Go on, get your hands dirty this time.

We at Midwest UX value the growth of design practitioners through practical knowledge as well as inspirational discussions. We've picked a variety of workshops to enable our attendees to roll up their sleeves and learn new and applicable concepts. Go forth, get dirty, and learn.

Let's Sketchnote!

Binaebi Akah, Veronica Erb, Charlene McBride

Before we begin a design, we must listen—to stakeholders, clients, coworkers, and most of all, our users. Listening and successfully recording what we’ve heard directly effects whether we ultimately succeed with our design.

Sketchnotes use a visual language that expands on traditional note taking. Because of the time it takes to enhance notes with arrows and stick figures and fancy lettering, we encourage ourselves to practice the art of listening. As an active sketchnoter, you will better understand, remember, and communicate the information you consume.

The sketchnotes themselves are more than a happy byproduct—they can communicate ideas, record user experience research, and enhance our visual language.

Participants in this studio workshop will learn sketchnoting techniques and take time to experiment with sketchnoting components. As we practice together, we will share what we’ve learned in both small and full group discussions and exercises. At the end of the session, we will practice with a sketchnoting dry run.

What you’ll learn:

  • Basic elements and practices of sketchnoting (typography, lines, people, color)
  • How to hear important points of the discussion or event you are recording
  • How to shape your sketchnote to enhance its message
  • How sketchnoting can help your UX practice
  • How to practice and develop your innate ability to draw

All beginners and active sketchnoters are welcome to attend. Whether you’re starting from scratch (“I can’t even draw a straight line”) or you’re comfortable with sketchnoting components (“I love drawing, but haven’t figured out how to put it in notes”), this studio workshop will provide you with dedicated practice time and a group of folks to exchange questions and ideas.

We are here to help you adopt a method that will improve the way you understand concepts and solve problems.

Come begin the journey to find your sketchnote style!

Zen and the Art UX Planning

Derren Hermann, Corey Allenbach

Crafting a solid user experience plan is not an easy task. Perhaps you have found this out the hard way. Regardless, you need a few things to be really successful.

  • A solid framework and set of tools to guide you
  • The ability tell a story that sells your plan

Our workshop is for anyone that's ever been asked to plan a UX effort. It will be led by Corey Allenbach and Derren Hermann who have over 20 years of combined experience in crafting user experience plans. We'll provide you with a framework and tools that you can take with you and use to improve both your planning and selling your intentions.

In the workshop we'll cover four areas:

  1. The initial client meeting
  2. Brainstorming sessions for planning
  3. Developing an approach summary
  4. Creating a detailed project plan

We'll provide you with tips and tricks. Tools like checklists, brainstorming cards, planning templates, and structuring guides will drive our process. In the workshop, you'll break into groups and craft your own plans. You'll get real time feedback and critique that will help strengthen your skills.

Your ultimate test will be seeing whether or not you have what it takes for your plan to be accepted.

Only then will you have mastered Zen and the Art of UX Planning.

Designing Mobile Apps for Behaviour Change

Haig Armen

The evolution of mobile devices and broadband connectivity give us an incredible opportunity to design for real-time and sometimes long-term behavioral change. Leveraging the mobile platform as an advanced interconnected social ecosystem provides us with the direct contact that's often needed for making a lasting impact.

This workshop focuses on social responsibility and includes an intense lineup of participatory design exercises that touch on a series of methods for designing compelling user experiences. Participants are introduced to psychological and business model concepts to help teams craft unique mobile engagement and experiences. Working through user motivations, perceived abilities and discovering opportune moments for triggering habit changing actions, teams will explore applying behavioural psychology to empathize and connect with intended mobile users.

Everybody's got an idea for an app but this workshop teaches participants how to craft viable innovative mobile applications. Within two hours, teams produce design brief, user flows and wireframes that result in far-reaching, beneficial effects.

Hands-On Responsive Web Design

Ben Callahan

This workshop will be a chance for you to dig into responsive web design. We'll build a site from start to finish and talk about how mobile first responsive web design turns the web design and development process on it's head. If you have a team, bring them all and work together. If you're on your own, come and join a few others. You'll leave with the ability to take this skill back to your organization.

Content Strategy 101

Laura Creekmore

In the UX world, we spend most of our time worrying about the structure and design of our websites. The content…well, we've already got that. Or, we can certainly whip it up. Marketing will take care of it! And heck, we all have Microsoft Word and email. That's content!


Not quite. 

What happens in many organizations -- maybe you've seen it yourself -- is that web projects get way down the road before anyone talks content. You already know the problem; as a UX person, this makes your job very hard. It's more than a minor pain when everyone figures out right before launch that you don't have content to fit the design, or there's no one to manage the content you actually have.

Content has to work in concert with technology and design: content cannot be an afterthought. It has to be as carefully designed as the rest of your site.

This workshop will take you through the nuts and bolts of content strategy -- both the mindset and the toolbox. You'll learn:

  • How to advocate for content in the design process
  • How to identify the right people to do it [And what to do if that person is you!]
  • The tools you need to analyze your content
  • How to get rid of ROT [Redundant, outdated, trivial content]
  • How to develop a navigation and a back-end system that are easy to use
  • The importance of developing long-term governance processes

The result?

You'll come out of this workshop with tools to be an advocate for your content. You'll understand how to manage your content strategically. You'll also have resources to get support and continue learning about the emerging discipline of content strategy.

Experience Design Practice Development

Livia Labate

In my experience building teams and introducing experience design praxis in different organizations, I have observed patterns and approaches that both support and hinder practice development. 

How do you define what kind of Experience Design practice your organization needs? How do you go about establishing it? Who do you need? What will they do? How do you gain support? The answer lies in appreciating what type of problems and opportunities are and will be available, along with an understanding of the organization's level of design maturity.

In this workshop I will share a few tools to help UX practitioners frame their challenges and some perspectives for how to pursue a long-term practice development goals.

This workshop will be most valuable for people who are in organizations where an internal experience design practice is needed or exists; this focus is not intended to address practice development in the context of design firms as external experts (focused on providing consulting services to organizations).