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Footings and Fixtures: Foundations of Design | Paul Eisen, Ph.D., P.Eng. [PDF, VIDEO]

  • 11 Mar 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Bahen Centre, 40 St George St, Room 1220


There’s been much evolution in human-centred design practices since their formative stage in the late 1980’s. Over the past decade, change in the user experience field has been particularly dramatic, with the growing popularity of design thinking. Coincident to this, with lean and agile practices, we’re learning to deliver incremental value in frequent small releases.

However, this dramatic swing has introduced some widening gaps in our field, including our design rigour. Arguably, the phase of the design process that is most heavily compromised is high-level design. Frankly, this shouldn’t be a surprise; it’s not like we ever had a really crisp definition and approach to high-level design to begin with.

In this talk, I’ll focus on the value of the high-level design phase in developing digital products and solutions, and suggest an approach to achieving graceful evolution of experiences, rather than disruptive change. I’ll define and illustrate an “experience-design (XD) framework” and show how it can fulfill the goals of high-level design. And I’ll and break down the XD framework into its elements, discussing how these element variably apply to different solution types and contexts.


Paul Eisen is a user experience practitioner and leader who designs human-centred business solutions and practices to help maximize ROI, customer loyalty, and employee engagement. Paul leads organizations through research and discovery, strategy, and design, producing solutions with high adoption, productivity, and satisfaction. While consulting to national and global enterprises over three decades, Paul has witnessed the growth and evolution of UX from the early pioneering days of the '90's to the steady growth early in the new millennium, to the explosion of UX in the past decade. And as one might expect from a practitioner in this field, he’s formed more than a few opinions along the way.

PDF Slides

VIDEO on YouTube

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