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Our Top Picks for Austin Design Week

Looking for some recommendations for a fun, informative and impactful itinerary? Take a look at our top picks, and find out what Praxent designers Andy, Debra and Doug are most looking forward to at each event.

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Accessible Design | Austin Design Week

By far, our most popular category from the Austin Design Week schedule is accessible design. Here are our top five favorite events for learning the latest methods and thought leadership behind accessible design this November.

Designing for Accessibility: A Beginner’s Guide

Thinking about the full user experience when you design means thinking about accessibility. This session, organized by former Austin City Design, Technology & Innovation fellow, Cathryn Rowe, will walk through basic and actionable accessibility techniques for designers of all levels.

Why Andy’s Going: “Accessibility is not just a nice-to-have or a necessary law suit deterrent. I’d like to learn more about how to execute on this serious product offering that makes space for a larger consumer group.” – Andy McErlean, Product Designer at Praxent

>> Register for Designing for Accessibility, scheduled for November 5 at 8:30 a.m.

Make Space for Voices: Methods for Inclusive Design and Uncovering What's Not Being Said

IBM designer, Kaley Coffield, will lead this workshop on correcting power imbalances and discovering truer and more accurate thoughts during user research.

Why Debra’s Going: “We were just recently discussing biases in research, and participants’ desire to please the researcher, which can influence the responses they provide. I’m interested in how we can implement some new methods into our research practices to help get around some of these biases and the ‘researcher influence.’” – Debra Gladwin, Senior Product Designer at Praxent

>> Register for Make Space for Voices, scheduled for November 4 at 8:30 a.m.

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Inextricably Linked: Design and Accessibility

Design plays a key role in the accessibility ecosystem. USAA’s Mariah Garrett, Tom Ahn, Eric Lyons, Patrick Kelley and Patrick Sturdivant offer valuable insight, tools and methods for accessible design training.

Why Doug’s Going: “The more our everyday lives take place online, the more important accessibility becomes. It’s easy to overlook when working on a project and an important area of growth for me as designer.” – Doug Cooper, Product Designer at Praxent

>> Register for Inextricably Linked, scheduled for November 6 at 4:00 p.m.

Stop Designing for Only 85% Of Users: Make Space for Accessibility

GSD&M offers designers a chance to hear three different perspectives on digital experiences. Panel speakers will represent the unique needs of physically impaired, color blind and dyslexic individuals.

Debra: “I think most of us know the basics of accessible design, like color contrast and font sizes. As our world becomes more and more screen-focused, I think a more well-rounded tool kit of accessibility practices will become increasingly important, and I’d like to increase my knowledge in this area.”

>> Register for Stop Designing for Only 85% of Users, scheduled for November 6 at 6:30 p.m.

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Beyond Accessibility: Designing Inclusive Content

Accessible and inclusive content has a significant effect on overall user experience. Writers and designers are invited to join Veronica Cámara of AVO agency for a lesson on best practices in content accessibility.

Debra: “I’m interested in perspectives on accessibility outside of the WCAG guidelines that we designers are more familiar with. Veronica’s workshop looks like an excellent opportunity to broaden my accessibility mindset.”

>> Register for Beyond Accessibility, scheduled for November 4 at 4:00 p.m.

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Workflow & Collaboration | Austin Design Week

At this year’s Austin Design Week, we’re interested in learning about how to navigate the real issues affecting today’s design workplace.

Beyond Being There: How Remote Design Can Make Space for the Best Ideas

Design leaders from Trello, InVision, Funsize and GitHub offer up key takeaways from their experiences leading remote-based design teams. Attendees will come away with a renewed perspective on the benefits, challenges and impact of remote design.

Andy: “Remote work will one day offset office work. Companies will find that they save money on rent while having employee happiness soar. Since it requires a new way of working together, it produces new ideas.”

Debra: “Our company is increasingly remote. It is one of the qualities that makes us strong, but we can always improve our methods of remote collaboration. I’m curious to see how other companies are tackling the challenges of a dispersed workforce and learning some practices that I can bring back to our workplace.”

>> Register for Beyond Being There, scheduled for November 5 at 7:00 p.m.

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Social Design | Austin Design Week

From youth-focused efforts to environmental advocacy, here’s what we’re looking forward to in the category of social design.

Re-Thinking Design: Designing Out Waste

Austin Resource Recovery presents a primer on the circular economy—creating waste-free design systems and products. Participants will receive hands-on experience designing a waste-free product using tools and techniques congruent with the circular economy.

Andy: “Tons of companies are looking into sustainable logistics, design, and operations as the environment is at the focus at a lot of consumers' buying choices. Beyond placating consumers, we should be focused on creating greener products.”

>> Register for Designing Out Waste, scheduled for November 4 at 12:00 p.m.

Our Future at Stake: Why & How We Should Connect Design Thinking to the K-12 Community

Equipping kids to master design thinking is key to preparing future generations to face and resolve complex and evolving social, political and environmental challenges. We should help kids focus on “how” to learn instead of “what” to learn. The result will be a generation of confidently creative problem solvers.

Debra: “I’ve worked very little with education and youth, so it’s a new area that I’d love to learn more about. I’m always curious how methods we use as designers can be applied to totally different areas, like education. My niece and nephew are also starting school soon, so I’ve had discussions recently with my siblings about our education system. I’m interested in what schools and educators are doing to break the standard mold of educational models.”

>> Register for Our Future at Stake, scheduled for November 4 at 10:30 a.m.

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Craft | Austin Design Week

If there’s one thing we love about Austin Design Week, it’s the opportunity to hone our craft, technique and overall design ability. These are our top four picks for events that do just that!

UT Letterpress Workshop

The UT School of Design and Creative Technologies offers the design community access to the Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection. This is a wonderful opportunity for designers to come away from Austin Design Week with a greater awareness of the impact design history can have on our work.

Andy: “This piques my interest because letterpress is a classic form of print design that a lot of design nomenclature and concepts come from. It's a great session for taking a step back to our roots as designers.”

>> Register for the UT Letterpress Workshop, scheduled for November 6 at 7:00 p.m.


Austin Design Week isn't just about personal and professional development, it's about taking action to improve the world around us. In ADW's multi-part design-a-thon, teams will compete to provide improved solutions for some of Austin’s biggest problems.

Doug: “I love new ideas, brainstorming, and good competition. What could be better than a mini-pitch contest to start off design week?”

>> Register for the Design-a-thon, a multi-day event scheduled for October 26, November 4 and November 8.

Celebrating Deviations

Deviant perspectives lead to innovative outcomes. Project202 hosts this session on interesting and powerful examples of unexpected and courageous innovation.

Doug: “I’m always interested in exercises that take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to look at things in a new way. The more tools I have to do this in my day-to-day work, the better.”

>> Register for Celebrating Deviations, scheduled for November 5 at 10:30 a.m.

The Art of Shoes Studio Tour

If you’re looking for an inspiring look at a fun product design niche, be sure to check out The Art of Shoes Studio Tour hosted by The Art of Shoes. Participants will learn the basics of shoe design, shoe making and important factors behind ethical shoe design.

Doug: “I just love sneakers.”

>> Register for The Art of Shoes Studio Tour, scheduled for November 5 at 4:00 p.m.

Doug Cooper.jpg

Doug Cooper

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Debra Gladwin

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Andy McErlean

About Praxent

Our designers and non-designers are eagerly anticipating this fall’s lineup of ADW events. As an Austin-born and Austin-grown product design and development agency, we turn to Austin Design Week as a chance to discuss, explore and better understand the daily challenges and situations we face designing and delivering digital products.