Difficult Conversations in Creative Environments

  • 19 May 2009
  • 6:00 PM - 8:29 PM
  • JPMorgan Chase, 277 Park Ave, 10th floor (East side of st., between 47–48th)


  • Valid student ID required.

Registration is closed

NYC UPA presents:

a presentation by Dan Brown, Founder and Principal, EightShapes


Let's compare two aspects of your job: challenge and fun. As designers, we relish creating a new product or improving upon a feature. Such opportunities sit at the intersection of challenging and fun. Still challenging, but not nearly as fun, is dealing with the personal interactions that come with working on a design team. Whether you work inside an organization, operate as a freelancer, or come in as a consultant, we designers are confronted with a variety of situations that force us to think about how we work with other people.

You don't have to be a manager or in client services to encounter these challenges. Every designer faces difficult conversations - defending design decisions, explaining project mishaps, managing conflicting requirements from different stakeholders. Good designers must recognize their strengths and weaknesses not only in creative skill, but also in their ability to interact with others day-to-day.

In this presentation, we'll establish a framework for looking at difficult situations typically faced by designers. The framework helps us understand the dynamics of common scenarios on creative projects and accounts for different forms of communications between people. By evaluating our own situations within this framework, we can make appropriate choices for how we deal with them, and how to communicate effectively. With the theory as a backdrop, the second half of the session will focus on skills and techniques for making conversations easier.


This presentation is recommended as "one of the best presentations at the 2009 Web App Summit" by Jared Spool.

Please arrive by 6:00 p.m. to allow time for security and registration. Photo ID required for building entry. It must match the name on the registration list.

Networking and Refreshments: 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Announcements & Introductions from Candidates for NYC UPA's 2009 Election: 6:30 pm to 6:45 pm

Presentation and Q&A: 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm

Post-Presentation Mingling: 8:00 to 8:30 pm

(Optional) Dinner* at a nearby restaurant: 8:30 pm (participants pay for their own dinner)


Dan Brown is a founder and principal at EightShapes, LLC, a user experience consulting firm based in Washington, DC that has engaged with clients in telecommunications, media, education, health, high-tech, and other sectors. Dan has been practicing information architecture and user experience design since 1995.

Prior to founding EightShapes, Dan consulted with organizations ranging from the US Postal Service, the World Bank, and the Federal Communications Commission to USAirways, FirstUSA, and Fannie Mae. From 2002-2004, Dan was a Federal employee, leading the content management program for the Transportation Security Administration. His portfolio includes work on public-facing web sites, intranets and extranets, and addresses most aspects of the user experience, from information architecture and content strategy to interaction and interface design.

Dan is a frequent speaker at the IA Summit and has written numerous articles for Boxes and Arrows, UX Matters, the CHI Bulletin, and Interactive Television Today. Dan also wrote a book on user experience deliverables - Communicating Design (New Riders, 2006).

Dan is very active in the local Washington, DC information architecture community, organizing regular workshops and bimonthly reading groups.

Deadlines, Transfers, Policies, & Dinner

Registration closes at 12:00 AM Monday, May 18th, 2009 (1 bus. days before the event).

Refundable until noon, Thursday, May 21st, 2009 (2 bus. days after the event) by sending a request to RSVP@nycupa.org.
Transferable on or before noon Monday, May 18th, 2009 (1 day before the event) by sending a request to RSVP@nycupa.org. You must notify us, and get a confirmation, of this transfer or it will not be valid.

*Dinner is an optional, post-event social activity and is not included in the event fee. It will be the responsibility of each individual who chooses to attend the dinner to pay for their own food, drink and any other expenses that may be associated with the dinner.

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