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Design For Use

Enabling Interactions

20 x slides | 15 x seconds | 12 x explosive talks

DEFUSE is upon us! We would like to thank all of our sponsors, speakers and volunteers who have helped setup. We will be back next year on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Mark your calendars!

Ignite Dublin
Come join the Dublin IxDA community for a night of inspiration, innovation and insight as some of Ireland's leading experts in the field of Interaction Design share their stories and highlight some of the most compelling design challenges they face.

IxDA Dublin will host an evening with 12 of Ireland's Interaction Design experts who have just five minutes to present their most compelling ideas about design. The evening will also include a great design competition with a fantastic prize up for grabs sponsored by Iterate. It's a perfect opportunity to celebrate World Usability Day.

Hosted in The Sugar Club, we hope to continue the creative conversation late into the evening. Come join us!

We would like to thank all of our sponsors for making the event possible.

View previous sites from Defuse 2016, Defuse 2015, Defuse 2014, Defuse 2013, Defuse 2012, Defuse 2011, Defuse 2010 and Defuse 2009.

View videos from years past as well as photos from previous years.

Event Partner - Xwerx



MC for the event

Laura Nolan @lauraannenolan

Laura is a UX designer at Each&Other and a recent graduate of the Masters in User Experience Design in IADT. She’s been solving problems for e-commerce, FinTech and government agencies for 5 years. Last year she MC’d at Defuse, her first public speaking event, and now she’s back again showing that it didn’t hurt as badly as her imagination led her to believe. She has spare time now, but probably doesn’t spend it as wisely as hoped.

Trevor  Vaugh

Design as an agent of Liminality

Trevor Vaugh, @trevorvaugh

Liminality is that structureless and ambiguous phase that occurs in the middle stage of rites of passage. Just like the phases of design, or indeed any change process, a ritual has three broad phases – Separation from an existing state, structureless liminality and reintegration into a preferred state. The design process shares many similar characteristics with rites of passage, but actually offers an excellent process and mindset, to not only navigate the liminality phase, but actually tame the ambiguity and design the outcome. But do we designers spend enough time in a liminal state to take advantage of what Victor Turner describes as a “realm of pure possibility”.

Trevor is a member of design faculty at Maynooth University and the programme director of the award-winning MSc in Design Innovation. Through his consultancy practice Actionable, he works with senior leaders to tackle challenges, overcome barriers to growth and unlock the innovation potential of key talent.

Over his 15 year design and innovation career, Trevor has helped develop strategy, products and concepts for international clients like ASC, Olympus, J&J, Heineken, Covidien and Crate&Barrel. He has accumulated a portfolio of over 50 patents, invented new product categories and has helped disrupt markets. His work on single site surgery saw it named in the Cleveland clinic’s top 10 innovations of 2009. Having witnessed the potential of design to transform insight into investment, profit, human value and disruption, Trevor decided to enter academia to reflect on, study and teach this great discipline.

Billy Fitzgerald

Threading the Needle

Billy Fitzgerald, @billydoesdesign

Designing experiences is great. It's challenging, fascinating and can be really satisfying in any context. But in the big bad corporate world, with pressures from stakeholders and schedules and budgets bearing down on you, it can often be difficult to keep the faith. This is a talk about keeping your UX wits about you and delivering value to both the business and the user, even when the timelines are short and the money's running out. It's about avoiding burnout and learning to trust yourself. This is a talk about being a UX designer in the real world.

Billy is an award-winning UX Consultant with Each & Other in Dublin. Working with clients large and small in pretty much every industry there is, Billy has gained a reputation for an energetic and enthusiastic engagement style, underpinning a fiercely passionate belief in making every service better for both the business and the end-user. Originally an Architect and occasionally a lecturer, Billy spent 4 years leading the design department in Continuum where he won an Eircom Spider Award for "Best in eCommerce" and an Accenture Digital Media Award for "Best Website" before joining Each&Other last year.

Jeff Simons

Remote together; lessons learned designing products as a distributed team.

Jeff Simons, @jeffsimons 

Remote work is all the craze. Down with the commute, long live the home office! But is it all that it’s hyped up to be? How do you work as a team? Can you even do brainstorm sessions long distance?

In this talk I’ll share some of the lessons learned designing products with distributed teams, like the best tools for the job, and best practices for working together when you’re not in the same room

Jeff is a senior product designer at nearForm. He has designed the user experience of industrial machinery, smart homes, and web apps. Now helps companies and teams build and shape their next big thing together with colleagues based all over the world.

Jennifer  Sheahan

Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Parents?

Jennifer Sheahan, @JennySheahan

Playing with science is fun, but it’s hard if you’re a parent who has no science background and doesn’t know where to begin. Where does one buy a test tube, and is it safe to mix CH3COOH with NaHCO3? How will I get my child excited about coding if I don’t know the first thing about it? This talk covers a piece of research and a resulting prototype which facilitates collaborative learning and engagement across age-groups.

I’m a fully-chipped Accenture-tron, I’ve been here for 6 years. I started in technology consulting, and late last year I moved into The Dock – our smashing R&D hub and centre for innovation. Here I lead out client engagement for Dublin Tech Labs – a team of intimidatingly impressive geniuses who are creating amazing projects every day. My undergrad was a BSc (experimental physics) at NUIG, and I’m a total geek – I love tinkering and taking apart perfectly good electronic equipment. Last year I took a leave of absence from work and completed a full-time MSc at UCL in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics. As part of my early career in Accenture, I worked on a team that explored why girls do (or don’t) study STEM subjects at post-primary level. I carried this through into my MSc, where my dissertation focused on engaging parents with their child’s STEM learning. I’m obsessed with equipping parents and children with the tools and excitement of playing with science in the home, and that’s what I’ll be yammering about at Defuse.

Ronan Kenny

Who are the Architects of our Future?

Ronan Kenny, @ronankenny

What does it mean to be an architect? What is the relationship between the virtual and the real? Who are the visionaries of our future? What kind of world do we want to design for ourselves?

Rónan is an Architect/Designer & Futurist, working at the intersection of digital and physical design where the virtual and the real world combine. After graduating from Architecture at UCD, he moved to New York to begin a transition from contemporary architecture to human centred design for digital, virtual and augmented reality. He has just moved back to Dublin and is working as an independent consultant.

Ruth Kelly

Caution: Robots at work

Ruth Kelly

Rise of the machines. Exploring the current and future disruption on the Irish market now that automation and artificial intelligence have arrived. How might this impact our roles as designers? How might we go about designing ethically for emerging tech? And, of course, do androids dream of electric picnic?

Ruth is a service and interaction Design Lead with Fjord Dublin, based at The Dock, an R&D incubation hub for emerging technologies with human-centered design at the core. Ruth has over ten years’ experience in the industry, she worked as a visual designer across print and web then transitioned into service design thinking and design research while in Germany.

Sheena Bouchier

What’s different about designing for startups?

Sheena Bouchier, @sheenabouchier

Moving from designing for insurance companies to designing for startups, Sheena envisioned a glorious utopia free from legacy technology and corporate politics, where people and technology could come together in creative freedom. What she found was that startups come with their own constraints, that people everywhere are afraid of change and that improving the world through design starts with empowering people.

In this talk, Sheena will elucidate on her discoveries and impart some small wisdoms about empowering change.

Sheena is a Senior UX Designer at Zoosh Group. Zoosh Group offers design and technology services to progressive industry leaders and business-to-business startups. Sheena has an MA in Interactive Media from University of the Arts, London.

Sherif Mekky

Experiment, because assumptions are the mother of all failed products.

Sherif Mekky, @themekks

Let's listen to the expert not in the room, the user!

As a design consultant at Pivotal Labs, I engage and co-design with clients and multidisciplinary product teams through their digital transformation journeys to solve business needs and user problems and deliver functional, rich user experiences informed by user research and insights. Through the past 14 years, I have designed and launched digital products and services in various industries including tech, healthcare, automotive and telecom. My work follows a Master’s degree in IT Product Design.

When not working, I typically love to catch a plane to explore new cities. I appreciate a good cup of coffee and enjoy cooking, baking and buying recipe books that I never read.

Alessandro Argenio

Honest Connected Objects: what is the immediate future of IoT, and where do we go from there?

Alessandro Argenio

Objects are collecting data for different purposes. Let us imagine the next generation of connected objects as honest and transparent. Honest in not only the collected data, and the application of it, but in fostering a positive use of it.

How can we move from the mundane future to the preferable connected future where we are intuitively acting within the network?

I'm an Interaction Designer from Fjord Dublin at The Dock.

Originally from Italy, I've spent the last 6 years designing UX/UI of apps, website and digital/tangible interfaces collaborating with multidisciplinary teams. I love the opportunity of having a deep focus on empathy sketching new ideas and prototypes using immersive stories.

I feel lucky because my job is a never-ending discovery of how to make humans happier and fulfilled through design solutions. It’s literally an obsession for me to imagine future scenarios that speculate which possibilities are open to being explored in the human-technology interactions.

Louise Cooper

Tackling a social problem with conversation

Louise Cooper, @louisecooper10

Communities today are becoming more divided and we’re seeing the political effects of this. Think Brexit. Think Trump. How can we bridge communities by showing them that what they have in common is greater than what they think divides them. It’s about throwing out the tech and reviving basic human interaction.

Louise is an Innovation and Service Design Lead with Shift in London. She works with social startups to define their core service proposition and launches them into the world. Before Shift, Louise was a Service Design Consultant at Engine and a UX Designer at Each&Other.

Piers Scott

Lessons in Designing Design Departments

Piers Scott, @pdscott

Over the years Piers has worked with many young client-side UX departments to help them achieve better results for their customers and grow their department’s capabilities. In 2017 he jumped from a well-established UX team in Each&Other to help grow one in Rothco. In his talk Piers will describe what he’s learned from his experiences of working with (and in) young design departments. He’ll describe the single most important trait that young design teams need, and how they can set themselves up for success.

Piers is a Lead UX Designer and Content Strategist in Rothco; with nearly a decade of experience designing and producing human-centered digital services and content, he’s worked with startups and multinationals across Ireland, the UK, Europe, and the US to design (hopefully) great experiences for their customers.

He started out as a Content Strategist (before it was even called Content Strategy) in Arekibo before becoming a UX Designer in Each&Other. In 2017 he moved to Rothco where he’s working with many more talented researchers, designers, and analysts to help further build Design Thinking in the agency.

Susan Butler

There's no App for that

Susan Butler, @susy_butler

What do you design when digital isn't the answer? And how do to you test interactions in an offline world? Susan will talk about how she got through some of those big questions and managed to design some services without an interface in sight.

Susan considers herself very lucky to have spent the last 10 years working on big complex projects - like prototyping new ideas for the city with Designing Dublin, or researching new services for older people (& all the tea drinking that involved) and developing new interactions for a child protection intervention programme with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. She recently joined the Citi Innovation Lab continuing to work on service design and design thinking projects, and drinking tea.


7pm, Wed November 8th, 2017


The Sugar Club


12 Speakers

How Long?

Each Speaker has 20 Slides, and 15 seconds a slide.
(5 Min per Speaker)


Free (Thanks to our sponsors)


This event is not ticketed. First come first served. Show up early.

Adding yourself to a Facebook Event list won't guarantee entry but helps us have an idea on numbers.