“To the heart of design” is a phrase that best describes the largest and most successful World Usability Day (WUD) event produced in Phoenix, Arizona, since its first event in 2007.
PayPal hosted and sponsored the event, kicked off with a multimedia presentation of examples from its extensive interaction design team members, numbering 250 strong, worldwide. From personas with a humorous “South Park” feel to in-home studies of individuals such as a deeply committed yet overwhelmed soccer mom, to before-and-after designs that resulted in capturing millions in revenue, the presentations illustrated best practices in user-centered design and methods today. Theo Mandel, Ph.D., Founder of Interface Design and Development and Vice President of the Arizona UPA Chapter, organized the event.
Taking best practices into action, Laura Faulkner, PhD, gave an inspiring keynote address that moved to the “heart of the designer.” Expressing the global WUD theme, Dr. Faulkner sparked the audience to see their own work in new ways, and achieve “Design for Social Change” by their daily interactions with the many real humans required to create and deliver amazing designs. To this end, she brought diverse experience from her work as long-time UPA-International conferences co-chair, a research scientist with The University of Texas at Austin, a consultant/strategist with FalconDay Consulting, and even her experience as a certified yoga teacher.
The event, at PayPal’s new facility in Chandler, was selected as one of only 5 worldwide WUD Global Partner Events. The 100 attendees were each given a PayPal tote filled with merchandise from event sponsors. Software valued at over $2,500, from Axure and TechSmith, along with other prizes were awarded in a raffle at the end of the event. The PayPal team inspired job seekers with discussion of how it utilizes design professionals, lit up creative thoughts with peeks into exciting current and future projects.