Workshops occur on 9/23 from 9:00-11:30 am. Workshops overlap with the RNF but occur before any sessions.

Registration is now open!


Workshop A: Draw to communicate: How geometric shapes, blank pages, and crayons can improve your collaboration and creativity.

Abigail Selzer, Texas Tech
Kristen R. Moore, Texas Tech
Ashley Hardage, Texas Tech

This workshop give participants the chance to learn about drawing strategies for communication design and then apply them. More specifically, the learning objectives of this workshop are as follows:

  • understand the value of drawing as collaborative design strategy
  • apply metaphorical constructs to visual thinking understand the distinction between drawing that is beautiful
  • and drawing that is useful, and the value of ugly drawings schematically represent and concretize abstract communication design concepts  engage with drawing as a listening activity


The first portion of the workshop is an interactive drawing lesson about how to move from fundamental geometric shapes to pictographs and ideographs. These are the basic drawing principles that registrants will use during the entire workshop.

Registrant Activity: Registrants will use paper, markers, and crayons to follow the drawing lesson and experiment with shapes.

30 minutes – WHY DRAWING?
This brief presentation provides an introduction that locates drawing at the intersection of visual and textual communication– as a hidden but key ideation process in group communication and collaboration. This presentation will link drawing practices from engineering, visual art, and child development to envision a style particular to communication design.

Registrant Activity: During this presentation registrants will use the QuickStart Drawing strategies to document the main points of this presentation and note their questions. During this activity, registrants will begin to engage with drawing as a listening activity and experiment with how to represent abstract communication concepts in simple drawings.

A standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper forces a visual orientation of verticality — vertical metaphors privilege what is high over what is low. Lakoff and Johnson explain that this metaphor system works across contexts, e.g. penthouse/basement, heaven/hell, upper and lower classes. During this discussion, registrants will learn how metaphors, like verticality, are embedded in geometric shapes and how those shapes can be used to organize a drawing page.

Registrant Activity: Analyze and discuss examples of drawings made by students that use different geometric metaphors to explain one piece of information. By comparing and contrasting these examples, registrants will discover ways to organize their drawings by leveraging metaphor meanings.

15 minutes – BREAK & STRETCH

At the start of this practicum, we briefly introduce a communication design problem and break registrants up into small groups of 2 to 3 persons. Each group works together for the remainder of the practicum period to develop solutions to the problem using the drawing and geometric metaphor concepts they learned earlier in the workshop. This working period will be facilitated by all four workshop leaders.

Registrant Activity: Registrants will develop their own drawings in response to communication design problem, working to address the problem collaboratively through drawing.

15 minutes – SHARING & WRAP UP
Workshop leaders will conclude the session with a recap and participants will share some of their drawings from the practicum. Registrants receive a resource page titled Drawing–Communicating, developed by the workshop leaders.

Registrant Activity: Registrants present drawing pages they developed to the rest of the workshop group.


Workshop B: Remote usability for cross-functional teams

Guiseppe Getto, East Carolina University
Suzan Flanagan, East Carolina University

Our workshop will lead participants through a workflow for remote usability testing in cross-functional environments that makes of use of the newest generation of remote user testing applications. The workshop will be useful for members of industry who want to use remote usability to positively impact their organizations, technical communication researchers interested in doing UX research with various organizations, and technical communication teachers interested in teaching UX.

This workflow is based on our collective experiences as educators, UX researchers, and consultants:

Building a business case (1 hr.): We will introduce attendees to the importance of building a business case for conducting UX research, including getting buy-in from multiple decision-makers, preparing testing teams, and justifying time spent on the project.

Preparing for your test (1 hr.): We will help attendees create simple, effective remote usability tests using task analysis and online test-making services.

Usability testing (1 hr.): We will teach attendees how to segment and recruit appropriate user populations.

Putting your data into action (1 hr.): We will show attendees how to glean insights from testing data, including a method for using testing data to build user personas.

By getting out there and engaging with users, team members learn to focus their contributions on user goals, to collaborate in order to better meet these goals, and to communicate these goals across specializations by focusing on users’ own responses. In this way, remote usability testing can challenge teams and organizations to innovate when users struggle with elements of a product or service. Ultimately, we will teach participants how UX can function as a lightning rod for building cross-functional teams that contribute new directions in organizations, rather than getting bogged down in the politics of interdepartmental specialization.