All times are in South Africa Standard Time (SAST) which is GMT +2

10:00 - 10:25 SAST

Registration & avatar creation

10:25 - 10:30

Welcome message
Sanisha Naidoo & Liz Spangenberg

10.30 - 11:00


Tech Disrupting Design
Varima Henry

The internet has not only disrupted the the world and our perspective of it but also how we work, live and solve problems. The UX market has benefited greatly over the era of touch screens, text and images. However the way we interact with technology is changing now more than ever with Voice, AI, VR, Augmented realty and even brain computer interfaces. How we design and solve for everyday UX problems is changing and the skills of the ordinary UX designer are not. This talk covers some of the technologies designers should be thinking about solving for as they become mainstream technologies over the next 10-30 years.

11:00 - 11.30


Using technology for good: Harnessing the power of positive technology as designers
Refiloe Digoamaye

Positive technology is a field of interest that has grown due to an influx of products created to monitor an individual’s overall well-being. These include wearables such as smartwatches for athletes, smart prosthetic devices for individuals with missing limbs due to being involved in accidents, and general day-to-day smart devices.

Understanding how to create user experiences for positive technologies provides an opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking by designers with the impetus to use their expertise to navigate around the ethical concerns in the design, development and use of these interactive systems.

I would like to use the platform to inform the public of this topic, what impact this can have on designers currently and what positive technology can bring forth in the near future. Additionally, I will be looking at the synergy between technology and well-being and what lies at the intersection between the two fields/disciplines.

11:30 - 11:45

BREAK: Tea / Networking / Chatting / Gaming in the lounge

11:45 - 12:15


Let's Talk Cartoons
Chiselle Beukes

I was listening to a Podcast the other day about the language spoken by Pingu, the cartoon Penguin. Apparently the reason it’s so universally accepted and we can kind of understand him, without understanding him, is because he speaks a language called Grammelot. I’m looking for a good excuse to do some proper research into the design of the Grammelot language, how it’s possible that whistles and beeps can convey emotion and how it could possibly be used to simplify how messages are conveyed in our designs.

This will be quite informal and hopefully fun. Let’s cross over the language x design barriers.

12:15 - 12:45


An Architect and a Service Designer walk into a bar - why you should always talk to strangers.
Mikara Naidoo

As an architect by training, I started working in Service Design during the height of the pandemic. This talk details my journey through the design world – underpinned by my strong belief that talking to strangers is fundamental in lessons of trust, bias and (ultimately) human-centric design.

12:45 - 14:00

Lunch / Networking / Chatting / Gaming in the lounge

14:00 - 14.30

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Breadcrumbs: Introducing Ancestry and Culture into Design
Jay Jones

In a world where we are apt to use technology as our first language, this exercise revisits the self you left behind. That self is full of culture, something that seems to not get backed up in the cloud. Knowing your TRUE self allows you to represent your culture & ancestry through design, something we were taught to abandon. Why does this matter? “How can we break down power structures, diversify our references, and begin to decolonize how we think about design?” When we remember where we are from we can better present ourselves with a full understanding of what we bring to the table. When we identify who we are, we carry a more in depth link to our ancestry and culture to actually represent a world on the brink of extinction. By unifying we create a chant louder than the masses that echoes into the spaces where design normally leaves us out in the hopes that it designs for the masses. When we shine a light on the bias and discrimination dealt to those in the “minority” we begin to develop a path towards to accountability. Creating a space allows us to have those conversations that have not been had in order to allow us to be represented whilst still giving our culture room and space to grow, not just breathe.

14.30 - 15:00


What the Soviet Space Program Taught Me About Digital Product Development
Dean Schuster

The space race between the USA and USSR was one of the great dramatic stories of the 20th century. Our very industry was born as Washington and Moscow relentlessly competed to master the stars.

For space nuts like me, this fascinating time is utterly compelling. It’s also highly instructive for digital product developers. After all, engineers drove the innovation that pushed us beyond earth. The lessons they learned and processes they created can help us today as we make software, apps, and advanced functionality online.

Of course, the Soviet side of the story tends to be less understood. And that’s exactly what we’ll explore. It’s unbelievable stuff, full of lessons about quality, testing, oversight, schedule, and goals. Let’s call it a decidedly cautionary tale for digital product teams.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN – How differing philosophies of development lead to different processes and results. – What Soviet imperatives parallel modern development approaches. – Why the USSR led the space race early, but ultimately failed to reach the moon first. – What we can learn, adapt, and avoid today from the 20th century Soviet model.

15.00 - 15.30


Navigating UX Burnout
Sarah Hoaglan

The UX profession has seen exponential interest and growth over the last decade. Every company wants UX and everyone wants a career in an industry that is consistently classified as in-demand. Yet, I had just spent several years in this booming industry and quite frankly, I was ready to quit. Saving the world one good experience at a time is not all the glitz and glam we expect it to be. The impression of UX is one of collaborative laughter, world-class visual design, and hitting euphoria as you sink into a sea of sticky notes. The reality of UX can be far different and it’s easy to become entangled in a world where the minutiae of the role overshadows your perception of the value you provide.

This session pioneers the human-centered conversation between UX and mental health. Without awareness, you too might find yourself ready to throw in the towel. And without careful navigation, it’s easy to be perceived as another self-centered Millennial in what has been labeled as the least engaged workforce. I will highlight the emotions that come with UX burnout and uncover how your UX job is directly contributing. Additionally, I will share strategies for overcoming your own burnout journey so that you can continue to have a meaningful career.

15:30 - 15:45

BREAK: Tea / Networking / Chatting / Gaming in the lounge

15.45 - 16.15

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UXD/UXR for children (3-8): Do’s and Dont's, Lessons Learned and What’s coming up!
Sabine Thomas ND

Whether you are a novice to UX design and research for children (3 – 8) or a seasoned expert in the field, join our round table!! Our conversations will be anchored around the result of a focused literature review about the field. We will discuss the uniqueness of designing and researching with/for children all the while seeking to promote their socio-emotional development. Time permitting we may feel emboldened to hypothesize the role that parents play in UX design/research for their kiddos. This should keep us busy for 25 mins and eager to keep the conversations thriving in communities offline and beyond our borders!

16:15 - 16.45


Don’t get pricked. Use the Rose, Bud, Thorn research method to take insights to a higher level
Jennifer Blatz

As UX researchers, we have a variety of methods to choose from to facilitate workshops, help our team brainstorm ideas, and gain insights. The “Rose, Bud, Thorn” method is easy to facilitate and proves approachable for even the most skeptical participant. With this “all hands-on deck” approach, team members can quickly surface problems and opportunities in any industry. I will showcase the “secret sauce” of this method, which is in the drill-down questions that the researcher will use to prompt participants in to deeper thinking. “Rose, Bud, Thorn” is a Design Thinking research method that brings teams together to brainstorm positive aspects, negative aspects and opportunities or a process, system or product. This method is a great starter for those who are interested in facilitating workshops or surfacing research insights. More importantly, this is a very creative method to dive deeper on a process or topic and really surface deep insights and opportunities.

Outline ● Overview of “Rose, Bud, Thorn” method ● Who, what, when, where, why of “Rose, Bud, Thorn” ● Explain the value of this method ● Overview of how to facilitate a workshop using “Rose, Bud, Thorn” ● Materials needed for preparation ● Who should participate and when should this method be performed ● How to devise your research plan to be best prepared and set up for success ● Applying the “secret sauce” as the facilitator by crafting drill-down questions for deeper exploration and ● How to keep the group engaged, on track and producing insights ● How to analyze the data ● To vote or not to vote? ● Duties as the facilitator ● Next steps and wrapping up procedure for success

15:30 - 15:45

BREAK: Tea / Networking / Chatting / Gaming in the lounge

17:00 - 17:30

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Poetry as our companion in product development
Hua Szu Yang

Many product teams have rituals and a cadence they follow, or aspire to follow. We may have daily stand-up calls, weekly demos, sprint retrospectives, sprint plannings, monthly presentations to upper management, and quarterly business reviews. What can we learn from poetry–just as with user research, meter in poetry comes in both qualitative and quantitative forms–about how to apply rhythm intentionally?

Excellent poetry also makes us feel. When a moving poem makes us feel sorrowful, elated, strong, excited, or vulnerable, that poem makes us complicit in that feeling, as if the writer were reaching out a hand to us. Through relishing the patterns, forms, and beauty of poetry, we better empower ourselves to extend that tender hand to help our teammates, stakeholders, employees, and customers feel psychologically safe and ready to collaborate with us. Let’s play with poetry together and see what it teaches about how to choreograph and cultivate collaboration. Might we come up with an unexpected glitch of a heart-wrenching, funny, or joyous poem? Let’s find out.

17:30 - 18:00


The Race After Technology Book Club
Melanie King Dollie

Do we know the history of “racist robots”? Do we have a common language as designers and tech folks to discuss the effects of the products we design outside of the simplistic dichotomy of “good” and “bad”? Do we have an understanding of the ways in which techno-determinist visions of the future constrain even the limits of our own imaginations?

I’ll be sharing my experience starting the Race After Technology Book Club for people working in tech + design in the midst of the Pandemic and the George Floyd uprisings in the United States in the northern hemisphere’s Spring and Summer of 2020.

I asked myself: “How can I begin to understand the dynamics of race x technology with so much random information and scattered think pieces out there without getting information fatigue? How can I connect with and build a network of design and tech folks to learn alongside, having recently returned to my home country after 10 years abroad and with shelter in place orders in effect?

As with most new endeavours, I can’t remember now what truly gave me the inspiration to create a google form for sign-ups and post it in a single Slack group I’d just recently joined, that I would be hosting a book club to read Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Though it was already in-hand,I hadn’t even read the book yet myself. Yet someone signed up within the first 5 minutes, and 3 days later we had 20 people on board.

As the second and third Race After Technology book clubs likewise filled to max capacity within a handful of days with UX designers, Data Scientists and Product Managers from companies like Ebay, Splunk, Etsy and Visa, I’ve increasingly asked myself how the insights and critiques of technological “innovation” increasingly being produced in traditional learning and research environments such as Social Studies, STS (Science Technology & Society) and Ethnic Studies departments, from professor/researchers like Ruha Benjamin, Safiya Noble, and Virginia Eubanks, are reaching the folks actually working in the industry, with the power to effect change?

I’ve discovered that designers want to understand racism and how it is reflected and reproduced – and in worst cases amplified – by the technologies we help design, and that researchers in higher education institutions are putting out exciting and insightful work to help us understand racism and how it functions via the technologies being produced in Silicon Valley and beyond. But there is a disconnect between what these researchers are producing and what people in design and tech are learning via their design certificates, boot camps and online courses.

The Race After Technology book club has become one small way of connecting industry folks with current academic inquiry, giving us the tools and vocabulary to understand the dynamics at play when it comes to race x technology, the insight and instincts to question the immutability of a future “solved” by technology, and by providing a space to build relationships where action, collaboration and mutual support can spring up organically within the design community.


Sanisha Naidoo & Liz Spangenberg