2019 AGENDA:

8:00am – 9:00am


Pick up your badge, join us for continental breakfast, network with your peers and make new connections.

9:00 – 9:45am

Breakout Sessions in Meeting Rooms

Attend your choice of session discussions featuring user experience professionals from top automakers and suppliers.


SESSION 1: The Growing Role of Occupant and Interior Sensing
Facial recognition, eye tracking, gesture controls and other types of occupant sensing are in their infancy. More advanced sensing and increasing on-board computing power promise to greatly enhance safety and UX in future vehicles.


  • Rich Matsu – Senior Director, Engineering, Autoliv
  • Michael Godwin – North American Director of Visible LED Products, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
  • Richard Vaughan – Creative Director, CGT

SESSION 2: Building a Better UX
This session will look at new tools and strategies to help designers create better products faster.


  • Jonathon Baugh – Experience Architect, Accenture/Pillar Technology
  • Ville Kolppo – Design Director, Rightware
  • Randy Tyner – Director of UX/UI Design, NNG
  • Parrish Hanna – User Experience Design Consultant & Founder, Movotiv

10:00 – 10:30am

Keynote Presentation

Arianne Walker – Chief Evangelist, Alexa Automotive at Amazon

Despite recent advances in cloud computing, machine learning and speech science, drivers consistently cite in-vehicle voice recognition among their top complaints. Amazon’s Alexa Auto team is addressing this gap by extending the best of Amazon Alexa into the car, and building new auto-specific features that make customers’ daily lives easier and more convenient. Arianne Walker, Chief Evangelist of Amazon Alexa Auto, will share results of a recent consumer study and show how Alexa helps to solve the voice challenges today and in the future.

10:45 – 11:30am

Breakout Sessions in Meeting Rooms

Attend your choice of session discussions featuring user experience professionals from top automakers and suppliers.


SESSION 3: The Latest UX Technologies for Upcoming Platforms
Lots of attention now is rightly focused on autonomous vehicle technology, but there is lots of stunning new technology that promises to have a major impact on mainstream vehicles in the next several years. This session will focus on some of the most important examples.


  • Barry Pompea – Senior Product Designer – Professional Engineering Services, Altia
  • Jens Brandt – Head of Instrumentation nd Driver HMI, Continental
  • Richard Vaughan – Creative Director, CGT
  • Tim Cavanaugh – Global Product Marketing Business Development Director, Cavanaugh Consulting


SESSION 4: Using Experience Outside the Vehicle to Inspire Loyalty
It’s not enough to create great cars. Connectivity and mobility as a service are pushing the industry to compete with great end-to-end experiences. To build persistent, enduring relationships with customers, all the touchpoints need to be woven into one seamless experience. Presenters will talk specifically about how a rewarding journey can be designed that might include walking, shared mobility and public transportation, and more generally about how the auto industry is moving from competing on product quality to competing on quality of experience.


  • Sam Abuelsamid – Principal Research Analyst, Navigant Research
  • Theo Calvin – Creative Director and Transportation Sector Lead, Frog Design
  • Scott McCormick – President, Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA)

11:45 – 12:15pm

Center Stage Discussion

HMI and Cockpit Design: Where is it Headed?
Will big touch screens go out of style? Will voice rule the cockpit of the future? Will buttons and knobs stay or go? Speakers will discuss the latest trends and technologies.

  • Mike Maddelein – Vice President of Engineering, Inteva Products
  • Liz Wetzel – Co-Director, Transportation Design Program, Lawrence Technological University
  • Dave Lyon – Owner, Pocketsquare Design
  • Drew Winter – Director, Content, WardsAuto

12:15 – 12:45pm

Plated Lunch

Join us in the ballroom for lunch with your colleagues, our speakers, sponsors and WardsAuto team members.

12:45 – 1:30pm

Wards 10 Best User Experience Awards Ceremony

We present our fourth annual awards recognizing the new model year vehicles with the best overall UX, determined by a panel of WardsAuto judges, as OEM and UX team representatives will be called on stage to accept their award.

1:30 – 1:45pm

Networking Break/Photo-Op for Award Winners

1:45 – 2:30pm

Breakout Sessions in Meeting Rooms

Attend your choice of session discussions featuring user experience professionals from top automakers and suppliers.


SESSION 5: Deep Dives on Notable HMI’s 
This session will include deep dives on two of the most notable 2019 Wards 10 Best UX Winners by OEM UX designers.


  • Peter Ruthenberg – Chief Designer, Digital Experience, Ford Motor Company
  • TBA – Hyundai Motor America
  • Tom Murphy – Managing Editor, WardsAuto

SESSION 6: New Ways to Create Great Experiences
Smartphone connectivity is supposed to be a vehicle selling point, but too often new owners go to the phone store for help instead of the dealership and end up unhappy. Consumers don’t necessarily want a product, they want the outcome the product brings. This trend is leading to servitization models – a hot new buzzword – that transform products into services. Cybersecurity is a top priority, but how do automakers warn drivers their vehicle has just blocked a cyber-attack and make them feel grateful instead of terrified? Presenters will explain how to turn all these opportunities into great new user experiences.


  • Paige Donnelly – Founder, Emerald Infotainment Specialists
  • Kimberly Clavin – VP, Engineering, Accenture/Pillar Technology
  • Jacek Spiewla – User Experience Manager, Mitsubishi Electric
  • Jay Radke – Founder, Tier Six Solutions

2:45 – 3:45pm

Center Stage Discussion

How 5G will Transform UX and Safety
5G connectivity promises to have a profound impact on automotive and automotive-related user experiences. It will create ultra-reliable, ultra-fast connections that will enable the exchange of high volumes of data. That will improve vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-everything situational awareness, improving safety and accelerating the path to autonomy.

But it also promises to allow vehicles to communicate with virtually everything around us, creating whole new realms of experiences inside and outside our cars and trucks. This session will look at all the opportunities and potential pitfalls that may be coming for UX designers and engineers – as well as consumers.

  • Steve Bell – Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
  • Don Butler – Executive Director, Connected Vehicle and Services, Ford Motor Company
  • Nakul Duggal – Senior Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
  • Michael Noblett – President & CEO, American Center for Mobility


Networking Reception/Best in Show Award

Join us for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the ballroom and mingle with speakers, sponsors, attendees and the WardsAuto team.

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