User Experience Lead, Matt Dominguez, had the opportunity to attend this year’s Y Conference. Below is his recap of the event and some of the highlights and takeaways from a UX perspective:

A Little Bit About The Y Conference

The San Diego Y Conference is a two-day design conference hosting a variety of speakers and visionaries from across the design community. The theme for this year was Velocity: Design Moving Forward.

Although the conference centers around traditional design concepts and styles, it always still provides value to those of us in the various interactive design fields. The crossover of creativity and problem solving in different situations can always provide insights into how one could take a different approach, or step back and look at things from a different angle, no matter what their creative field or discipline.

Friday

Friday was kicked off right by Mexopolis: Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua.

Being passionate about their work resonates with clients and helps to provide transparency into why creative decisions are made and how they relate to their client’s audience. It’s something I could see a lot of customers benefitting from, this understanding that it’s okay if something doesn’t make sense to them individually, but that their end user is the ultimate audience, and the product needs to resonate with that demographic. It’s valuable to explain the process to see that we are here to show them that decisions are being made with their end user in mind.

Michael Bierut’s keynote address was a highlight of the day as well. Michael has long been seen as a leader in the design community since very early in his career. As a partner for over 20 years at Pentagram, and a designer at Vignelli Associates for 10 years, he has worked with some of the largest brands in the world.

My takeaway was about making sure to ask your clients “why do you think you need a design solution?”. This is something that most designers don’t seem to ask, as we are often far too excited to jump into a “fantastic” design, but it’s important to be asking the client why they need work in the first place. What feedback has driven them to need a solution? What isn’t working? Is there a definitive business decision driving this? This is something that we always try to understand our clients at Seamgen. Knowing what problem we’re solving is critical to providing value and creating an impactful, and useful, solution.

Saturday – Thinkshops!
Saturday I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lauren Ruiz from Cooper, who led the Human Centered Design workshop. During the workshop, we learned about Service Design Blueprinting and how it goes beyond just mapping out a user journey or following a single persona, more on this topic to come in a later post.

The rest of Saturday was filled up with more talks and a great presentation by the AIGA SD LINK program, which mentors and provides scholarships for at-risk and underprivileged high school students in the San Diego area.

My second favorite part about Saturday was the closing party, being a small conference the closing party is a great way to get to hang out and meet all the various speakers and other members of our design community. You get to hear what everyone is working on and the challenges of their businesses. It’s just a great way to close out the two-day event by getting to mingle with everyone.

It was a fun conference where I was able to sync up with old friends and make new ones, as well as bring back a few tips or tricks to sneak into the workflow here in our offices at Seamgen.