February 16 + 17, 2012

Informal Symposium, 9am – 4pm, Thursday February 16
Showcase of Student Work, and Interviews, 10am -1 pm, Friday February 17


What is TouchPoint?

TouchPoint is an informal gathering of Professional, Industry, Research, Education and Design Students interested in fostering a culture of design and opportunities for interchange. TouchPoint is the first event for the proposed Interaction Design Research Centre (IDRC) at SFU’s Surrey Campus, aligned with the SIAT program (School of Interactive Arts and Technology). The IDRC has a broad membership of Faculty across the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology (FCAT), at Simon Fraser University. TouchPoint has been organized by SIAT Design Faculty members, Ron Wakkary and Russell Taylor. The first TouchPoint event will be held at SFU Surrey, February 16 and 17. We hope that you will take time to be part of this event.

We see TouchPoint as the first in a series of annual events that will bring together expertise and opportunity in new ways. The first event will be informal. The intent of the event is to create opportunity for the constituent audiences who will attend.

For students:

TouchPoint will be an opportunity to hear what is going on in industry and professional practice from the leading companies in our field. The companies invited to attend in most cases have historically been some of the highest employers of SIAT students and graduates. Each company will present a topic in a theme, and then a panel will follow in which synergy can be pursued across the multiple views and outlooks. Students will have the opportunity (by competition) to have one-on-one interviews with those companies who are recruiting for internships or other opportunities or who simply wish to speak to our students one-on-one to gauge the potential fit of the SIAT students with their organization. A second day will provide an opportunity to show work to the companies and other invited guests, as well as the professional Interaction Design community in Vancouver who may be able to attend. On the second day any companies who wish to do follow-up interviews will have the opportunity to do so.

For the invited Industry Firms who present:

TouchPoint will provide an opportunity to connect with SIAT, SFU and the IDRC in a substantive way. To build networks and relationships. They will have the opportunity to meet our students and see their work as to the potential firm within the organization to fulfill needs and to establish working relationships through the students and graduates of the SIAT Design program. They will have the opportunity to connect to the thriving and active professional Interaction Design community in Vancouver, many of whom are graduates of the SIAT Design program. And they will have an opportunity to see what other companies are doing and thinking about.

For Interaction Design Professionals:

TouchPoint will provide the opportunity for local professionals to connect with the invited companies and network. To share ideas and to work at creating a stronger culture for exchange through the IDRC network. These individuals may find ways in which their companies may be able to connect to the IDRC, to SIAT and to SFU. And it will provide the opportunity to do professional development and connect across the culture with other professionals. SIAT graduates will find the opportunity to connect back to their alma mater and the larger networked community that has been fostered over the years.

For SIAT, SFU and the IDRC:

TouchPoint will allow us to connect to the outside world, with professionals who are on the cutting edge of processes and business opportunity. And in turn the IDRC will provide potential research, funding and platforms for collaboration with education and research at the highest level. The Interaction Design Research Centre can be a locus point for collaboration, exchange and excellence. SIAT Design can and should be at the centre of this domain.

What is The Interaction Design Research Centre?

The Interaction Design Research Centre is dedicated to enhancing the efficacy, capacity, and quality of interaction design research locally and internationally.

Key objectives for the centre include:

  • Support the sharing of existing design knowledge and research with end users of technologies and designers engaged in meeting their needs;
  • Advance new ideas, methods, and concepts in interaction design;
  • Expand the recognition, role and scope of interaction design in industry, government, financial and other organizations;
  • Promote interdisciplinary research and collaborations in interaction design;
  • Engage industry, community organizations, and government on the role and opportunities for design knowledge, quality of design of interaction design technologies, systems and interaction design related research and training;
  • Enhance the ability of organizations to engage with their constituencies through interaction design;
  • Partner with professional interaction design firms and companies to broaden awareness of the value of interaction design research and opportunities for collaborative research and training;
  • Support undergraduate and graduate training, internships and placements in interaction design related fields.

The Interaction Design Research Centre aims to embody a community engaged, socially conscious outlook, and interdisciplinary approaches that best exemplify SFU research. The centre aims to contribute to research excellence at SFU and demonstrate the relevance and efficacy of its goals and vision to the larger world. Exploring new ideas and advancing research in interaction design will be central among the key objectives of the centre. The centre will draw on research strengths of SFU researchers who have advanced new ideas in areas of mobile, wearable, ubiquitous, and tangible computing that have led to new understandings of human interaction, learning, entertainment, art, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage, design, and other areas.


  • Crispin, Porter + Bogusky — Matt Walsh
  • frog design — Matt Conway
  • Habanero — Caterina Sanders
  • SAP — Rock Leung
  • LVL — Marie-Claude Lavoie and Richard Z'Graggen
  • Adobe — Ryan Betts


Symposium Program: Thursday, February 16

  • Morning — Two theme talks x 3-4 firms each/ half day, followed by TWO panels
  • Afternoon — Each company will have a chance to do their own one-on-one session, selected and screened students go to each company, show portfolio and have one-on-one time with the industry rep
  • Students must submit an application for the opportunity of the Face to Face sessions, and selection will be based on fit with the Company’s domain of practice by way of evidence within an online portfolio of work.

Symposium Program: Friday, February 17

  • Design showcase follows the second day. All SIAT students will be given the opportunity to have work shown but a total of only 15 team projects will be shown. The student team does not need to be available or participate in the one-on-one sessions, and vice versa. If students are selected for both, it creates the opportunity for the industry representatives to see them and their work in multiple contexts and formats. Industry reps may ask for a second one-on-one or to meet new students at the showcase. If any interviews are necessary, they can take place at this time.

Full Schedule

Thursday Feb 16 Friday Feb 17
9:00-9:20 Welcome
Theme One: The Necessary Future of Interaction Design
9:20-9:32 Ryan Betts, Adobe, Vancouver
9:35-9:55 Marie-Claude Lavoie + Richard Z'Graggen, LVL, Montreal
10:00-10:20 Matt Conway, frog design, Seattle
10:20-10:40 Panel one 10-12pm SIAT Interaction Design Student Showcase
* By competitive selection to Symposium Director’s Advisory.
+ School or outside projects
+ 15 projects
+ Set up in public space
+ Company reps and other invited guests, and all Symposium registrants attend,
+ SIAT, FCAT, Surrey invitees + Campus tour offered at 12:30
10:40-11:00 Coffee break
Theme Two: IDX; The Interaction Design Experience
11:00-11:15 Caterina Sanders, Habanero, Vancouver
11:15-11:30 Ed Prinsen and Rock Leung, SAP, Vancouver
11:30-11:50 Matt Walsh, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, Colorado
11:50-12:10 Panel two
12:10-12:50 Lunch break
1:00-4:00 Face to face sessions (nine rooms). From 1:00-3:00 a session will run concurrently for SAP and SIAT graduate students Interviews: limited by invite of the company only.

Face-to-face sessions: student opportunity to speak to firms

  • SIX sessions with SIX design firms (during a two hour span on the Thursday). Ten minutes a piece per session, one-on-one with the firm. Thus, in two hours, that’s 12 go-sees per firm. 12 x 6 = 72 total slots. What? Portfolio, face to face time.
  • Students: Students: Submit your portfolio to be considered by the symposium directors for interviews with clients. Groups may submit their projects using the online submission tool here.
  • You can be considered for up to three slots. We want to match up the student portfolio to the firm. Example: Crispin Porter hires primarily for Experience Design. We want them to see a work portfolio that most clearly connects to that firm’s experience and hiring needs. This works best for the firm whose needs are primary in this session. Students to submit order of preference. A minimum 30 students will get to see at least one (3 x 30 = 90). Our goal is to provide an opportunity to show at least once for 50 students.

Please RSVP your participation in the symposium day and the showcase using the big orange RSVP NOW button

Speaker Bios

Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh leads the Experience Design department at CP+B. There he focuses his days on conceptualizing and designing out integrated digital initiatives and ecosystems across a variety of platforms: including the web, mobile, tablet, networked gaming systems, interactive digital signage, retail environments, and beyond. In his current position he has helped develop strategies and executions for Dominos, Old Navy American Express, Kraft, Best Buy, Microsoft, Coke Zero, Volkswagen, Miller Lite, Burger King and others.

Prior to joining CP+B, Matt worked at R/GA on the Nike account. While working there he helped create and redesign a number of award winning sites including NikeID.com, NikeGridiron.com and NikeRunning.com. He also served as a gaming consultant for other clients including Target, Bank of America, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Verizon. During his career his work has been recognized by all the major award shows, including Cannes, the Clios, LIAA, the WebAwards, and the One Show.

Matt Conway

Matt Conway is an Associate Creative Director at frog (formerly frog Design). Matt earned his PhD in computer science from the University of Virginia for the design of a 3D game–programming system for children called Alice. Since then, he has worked as a user interface researcher Microsoft Research creating 3D Information Visualization designs, and as a program manager leading the advanced typography team that shipped ClearType in Windows XP. Later, Matt joined Expedia.com to found and act as Director of the Expedia Labs Group, an internal innovation incubation group.

Now, at frog, Matt leads teams of designers, technologists, and business strategists in the creation of easy-to-use and beautiful interfaces for phones, tablets, TV, Web, retail stores, and sometimes even airplanes.

Caterina Sanders

In her role as the Director of Employee Experience, Caterina Sanders is spearheading the design and delivery of the ideal employee and contractor experience at Habañero. She oversees professional development, performance management, hiring and recruiting, and learning and knowledge management for the organization. In addition, Caterina works with a number of clients as a client experience manager and also participates in strategic user experience design activities. She is known for her collaborative nature, intuitive people skills and ability to inspire others.

Caterina has been with Habañero since 2000 and in 2009 became a partner in the company. She has also been Habañero's Director of User Experience, and previously held roles as a project manager, interaction designer and web developer. Caterina has taught classes in website design and development at Bodwell Internet School and is a co-founder of the Vancouver User Experience Group (VanUE). She has a BA in Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Rock Leung and Ed Prinsen

Rock Leung is the Manager of the Academic Research Center (ARC) at SAP. ARC partners with academia to research problems in the area of business intelligence and analytics. As manager of ARC, Rock works with graduate students (which he greatly enjoys) to research novel computer systems and user interfaces to help business users make sense of their data, as well as make collaborative decisions.

Rock obtained a PhD in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC), specializing in Human-Computer Interaction. Rock also attended the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick. He specializes in user interface design and evaluation, mobile device user interfaces, and universal usability. He also actively contributed to several professional development programs at UBC and received awards for his service and leadership.

Marie-Claude Lavoie and Richard Z'Graggen

Marie-Claude Lavoie has a strong passion for technology and new trends in embedded devices. Her various fields of study allow her to bridge the gap between fine technological detail and design from informational to experiential. She holds an M.A. Educational Technology and B.Sc. Interactive Arts. Marie-Claude Lavoie is currently the Product Development Manager at LVL in Montreal. Her current labor of love is Telus Optik TV in all of its incarnations.

Richard Z'Graggen is the Director of User Experience at LVL which makes him an ardent advocate for the end-user. He takes real people's real-world experiences with products to heart. His championing of progressive, user-centered thinking underpins the approach LVL takes to service, systems and game design. Before joining LVL in 2007, Richard designed media production software at Softimage, and online medical training programs at IC Axon. Richard has a B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a B.F.A. in Design Art from Concordia University. He is a member of the Québec Order of Engineers, the Design Management Institute, the Usability Professionals Association, and the Service Design Network.

Ryan Betts

Ryan Betts is an interaction designer at Adobe Systems Inc, a part of their new PhoneGap team. He holds a BSc in Interaction Design from Simon Fraser University, where he is still involved as a mentor. Presently focused on designing and developing for mobile phones and tablets, he is very excited about the future of urban computing. He is also a contributor to UX Mag and co-coordinator of the mapping work group for the Vancouver Public Space Network.

In his spare time, he really loves to drum; his favorite groove is the Purdie shuffle.