LOCATION 225 Dyer Street, Providence, RI, 02903

DATE: February 20, 2020

TIME: 4:00 – 8:30 PM


Venture Café Providence delves into the world of digital design and creation with Digital Design Connect. Explore our maker lab demonstrations. Join us for talks on diversity in digital design, product development, and intellectual property concerns for designers. Explore the intersection between design thinking and tech at this highly interactive event. Come ready to design, create, connect, and learn.


4:00 – 5:00 PM  ::   Point 225 Building Tour

4:30 – 6:30 PM  ::  Film Screening: “Traveling While Black” a 360 immersive film screening 

5:00 – 6:00 PM  ::  Office Hours  

5:35 – 5:40 PM  ::  Welcome

5:45 – 6:30 PM  ::  Tellart: Design for Human Experience

6:00 – 6:45 PM  ::  Cross Trainer Health

6:40 – 7:25 PM  :: Designing for Accessibility in all Forms

7:00 – 7:45 PM  :: From AI to Avatars, How AI and Robotics will change our world!

7:30 – 8:15 PM  ::  The Inter-Disciplinary Product Development Table


"Traveling While Black" a 360 immersive Film Screening

Venture Café is proud to work with #YESpvd! 365 Project & Winner’s Circle VR to present TRAVELING WHILE BLACK: 360 Video Documentary Screening & Discussion Tour.

Traveling While Black a cinematic VR experience that immerses the viewer in the long history of restriction of movement for black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities. Visit historic Ben’s Chili Bowl and join patrons as they share and reflect on their experiences. Confronting the way we understand and talk about race in America, Traveling While Black highlights the urgent need to facilitate a dialogue about the challenges minority travelers still face today. This is especially still affecting our young men of color.

This film is screened as part of Providence’s First Black History Month’s Virtual Reality (VR) screening and discussion. We are looking for VR participates from the following segments: High School Ages (15-17), College Ages (18-24) and Adults Ages 25+. Limited FREE seating and VR seating available at each event. All others are welcome to attend and engage in discussion. To register for this date please visit the screening webpage here

Digital Demo Tables

At the Rhode Island Computer Museum (RICM), we provide exciting opportunities for all visitors to learn from our world-class collections of inspiring objects.


Tellart: Design for Human Experience

The Human Experience is a complex layering of divergent and intersecting dynamics written across time. Always evolving, this shared narrative encompasses every detail of our lives, from the mundane to the magnificent. As experience designers, Tellart has spent the last twenty years mining these rich areas, designing for how people sense, process, and make meaning from complexity and ambiguity. We embrace the digital and the physical equally as extensions of the Human Experience, creating powerful moments of interaction that help people engage with the world in transformative ways.

Jack Lenk, Production Director

Working closely with Tellart’s team of producers, Jack coordinates the multidisciplinary teams responsible for each project at the company. He has a background in industrial design, visual communication, and two decades of experience in producing narrative and interactive multimedia. Jack is also a seasoned photographer and filmmaker, regularly contributing to Tellart’s communication initiatives.
Jack graduated from the Industrial Design department at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he also pursued studies in Graphic Design and Photography. Jack has taught workshops and courses at RISD, focused on media production and design for civic engagement.

Laila Aukee, Senior Designer

As a senior designer at Tellart, Laila works to understand and communicate complex systems through diagramming, mapping, and other documentation tools. She works across a wide variety of client and internal projects in order to better frame project challenges and solutions. With strong analytic and conceptual skills, Laila is also involved with new concept development brainstorms, early project research, interface layouts and inventories, and interpretation of system and software architectures.
Laila graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, where she studied Industrial Design and took courses at Brown and MIT. As a student at RISD, Laila embraced the idea of design with a focus on end user usability, and particularly enjoyed applying that philosophy to the design of intangible interactions for new technologies.



Charlie Ledbetter, Business Development Lead

As Business Development Lead, Charlie works closely with Tellart’s clients and our internal teams to explore and develop new opportunities. With over four years of experience producing projects at Tellart, his approach to development combines the vision of client ambition with the pragmatism and process needed to deliver results. Charlie also brings a passion for communication and empathy into the design process, believing that the most successful projects are born out of a deep understanding and respect for our clients.
Charlie’s early interest in physics and universal design principles led him to major in Painting at RISD, where he explored design fundamentals and also developed an interest in fabrication and production of artistic objects.
Designing for Accessibility Flash Talks

Hear two designers describe their strategies for making digital design accessible to all people. Each designer will speak for 15 minutes. After the presentations there will be 15 minutes of Q&A.

The Impact of Accessibility

If you google “designing for accessibility”, you’ll find dozens of results with roughly the same five to ten quick tips. When we approach accessibility as a checklist, we only focus on a sliver of accessibility. As a result, the human interaction aspect is often lost, and accessibility is often not achieved.

In this talk, you’ll learn how accessibility involves more than marking items off a checklist, how accessibility—or inaccessibility—impacts the user experience, and what you can do as a designer to assure your design is accessible and your accessible design becomes an accessible product.

Kasey Labelle (she/her)

Kasey Labelle (she/her) is a Graphic and Web Designer and Developer living and working in the Greater Boston Area. She is passionate about front-end development, design, art, diversity, accessibility, and community. Kasey is a Senior UX Front End Developer at Epsilon, and proudly serves as a City Director for the Boston Chapter of Lesbians Who Tech.

Previously, Kasey was a Senior Software Engineer at Vistaprint. There she held leadership roles in the Pride and Women in Technology employee resource groups and was an integral participant in the Inclusion group.

In 2010, Kasey received her B.A. in Studio Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design from Salve Regina University and has since completed multiple continuing ed courses. Most recently, Kasey graduated from Thinkful’s Full Stack Flex program and completed ThinkB!G.LearnSmart’s course on Web Accessibility, WCAG 2.0, and Section 508 Compliance.





Accessibility Considerations for the Responsible Designer

Making “good” design, content, and experiences are more than just guidelines. Design is the practice of using art to create solutions to human problems. Technology, visuals, and language must work together to find a way to support everyone. Only through transparency and empathy can we start to design experiences that support everyone. This talk will cover how to start forming accessibility and empathy guidelines, even for startups and small design teams.

Mel Rainsberger

Mel Rainsberger has been a digital designer and consultant since 2004.  With over fourteen years of experience in web, video, animation as well as new technologies, and she has been told she “knows just enough about everything to be dangerous.” She is currently Lead UX Designer for Surround Insurance.

Graduating from RISD in 2004, Mel started out as founder of the boutique digital design agency They’re Using Tools. Her client list includes AARP, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, RISD, CVS, Amazon, and Liberty Mutual. Recently, she completed the Design Forward RI Advance program through DESIGNxRI. 

Her recent work includes modernizing the consumer insurance experience and designing the Responsible Communication Style Guide–a guide for talking about our users and audience in a way they find inclusive and understanding. 


Cross Trainer Health

Brian Boyle, Co-Founder of CrossTrainer Mixed Reality, will discuss CrossTrainer Health, a new initiative to design and develop world class patient-facing VR applications that improve lives. CrossTrainer Health is pursuing additional grants and funding to build therapeutic applications for multiple audiences, including seniors, people with disabilities, children, veterans, and more.

Topics will include:

• eVR product line
• Current partnerships and project statuses
• Demonstrations
• Roadmap and anticipated costs
• Q&A

Brian Boyle, Co-Founder of CrossTrainer Mixed Reality

Brian is a training designer, technologist, and founder of the award winning CrossTrainer®. For over 20 years he’s shared his future focus, graphic vision and learning design perspective to create innovative and engaging training across multiple industries, including pharmaceutical, manufacturing, retail and more. In recent years, Brian has focused on designing mixed reality products that deepen learning experiences. In 2019, Brian’s TEDx talk “VR Therapy: Unlocking the Potential of VR” paved the way for a new line of patient-facing CrossTrainer health care applications. Brian lives in Seekonk, MA with his wife and 2 young daughters.

The Inter-Disciplinary Product Development Table

Why creating a culture of true collaboration across disciplines helps build better digital products. Fostering an integrated and versatile team with internal and external partners
throughout the product development process – from inception to commercialization – is critical to success. This is a concept that is often discussed but, what does it really mean and how do you ensure that you maintain a shared vision throughout? A discussion with Justin Sirotin, founder of OCTO, on how and why the right team – expertise and mindset – makes all the difference.

Justin Sirotin, Founder OCTO

Justin Sirotin is a successful entrepreneur, experienced designer and thought leader based in Pawtucket, RI. As the founder of OCTO, Justin credits his company’s success to the careful curation of his team. Founded on a culture of curiosity, with a focus on people, OCTO works with clients to design and develop innovative products, experiences and solutions that improve the lives of their customers. Visit them at www.octopd.com

OCTO has offices in the US and France, supporting a global client list.

From AI to Avatars, How AI and Robotics will change our world!

Peter Haas, Associate Director of the Brown University Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative

Peter Haas is the Associate Director of the Brown University
Humanity Centered Robotics Initiative where he helps in research on
AR, VR and MR interfaces for robots, MR shared mental models with
robots, social robotics for the elderly, UAV autonomy, Moral norms in
AI. He is an entrant in the Avatar X-prize to develop VR controlled Avatars.
He was the Co-Founder and COO of XactSense, a UAV
manufacturer working on LIDAR mapping. Prior to XactSense, Peter
founded AIDG – a small hardware enterprise accelerator in Haiti and
Guatemala. AIDG did design for extreme affordability work and provided
seed funding to local entrepreneurs. The largest company launched with
AIDG support, Kingo Energy, now serves 2.5 million people with solar
systems in Central America. Peter received both TED and Echoing Green
fellowships. He has been a speaker at TED Global, The World Bank,
Harvard University and other venues. He holds a Philosophy B.A. from

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