Ash Banaszek

Ash Banaszek

UX Product Lead

Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Ash Banaszek is a passionate and outspoken UX advocate at Valorem Reply with over a decade of experience in the field. Ash holds a masters of science in information science from Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO and returns to occasionally guest lecture in human factors and human-computer interaction courses. Ash has a passion for teaching and getting folks to that "ah-hah" moment about UX. As an avid proponent of creating technology people want to use, Ash's eternal quest is to destroy technology that gets people so frustrated that they want to chuck it out of a window. Outside of righting tech wrongs, Ash is an award-winning Toastmaster and uses public speaking experience to infuse humor and thought-provoking questions into talks. You can follow Ash at linkedin.com/in/ashmb or ux-ash.com

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Transports & Logistics


  • User Exerience
  • User Research
  • User Experience Design
  • User Interface Design
  • Design User Interface and UX
  • Product Design
  • presentation design
  • public speaking
  • Storytelling
  • Interviewing
  • LGBTQ in Technology
  • Women in Tech
  • Women in Technology
  • Enterprise Applications
  • Consumer products

Tables are hard: UI design for grids, lists, and tables

Tables have been a part of UI screen design since the haydays of command line interfaces. As technology has improved, more and more functionality has been added and tables now have more features than ever. Unfortunately, designing tables has not become any easier. In this talk, Ash will walk you through the principles of table design and design patterns you can use to adapt to your own applications. From layouts to filtering, or mass changes to inline edits, we'll discuss those and more. Tables are hard, but these UI design patterns can help tame them.

UI Design for Dense & Difficult Data

One of the core tenets of good design is simplicity, but what if your stuff just isn't that simple? What do you do when you have a 30-column table, mountains of metrics, bushels of button actions, or a ton of text fields that need to be shown? What do you do when stakeholders push for bold text, colors, animations, and icons to make certain data stand out on an already cluttered screen? What happens when a design started simple but as new features keep getting added, so does button after button?

Ash has been designing around complexity for over a decade. In this talk, they will share their tips on how to triage each element of data on the screen to determine priority, purpose, and decision points. They'll also share some tips and tricks on patterns and component ideas to help you better layout your UIs and workflows.
Some things cannot be made simple, but they can be made better.

Spaces, squares, and circles - an intro to UI design

Are you a techie that has found yourself in charge of laying out and designing screens? Do you find yourself staring at screens that just don't "feel right" but it is hard to pinpoint why. Maybe a few design basics can get you back in the game. In this talk, Ash (an experienced UX researcher and designer) will take you through the basics of UI design to help your screens look clean, professional, and pleasing to the eye.

Research over the wire: conducting remote user sessions

The pandemic has presented a lot of new challenges and opportunities. One such challenge is the increasing difficulty of traveling to do user research. It is possible to get quality and contextual user research when moving to remote research "over the wire." Whether that wire be phone or video, Ash--with over a decade experience in UX research and design--will teach you a few tools and techniques to bring the user back into your research.

Ally 101: How to be an ally to the LGBT+ Community

Join an interactive talk that uses a mixture of storytelling, fact sharing, and audience involvement to introduce the basics of LGBTQ+ allyship. We'll go over terminology, US history, and how you can practice inclusion in your workplace and community. Q&A is actively included and encouraged during and following this talk to help shed light on questions you may have been to timid to ask before.

Creating a Culture of Appreciation

Everyone wants to work somewhere they are valued, but some companies and teams just don't seem to understand how to put this into practice. This talk walks you through research findings from interviewing some of the top "recognizers" in my organization, employee relayed anecdotes, and a literature review on the subject. Expect an interactive workshop that walks you through a variety of thought exercises and practical ideas you can put into use right away!  While I can't change your company cultures, I can teach you reasoning, tools, and techniques to build recognition into your work right now.

The "Guilded" Age: How a UX Guild can transform design at your company

If you have a User eXperience team that feels stretched too thin at your company, you are NOT alone. UX Guilds grew out of necessity to meet a growing demand for software that is useful, user friendly, and beautiful to boot. These guilds are led by UX designers and researchers that train and evangelize developers, business analysts, quality analysts, project managers, and more into UX practices and techniques. This often sounds scary to UXers, often wondering: "Am I going to give away the farm by teaching the tricks of my trade?" "Are devs and others going to think they know it all now?" "Won't people take away my work?"
The answers are "no", "no", and "sort of, but in a good way." In this session you will learn what a UX guild is, how it benefits UX overall, and how to implement a guild in your company. I'll also be sharing lessons learned from our ongoing guild implementation.

User Experience Pitfalls

User Experience has become a buzzword in the tech industry. Project managers and business partners are clamoring to improve the experience. You understand UX is a business necessity, but you aren't quite sure what it means to you or where to begin. This session discusses some common pitfalls of user interface design and simple techniques to inject UX into your applications from the start. These are the basic UX design principles you need to start adding UX to your project today.

Usability Testing: The $1 Fix to the $100 Problem

Usability and User Experience are hot topics on the minds of both project stakeholders and customers. Many businesses are without dedicated UX professionals, committed to the research and design of key projects. As a developer, project manager, or business analyst, what can you do to improve the usability of your project? The answer: usability studies. Usability studies are an easy technique to learn and hard technique to master. Join Ash Banaszek, Sr UX Project Consultant at Union Pacific, as she walks you through the basics of usability studies to start finding real, actionable results to improve your applications. In this session Banaszek will take you through:
* What are usability studies and why should we use them?
* Pinpointing what parts of the app to study
* Finding the right medium to test
* Creating tasks and identifying users
* Running a study
* Interpreting results
* Applying results to your design
* Communicating results with stakeholders
At the end of this workshop, participants have the ability to apply your knowledge by testing your own applications or an application the instructor provides. If you would like to test your own app, please be prepared to bring it and share.

Myths about Designing for a Captive Audience

Industry is filled with products designed for a specific purpose at a specific company. Since the product is created or customized to tailor to the needs of a specific business, assumptions are made about the process: stakeholders know best, usability is negligible because users are paid to use the system, and the customer knows best. This session discusses common myths about internal users and illustrates them through case studies taken from a large Fortune 200 company. Through identifying, debunking, and addressing these myths, project managers can better understand how usability fits into the bigger picture and why user experience has value worth investing in their projects.

User Experience: Design review sessions

When creating a new app or updating an existing one, project teams are filled with conflicting ideas on how to make an application better. For user interface decisions, often the person with the loudest voice, relentless attitude, or highest title dictates what is done--or even worse, the entire application is designed by committee in tedious detail in meeting after painstaking meeting. Both ways produce results that are less than ideal.

But there's a better way to get a successful design AND buy-in from your project team, product owners, and users. Design review sessions put all stakeholders on equal footing and gets everyone's concerns heard and addressed, without devolving into design by committee.

This talk will teach you how do perform the best kept secret in UX: the design review session.

Presentations, Storytelling, and How Not to Suck at it

Learn from UX Product Lead Ash Banaszek on how to give impactful and interesting technical talks. Ash is consistently rated highly by conference-goers as an informative and entertaining speaker, and is a decorated Toastmaster winning awards at Area and Division levels for humorous, impromptu, tall tales, and international speaking categories. In this talk, Ash will share their tips on organizing presentations, increasing engagement, when to add humor, how to fold a story into your tech talk, and using images effectively. Want to be a better presenter? After this talk you may not be a keynoter, but you definitely will "not suck at it."

User Interviews: More than Just a Conversation

Anyone who can carry a conversation can interview users, right? Not so. Gaining insight into user requirements, needs, and frustrations is a nuanced process. Without the proper training, even well-meaning researchers can lead, bias, and manipulate users into getting the answers researchers want--instead of getting the real story needing to be told. In this talk, Ash will guide you through the basics of conducting user interviews:
* Picking the right interview type
* Asking the "right" questions
* Do's/Don'ts of Interacting with Users
* How to interpret your results
User research is difficult to do well and requires lots of practice. After this talk, you should have the resources you need to take the next steps to better user research.

What's up with UX?

UX is an expanding and evolving field. You'll see UX titles like Generalist, Strategist, Researcher, Designer, or Architect. Who are these people? What do they do? And why is any of this needed anyway? In this talk, Ash will introduce you to the field of user experience, why it exists, what roles there are, and how to get a better experience out of your products.

This is structured like a keynote. It is an overview of UX for people that feel overwhelmed by all the jargon and titles... and have little idea why it even matters anyway. This talk also includes great tidbits for UXers to sell their value to their stakeholders.

Storytelling and Tech

Learn from UX Associate Ash Banaszek on how to weave stories and humor into tech talks. Ash is consistently rated highly by conference-goers as an informative and entertaining speaker, and is a decorated Toastmaster winning awards at Area and Division levels for humorous, impromptu, tall tales, and international speaking categories. In this talk, Ash will share her tips and examples on how to use humor, metaphors, anecdotes, and stories effectively in technical talks to make them memorable and more understandable.

This is a condensed version of the Presentations, Storytelling, and How Not to Suck at it talk.

CodeMash 2024

January 2024 Sandusky, Ohio, United States

KCDC 2023

June 2023 Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Swetugg Stockholm 2023

February 2023 Stockholm, Sweden

NDC London 2023

January 2023 London, United Kingdom

KCDC 2022

August 2022 Kansas City, Missouri, United States

NDC London 2022

May 2022 London, United Kingdom

KCDC 2021

September 2021 Kansas City, Missouri, United States

NDC Oslo 2020

June 2020 Oslo, Norway

CodeMash 2020

January 2020 Sandusky, Ohio, United States

KCDC 2019

July 2019 Kansas City, Missouri, United States

KCDC 2018

July 2018

Ash Banaszek

UX Product Lead

Omaha, Nebraska, United States