14–16 September 2016

McGrath Centre, St. Catharine's College, Cambridge

Clients don't suck

Evgenia Grinblo Future Workshops

Session type: Experience Report
Session duration: 45 minutes

About this Experience Report

Have you ever heard of Clients from Hell - the website that tells hellish stories designers collect over a lifetime of working with clients? If you haven't, many of the situations described on the site won't be foreign to you: clients who believe theirs is the only opinion that matters, who tell you which colours to use and ask to make the logo bigger, and who just don't seem to get their head around what UX truly means. Clients being difficult is a well-known cliché in the design world.

There's another side to all this: clients are also people who are deeply embedded within organisations we can help with our proficiency in design thinking and user-centered design. They know their jobs, customers, and organisations so well that if we could just see eye to eye, we could make real impact together.

In this session, I will explore some insights from over a decade of working with clients. I will share practical examples of hands-on methods to explain, teach and inspire user-centered thinking in clients who 'just don't get it.'

About the Speaker

Evgenia (Jenny) Grinblo is a UX practitioner with a background in qualitative research and visual design. She leads the UX and design team at award-winning mobile agency, Future Workshops, in London. An advocate of empathy in design, she focuses on facilitating collaboration (in other words, getting clients to get their hands dirty and keeping developers happy). She speaks and writes about the importance of empathy when designing for users, and applying UX methods with little support, time or budget.

Jenny spends a lot of time on Twitter and collects badly-written error messages on tumblr.

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Session Types

Need help planning which sessions to attend? We've provided a breakdown of our various session types below.

Case Study/Experience Report

A presentation and discussion of real-life (not theoretical) experiences of the application (or mis-application) of service design techniques. Case studies and experience reports include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how novel the work is.


Participants learn a new approach, tool or technology through using it to solve one or more practical exercises. Any software/hardware requirements are disclosed in the session description.


A session focused around some specific tool, technique or issue. Primarily led by the speaker, tutorials usually include some elements of interactivity or individual / group exercise.


An in-depth working session on a specific topic. May include paper presentations.