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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]

Please register for this free event


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]

Please register for this free event


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


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.

Please register for this free event


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.


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!

Please register for this free event


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!

Please register for this free event


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

September 2015: A design case study from Christie

Posted: August 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »


We have something extra special this month: our good friends at Christie Digital are hosting uxWaterloo at their Kitchener headquarters!

Christie is known for their leading digital projectors, used around the world in cinemas, offices, conferences, and more. And while the content that’s projected onto big screens is, of course, what’s of interest to most people — we’ll instead be digging into the question of how do you control the projected image?

Join Chris Kirby and Alan Woo from the Christie design team as they show how the team went about creating a remote control for a new projector. You’ll see and learn about:

  • Examples of early to late-stage physical prototypes
  • Their design process
  • Incorporating user research into the project
  • Many logistical details of bringing a design to life in a large organization

This uxWaterloo session is part of a full week of UX events in Waterloo Region, culminating in Fluxible, which is happening on the weekend. Celebrate UX in our community!

Parking and building entrance

Please click the photo below for a zoomed-in aerial view of where to park and enter the building at Christie.


RSVP required

Note that registration will be checked at the door. Christie does some amazing stuff, and they need to be careful with visitors to their facility! We manage our monthly events at, so please join us there and register for this free event.


Tuesday September 22, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
809 Wellington Street North
Kitchener, Ontario

Announcing the September UX Book Club event and a new UX Book Club Meetup group

Posted: August 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

UX Book Club KW has run for its inaugural year under the uxWaterloo umbrella, but now it’s time for us to spread our wings and branch out on our own. Read below for information about our next Book Club event and how to sign up for our new meetup group at Many thanks to Bob and Mark at uxWaterloo for supporting us over our first year!


With a lot of summer reading time still to go, why not settle into your beach chair or hammock with our September UX Book Club pick. At our next meeting, we’ll be discussing Abby Covert’s recent book, How To Make Sense Of Any Mess, a book about, “information architecture for everybody”.

We all face messes or situations where the interactions between people and information are confusing or full of difficulties. Who doesn’t bump up against messes of information and people every day? Especially in a world that’s getting more complex, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information we encounter. This book provides a seven step process for making sense of any mess. Each chapter contains a set of lessons as well as workbook exercises architected to help you to work through your own mess.

Many of you have commented how you’ve enjoyed having the author join us. We completely agree and are thrilled to say that Abby will be joining us live and in person.

Finally, from now on we’ll be using to manage book club. Join us there now!

Please register at for this free event as spaces are limited.

Wednesday September 23rd, 2015
7:00 to 8:30 pm
Location: TBD

If you can’t make it out to UX Book Club (and even if you can!), be sure to catch Abby at Fluxible 2015, September 26-27th. Her talk, Time as Material, explores time and how — perhaps more than any other force — it determines if we will succeed or if we will fail.

And if you want to hear more about UX Book Club events, please join our Meetup group ( as a member. New events will be announced through the meetup group in the future.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Katie and Davis

August 2015: Informal pub meetup

Posted: July 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky. You can also enjoy this August this August uxWaterloo session that features informal talk and drinks. We do a couple of these every summer and the laid-back atmosphere and conversations are a welcome addition to any summer schedule. Join us!

And, of course, count on hearing from Bob and Mark with an an update on Fluxible 2015.

Please register for this free event


Thursday August 20, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Patio at The Barley Works
(upstairs in the Huether Hotel)
59 King St. North
Waterloo, Ontario

July 2015: Informal pub meetup

Posted: July 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

It’s time to savour that summer feeling with a July uxWaterloo session that features informal talk and drinks. 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 2015.

Please register for this free event


Thursday July 16, 2015
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Patio at The Barley Works
(upstairs in the Huether Hotel)
59 King St. North
Waterloo, Ontario

June 2015: UX Show and Tell

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

Have you ever wondered what others in our UX community are working on? What challenges they’ve wrestled with, and what accomplishments they’re proud of? Join us this month to satisfy that curiosity while connecting with your peers in the region.

Event Format

We’ll schedule a series of short presentations followed by round-table discussions with the whole group. Presenters will show examples of their work with the purpose of either:

  • receiving useful feedback, or
  • sharing effective solutions they’ve created to design problems.

If you don’t want to bring anything to show, you’re more than welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.


Presentation slots are open to anyone who RSVPs. We may not have time to accept all applications, so please tell us a bit about what you have in mind when you RSVP (Meetup will provide a place for you to do this). We’ll then select presentations to ensure a good variety that sparks interesting discussions.

Note that people of all experience levels are invited to participate: you don’t have to be a seasoned expert to show off what you’re working on!

What to Present

Feel free to show deliverables from your current work, old jobs, side projects, or anything else you need help with or think could benefit others.

Drafts, work in progress, and finished products are welcome from across the UX spectrum from research through design in all its flavours. All we ask is that you have something tangible to show and that it will be of general interest (in other words, your demo won’t require knowledge of a niche domain).

Examples include but aren’t limited to:

  • Personas, scenarios, and other research artifacts
  • Concept and mental model diagrams
  • Journey maps
  • Wireframes
  • Visual comps
  • Prototypes
  • Finished products

If you have paper artifacts, we suggest capturing digital versions (even photos) so they can be displayed on a projector for all to see. Wireless internet will be available.

Please RSVP for this free event

Remember, we’re now using to manage our monthly sessions. Join us there!


Thursday June 25, 2015
Boltmade Inc.
187 King St North
2nd Floor
Waterloo, ON
N2J 1R1

[View on Google Maps]