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July 2016: Informal Pub Meetup

Posted: July 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

In what is now a beloved summer tradition, it’s time to replace energizing presentations and deep UX thoughts with a lighter event befitting the season. Let’s savour that summer feeling with a July uxWaterloo session that features informal talk, some of it even UX-related, and drinks. As befits any self-respecting tradition, we do this every July and August and the laid-back atmosphere and conversations are a welcome addition to any summer schedule. Join us!

And, as has become a yearly tradition, count on hearing from Bob and Mark with an an update on Fluxible 2016, Canada’s UX Festival! You’ve been warned…

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Thursday July 21, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario


June 2016: Innovation and UX at Deloitte’s d { } Lab

Posted: June 15th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

d { } (pronounced “Dee Space”) is Deloitte¹s prototyping hub dedicated to accelerating the development of new products and services by leveraging emerging technologies. d { } opened in May 2015 in the Communitech Hub. Its team helps Deloitte intrapreneurs explore new business models using lean thinking and digital prototypes that are created by multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial teams possessing deep technical and design skills.

Join us for an informal overview of the moonshots, MVPs, and proof-of-concept projects undertaken by the lab in its first year. Norm Malloch, the lab’s Director, will discuss their experience in domains such as wearables/IoT, mobile collaborative experiences, and blockchain technologies. Come see the impact of design thinking and UX practices in a fast-paced innovation lab!

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Thursday June 23, 2016
6:00 to 7:30 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
[View on Google Maps]


May 2016: Case Study of Design Week with UNICEF Canada

Posted: May 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Canada ranks at only 17th of 29 industrialized countries on overall child well-being, a fact that UNICEF is tired of. Over the past two years, UNICEF Canada has been exploring the possibility of opening an Observatory for Canada’s children that would aim to improve the well-being of kids in Canada. They started working with Kitchener’s Overlap to explore what this could look like and how it could work. There are many observatories for child well-being around the world, and when UNICEF Canada started out, they figured it would take the same form—an organization much like a think-tank that would monitor, analyze and report on the state of children in Canada.

So in October 2015, Overlap tested how this might work by running what they called Design Week with UNICEF Canada. For six days, Overlap brought together around 25 experts in child well-being, measurement, storytelling, and design to tackle questions like, “how might we measure child well-being in ways that are relevant to children and youth in the context of Canada?”

In this talk, Delaney Swanson of Overlap will describe what they were trying to achieve in the project, how they used Design Week to prototype part of the Observatory, what they learned from it, and where they are in the project now. This will touch on what they learned about facilitating design processes with non-designers, and the value of a design sprint in getting things done fast, especially in traditional institutions.

About the Speaker

Delaney Swanson is a service designer at Overlap, a research and strategy firm in Kitchener that uses human insights to improve services and systems, and integrate new ways of thinking into big institutions. She believes in the power of good design to influence behaviour through policy, services, physical spaces, and products. She thinks most of the time, real life gets in the way of the “ideal” behaviour most things are designed for—instead, she’d rather things be designed for the complexity of real people. Delaney helps organizations understand the needs and experiences of the people they serve (and employ), and align their strategy to meet these needs

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Thursday May 26, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Area 151 at the Communitech Hub
[View on Google Maps]


April 2016: A Spring gathering, take 2

Posted: April 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Back in March, we wrote about how sometimes our plans get tripped up, and we need to go with an alternative plan. And, of course, that alternative plan for March was tripped up by weather! Everything goes meta…

For our April edition, let’s try again to celebrate Spring with conversation and debate over a beer or two (or whatever drinks you might prefer). And we’ll hope that the wild Spring weather that we’ve had stays a little manageable.

Welcome Spring!

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Thursday April 21, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, ON


March 2016: A Spring gathering!

Posted: March 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

This event has been cancelled due to weather!

Sometimes our plans get tripped up, and we need to go with an alternate.

For our March edition, we’re moving out of our usual third-Thursday-of-the-month in deference to St. Patrick’s Day consuming so much mind share that March day this year. Instead, we’ll be meeting the fourth Thursday, which happens to be the first Thursday of Spring 2016! Let’s celebrate Spring with conversation and debate over a beer or two (or whatever drinks you might prefer).

Welcome Spring!

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Thursday March 24, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, ON


February 2016: Get hands-on with the award winning Palette

Posted: January 30th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Palette Starter Kit

Join us this month to hear the story behind Palette Gear, a startup in the Velocity Garage that recently won top prize at the UX Design Awards in Berlin. Palette makes a very cool “personalized peripheral” system that augments mice and keyboards with physical buttons, sliders, and dials to provide fast and precise editing. Get hands on with the devices, which can be reconfigured in a snap thanks to their simple plug-and-play hardware design. Learn about some of the tough design challenges they’ve overcome in both hardware and software — and maybe even sketch some ideas for further improvements on the Palette team’s radar.

About Palette

Palette is a modular controller designed for creative professionals. You can snap together physical buttons, dials and sliders in any layout (they are magnetic!). The tactile and intuitive controller improves the efficiency for editing photos, videos or music. Palette can also be used to control any other applications and games using the keyboard and joystick mode.

Since the start in 2013, the team successfully participated in the HAX Accelerator (China), Velocity Garage (University of Waterloo) and the Creative Destruction Lab (University of Toronto). Palette has won several competition grants (e.g. Velocity Fund Finals, AC Jumpstart) and also placed 1st in the UX Design awards at IFA Berlin (2015). The company has also been funded by Extreme Venture Partners and SOSventures. Palette has been shipped to thousands of customers already and continue to sell more.

When and where

Thursday February 18, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub
Atlas/Matrix Room
[View on Google Maps]

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January 2016: Melissa Bernais on designing for TV

Posted: December 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

This month, Melissa Bernais joins us to provide a view into the world of designing for TV. We’ll learn that TV is TV is TV – except when it’s not.

For the past five years, Melissa has been documenting mental models and designing software used by TV broadcasters and service providers, and she’s learned that while roles and responsibilities may be similar from master control room to master control room, there’s wide variety in terms of goals, needs, workflows, business model, industry structure, technological standards, and even political concerns. And that’s just in North America; add the rest of the world into the mix, and… oh man.

Knowing what the end game is isn’t always enough. Understanding how a customer needs to get there is everything. The fun includes:

  • exploring the differences between Canadian, American, Asian, Australian and European broadcast business models
  • figuring out how to finesse the goals and needs that these models bring in on-site & remote customer engagements
  • disseminating that information out to Product Strategy
  • incorporating those needs into tools that can be sold worldwide

Melissa will share what happens when a small UX team champions the need for customer research to a multi-national company serving an International customer base. She’ll talk about everything from finding and gaining internal, organizational trust and locating customers that you can talk with, to the language barriers, cultural differences, opposing priorities, and product frustrations that come with consulting directly with the people who buy the things you design.

She’ll also look at what happens when you need to distill a wide range of competing needs into products that accommodate current use patterns, anticipate future needs, and can scale to new, unforeseen methods of connecting people with content — doing all of this for customers in very different situations.

About Melissa Bernais

In her own words:

“Practicing UX for over a decade, I’ve had a lot of job titles – architect, engineer, designer. And while none of them are wrong, they’re not quite right either. I draw boxes. I talk with people. I solve problems.”

“UX is my second grown-ass person career. Looking back on things, I can honestly say that what I do now has its roots in what I used to do, and what I went back to school for – connecting people with what they want in the easiest way possible. I’ve worked in the music industry in sales, licensing and publicity, trained to become a librarian, and spent time both agency and client-side as a UX practitioner. It’s all been pretty great fun.”

“I have recently added a broken finger tip to my list of self-inflicted, completely avoidable, accidental injuries. Just a little bit about me, y’all.”

When and where

Thursday January 21, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub
Atlas/Matrix Room
[View on Google Maps]

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December 2015: What is beautiful software?

Posted: November 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Throughout 2015, Matt Nish-Lapidus has been thinking deeply about what it means to be “beautiful” in today’s age of software. He has presented the results at events such as MidwestUX and CanUX — and now, he joins us in Waterloo to share his thoughts and lead a spirited discussion. Hope to see you there!

Thursday December 17, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub
Atlas/Matrix Room

Beauty doesn’t have to be just skin deep, and many of the best designs throughout history have shown that. The need to make beautiful things is as critical now as it was to designers and architects over the last hundred years, only our materials and outputs have changed dramatically. Beauty is more than a layer on top of the product, it’s not superficial and “nice to have”, it’s a critical part of the human experience.

Every era has a different sense of beauty, from the renaissance through pop-art. Each of these evolutions has accompanied changes in the world, technology, culture, and politics. As the work of designers changes, so does our need to understand beauty and how to make beautiful things to put into the world. Design’s traditional critical language doesn’t adequately account for the aesthetic properties of these new kinds of design outputs and practices. We will explore a frame for beauty that extends tradition and works to evolve how we think about, and do, design in the age of the network.

About Matt Nish-Lapidus

MattNishLapidus

Matt holds a degree in new media art from Ryerson University and has a rich background as a practicing designer, musician, and artist. His work has included everything from the digital library catalog in use by the New York Public Library to enterprise software for hospitals, video games, and large-scale public installations. He spent the first few years of his career assisting international new media artists such as Stelarc, David Rokeby, and Haruki Nishijima, while developing his own art and design practice.

Matt is an independent designer and creative technologist in Toronto, Canada where he focuses on design practice development in for the 21st century, a deign instructor at Sheridan College and CIID, and is also the Vice President of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), a global organization dedicated to the advancement of the interaction design practice.

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November 2015: Behind the Scenes of UX Research at Microsoft

Posted: October 28th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Please note: For November only, we’ve shifted from our usual date in order to take advantage of a visit from special guests Kimberly and Kristen, from Microsoft HQ in Seattle.

microsoft

Wednesday November 4, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Kitchener Public Library, Central Branch
Meeting Room C
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener
[View on map]

What to expect

Over the past few decades, UX research has come a long way from its roots in user acceptance testing and usability engineering. In this talk, Kimberly Tee and Kristen Warren will share what it’s like to do UX research in the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, working with large teams to build the experiences that support Windows and Xbox.

They will describe some of the UX research methods used at Microsoft to discover, describe, and predict user behavior, and discuss ideas for how some of those could also work at smaller companies.

About the presenters

Kimberly Tee is a User Researcher in Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, working with the Microsoft Edge team on the new web browser for Windows 10. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was a UX Designer and Researcher at SMART Technologies. She completed her MSc in Computer Science and HCI at the University of Calgary, and her BSc in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia.

Kristen Warren is a User Researcher for the Xbox Ecosystem focusing on Social and Identity, including community health and women in gaming. Kristen completed a BA in Psychology at the University of Waterloo and a Masters in HCI from Carleton University. Kristen is published in several domains including Persuasive Systems Design, Bendable Displays, and Motivating Behavior Change through Computer Interfaces.

Note the new location

We’re getting together at Meeting Room C at the newly-renovated central branch of the Kitchener Public Library. This room is located in the basement, accessible through either the elevator or the stairwell adjacent to the main entrance off Queen Street.

Parking is available at meters on nearby side streets, on the surface lot next to the library, or in the library’s underground lot.

Remember that construction will snarl traffic at that time of day, so leave plenty of time to get there!

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October 2015: UXtoberfest

Posted: October 8th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

September was a month packed full of UX events, making for plenty of intriguing ideas to discuss. Let’s celebrate that with conversation and debate over a beer or two (or whatever drinks you might prefer).

Happy UXtoberfest!

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Thursday October 15, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, ON