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June 2017: Designing for business goals

Posted: June 6th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

As designers, it is often second-nature for us to advocate for and empathize with end-users and customers. But in order for our solutions to be robust and sustainable, it is crucial to empathize with our business stakeholders as well.

In this talk, Computer Scientist, business-grad and designer, Ali Rushdan Tariq, will be discussing how listening to and tailoring our solutions to business goals will make us better designers. While he cannot guarantee that this talk will take the place of an MBA education, he will share a few tips and lessons learned from business school and argue how they can be applied to the practise of design without feeling like losing your soul.

Ali is a Design Lead at the Manulife RED Lab, where he helps untangle business problems through the lens of user-centered design. Previously, after earning his MBA from Ivey Business School, he decided to ditch the corporate life in favour of running a startup out of Velocity Garage. His writings on creativity, innovation, and design have been published on various outlets including Fast Company and the InVision blog.

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Thursday June 15, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
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May 2017: This is not a talk about alt text

Posted: April 28th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Often discussions about IT accessibility focus on how markup, such as alt text, can be added by developers to enhance accessibility. While good markup is important, it won’t ensure your interfaces are truly inclusive. In today’s presentation, Janna Cameron will share different approach, a design-centered, outside-in way to make truly exceptional experiences for people with disabilities. She’ll bring in examples from popular web applications.

Janna is a Senior Designer at the Manulife RED lab. Janna has been working in the UX accessibility field for 10 years — and has spoken about the subject in numerous venues, including for the US National Federation of the Blind Web Accessibility Training Day, the Canadian Marketing Association and EASI.

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Thursday May 18, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 2nd floor
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April 2017: Designing for a billion Gmail users

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

In February 2016, Google announced that Gmail, its cloud-based email service, now serves one billion monthly active users. With use-cases ranging from business to consumer, across various countries and platforms, Gmail is designed and built to provide reliable, secure communication so its users can be more productive and collaborative.

In this talk, Kylie Poppen will share personal lessons and anecdotes learned as a result of designing for those billion. Kylie is an interaction designer on Gmail, focusing on mobile clients and security features. Previously she was an interaction designer and frontend developer at bebop where she worked on building complex enterprise applications. Kylie earned a bachelor’s degree in Symbolic Systems with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction from Stanford University.

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

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Tuesday April 25, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 2nd floor
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March 2017: Engaging people with dementia

Posted: February 16th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

As a growing number of technologies emerge to help people with dementia maintain their independence and quality of life, there’s an increasing opportunity to give people with dementia a voice in the development of technologies intended for their use.

Join Jennifer Krul, of Emmetros, to learn how they approach user research when developing technology that makes it easier for people with dementia to speak for themselves. Jennifer and her team are fully committed to including and engaging people with dementia and their care partners in many aspects of our business, including product design, testing, and commercialization.

Engaging people with dementia matters to Jennifer and her team. They’ve partnered with Applied Health Sciences (AHS) and the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) at the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG) on a research project exploring best practices for engaging people with dementia in design, testing, and commercialization of technology intended for their use.

Today, Jennifer shares what they’ve learned.

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Thursday March 16, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 2nd floor
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February 2017: How FreshBooks persuaded its customers to accept radical change

Posted: January 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Change can be hard. Join Aaron Wright and Jeff Kraemer as they take us on a journey of change at Freshbooks:

At FreshBooks, we realized that we had to reinvent our 10-year-old product; it was inflexible, and riddled with tech- and UX-debt. But we had a problem: our customers generally loved the old product. So, we designed and built a new product in stealth. We tested and iterated every week for almost two years, until we had a product we believed our customers would love.

But how to get them to switch? Most companies just push users to “upgrade,” but the new product had fewer features—isn’t that a downgrade? Lots of companies force users to change, but we heard loud and clear that our customers needed to be in control. And we’re determined to give our users extraordinary experiences, so what’s an extraordinary “change” experience?

This is the story of how we learned just how much our customers hate change, and how we persuaded them to change anyways. We’ll go into detail on how we tackled this as a design problem, starting with phone call interviews in which we simply told them a new FreshBooks was coming, and listened. Then, onto a technique from the Lean Startup framework called the “Concierge MVP” that gave us cheap and early insight into how our customers would react. You’ll also hear about our Lean UX process, which gives our designers a way to pilot and test radical changes, validate them with our customers through usability testing, and iterate from their findings.

About the presenters

Aaron Wright stumbled into the field of UX while pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at York University. Originally just trying hone his web design and app-building skills, he soon learned that there was, in fact, an entire field devoted to the study of user experience itself and immediately changed focus. And hasn’t looked back. Now a UX Designer at FreshBooks since 2012, he’s livin’ the dream of taming complexity and trying to make boring work (like accounting) as close to fun as humanly possible.

Jeff Kraemer ran his first usability test back in 2001; this was before screen-recording software, so recording the test meant pointing a VHS videocamera at the screen. Since then, he’s spent time specializing in content strategy and instructional design, but he really loves being a UX generalist. Previously at Workopolis and Usability Matters, Jeff is now Principal UX Designer at FreshBooks.

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Thursday February 16, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
[View on Google Maps]


January 2017: Researching the Kano Model

Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

In a fast-paced agile environment, UX professionals often pull from their well-established toolbox of tried and true methods and practices to quickly and effectively solve user problems. However, it is sometimes necessary to seek out alternative methods which satisfy the unique needs of a particular project. In this month’s session, Erin Steed and Tony Bergstrom of D2l share their experience with the Kano model.

The Kano model, a customer satisfaction model created by a Japanese academic, is used to identify the delighters, must-haves and less relevant aspects of a user’s experience with a design. To evaluate the Kano model as an effective tool for an upcoming project, the product design team at D2L tested it with a feature-rich prototype which already had significant qualitative feedback. Through experimentation and iteration, the model proved useful by quantifying qualitative results, validating individual features and informing business decisions.

Tony and Erin will discuss why D2L chose to investigate this model, explain how the data is compiled and provide insights into lessons learned along the way.

Erin Steed is a user experience designer with degrees in psychology and adult education, as well as a diploma in graphic design. As Senior Product Designer at D2L, she applies her interest in user research and passion for the design process by creating delightful and intuitive experiences for educators and learners.

Tony Bergstrom is a Senior User Researcher with graduate degrees in Computer Science focusing on Human-Computer interaction. Working at D2L, he spends time finding ways to investigates questions and provides insight into user expectations. He favors approaches that balance both qualitative and quantitative feedback because it demonstrates more clearly what people do and what people think.

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Thursday January 19, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
[View on Google Maps]


December 2016: Creating a brew pub experience at Abe Erb

Posted: December 6th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

As many of you know, we’ll sometimes host uxWaterloo sessions at a pub where we can enjoy great conversations about UX and related topics in a casual atmosphere. We’ve done this at many locations over the years, but for December we’re doing something special.

Abe Erb is a Waterloo brew pub that we’ve visited in the past, most recently for our UXtoberfest session back in October. Abe Erb is about to open a brand new  location at the historic Tannery building in downtown Kitchener, and anticipation is high within certain circles in the community. Join us for a special private tour of the new space, and hear from co-founder Tony Theodosiou as he shares with us the thinking that goes into creating a delightful brew pub experience, lessons learned along the way, and new things to expect from the new location.

Note the special day and time for this event: Sunday December 18, at 1:00pm in the afternoon!

You can find Abe Erb on Twitter.

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Sunday December 18, 2016
1:00 to 2:30 pm

Abe Erb (Tannery location)
151 Charles Street West
Kitchener, Ontario


November 2016: UX in the Wild

Posted: November 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Recently, KW’s very own Sarah Klassen-Rempel gave this talk at the UX Cambridge conference in the United Kingdom. Please join us as Sarah gives a hometown reprise!

One year ago, my idealistic view of what it would be like to work as a UX designer in the real world was shattered. I went from being surrounded by like-minded people, learning more UX and being able to approach projects my own way, to being the first and only UI/UX designer at a transportation management software company. It meant I needed to learn a lot of things, fast. And the things that I did learn were not things that I thought I would be learning when I started the job.

This talk, at its core, is about those things. The things I needed to learn and implement quickly — in order to go from drawing icons and being called the “UIX designer” to running sessions at a user group conference and visiting customers to talk directly to our users.

On the surface, this talk is about what it’s like to go from being a full-time student to a full-time UX designer — in a place that has never had one before — and the unexpected challenges that came with that experience. But it’s also a reminder that UX isn’t always glamorous, a celebration of how far UX has come as a discipline, and a case study or testimony of how important mentorship can be.

The first time I did a version of this talk was at UX Cambridge this September (that’s Cambridge, England, not Ontario), and I am really excited to have the opportunity to share it with my home community.

Connect with Sarah on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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Thursday November 17, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm

Communitech Hub
Roddenberry Theatre on the 3rd floor
151 Charles Street West
Kitchener, Ontario


October 2016: UXtoberfest is back!

Posted: October 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

September was a busy month on the UX calendar in Waterloo Region. Fluxible 2016 delivered a full week of events that delivered plenty of insights into practice, products, and the people behind them.

Let’s get together and celebrate Autumn with our second UXtoberfest session. We’ll meet at Abe Erb in Uptown Waterloo and together talk about all of the UX goodness that will fit!

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Thursday October 20, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario


September 2016: Fluxible, Canada’s UX Festival

Posted: September 6th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events, General | No Comments »

September is a busy month in the UX community here in Waterloo Region. The fifth edition of Fluxible is happening!

Started as a two-day conference back in 2012, for 2016 Fluxible has grown into Canada’s UX Festival, a week-long affair that runs September 19 through 25! The Festival comprises Fluxible Conference, Fluxible Workshops, and Fluxible Meetups, with each providing some fantastic opportunities to learn and to meet UX folks in the community.

We think there’s something for everyone, and rather than create a single uxWaterloo event for September, we’ve decided to  suggest instead that you look at the various Fluxible events and see which ones appeal the most. Go check them out!