Our Keynote Speakers

Anchoring the 2012 Midwest UX conference this year, we are proud to bring you keynote speakers with experience, insight, brilliance, and fresh thinking in the field of design. Read on to learn a bit more about our keynote speakers...

Richard Buchanan

Richard Buchanan
Richard Buchanan

Richard Buchanan is Professor of Design, Management, and Information Systems at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Before joining the Weatherhead faculty in 2008, he served as Head of the School of Design from 1992 until 2002 and from 2002 until 2008 as Director of Doctoral Studies.

While at Carnegie Mellon, he inaugurated Interaction Design programs at the Masters and doctoral level. He is well known for extending the application of design into new areas of theory and practice, writing and teaching as well as practicing with the concepts and methods of Interaction Design. He argues that interaction design does not stop at the flatland of the computer screen but extends into the personal and social life of human beings. In keeping with this, he has worked on the redesign of the Australian Taxation System, the restructuring of products and information for the United States Postal Service, and other consulting activities. At the Weatherhead, he has turned his work toward "collective interactions," focusing on problems of organizational change and a reform of management education around the concept of "managing by design."

Buchanan is a widely published author and speaker. He is also Co-Editor of Design Issues, the international journal of design history, theory, and criticism published by the M.I.T. Press. He served for two terms as President of the Design Research Society, the learned society of the design research community.

He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal.

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin
Nathan Martin

Coined “Willy Wonka with a toolkit from Mythbusters” by Forbes Magazine, Nathan Martin is the CEO of Deeplocal, an internationally acclaimed innovation studio that builds compelling experiences that link the real and online worlds and provoke conversation. Deeplocal spun out of the world’s leading robotics school, Carnegie Mellon, and has been instrumental in shaping innovation in the ad industry with the development of projects like the tweet-fed, chalk-spraying Nike Chalkbot robot for the Tour de France and the Prius bicycle with mind-controlled shifting. In less than three years, the organization has received awards like AdAge Small Agency of the Year Northeast, Cannes Lions Grand Prix, and One Club Top Ten Campaign of the Decade and has built a client list that includes Nike, Toyota, Volkswagen, TBS, GAP, and others.
Prior to founding Deeplocal in 2006, Nathan was a founding member of an art group and a touring punk/metal band and spoke, toured, and exhibited internationally. Nathan has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work in art, music, and technology and has been featured in Wired, Fast Company, AdWeek, and NOTCOT, and at events like AdAge Creativity + Technology, 2600's H.O.P.E. Conference, and Yahoo! Provoke.

Peter Morville

Peter Morville
Peter Morville

Peter Morville is a writer, speaker, and consultant. He is best known for helping to create the discipline of information architecture. His bestselling books include Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Ambient Findability, and Search Patterns. He advises such clients as AT&T, HP, IBM, the Library of Congress, Macy's, Microsoft, the National Cancer Institute, Vodafone, and the Weather Channel. His work on information architecture and user experience strategy has been covered by Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal. Peter lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife, two daughters, and a dog named Knowsy. He blogs at findability.org.

Our Conference Presenters

From a record turnout of high-quality proposals, we are pleased to announce the Midwest UX 2012 conference presenters. Each of our selected speakers brings a unique perspective and fresh topics to share with conference attendees.  Read on to learn a bit more about our conference presenters...

Binaebi Akah


Binaebi Akah is a User Experience Designer for the architecture, engineering, and retail brand agency WD Partners. Prior to WD Partners she was a usability analyst for Nationwide Insurance. She believes in the power of sketching, whiteboards, and slinkies. She highlights awesome sketchnotes with Mike Rohde at the Sketchnote Army blog, and released the how-to book, Sketchnotes: A Field Guide for the Busy Yet Inspired Professional, with Charlene McBride in January 2012. 

Binaebi dances balboa and lindy hop at least once a week, and is on the local Swing Columbus performance team. You can find her on Twitter at @siriomi, at her website siriomi.com, and in person at any given Midwest swing dance event. You can check out her sketchnotes via her website or her Flickr collection http://bit.ly/CMwDq.

Corey Allenbach

Corey Allenbach is currently leading planning & strategy efforts for the User Experience team at Nationwide in Columbus, OH. His role involves consulting with clients to help them take a user-centered design approach to their efforts as well as looking after a portfolio of 30+ UX projects at any given time. With over 10 years of experience, Corey has played various roles on UX projects including interaction designer, information architect, visual designer and usability analyst for both small design shops and large corporations.

Haig Armen


As one of Canada’s most respected and innovative digital designers, Haig has been designing brands, advertising, and interactive projects for 15 years. As a producer of CBC Radio 3′s groundbreaking online magazine, Haig created editorial, design and marketing strategies that have earned a die-hard audience.

Haig has had the honour of winning a variety of awards throughout his career, including no less than three Webby Awards, two Prix Italia for Web Arts and Drama and a Gold Medal from the Art Director’s Club of New York to name only a few.

Haig Armen is the founder and creative director of LiFT Studios and holds a position as an Assistant Professor of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. When Haig isn’t designing or managing at LiFT or teaching design or spending time with his family in Vancouver he might be found playing jazz on his guitar or composing music.


Jessica Bailey

Jessica Bailey is a user experience designer at Lextant in Columbus, Ohio. After starting at Lextant as an intern from the University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Jessica has since worked with a wide variety of clients creating design concepts and supporting frameworks for complex, information-rich user interfaces and experiences. While her current work has her focused on the medical imaging and precision farming industries, she is always looking forward to exciting new design challenges.

Samuel Bowles


Samuel Bowles is a Software Craftsman at Mutually Human, a software design and development team in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been working as a software designer and user experience professional since 1996 when he began his career as a webmaster for Burger King. Since those days he has worked with startups to Fortune 50 companies across the country and around the world including a seven year stint in Madrid and Seville, Spain.

David Brahler


User Experience Designer at Kent State University and Information Architecture and Knowledge Management Grad Student at KSU.

Ben Callahan


President of Sparkbox, Ben is a thought leader on front-end development sharing his ideas about the web on the Sparkbox Foundry and industry blogs like Smashing Magazine. His leadership at Sparkbox has driven the organization to be a leading provider of mobile-first responsive web design and he continues to push for better user experiences outside the context of specific devices.

Amelia Campbell

Amelia Campbell is a graduate student at Kent State University in the Information Architecture & Knowledge Management (IAKM) program, specializing in UXD. She is currently a Contract Negotiator for Lockheed Martin and held previous positions within LM in Configuration and Document Management. Her interests and studies include design, cartography, painting, film, and travel. 

Brad Colbow


Brad Colbow is a designer at Designing Interactive in Cleveland Ohio. Brad is an award-winning web designer, best known for his comics that are published monthly in .Net magazine and "The Brads" a weekly strip found on his personal website. His work has appeared on the New York Time's website, CNET, Smashing Magazine and elsewhere. You can find out more about him and his work on his website colbowdesign.com

Lauren Colton


Lauren Colton is the Information Architect & Editor at Gravity Works Design & Development. She is a grammar nerd who loves talking about the importance of words, and a geek focused on how people interact with technology to find and use information. A graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University, her editorial work includes the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (Macmillan Reference USA) and Encyclopedia of Modern China (Charles Scribner’s Sons).

Laura Creekmore


Laura Creekmore was delighted to learn 4 years ago that what she's been doing for 15 years is properly called content strategy. Creekmore is president of Creek Content, a consultancy focused on content strategy and information architecture for organizations in highly regulated fields like health care and financial services. She speaks both tech and marketing but claims to live in the no-man's-land between the two. Recent Creek Content projects include the development and implementation of the content strategy and information architecture for a private personal health improvement site, and the content development, information architecture and community engagement strategy for a software company’s customer support community. Creekmore is a master’s student at the University of Tennessee School of Information Sciences, and she blogs about content strategy, IA and way more than you'd care to know about copyright law at http://lauracreekmore.com.

Anna Eaglin


Anna Eaglin joined Lextant as a User Experience Design associate after receiving an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a master's in Human Computer Interaction/design from Indiana University.

Daniel Eizans


Daniel Eizans is director of Enablement Strategy at Team Detroit. He leads the Ford Vision Team, a multi-discipline team of strategists, user experience professionals and creatives focused on evolving digital platforms and consumer experiences for Ford Motor Company. A former journalist, programming professional and student of neuroscience, his approach to online content is rooted in creating the most contextually relevant experience for users regardless of point of access.

He writes about content strategy and user experience issues at DanielEizans.com and is a regular columnist for Contents Magazine.

Veronica Erb


Veronica Erb is a User Experience Designer at EightShapes LLC, where she focuses on research and HTML prototyping.

Before joining EightShapes, Veronica Erb moderated user experience research in Rwanda and the United States for an international non-profit called AED. In her largest project, a USAID-funded program, she and three UX volunteers researched ways to help teachers in Rwandan teacher training schools.

Veronica’s personality probably has something to do with going to a liberal arts school in Iowa and growing up in a geodesic dome in southern Illinois. When not living in the world of user experience, Veronica dances Balboa and Lindy Hop, and hangs out with her cranky Beta fish, Jeremiah.

You can find Veronica on Twitter at @verbistheword, on the intarweb at veronicaerb.com, and in person in Washington, DC.

David Farkas


David is a Lead Designer at Electronic Ink. He is responsible for developing best practices, creates visualizations to communicate research and business needs, and develops wireframes and aesthetics for the development of business applications.

Prior to Electronic Ink, David worked at PNC Bank NA, Pittsburgh out of the E-Business office. There, he was one of the first members of the design team within the Online Banking department and worked to establish design practices within the office. David also has experience designing third party iPhone applications, both for PNC and for independent projects.

David is an active participant in Philly CHI and is an occasional author for JohnnyHolland.org, and an active member in both IxDA and IAI supporting both annual conferences.

David is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University where he graduated with degrees in Design and Human Computer Interaction.

Karl Fast


Karl Fast is a professor of User Experience Design at Kent State University. His research and teaching deal with the design of interactive and information-rich digital environments. He is a founding member of the Information Architecture Institute.

Derek Featherstone


Derek Featherstone is an internationally-known speaker and authority on accessibility and web design and development. He is the lead accessibility consultant for Simply Accessible Inc., a Canadian firm that delivers insightful and creative accessibility consulting to Fortune 500 corporations, educational institutions, public utilities, government agencies and other private sector clients. He is a triathlete, father, husband and lover of elegant design.

Ian Fenn


Ian Fenn is an award-winning veteran UX specialist recognized for consistently exceeding project targets through intelligent and thoughtful interaction design. He is based in Austin, Texas and London, England. You don't want to see his commuting bill.

Leanna Gingras


Leanna is the User Research Coordinator at ITHAKA and a problem-solver by trade. As part of her calling to create holistic and delightful experiences, she manages research studies, conducts social experiments on teammates, and juggles between quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Matthew Grocki


As the principal of Grass Fed Content, I make sense of technical and market driven content while overseeing its publication and curation. Schooled in the crafts of web editing, technical and web writing, I tackle the rampant ineffectiveness that plagues creating, acquiring, owning, storing and governing content. As a content strategist, I'm focused on presenting a unified brand vision, working with multiple content providers and setting the course for continued governance.

Marti Gukeisen


Over the last ten years, Marti has been involved in user experience design, evaluation, consulting, and architecting digital experiences. Marti has shared her expertise with clients such as Adobe, Sears, Kraft, Giant Eagle, Eaton, Jergens, Johnson & Johnson, and Biore. Marti received her Master of Information Science in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan. When she's not in front of a screen, Marti enjoys traveling, amateur gardening, and bike commuting. She currently cycles to Enlighten, a born digital agency in the log cabin district of Ann Arbor.

Derren Hermann


Derren Hermann has been leading successful UX projects for over 10 years. He is currently a Director on the User Experience team at Nationwide leading up a team of 20 interaction designers and information architects. Prior to this, Derren worked with Diamond Bullet Design in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While there he held a variety of positions including project lead, director of banking websites, director of web accessibility, usability specialist, and information architect. Derren holds an undergraduate degree in cultural anthropology and a masters in library and information science from Indiana University. His graduate focus was on HCI and information architecture.

John Wayne Hill


John Wayne is a studied interaction designer from Indiana University's Human-Computer Interaction Design program. He has worked with technology for over 9 years at places such as IU Creative Services and Mozilla. John Wayne has designed web apps, mobile interfaces, products, robots, museum installations, and has recently lead a project to explore people's 'home' on the web with Mozilla's Firefox UX Team. He has experience leading teams of people towards elegant and compelling designs. While he has a passion for design and prototyping in all forms, John Wayne also loves photography and digital imagery.

Jessica Ivins


Jessica Ivins is a multi-disciplinary experience designer who has developed, designed, and tested a diverse range of websites. After taking a mandatory computer programming class in college, Jessica fell in love with the digital realm and never looked back. She began her career as a front end developer and soon discovered user experience. In March of 2010, she joined the team at Happy Cog as a senior experience designer.

Jessica regularly volunteers her time to the greater user experience community. She is currently the lead organizer for Philly UX Book Club. From 2009 to 2010 she served as an officer for PhillyCHI, an organization dedicated to fostering the Philadelphia user experience community. She now speaks publicly about one of her passions: designing experiences for women. She has spoken for a variety of organizations and conferences, including the Wharton UI Conference, the IA Summit, and SXSW.

Darren Kall


Darren Kall is a UX consultant collaborating with leaders of technology and technology-enabled companies to improve the user experience of products and services. He is co-owner of Kall Consulting which is focused on end-to-end customer and user experience design and strategy. Before co-founding Kall Consulting, Darren worked at LexisNexis, Microsoft, AT&T Bell Laboratories, H.E.L.P., and IBM.
Darren holds 11 UX patents, 6 international patents and has received 104 UX patent citations. He has served as a US representative to the ITU international standards body. He worked as the Bell Labs futurist predicting the impact of technology on US education for the Department of Education.

Kaleem Khan


Kaleem Khan is a founding partner of strategy and design research consultancy True Insight in Toronto. Kaleem helps global companies, agencies, startups and governments create great experiences and solve complex problems. Over two decades, he has helped leaders in consumer electronics, mobile technology, Internet services, media, software, healthcare, finance, telecom and security. He advises Ryerson University, OCAD University sLab and the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre. Kaleem runs UX Book Club Toronto; leads Canada's largest user experience design professionals' group, UX Irregulars, and co-founded the InteractionCamp unconference. Kaleem's active membership in professional user experience design groups include ACM SIGCHI, IAI and IxDA.

Dan Klyn


Dan Klyn is an information architect and co-founder of The Understanding Group. He's currently serving as Treasurer of the IA Institute, and he teaches the information architecture course at the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Alaina Kraus


Through a winding career path including theatre, education and non-profits; Alaina was introduced to the field of User Experience in 2010 when she began working at Covenant Eyes. In the time since she has worked on a variety of projects from designing for interfaces to designing for whole new systems while expanding her knowledge of the field and how to apply that winding career path to UX. She is also actively involved in local leadership with the Lansing IxDA as their events coordinator.

Livia Labate


Livia Labate is an experience designer based in the Washington, DC area. She currently oversees the experience design practice for Marriott International's digital products. 

Jim Laing


Jim Laing is an Experience Architect at ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the academic community and best known as the creator of JSTOR. Prior to joining ITHAKA, Jim was an Experience Researcher at Adobe. Originally from Ohio (and now in exile in Michigan), Jim likes to spend his free days bicycling or sailing his handcrafted wooden sailboat.

Jen Matson


Jen Matson is a UX designer at Amazon.com who has been designing for web, kiosks and mobile since 1994.  She has worked in a variety of industries, from entertainment to technology, with clients including Comedy Central, LEGO, Microsoft and T-Mobile.  Jen specializes in user experience design for the mobile web and interactive prototyping, working hands-on to create forward-thinking and delightful user experiences that adapt to multiple devices and contexts.

Charlene McBride


Charlene McBride is a User Experience Designer currently based in Boston, MA where she dances with complexity at SapientNitro. Prior to Sapient she worked at agencies including Digitas, Razorfish and Modem Media. Previously she spent 10 years working in children’s television and animation.

Charlene grew up in University City, MO at the caramel center of urban and suburban life and where she learned that the cure for boredom is curiosity. She always travels with a minimum of 3 sketchbooks and a set of watercolors. She released the how-to book, Sketchnotes: A Field Guide for the Busy Yet Inspired Professional, with Binaebi Akah in January 2012. Her website is www.charlenemcbride.com

Jack Moffett


With a BFA in Graphic Design from WVU and a Masters in Interaction Design from CMU, I have been designing web, desktop, and mobile applications for over a decade. I’ve worked in both academics and industry, and I teach design part-time. I’m one of those designers that must cover the gamut from initial user research through to implementation and testing. As such, my skill set includes visual design, information design, and front-end implementation. I have a history of tightly integrating with the development team to ensure optimal design through the entire project lifecycle.

Jay Morgan


Jay is an Experience Designer at Rackspace, working in Austin, TX. Currently redesigning cloud hosting web applications for individuals and enterprises, his UX experience spans user research, information architecture, iterative testing and prototyping, and team management.

Prior to being independent, Jay worked as UX Director at an Interactive Marketing agency, Senior IA at Target, and Interface Manager at JCP.com. He developed the UX practice in retail ecommerce companies, seizing every opportunity to advance the practice of UX. While also advancing the quality of UX work delivered. Jay considers his work championing and building Target's Design Pattern Library to be his most significant accomplishment. It's not because design patterns are the answer, but because discord amongst Design teams is a problem worth solving.

Jay studied applied cognitive science, focusing on mental models, problem solving, and judgment and decision-making. He is fascinated by our field's potential to earn a seat at the table by solving cultural, organizational, and communication problems.

Rachel Nabors


Rachel Nabors is an award-winning cartoonist turned front-end developer and UX enthusiast. She draws from her experience as a visual storyteller to create better experiences for people online. Rachel still makes comics on the weekends, and you can read them at rachelthegreat.com. She rambles about new HTML5 tags and IE bugs at rachelnabors.com.

Matt Nish-Lapidus


Matt Nish-Lapidus is a design director at Normative Design in Toronto. Having worked as an artist, programmer, teacher, consultant, and designer in a number of industries, Matt is skilled at creating solutions that cross disciplines. He has worked for large clients such as Coca-Cola, as well as helped start-ups design and launch new products. Matt is currently serving on the board of directors for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) and was a founder of IxDA Toronto.

M Giles Phillips


Giles is an accomplished Product Designer, he has been exploring the horizons of interface design and development for more than a decade. He is currently Director of User Experience at Brightcove, where he is responsible for global product design, information architecture, and user research for Brightcove’s market-leading Online Video and Content Application Platforms.  Prior to joining Brightcove, he was Director of Innovation at Monster.com. Giles is an alum of MIT; he performed his research in the Media Lab, where he developed a new form of  interactive search to help facilitate participative design.

Giles is cofounder of subforum.org, a multidisciplinary research group exploring the foundations of design. His research focuses on metaphor and representation in design, generative grammars, vigilance in user interaction, and the educational qualities of interaction. His work has been published in Environment and Planning B, Wired, and the MIT SA+ P Press.

Moe Rafiuddin


Moe Rafiuddin is a User Experience Designer with expertise in the areas of design and evaluation of innovative tools and services with the emphasis on user-centered design. His professional experience includes projects in higher education, non-profits, and finance.

Moe is eternally searching for the answer to what it is to be human. Moe stays connected to the web of life by spending time helping organizations advocate for the underrepresented people in the community.

Moe is currently learning to create digital comics for the web and mobile platforms.

Gretchen Caldwell Rinnert

Gretchen Caldwell Rinnert is an assistant professor in the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University. She primarily teaches interactive media and motion design. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s College of Design. As a researcher, her work focuses on the intersection of design and education, classroom participation, and tools that aid in understanding and comprehension. She continues to research participatory culture by investigating learning spaces, digital tools, online video, and time-based media. Her most recent research has been geared toward designing tools for health communication. Some of her clients include The LHT Group, Exceptional Innovation, and America Online. Most recently, as a consultant for The LHT Group she worked on a variety of projects, designing websites, e-learning courses and customizable interactions for fortune 500 companies.

Chris Risdon


Chris Risdon is a lead experience designer at Adaptive Path. He started a journeyman career in information architecture and product strategy in 1997 and over the past 14 years has applied a combination of IA, graphic and interaction design to successful products and services for both large enterprises and start-ups.

Chris holds an MFA in design from the Savannah College of Art & Design and spends any extra time as an educator, teaching Adaptive Path's UX Intensive workshops and as an adjunct professor at Austin Community College, teaching interface design.

Boon Sheridan


Boon Sheridan is a designer, thinker and shenaniganist. He has been working in, on and around UX for the last 15 years or so. He’s worked for Fortune 50’s and 5-person shops. He was part of a panel for the first Midwest UX and hungers for more. He’s spoken at EuroIA, the MIMA Summit and guest lectured at UCLA. He can be found on twitter as @boonerang and he’d love to swap stories over a beverage.

Joe Sokohl


For 20 years, Joe Sokohl has concentrated on crafting excellent user experiences, using information architecture, interaction design, content strategy, and user research. He helps teams effectively integrate appropriate user experience into product development. Currently the principal of Regular Joe Consulting, LLC, Mr. Sokohl has previously held UX-oriented positions based in Boston, MA; Hamburg, Germany; Richmond, VA; Chicago, IL; and Durham, NC.

He is a cofounder of RUX ( RichmondUX.com). He served on the board of directors of the Interaction Design Association as well.

Oh, and he’s been a soldier, cook, radio DJ, blues road manager, and reporter once upon a time.

Colette Vardeman


Colette Vardeman heads-up Lextant’s User Experience Design practice. Colette designs products that align with people’s desired experiences - built on a deep understanding of the emotional drivers, aspirations, and mental models that trigger their ideal experience. As UX architect she simplifies complex systems and information to reflect people’s natural behaviors for medical, financial, mobile, education, consumer, and enterprise applications. Prior to Lextant Colette led the interaction design teams at Fitch Worldwide and CollegeView. Colette holds interactive design awards from Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)/IDEA Awards, Communication Arts, CCAD, and special recognition from the White House. Colette holds a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher


Sara Wachter-Boettcher is a content strategist and writer based in Tempe, Arizona, where she where she helps clients stop creating endless content and start building strategies that are sustainable, meaningful, and future-ready. She recently left agency-land for independent life and is currently working on her first book, Content Everywhere, with Rosenfeld Media. You can find her slightly off-color commentary on content strategy and related topics at sarawb.com.

Lydia Whitehead


Lydia Whitehead is the design director at SmallBox where she spends much of her time plotting world domination on behalf of usability and thoughtful user experiences. Thanks to a previous life in journalism design, she loves infographics and likes to work with a grid. Nowadays she's working on finishing her Master's in HCI at IUPUI and figuring out how to get more hours in the day.

Brian Yeung


For the last decade, Brian has been focused on bringing delightful user experiences to life and shepherding them to fruition. He's led interface designs as a game designer, as a producer for the system interface and accessories for the Xbox 360, and as a strategist for the Kinect. Most recently he was part of team that created LoopLoop, a music toy for Sifteo cubes that won Best in Show at the Interaction Design Association’s (IxDA) inaugural Interaction Design Awards at the Interaction 12 conference. At Stimulant he's excited to be exploring new interaction paradigms for technology to facilitate human to human interaction.

Alla Zollers


Alla is a passionate and innovative experience consultant. Over the last six years, she has worked as a user experience lead for agencies, startups, and software companies. Alla is also personal coach, and she strives to help individuals create a fulfilling and exceptional life.