Scott Showalter

Business & Management

Information & Communications Technology

Agile Lean UX Experience Design

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Scott Showalter

Forming Dream Teams to Create Dream Products

Scott Showalter is an Agile Coach at Ford. For over a decade, he's enabled teams to thrive at crafting experiences for digital and physical products in a diverse sphere of industries including automotive, security, banking, dining, public safety, transit, mobility and social spaces. Scott encourages us to forge connections with real users, understand their journey, empathize with their needs, and consider how they think and work, so we can accomplish their goals within the context of the problem space. Scott organizes several UX meetups across Ohio & Michigan, and speaks often at conferences, teaching people how to find and solve meaningful problems that people actually care about. Scott's dynamic presentation style delivers learning in many ways for many different types of learners, and he threads humor throughout his sessions to help drive every point home and make each one memorable.

Current sessions

Caring for the Human Condition: Product Superpowers to Make Users Feel Superhuman

You're human.

We know that life is tough and there are a lot of challenges out there. A lot of them are mental or biological, but our environments and the products we use don't support them very well.

Yet, we know we can overcome any challenge with the right tools, support, and guidance.

The same is true in every facet of the apps and digital technology we develop.

This session teaches designers and software artisans how to care for the often-unseen mental and physical challenges faced by the humans who use our products in ways we never thought possible.

It's 2021. It's time to provide digital experiences that help people live their best digital lives by caring for the human condition through products and services crafted with thoughtful intention!

If you're ready to go beyond accessibility, and help your customers feel superhuman, you'll want to be here for this session.


Five Remarkably Easy Opportunities to Boost Design Sprint Creativity

Do your team members feel their ideas aren't that valuable, or that they're not creative enough to participate in ideation, valuation or experimentation? Nonsense! They just need a creative boost! We all have creativity within us, we just need help exercising that creative muscle that will cultivate the grand ideas within us all. Come learn four games and activities that foster creativity within our teams and trigger their higher-level thinking that will help them dig deeper for those elusively good high-quality ideas.


There's Still No App For That: The Science of Solving Problems People Actually Care About

Life's too short to solve problems that people don't care about. Besides, when you choose the wrong problem and work hard solving it only for yourself or a small group of people, your efforts are potentially wasted on the product since no one will use what you have made if they do not find value in it. Your efforts should be spent trying to make people's lives better by developing apps that help with their deepest needs.

This session shows you how to leverage elements of neuroscience combined with the scientific method to explore the problem space on a deeper level, generate a wider gamut of possibilities for your mobile app, and experiment towards the most optimal solution so that your app not only changes lives, but has staying power in a world that constantly changes direction as if it is in a pinball machine. The result will be an app that makes a big impact on the lives of your customers, and can last beyond the next big thing.


User Experiences After Dark: Covert Coercion

Dark isn't just a trendy UI mode, it's a deceitful design scheme we all encounter from time to time, against our will. As consumers, most of us can't escape the overbearing influence that corporations have on our lives. This is particularly true when it comes to how companies use various experience design tricks, traps and persuasive tactics in their software & technology in order to take advantage of customers and coerce them into doing things like spending more money than intended.

In this session, you'll learn about the unethical psychology behind these dark design patterns that digital organizations covertly deploy in order to manipulate their users. You may even discover that some of your favorite apps are using these shady techniques on you without you even knowing it.

You'll also walk away with the skills to ensure that your team does not fall prey to such ploys, including negotiation with challenging stakeholders, so y'all can build better products together that positively impact customers' lives.


Whose Time is it Anyway? Lightning Fast Hacks That Add Real Value to Meetings No One Wants to Attend

Too many meetings. Let's face it, we all have them. Meetings are a necessarily evil, but they don't necessarily have to be so evil. Regardless of whether we're leading a meeting, or merely attending, whether it's in person or remote, the value extracted from collaboration can be amplified by how we conduct our gatherings.

This session reveals 7 simple yet powerful tactics almost no one is using, even in 2022, that will add instant value to nearly any meeting, any time, anywhere. Because time is precious, and it's non-renewable. Expect to walk away from the session feeling empowered and ready to implement these methods in your very next meeting.


Peak Throughput: 11 Design Thinking Games to Remedy Waste, Remove Impediments & Improve Flow

To bring our teams to the next level, we must help them identify and remove waste and bottlenecks that cause productivity to escape into a black hole, impeding their flow and affecting their delivery. How do we do that effectively though, when our teams feel they have little control over the things that are slowing them down? Activate their higher-level thinking by boosting their creative confidence and providing some tactical ways to unveil hidden possibilities to optimize their value streams in ways they can't exactly see otherwise. Come discover eleven 15-minute games or activities that help do just that, and try a few, hands-on. Along the way, we'll explore methods to identify and prioritize these impediments, along with methods to strategize their removal by helping teams surface unseen opportunities to tackle them. Our teams have a hidden ability to solve problems they don't feel they can touch. Let's help them embrace the right mindset so they can take control and act on them.


Caring for New Users: Adoption, Onboarding, Empty States, Feedback Herding, Friction, Hooks & More!

What does it take to craft a great experience for new users of our product? Once we're ready to move past MVP-stage, having learned what we needed to learn, there's still more to think about than merely what capability to give our earliest adopters and how that translates into functionality for the team to build and scale. Even if you're late to the game, there are always new users to care for with established products too.

Enter the concept of "New UX". It's a quintessential component of product design. This session explores the idea of transforming new users into power users. It'd be nice if we could all hone our intuition skills and create absolutely 100% intuitive products 100% of the time, but that's more fantasy than reality. So we must leverage techniques that help us make our new users feel awesome!

You'll learn:
* How to overcome the struggle to drive adoption
* Considerations for short attention spans, limited scratch memory, temporary disabilities, and avoiding subjecting new users to cognitive load & burnout.
* The many types of onboarding, and which method is optimal for our users' in learning how to use our app.
* Permission priming, permission pouncing and other concerns for user privacy when our apps need access beyond various device limitations.
* What empty states are, and how you need to think about them in the context of your product and your users' goals in order to make them useful as well as delightful.
* Sources of friction in the experience and in growing our user base.
* How we can keep new users coming back, through consideration of habit formation tactics

Notes to the reviewer:

Presented at CodeMash, MinneWebCon, Michigan DevFest and to Mobile Monday, A2UX & Columbus Experience Design meetups. It's one of the best attended sessions during its slot at the conferences I've presented it at. Always a packed house.

This session is mostly presentation style, but has some highly interactive components to keep the crowd lively. While the subject matter is quite serious, humor is always sprinkled in for good measure.


F.A.I.L.—Fearless Adventures in Learning! Improv+Collaboration Games Exploring the Value of Failure

This highly interactive session explores several engaging team-based improv & collaboration games that help teams embrace "successful failure." Rather than glorify the act of failing, we should understand that its power is not in failing alone, but rather the learning that emerges from it and the power that such learning has to unlock otherwise unforeseen opportunities. Our goal is to relinquish our fears of failure, break us out of our comfort zone and accept the prospect of failure with the ultimate goal of using it to better understand what success looks like, and how the struggle and pain of failure, and the learning that accompanies it, opens our mind to new possibilities we wouldn't have otherwise seen. These games create comfort with failure and build up our actionable learning muscle (insight synthesis, etc) that should accompany every unsuccessful attempt at success. Failure and learning for the win!


Living in a Material World: Everything Engineers+Designers Should Know About Google's Design System

Material is Google’s best attempt to distill the essence of how software, whether for smart phones, tablets, desktops or otherwise, should look, feel and behave. Now, in its most recent iteration, Material aims to help make such experiences easier to implement via software that’s built for a wide swath of devices across several software platforms and operating systems. The newly revamped Material brings with it a whole host of new tools and capabilities for both designers and developers to take advantage of. In this session, we'll explore all that Material has to offer, both from a design and an engineering perspective.

Discover customization options with "Theme Editor"—it goes beyond simply picking the color, shade, typography, and elements.
Use "Gallery" as a refreshing source of inspiration for any new or existing project.
Pair cross-functionally by using "Remixer"—it helps developers and designers configure and adjust an app's design in a collaborative way.
Explore rapid prototyping options with "Stage".
Take your work straight to code, in several languages and platforms, with "Components".
We'll also explore some of the core design principles of Material along the way.

Warning: Attendees may leave this session with a particular Madonna song stuck in their head. Sorry, not sorry!


Make More Money 💰 With Less Effort 🛠️: Experimentation Before Implementation

Developing software products is time consuming, with little guarantee of success. The Web, App Store, Google Play and beyond are littered with apps making low or no revenue because they don't solve problems people actually care about. Before you build your “killer” app, you can truly know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there’s actual demand for it. Learn how to discern whether people will actually buy, use and love your product before you put in all that effort! This amusing, fast-paced workshop teaches several product prototyping and experimentation techniques that you can use right away to prove whether your product or feature ideas have worth, or to help you transform non-valuable ideas to valuable ones.

Whether you work solo or on a team, this workshop will engage you in activities you can take with you back to work and immediately employ to significantly increase the odds of a bigger pay day by building only the parts people would actually use and find value in.

You’ll learn how to:
* discover your early adopters and first paying customers, even before you launch the app
* divine whether or not your idea solves a problem people care about, in ways that they need if they are to use the app
* what to avoid when engaging in user research
* the three key questions that will lead to early money and early adoption
* tools to develop codeless prototypes
* ways to scale these validation concepts to desktop software, Web apps/sites and beyond…


It's Okay to F.A.I.L. - Fearless Adventures in Learning!

Kids will have a blast exploring several group activities that help them feel comfortable failing (and celebrating each time), transform failure to success and improve how they respond to change. Along the way they'll discover that the goal is not failure, but mindfulness, togetherness, learning and continuous improvement.


Making Reality Virtual: Simulating Experiences with VR Prototyping

Take the Red Pill, and let's dive into the mind-bending Matrix that is Virtual Reality prototyping. Not just for gaming (though that's cool too), a new dimension of experience simulation is now open to designers of software as well as physical products, to observe customer interaction and gather feedback without ever having to create a real product. In this session, explore the hardware and software tools, and the varying techniques we can leverage to put potential customers into a world unlike anything they're used to, or even places they're already familiar with. Learn how to observe their interactions with those experiences, empathize with them in specific contexts and better understand their behaviors. Discover how we can help solve problems or create new engaging content that fits their needs with this new virtual realm. Finally, learn how to validate physical product ideas, not just software and games. Walk away with everything you need to get started prototyping VR experiences (except the hardware itself).


Yes We Kan! Personal KanBan for Kids with the World's Fastest Paper Airplane

Kids, want to do more awesome stuff? Parents, want your kids to focus but also accomplish more? That sounds like a contradiction, but Personal KanBan can help kids (and whole families) track the things they need or want to do, sharpen their focus, find their flow, and work together to get more done. We'll prove it by trying different methods of building the world's fastest paper airplane, together!


Icebox Zero: Agile UX and the Lean Backlog

One of the most disregarded principles of the Agile Manifesto is perhaps one of the most important: Simplicity—the art of optimizing the amount of work that’s not necessary. Frankly, simplicity seems simple enough, but in reality it’s as complicated as the work we are so often asked to deliver on—work that we may ultimately find was not worth doing. This session explores the complexities of this sort of counterintuitive workstream optimization, with low-effort tactical approaches to preventing such waste in software and product development. The session attempts to codify the things teams need to do to truly execute on simplicity, and as a bonus, fulfill what is likely the most important principle of the Agile Manifesto: satisfying the customer. Short of applying Monte Carlo methods to our backlog, we’ll explore how to apply the concepts of thoughtful lean metrics to improve our abilities to deliver value.


Past and future events

Lean Agile Scotland

8 Oct - 11 Oct 2019

Music City Tech 2019

5 Sep - 7 Sep 2019
Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Agile 2019

5 Aug - 9 Aug 2019

Beer City Code 2019

31 May - 1 Jun 2019
Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

22 Conferences (to date)

1 Jan 2019

Agile 2018

6 Aug - 10 Aug 2018

CodeMash 2018

9 Jan - 12 Jan 2018

Music City Tech 2017

30 May - 2 Jun 2017

CodeMash 2017

10 Jan - 13 Jan 2017