&A
    • 7pm to 730pm: Networking (link to be shared at the end of the presentation)

    There is no fee for this event.

    About Veronica Zammitto:
    Veronica Zammitto is a thought leader in UX strategy, organizational UX maturity, and UX Research. Veronica runs her own consultancy focusing on helping companies to improve user experience strategies, scale UX efforts, enhance cross-functional collaborations, and elevate product quality. Veronica is a former Director of UX Research at Electronic Arts, where she transformed how player experience is part of the development fabric by establishing novel methodologies, defining UXR processes, and scaling an international team. Veronica has been part of delivering successful products in video games (console, PC, and mobile), social media, and digital assistant tools.

    Event photo by Ian Schneider (https://unsplash.com/@goian) on Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/).

  • [ONLINE] Winter Mingler

    Online event

    VanUE is proud to host a winter mingler to gather our community together.

    - meet some new people
    - see some familiar faces

    Join us for a fun evening of engaging conversations and connections.

    We'll also be trying out a new tool to facilitate the experience, which will be fun to try out together.

    Hope to see you there!

    Photo credit: "red wine, red hearts" by hlkljgk is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

  • [ONLINE] The Agony and the Ecstasy of Developing An Effective Digital Strategy

    In the wake of the pandemic, doing business online has never been more urgent or crowded. As UX practitioners and product managers, we are challenged to find new ways to deliver a unique experience. As business or product owners, we need to find new digital strategies to survive and thrive.

    But how do you go from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow? How do you evolve your digital strategy?

    Meet Rob Attwell, COO and co-founder of Careteam, a virtual care collaboration and communication platform that is a solution whose time is now.

    Careteam has seen its share of pivots, strategies that worked, and strategies that didn't. But through it all, there was a foundational idea that when someone experiences a critical health event, outcomes improve when there is an actionable health plan to follow with an informed support team --including family-- around them. The idea is simple enough, but the reality of making it happen in the highly regulated environment of healthcare is a story worth telling.

    Join VanUE and Karyn Zuidinga of NextWAVE Innovation (nextwaveinnovation.io) for an engaging fireside chat with Rob Attwell. Karyn will converse with Rob and dig deep into strategies and decisions that have brought Careteam to where it is today. We'll explore what worked, what didn't. What challenges are on the horizon, and where Careteam plans to go next.

    UX practitioners will gain insight into how strategic business decisions play out at a UX level and where there are opportunities to better support and guide overall product development.

    There will be time to ask questions and engage with the speakers and other participants.

    • 7pm to 730pm: Fireside chat
    • 730pm to 8pm: Q&A

    We're charging a fee for this event. Normally, we use this to pick up refreshments for our attendees or put towards food/drink at one of our minglers, but we've decided that the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Vancouver Food Bank.

    About Careteam:
    Careteam is a healthcare-grade team collaboration platform. It brings together healthcare professionals, the patient, and personal support team with an integrated care plan, instant communications, and population analytics to enable transitions, complex chronic care, and innovation in a fragmented health care environment. Careteam creates an ecosystem of data, integration, and security. The Careteam platform supports healthcare apps and AI.

    About Rob Attwell:
    Rob Attwell is the Chief Operating Officer, and the Founder of Careteam is an entrepreneur who has extensive experience helping large healthcare organizations with significant innovation and transformation initiatives. He is responsible for strategic initiatives and partnerships, including Careteam's work with the Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster. Rob is Advisor to and Past Chair of the Neil Squire Society, a national not-for-profit providing services to Canadians with disabilities. He has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, where he was recognized as an Ivey Scholar and is a recipient of the Ivey Alumni Award. Learn more about Careteam Technologies Inc at www.careteam.tech and follow us at www.twitter.com/getcareteam.

    About Karyn Zuidinga
    Karyn is an expert at translating business strategy into digital action. For more than two decades, she's been helping organizations create, redesign, and innovate new digital products and services. She has a reputation for asking great questions, filtering the silence from the noise, and rapidly identifying impactful digital opportunities. She has helped several prominent organizations evolve their offering, including AT&T, Adobe, Amazon, Samsung, and the Government of BC.

  • [ONLINE] How Design Makes The World

    Online event


    Do you wish more people understood good design and valued good designers and researchers? There’s a fresh new way to make this happen and author Scott Berkun is going to share it with you. Based on his new book How Design Makes The World , he’ll tell new inspiring stories that illustrate how design impacts our lives and the many factors that contribute to why good design is so hard to achieve in practice. A fun, inspiring and practical talk that will renew your passion for what you do with a new framework for explaining the value of design to everyone.

    • 6:30pm to 7:30pm: Presentation and Q&A

    We're charging a fee for this event. Normally, we use this to pickup refreshments for our attendees or put towards food/drink at one of our minglers, but we've decided that the proceeds from the event will be donated to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation to help support research and urgent needs of front line health care workers.

    About Scott Berkun:

    Scott is a bestselling author and popular speaker on creativity, leading projects, culture, business and many other subjects. He’s a former user research interaction designer and project manager who worked for many years at Microsoft and WordPress.com. He’s the author of eight books, including The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker, and The Year Without Pants. His work has appeared, in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian, Wired magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, National Public Radio, CNN, NPR, MSNBC and other media. His popular blog is at scottberkun.com and he tweets at @berkun.

    Connect with Scott:
    • Website - http://www.scottberkun.com/
    • Book Website - http://www.designmtw.com/
    • Twitter - https://twitter.com/berkun

  • [ONLINE] Building Better Outcomes: Collaboration, Communication, Credibility

    Modern team communication is about understanding your audiences and conveying targeted messages to different stakeholders in an effective way. This requires that we constantly adapt to new ways of approaching conversations and juggling the needs of others across a myriad of channels.

    Knowing your audience, creating a shared vision for success, and using a common framework can not only align departments but improve trust and engagement across your organization.

    Whether you work independently or are part of a larger project team, this session will share some ways to understand the needs of others and tips to boost collaboration, communication, and credibility.

    This session will uncover how you can:

    • Determine the needs of others to build trust with folks across your organization
    • Use a stakeholder analysis framework to understand communication
    • Share a facilitation approach to build trust, enhance creativity, and create alignment

    • 6:00pm to 7:00pm: Presentation and facilitated discussion

    NOTE: Participation will be limited to 30 people to facilitate breakout rooms with each small group sharing after an activity.

    Also, we're charging a fee for this event. Normally, we use this to pickup refreshments for our attendees or put towards food/drink at one of our minglers, but this time we're going to do something a bit different.

    We've decided that the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank to help support those in need in these trying times.

    About Melissa Breker:

    Melissa is a content and change management consultant, with over 15 years experience applying strategic thinking to content and digital projects. She works with UX teams, creative agencies, product developers, and content folks to inspire new ways of working, thinking, and communicating together.

    Melissa is a certified change management consultant and international speaker. She has facilitated workshops and projects with teams at Samsung, TELUS, Experian, BC Hydro, and Wells Fargo Retirement Banking Group.

    Melissa works closely with teams to support change leadership and help organizations deliver customer and employee experiences that support growth and transformation.

    Connect with Melissa:
    • Website - http://www.brekergroup.com/
    • LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissabreker/
    • Twitter - https://twitter.com/melissabreker

    Event image courtesy of Nicole Baster at Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/@nicolebaster