Steve Fisher & Aaron Gustafson

This June, we’re welcoming UX, content & responsive web expert Steve Fisher to Chattanooga. He’s Canadian, but don’t hold that against him. Steve will be talking about how to produce better work by being better teams. He will be joined onstage by Aaron Gustafson, who will be discussing how to inject more empathy into your web work.

Stories of Discovery: A Responsive Journey

Transforming a government website with 200 content authors, tens of thousands of pages, and close to 100 different content templates into a responsive design system is tricky business. In 2013, we led a project to update and future-proof one of Canada’s fastest-growing municipalities’ main communication channel: Surrey.ca.

The responsive redesign achieved unanimous support from city staff, business stakeholders, council, and the mayor. Mobile traffic has increased by 300% since launch. The improved governance and content workflow processes have facilitated new collaborations between siloed City departments. The Surrey Web Team described this as one of the most positive changes in recent history for the City’s external and internal communication. Most importantly, it created a sense of cohesion through a wholehearted responsive design process.

This project required a new approach. We needed the ability to connect deeply with everyone on our project team: client, vendor, and audience. We needed to get comfortable with imperfection, and fight through difficult moments as a team. We let go of our usual need to protect ourselves and maintain control, and worked together to solve our responsive design and adaptive content problems. Our collaborative creativity was a catalyst for changing the way the City communicates.

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Steve Fisher

Steve Fisher is the Founder at The Republic of Quality. With over 18 years of experience he leads the charge on the user experience end of projects, coordinating research, strategy, visual and interaction design, and content strategy.

Steve is a professional member of the Graphic Designer’s Society of Canada and served as their national VP of web for three years. He spends much of his time representing The Republic of Quality on the global stage as a sought-after speaker on topics like responsive web design, UX, open source, design thinking, and web process. He has presented at such conferences as TEDx, SXSW, Future of Web, HOW Interactive Design conference, Web Visions and DrupalCon, and is a contributor to .net Magazine.

He also loves Twitter (maybe a little too much).

Designing with Empathy

Every decision we make affects the way real people experience our products.

We've all heard the rallying cry for user-centered design, but even those of us who ascribe to that ideal often fall back on our own biases and instincts when it comes to making decisions about how people experience our content and our services.

Sadly, this often means we make decisions we think will be good for our “users” - that anonymous, faceless crowd - rather than actually trying to understand the perspectives, surroundings, capabilities, and disadvantages of the actual people who we are here to serve.

In this session, Aaron will explore why empathy is a good thing, how empathy empowers creativity, and how we, as a community, can inject more empathy into our work.

Watch the presentation

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View the slides

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Aaron Gustafson

Aaron Gustafson has nearly two decades of experience on the web and, in that time, has cultivated a love of web standards and an in-depth knowledge of website strategy and architecture, interface design, and numerous programming languages. He is the founder of Easy Designs and the Chattanooga Open Device Lab.

Aaron has been the Group Manager of the Web Standards Project (WaSP), served as Technical Editor for A List Apart, is a contributing writer for Net Magazine, and has filled a small library with his technical writing and editing credits. His latest book is Adaptive Web Design.