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May 2014: The art of seduction at UX Book Club KW

Posted: April 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »


UX Book Club KW is meeting again in May and this time we’re focusing on art of seduction. Well, in terms of designing interfaces, at least!

Join us on Thursday May 22nd at 7pm, to discuss Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences by Stephen P. Anderson (@stephenanderson). The book takes a fresh approach to designing sites and interactions based on the stages of seduction, and examines what motivates people to act.

It’s packed with excellent examples of websites employing seductive design, and goes even further to delve into the fundamental psychological theories behind exactly why each of the examples work so well.

We’re pretty excited to be hosting this month’s meeting at DVLB, the fabulously hip coffee bar in Uptown Waterloo. Because space is limited, we have to cap registration to 15 so be sure to stay tuned for registration details.

If you’re not lured in yet, maybe knowing that the fab folks at Wordsworth Books in Uptown Waterloo are giving us 20% off will seal the deal (retails at $36.99)! Direct message us (@uxWat) by April 25th if you’d like one and we’ll place a group order. Of course, you can also grab it directly from Peach Pit Publishing, and other places. And if you’re just looking to borrow a copy instead, we’d be happy to lend you ours.

So, have you been seduced? We hope so! Looking forward to seeing you in May.

Stay tuned for registration details and more!


April 2014: Building the muscles of innovators, with Steve Portigal

Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

How can you broaden your sphere of influence within the field of user experience? You can start by building your muscles! Steve will take a look at some fundamental skills that underlie the creation and launch of innovative goods and services. He will discuss the personal skills that he considers to be “the muscles of innovators” and the ways you can build these important muscles, including noticing, understanding cultural context, maintaining exposure to pop culture, synthesizing, drawing, wordsmithing, listening, and prototyping. Along the way, he will demonstrate how improving these powerful skills will equip you to lead positive change.

Steve Portigal is the founder of Portigal Consulting, a bite-sized San Francisco firm that helps clients to discover and act on new insights about themselves and their customers. That means that he’s important enough to have a company named after him, but not important enough to have an invincible army of minions… yet. Steve delighted conference attendees at Fluxible 2013. He’s also author of Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights, a Rosenfeld Media book.

Sounds like a great time, right? Register now!


Thursday April 17, 2014
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, P2P Room
151 Charles St. W.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1H6

March 2014: How research weaves into a product’s destiny

Posted: March 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

The FatesWho doesn’t like a great metaphor? If you’re a UX practitioner or researcher, you love them right?

In this month’s session, join Janice de JongJulia Thompson, and Susan Simon Daniels as they use the three fates of Greek mythology to illustrate truths about UX research.

The three fates, who represent destiny, are:

  • Clotho. The spinner who creates the thread of life. She is the youngest and represents what is possible. Clotho is pictured with a spindle and thread.
  • Lachesis. The allotter who measures out life. Lachesis is in the middle and decides what kind of life a person will lead and for how long.
  • Atropos. The last and oldest fate is the one who cannot be turned away—she cuts the thread when the time has come.

There’s an interesting parallel between the three fates and the three stages of research throughout a product’s life cycle:

  • Clotho would be trend research typically started earliest and carried out on the farthest horizon, about three years from now. Hear Janice de Jong explain the purpose of trend research, strategies on how to conduct this analysis and how trends influence the product life cycle.
  • Lachesis would be research around product ideas and concept exploration typically carried out a year or two before a product comes to market. Listen to Julia Thompson describe the goals of exploratory research, best practices for methodologies and how research influences product meaning.
  • Atropos  would be research on the product’s usability typically carried out in the months before the product is launched. Hear Susie Simon Daniels identify goals for usability research, best practices for studies and how usability research impacts the product being shipped out the door.

By weaving these three stages of research together, you’ll learn how to spin out a meaningful user experience. We’ll follow a product case study to show the research fates at play through the three stages of trends, exploration and usability research.

Sounds like fun, right? Register now!


Thursday March 20 , 2014
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, P2P Room
151 Charles St. W.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1H6

February 2014: UX Book Club comes to Waterloo Region!

Posted: January 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

For our February session, we’re handing over the keys to the uxWaterloo car to Katie Cerar and  Davis Neable, two members of the vibrant uxWaterloo community. They have a great initiative to introduce at this session. Take it away, Katie and Davis!

If you’re like us, January is a time for new projects, collaborations and hopes for making the year ahead the best yet. It’s also a time for trying out new activities, and we’ve got just the thing for you — come reboot your creative energy and get your brain thinking differently at UX Book Club Waterloo!

On Thursday February 20th at 7pm we’ll be holding the first ever UX Book Club Waterloo meetup, as a special UX Waterloo event. You’re invited to come out and discuss the chosen book with the rest of the UX community.

We’ll be meeting in the back room of Symposium in Waterloo, located at 2-4 King Street North (at the corner of King and Erb).

Our book this month will be See What I Mean by Kevin Cheng (Rosenfeld Books). You can buy the book online (hardcopy and digital) at and be sure to save 30% using our own discount code UXBCKW!see-what-i-mean-small

Here’s a quick synopsis:

Comics are a unique way to communicate, using both image and text to effectively demonstrate time, function, and emotion. Just as vividly as they convey the feats of superheroes, comics tell stories of your users and your products. Comics can provide your organization with an exciting and effective alternative to slogging through requirements documents and long reports. In See What I Mean, Kevin Cheng, OK/Cancel founder/cartoonist and founder of Off Panel Productions, will teach you how you can use comics as a powerful communication tool without trained illustrators. (from

All we ask is that you come ready to share something that really resonated with you and something that threw you for a loop. And, of course, if you’re not able to get through the book, no problem – you might still find you have something to contribute or learn!

Does that sound good to you? If so, please register for this event as it helps to make sure we have enough snacks etc.

We can’t wait to have you!

Katie Cerar (LinkedIn, @KatieCerar) Davis Neable (LinkedIn, @DavisN) —————-

Q. What is UX Book Club?

A. UX Book Club is a social gathering where we happen to talk about UX books. In a comfortable atmosphere with drinks and food, we’ll discuss a book through a UX lens. Whether you’re new to UX or an old pro, you can expect a lively and respectful debate, and you should come home with some new perspectives to inspire you in your practice. Try to come prepared with a few things you liked about the book, and one thing you did not agree with.

Q. Where will UX Book Club be held?

A. This UX Book Club event will be held at LOCATION as part of UX Waterloo. Future UX Book Clubs may be in pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, or event peoples’ houses! The comfier, the better.

Q. How often will you be holding UX Book Club meetups?

A. Right now we’re thinking of having them once every 3 months. However, we want to run them as often as works best with your schedule. Please send us any and all feedback you have – we’d love to hear from you.

Note that this event starts at 7:00pm and is happening at Symposium Café

Thursday February 20, 2014 7:00pm Symposium Café 2-4 King Street North Waterloo, ON N2J 2W7

January 2014: Designing a product for Kickstarter

Posted: December 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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Andrew Gardner is an industrial designer whose love of pens and magnets led to the creation of the Polar Pen, an ingenious product that took Kickstarter by storm. Starting with a modest goal of raising $14,000, the project ended up raising over $800,000 by the time it closed.

Andrew’s approach to the project, and the various hurdles that he faced along the way, make for a compelling story with, valuable insights into the process of designing and bringing a new product to market. He’ll be sharing his story with us this month, and it’s sure to be an enlightening session!

Andrew’s design firm, INDIEDESIGN, has worked on projects for a variety of organizations, including Canada’s Olympic team. The company’s stated mission is to “take ideas and dreams and transform them into reality”. Aim big!


Thursday January 16, 2014
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, P2P Room
151 Charles St. W.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1H6

December 2013: Best Practices in Accessible User Experience Design for Mobile Devices

Posted: November 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Designing simplified user experiences for complex and complicated products is hard work. Designing user experiences destined for consumption and interaction on the latest generation of mobile devices introduces slightly different challenges and constraints. Designing user experiences that can be used effectively and universally by customers of all shapes and sizes, abilities and disabilities, is an even more difficult venture that can be very challenging and rewarding for software engineers and UX practitioners. Join Greg Fields as he uses real world examples to explore the best practices and heuristics for creating mobile user experiences that are both accessible and usable. Adventurous attendees are welcome to bring in examples of their work for review and evaluation.

Greg Fields manages a portfolio of BlackBerry Handheld Software products and services at BlackBerry (nee Research In Motion), is a Certified Usability Analyst, remains an Interaction Designer hobbyist, and is generally a curious guy. He has led the introduction of accessible BlackBerry products and services over the last 7 years, led the institutionalization of Accessibility @ BlackBerry, has worked closely with end users in 100+ instances of user studies, is an innovator with 20+ patents in the area of Wireless/UI/Human Factors, and has contributed to international research and standards in the area of Human Factors.

Note that we’re meeting on a Tuesday this month!


Tuesday December 10, 2013
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, P2P Room
151 Charles St. W.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1H6

November 2013: Changing the way streets are designed

Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

This month, our special guest is Cory Bluhm, who is manager of downtown development for the City of Kitchener. Cory will be sharing insights about the thinking that went into the user experience of the downtown Kitchener streetscape.

For decades, streets in North America have been designed around utilitarian needs, rather than user experience. Durability, vehicular access and infrastructure servicing took precedence over creating spaces that are attractive and inviting. But in 2010, the City of Kitchener completed the transformation of King Street – one of the first streets in North America to be designed entirely around user experience. Now, King Street has become the model for other cities, like Toronto, Buffalo, Guelph and Niagara Falls, who are building new pedestrian-focused streets. Learn about the thinking behind the new King Street design including the not so obvious changes that have helped breathe life into this street. For example, why do the sidewalks seem wider when in actuality they got smaller? Why does the street seem lively at night, even at times when there aren’t many people around? But be warned, you may never look at a street the same way again.

Please note that we’re meeting at Kitchener City Hall for this event!


Thursday November 21, 2013
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Kitchener City Hall, Conestoga Room
200 King St. W.
Kitchener, ON

Here are some parking options for City Hall.

October 2013: The state of UX in Waterloo Region

Posted: October 7th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »


Thursday October 17, 2013
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, P2P Room
151 Charles St. W.
Kitchener, ON N2G 1H6

There’s no denying it: Kitchener-Waterloo is a happening, hopping place to be these days. We’re known as one of North America’s hotspots for technology startups. And despite some big questions about our anchor company (we’re still rooting for you, Blackberry!), new and exciting businesses are choosing Waterloo region as home. In the last 2 weeks alone, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced that Square is opening an office, and Google has decided to expand its presence by setting up a Motorola Mobility office.

With all this activity, we’re seeing a heightened interest in and demand for user experience design. Join us for a lively discussion about the state of UX in Waterloo region. If you’re new to the area, it’ll be a good introduction to the scene; if you’re an old-timer, come prepared to share some of your insights and war stories. We’ll cover such questions as:

  • What local companies are interested in UX?
  • Which of them have UX people/teams on staff?
  • What kind of work is being done by local UX’ers?
  • How has UX changed in our region over the last 10 years?
  • How do we see our landscape evolving in the near future?
  • What could we do to strengthen our local UX community?

Bring your questions and your own experiences. We look forward to a great discussion!

Fluxible draws experts to Waterloo Region from around the world

Posted: September 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General | Tags: , | No Comments »

Fluxible:  A User Experience EventUser experience has become a familiar phrase to just about everyone in the technology business. For companies looking to distinguish their products in a crowded marketplace, UX is the not-so-secret weapon for turning potential customers into raving fans.

But how do you create a great user experience? How do you set up a team or an organization to deliver it? How do you even break into the field as a career?

All these questions and many more will be addressed on September 14–15 at Fluxible, the UX party disguised as a conference. This is the second edition of Fluxible, a home-grown event in downtown Kitchener that has already developed a reputation outside Canada for its solid content and quirky sense of fun. Last year’s inaugural event was a resounding success, with cheers of encouragement from the audience when asked if they want it again in 2013. Well, here we are!

This year, you’ll enjoy talks and half-day workshops from some of the most respected and knowledgeable experts in their fields. Topics include the culture of design teams, the power of metaphor in design, starting out in UX, design that drives action, Lean UX, and much more.

With a mix of excellent content and ample opportunity to meet UX practitioners from around the world, Fluxible provides an immersive and enlightening weekend for everyone. Add a healthy dose of live music, art, and hand planes — and a great experience gets even better.

Whether you’re an aspiring designer, a practicing researcher, a hiring manager or startup founder, or just someone with an interest in learning how to design great experiences, Fluxible has something for you.

And it gets better. Fluxible has provided a special “uxWaterloo” promotional code that unlocks a $200 discount off regular registration. Don’t miss this chance at an exceptional UX learning opportunity. Register today!


StartupWeekend KW looking for UX mentors

Posted: September 2nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, General | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Startup Weekend returns to KW on September 20-22, 2013 at the Communitech Hub. If you missed it last year, here’s your chance to get involved with a fun weekend-long, hands-on experience in which new startup ideas take form and come to life.

Communitech is looking for some UXers to participate as mentors during the event. Lend your expertise to the participating teams, make new friends and connections, and help create something awesome. Mentoring doesn’t necessarily require a commitment of the entire weekend. For more information or to express your interest, please email KW (at) startupweekend (dot) org.


About Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend-long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!