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Katie is available to speak on the topic of Life & Death Design at conferences, meetings, and events. Her theater background makes her a dynamic speaker and she is often rated a crowd favorite. She's spoken internationally at SXSW Interactive, IxDA Interaction, Amuse, PUSH and many more.

Talk Description

Stress changes the human brain, enhancing some abilities and degrading others. In some of the most dangerous industries, creators of life-saving products have discovered how to leverage brain science and smart design to harness good instincts while reducing panic and aggression. They use human-centered design to help their users land airplanes, avoid car crashes, resuscitate heart attack victims, and escape burning buildings. Apply their techniques to your work in any field to create clear, intuitive experiences that effectively guide the behavior of your users, no matter their state of mind.

Takeaway #1

Learn the secrets of designing for users under stress developed by practitioners in some of the highest-stakes industries like healthcare, avionics, and the military, but applicable for great design in any field.

Takeaway #2

Unlock the science of the human survival instinct and learn how moments of peak stress change users’ physical and mental capabilities, affecting their ability to use certain types of designs.

Takeaway #3

Apply techniques for identifying potential high-stress moments and crafting experiences that can harness the user’s instinctive behavior, suppress it, or protect the user from panicked-induced actions.

Upcoming Speaking Events

National Disaster Expo


February 7, 2022

Miami, FL

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SXSW Interactive

March 12,  2022

Austin, TX 

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May 24-27,  2022

Lisbon, Portugal

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Digital Insurance Summit


September 27-28,  2022

Chicago, IL

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Speaker Biography

Katie Swindler is a user experience strategist who writes and speaks on topics related to human-centered design. Originally educated as a theater director, she brings a unique perspective to digital work. She believes that if brands wish to truly connect with consumers they must combine emotion and utility, storytelling and technology to fulfill real human needs.  


Katie leads the experience strategy for Allstate Insurance’s consumer-facing websites. Prior to joining Allstate, Katie was a UX Director at FCB Chicago where she was the UX lead on the 2016 global redesign of as well as leading experience design for many other clients such as Cox Communications, Meow Mix, and Toyota Financial Services.

Are you a student organization in the Chicago area?

I'm always interested in connecting with local design and user experience students. If you'd like me to come to your class and present, just ask!

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