Big Design 2015 – Conference Trip Report


I attended Big Design Conference 2015 here in the Dallas area. It’s a 3 day event that assembled 1000 designers, developers, content strategists, usability experts, game makers, and more! What a wonderful collection of big brains and open-minded individuals.

We saw so many work friends, community buddies, and created fellowship.

Big Design is my 3rd favorite time of the year. Right behind my daughter’s birthday, and Christmas.

I’m So Stoked!

Big Design was made even more special for me this year because of two exceptional things.

Firstly, I kicked off the developer track with a talk I call “Your Future HTML: The Evolution of Site Design with Web Components.”

Secondly, and my newly completed book, Responsive Web Design Toolkit: Hammering WebSites Into Shape, had just released and was on sale at the conference bookstore. You can get it on Amazon now!

Thirdly, my buddy Brian Sullivan completed a book called called, The Design Studio Method: Creative Problem Solving with UX Sketching, and it was on sale having debuting two weeks before.

Imma Think of These

I walked away from the show with a short list of takeaways that I’m turning over in my noggin. These forced their way into my brain as I listened to sessions and keynotes. “Ah-ha!” moments, recognized trends, and ideas that I want to live with for a while include:

  1. UX is not UI.
  2. Web Design (and UI Design?) is largely becoming a commodity job, and possibly fading away.
  3. UX, as a role, is more complicated than ever because more skills are expected. It’s a leadership position. Has an increasingly fuzzy boundary with product manager.
  4. Empathy is a key part of UX. Get some.
  5. User research informs your work. Without it bias substitutes, and it leads you down the wrong path. (e.g. you are not your user)
  6. Often, our customers are not our users.
  7. Millennials will be buyers soon. They will choose functional things that are also appealing looking and easily used. UX = $$$
  8. One speaker said, “There is no more privacy.”
  9. One speaker said, “Default your app to private.”
  10. Commonsense isn’t always common practice. Be a critical thinker.

What do you make of those concepts? Hit me up on Twitter to let’s dive deeper.

Friday Talks Were Amazing

Friday awakened for general registration, the opening keynote, my talk kicking off the developer track, a day full of amazing talks, an active patio party thrown by my friends at Universal Minds, and casino night.

What a killer conference Big Design is!

Here’s a list of all the speakers I saw, links to their presentations, and their Twitter accounts. Follow up with them for yourself finding out exactly how deeply curious they are.

Did you attend these talks? Have you discovered them for the first time after reading my list? Share what you’ve learned from your favorite speakers with your networks. Make your people better!

Saturday Talks Were Terrific

Saturday saw a continuation of the conference and the talks were even more amazing.

Armed with a fresh cup of coffee I throughly enjoyed Pam’s opening keynote. Both woke me up and made my brain stand to attention. Brian Sullivan’s closing keynote was phenomenal. If you saw it you’ll agree with me.

Each presentation was better than the last. My brain was filled, and I couldn’t have taken any more if I tried.

See You Next Year!

The weeks leading up to BigDesign I kept saying, “I wish it were tomorrow.” Now that it’s done and gone I’m full of so many positive memories. Great ones, that if I were to share them with you, we’d be up together all night long.

I encourage you to come out next year if you’ve never been. If you were there with me, I’ll see you again next year!