Gail Swanson

Gail Swanson

Designer in the Machine

Big organizations have a reputation as stifling and lonely places where design careers sputter. The structure required to become successful on a large scale traditionally left little room for creative exploration. These places are awakening to the value of design. They are looking to designers to transform their cubicled caverns into design led enterprises. Changing culture is hard, especially when you bring people who think differently together. But we already have the skills to get this done. Using the same user centered tactics that we use to design products and services, designers are creating change. Gail will show how to extend design thinking, empathy, and collaboration to thrive as a designer and be a happy part of something big.


Gail Swanson is honored to be serving her country as a UX lead at 18F. She has spent over 15 years guiding teams to look deeper and learn about the people they serve to create technology that fits. Gail’s past work spans a diverse range of industries including financial services, leisure travel, advertising, and even brewery operations. She started her career as a front end developer with an education in fine art. With experience, she formed her creative approach to UX design, molding technology into usable systems. Gail is happiest untangling complexity into simple ideas and instigating office sing-alongs.

@practicallyux