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Do or Die! UX Design with Cynthia Savard Saucier

November 19th, 2015


Bad design can kill, and not only in a figurative way. You know, like when we say: “Next time I see a poster using Comic Sans, I’ll kill myself!” Engineers have a ring that symbolizes the unity of the profession and their goal of benefiting mankind, so why don’t designers have something to remind us that we have the responsibility and power to make people’s lives better?

We design algorithms, interfaces and products that can hurt, be hostile, be cruel and even kill. Unfortunately, design schools teach us to create beautiful design. It focuses on the Beauty Scale: “ugly < average < OK < beautiful < amazing”. They never address what’s worse than “ugly” design. They never teach us what impact a bad choice of error message can have on one’s life… let’s say, in a medical interface that gathers all of the patient’s information.

Designers have a lot of power over the way users interact with our products. But, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

These are the key takeaways we’ll learn from Cynthia’s talk:

  1. Hostile design happens when the design is stuck between the user’s and the client’s best interests. The designer should always prioritize the user’s interest to its organization.
  2. Some algorithms designed for new features can be cruel when no one ask: “What’s the worse thing that could happen with this?”
  3. A reality check on the importance of good design and how designers actually save lives every day.


CSS PicPassionate about human beings and their means of communication, Cynthia has always sought a deeper understanding of how people think, interact, and connect. Communication has thus been a key ingredient in her technological endeavors.

A Université de Montréal graduate in industrial design, she was awarded the RAÉDIUM prize for Chouette!, a technological communication platform to strengthen inter-generational relations. Her slick solution allows preschool kids and seniors to share the same interface, using the poetry of light and play.

Cynthia excels particularly in a field that is not always fully understood: she creates smart, emotional connections between brands and users. Working as user experience (UX) designer at Shopify, she has a knack for strategic design, ergonomics and problem solving. Her wide range of experiences brought her broad recognition as a leading expert on multi-platform interface design.

Aside from her day job, Cynthia mentors startups and is regularly invited to speak at events around the world, where her playful approach both startles and charms. In her conferences, she shares her passion and her point of view: user-centered design is a reality, not a Utopian methodology.


apple store


WHEN: Thursday, November 26th, Doors at 7:15pm

WHERE: Apple Store, 1321 Rue Ste-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3G 1P7 (map) – Peel Metro

PRICE: FREE! However numbers are LIMITED and pre-registration is REQUIRED!


Categorized MTLGG Events


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