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Designing in Prohibition - My Life as a UX Pioneer in the Cannabis Industry

On October 17, Canadians will legally be able to purchase recreational Cannabis for the first time. And more than half of those people will have to purchase their Cannabis through a website I designed. Join me as I share my experience making decisions for how the 2nd country in the world to legalize Cannabis sells it online.

On October 17, the Canadian population will legally be able to purchase recreational Cannabis for the first time. And more than half of those Canadians will have to purchase their Cannabis through a website I designed.

In most industry verticals, design research is fairly easy to come by, but in an industry that doesn’t yet exist, how do you make design decisions? Usability Testing has become a prominent and significant tool in determining the approaches in our design thinking, and it continues to provide valuable insight for every subsequent client in this space. Our interviews with real users are guiding our decisions and creating OUR best practices for the Cannabis industry.

In the first year, Cannabis sales are predicted to be in the billions of dollars, and most of it will be online. Pure-play e-commerce is a surefire way to keep conversions high (no pun intended) – if that were a plausible solution. One of the issues with this industry is that because it’s regulated, there are specific rules that need to be followed regarding product and content (what you can and cannot show). Also, depending on whether you’re a licensed producer or a crown corporation, your obligation to educate and provide resources regarding social responsibility vary greatly. Add to this the ever-changing legislation at the federal AND provincial level, and you have a perfect storm of decisions that are second-guessed at every inflection point.

Join me as I share my experience making decisions for how the 2nd country in the world to legalize Cannabis sells it online.

Matt Humphreys

Matt Humphreys has over 15 years of experience consulting in the field of User Experience and Usability, and brings a plethora of first-hand successes to the table. In his role as CXO at Diff, he has a two-tiered approach to experience – being responsible for the Experience of our Clients as well as the UX of our clients’ products. And as a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), he has the ability to direct and manage complex and multi-tiered projects, all while employing best practices in User Experience. His clients have included Leesa, YM Inc., Boll & Branch, Blackberry, World Wildlife Fund, Loblaw, Sheridan College, LCBO, Thomas Cook, Sears and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Matt believes so strongly in delivering beautiful solutions that are a pleasure to use, that he teaches User Experience Design at George Brown College in Toronto both in the Interaction Design Program and at the School for Continuing Studies. He also occasionally teaches in the Interactive Media Design Faculty at Seneca College at York University, and (tries to) speak regularly at conferences on a multitude of topics. Matt applies what he knows and believes in everything he does – even striving to create a rockstar search engine optimization strategy for his live event band – Saturday Night Superstars.

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