Alumni Lecture: Renee Cheung - Institutionalizing User Experience

Thursday, November 27, 2014 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Date: Thurs., Nov 27, 2014

Time: 6 pm (Networking starts at 6 pm, lecture starts at 6:30 pm)

Location: Rm C225, UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St.

Speaker: Renee Cheung, ICBC


In order to create an environment that values good user experience (UX), it is essential for an organization to understand and support the UX practice. In this talk, beyond providing some background to common UX activities and tools, Renee will speak on how to instill good UX practice within an organization, including how to articulate the value of UX to the rest of the organization, and how to embed the practice into existing project and operational processes.

Nielsen Norman Group, one of the authorities in the field of User Experience (UX), defines UX as “encompass[ing] of all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products”. While this is a very holistic definition, it is also a broad sweeping one that can feel a bit overwhelming to someone new to the topic. UX as a practice can also be thought of as finding out and taking what one knows of the end-user, then applying that knowledge to improve the solution, services or even processes. In doing so, UX activities create additional value and mitigate risks relating to adoption, learning curves, and other prohibitive barriers of entries and continuous usage. It is a field that combines cognitive psychology, research methodologies and good design (to name a few of the fields) to create better products and services through activities such as interaction design, usability testing and information architecture, using tools such as personas, user flows and card sorts.

However, often UX can seem like an art form - one that is easily confused with other terms like graphic design, look and feel, or brand. As a result, especially in a non-product driven organization, UX is often one of the first victims of budget or scope cuts. However, cutting UX activities can result in increased operational costs and decreased customer satisfaction, often in unexpected areas. This talk is for those not only interested in finding out more about UX, but also in the value of what User Experience can bring to an organization, and ways to create a culture of user-centric design.


Renee is passionate about the technology, the creative design, and the strategy that support digital experiences. As a digital strategist at ICBC, she is currently working in the portal, search, and user experience space, recently delivering a revamp of Having been involved with front-end development and user-centric design in one aspect or another for the past 15 years, she has also been in and out of school after graduating from UBC Computer Science as part of her quest of continuous learning, completing a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Communications at SFU, and a Masters in Digital Media from the Centre for Digital Media, a joint program between UBC, SFU, BCIT and Emily Carr. Renee is also a mentor with the the UBC CS Trimentoring Program. When she’s not working on her various projects, Renee is usually knitting and/or gaming (table-top, PC or console) and/or reading a sci-fi/fantasy novel...sometimes at the same time. Visit her site at or connect with her at

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