World-Class Researchers to Share Expertise at First UCD Workshop

April 4, 2018

News Release



For Immediate Release: April 4, 2018

World-Class Researchers to Share Expertise at New Brunswick's First Workshop on User-Centred Design

FREDERICTON, N.B. - Industry and government professionals are invited to join researchers for an interactive two-day workshop on user-centred design (UCD) and innovation, April 19-20, at the University of New Brunswick’s Fredericton campus.

The goal of the workshop is to provide attendees with practical knowledge and an understanding that in today’s competitive marketplace, meeting a set of requirements is not enough; technology must be as simple and intuitive as possible to be successful. The goal of user-centred design is to ensure solutions have high usability and address high-value needs. This is accomplished by placing the user at the core of solution design: basing designs on an explicit understanding of users and their environments, involving users throughout solution design and development, and addressing the user experience as a whole. It is an interactive process driven and refined by user-centred evaluation, drawing on multiple disciplines and perspectives. “As a hub of academic research, commercialization, and technology transfer in New Brunswick, it is essential that Fredericton builds capacity and takes a leadership position in how we design products and services,” says Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton.

Dr. Jules Maitland, User Experience (UX) Lead at Accreon Inc., saw an opportunity to shed some much needed light on the importance of user-centred design, bringing researchers from an academic conference hosted in Montreal to our area. “As someone who used to work in academia, I know that there is some really amazing work being done at universities and colleges that people on the ground just never find out about,” says Maitland. “We have some really brilliant minds working in our tech and service sector, but we don’t have a huge capacity for engaging end-users in the design process; for understanding, articulating, and advocating for end-user needs. My hope is that by bringing these researchers to town and hosting these tutorials, that we can raise awareness of the importance and potential of user experience and user-centred design.”

The University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Community College were eager to collaborate as presenting sponsors and saw great value in supporting a conference which will help translate critical research into practical value for the regional ICT sector. “We are really excited to help introduce these practices that are used extensively by Google, Apple, and other tech leaders. This is an important opportunity for our strong ICT sector to bolster its skill sets with the same understanding that we are working to develop in our graduates. When put into practice, user-centred design provides a competitive advantage to companies large and small,” says Dr. Scott Bateman, Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of New Brunswick.

“Partnering on this conference is a natural fit for NBCC,” says Dr. William McIver Jr., NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Mobile & Ubiquitous Computing. “We are committed to focusing our applied research program on the technical and design issues inherent in the evolution of technology, in particular mobile technology. Individuals who prioritize user experience will have a definite edge in the workforce and their companies will have an advantage in the marketplace.”

Researchers from Dartmouth College, the University of Glasgow, Clemson University, and the Universities of Toronto, Calgary, and Dalhousie will be in attendance and sharing their experiences. The first day will consist of a series of tutorials on user-centred design methods, suitable for anyone who is interested in better engaging end-users in the design and evaluation of digital solutions or services. The second day will involve a series of invited talks from world-class researchers from the human-computer interaction domain, as well as networking and breakout sessions focused on fostering collaboration, innovation and increasing our regional capacity.   

About NextGen UX
NextGen UX was created to bring attendees from academia, industry and government together to promote cross-sector dialogue and collaboration around user-centred design and innovation. NextGen UX partners include: NSERC, Springboard Atlantic, Service NB, UNB Computer Science Department, UNB Office of the Vice President (Research), NBCC, Accreon, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Civic Tech Fredericton, Go Do, and Ignite Fredericton. Grants for NextGen UX were provided by The NSERC Connect program, The Springboard Atlantic Industry Mobilization fund, Service New Brunswick, and UNB Research.

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Media Contacts
Dr. Jules Maitland, 506.300.5823

Dr. Scott Bateman, 506.447.3336

Heather Allaby 506.444.3320