The Pleasure and Pain of UX freestylin’

Advanced Session, presented by Donna Spencer and Gary Barber.

Two veteran UX/IA freelancers give the lowdown on the freelancing in our industry, and answer your questions.

This talk will be about the pleasures and pains of doing information architecture and user experience work as a freelancer. Although there is a much material around about freelancing, we plan on talking about freelancing specifically for IA & UX work. Some of the topics we plan on discussing are:


  • building great relationships with the client, being their friend and specialist, mentoring them through projects
  • getting to know the content & context well over time and doing great work
  • ability to be flexible to deliver better outcomes
  • being able to get things done (like usability testing) that may not happen otherwise
  • fewer politics compared with in-house
  • better money compared to permanent work


  • juggling work, juggling work and juggling work
  • learning to say no
  • money - setting rates, writing proposals, waiting for payment
  • being the enemy of other ux consultants (freelancers usually under-cut because of lower overheads)
  • sometimes having to do small jobs in short timeframes and low quality
  • administration and paperwork

Donna Spencer

Donna Spencer

Donna (Maurer) Spencer is a freelance information architect, mentor, writer and trainer. She has 8 years experience working in-house and as a consultant doing strategic and tactical design. She has designed large intranets & websites, ecommerce & search systems, business applications, design patterns and a CMS. Donna is an experienced speaker who has taught workshops and presented sessions at local and international conferences, on information architecture, interaction design and whatever else crosses her mind. She spends her (little) remaining time on the board of IAI and writing a book on card sorting. Sometimes she even gets time to weave and sew.

Gary Barber

Gary Barber

Gary Barber is a Perth-based freelance user experience designer with extensive experience with all aspects of the design process. Gary has been working within the web industry in a freelance capacity since the mid nineties as radharc. Traveling through various roles within the government, energy and private sectors, from designing large intranets and CMS to realigning sites with industry best practices while exercising his passion for creativity, usability and accessibility. He is currently the treasurer with the Australian Web Industry Association and a founding member of the fledgling Perth UPA chapter. In any remaining free time, Gary can be found out and about taking photos or inline skating.

Gary blogs, rants and raves over at man with no blog

Program Schedule is online

The program schedule is now online. Don’t worry, we have a couple suprises planned to de-stress the packed schedule.

Student rates!

We’re offering special rates for full time students, for the conference and for the workshops.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]