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User Experience Design at Microsoft: Rescheduled to February 2008

Posted: December 11th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Originally scheduled for November/07 but canceled due to weather, we’ve rescheduled Qixing Zeng’s presentation to February 21, 2008.

RSVPs requested for Roger Martin's visit on December 20

Posted: December 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

We’ve reconfirmed with Roger Martin that he’ll visit with us on December 20, so be sure to mark that date in your calendar. Roger will be speaking about “Design Thinking: The Next Competitive Advantage.” Click for more details such as directions and Roger’s abstract.Everyone is invited to this free event. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Wanda Eby at Communitech so we can gauge attendance and book an appropriately-sized room at the Accelerator Centre.

Seminar: Towards Usable and Useful Multi-Touch Systems

Posted: December 5th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | 1 Comment »

Thanks to Stacey Scott, Assistant Professor in Systems Design Engineering at UW, for the heads-up about this upcoming seminar.

Time and Place

Fri, Dec 14, 10:00-11:00amUniversity of Waterloo, J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall (RCH), Rm 309Speaker: Daniel Wigdor, University of Toronto


In this talk, I will describe our early-stages work seeking to begin to move past the “wow” factor for multi-touch devices, towards systems which are truly usable by and useful to their users. I will describe our table-centric interactive space, and our efforts to apply the results and techniques of various fields of psychology to build a usable multi-surface collaborative environment. I will also describe a new paradigm for multi-touch, the two-sided input device, and our table and portable implementations of this class of system. Finally, I will describe the next steps of our project, including large display interaction for focused multi-user collaboration.

About the Speaker

Daniel Wigdor is a Ph.D. candidate at the DGP lab in the department of computer science at the University of Toronto, and a fellow at Harvard’s Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC). Since 2005, he has worked at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) as part of the DiamondSpace project, working to extend tabletop collaboration through the addition of ancillary vertical displays.

UX Social Event, Thursday Nov 29

Posted: November 26th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Since last week’s presentation was canceled due to bad weather, we’ve decided to organize an informal get-together for anyone interested in talking about User Experience over a drink or snack.

Join us this Thursday, November 29 at 5:30 pm at:

425 King Street North, Waterloo

We’ve reserved a table in the lounge/bar area, so look for the rowdy group getting all worked up over product design, marketing, usability, and so on…

November 2007 event CANCELLED due to weather

Posted: November 22nd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

We’re being hit by the season’s first pseudo-winter-storm today and, as a result, have decided to cancel today’s talk on “User Experience at Microsoft.” Our presenter, Qixing Zheng, needs to travel from Mississauga, which is a dicey proposition given today’s weather.

We’ll reschedule Qixing for January or February. In the meantime, mark December 20 on your calendar for our visit from Roger Martin.

Still interested in getting together during November?

We could arrange an informal UX Cocktail hour at a local bar or restaurant. If you like this idea, please fire a note to the group coordinators at and we’ll announce plans should they be made.

Slides from October's event "The UX Design Process: Unplugged"

Posted: October 23rd, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Had a visit recently from an appliance repair technician? If so, you’ll appreciate how even this profession has gone digital, with devices for ordering parts and processing invoices from inside customers’ homes. At last week’s event, Sandra Loop of Sybase iAnywhere led a discussion about the process of designing for the user experience. And to make things interesting, she grounded our discussion in a case study: design the user interface of a new mobile device for appliance repair technicians.

Below, you’ll find Sandra’s slides. They include a list of UX-related activities that we identified and discussed (some at length) during the presentation. Thanks again for a fun and very interactive session, Sandra!

[slideshare id=143142&doc=ux-design-process-unplugged-1193147903555623-4&w=425]

Posting User Experience jobs in the Waterloo region

Posted: October 16th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Jobs | 4 Comments »

Our plan for this site is to add a “Jobs” page, with listings or pointers to UX-related jobs in the area. If you’re an employer and would like to promote an open position with your organization, please send your job posting to the UX group coordinators. We’ll get it online for you.

DesignCampWaterloo on November 8

Posted: October 16th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

November 8 is World Usability Day. If you’d like to participate locally, look no further than DesignCampWaterloo on the UW campus from 2:00 to 7:00 pm. Details follow.

What is DesignCampWaterloo?

DesignCampWaterloo is an informal, open-forum opportunity for student, professional and academic enthusiasts to gather, talk, and show off their work to like-minded folks. If you’ve got digital designs – web, interface, or graphic – we want to see ‘em. If you don’t, we still want to see you! Being an open forum event, DesignCamp is as much about the audience as it is about the presenters.

This year, DesignCamp is proud to be hosted by World Usability Day 2007 and to welcome WIHIR as our Design Challenge presenters.

DesignCamp is a great opportunity to show off innovative work, get feedback from the audience, and connect with fellow designers. Plus, it’s a great chance for students to meet potential employers from some of Waterloo’s best companies.

When is DesignCampWaterloo?

Thursday, November 8, 2007
2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
University of Waterloo
Student Life Centre

How much does DesignCampWaterloo cost?

Nothing! DesignCampWaterloo is free and open to everyone who is interested. (Really! Everyone!)

8th Annual Human Factors Inter-University Workshop

Posted: October 1st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

The region’s hopping these days with UX-related events. Aside from our own monthly events, there’s Design Camp Waterloo on November 8 (planned nicely to coordinate with World Usability Day) and now the Human Factors Inter-University Workshop at UW. Here are the details as provided by Jennifer Jeon of the Advanced Interface Design Lab (AIDL).


We would like to invite you to join us at the 8th Annual Human Factors Inter-University Workshop hosted by the University of Waterloo. This workshop is an informative yet informal event held yearly, bringing students and researchers together from local area institutions to share research progress and ideas in human factors engineering.

Date and location

November 17, 2007
9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Centre for Environmental and Information Technologies
EIT Room 1105
University of Waterloo


Registration for this full-day workshop is free! You just need to register by sending an email to with your name and affiliation by October 12, 2007.


Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact us by email if your company is interested in sponsoring this event.

What does it take to enter the User Experience field?

Posted: September 21st, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Resources | 1 Comment »

At last night’s UX ChitChat event, one of the questions we discussed was how to support people interested in breaking into the field as a practitioner. We concluded with the observation that it might seem like a daunting challenge! UX covers a broad range of activities across design, business, and technology — so where to start? How to become expert in those topics? Is that even reasonable?

The short answer: no, it’s not reasonable. UX practitioners are “T-shaped”, meaning they are conversant in a breadth of activities, but go deep and become expert at only a few. In this article from Fast Company, Tim Brown of Ideo describes the result:

“They are able to explore insights from many different perspectives and recognize patterns of behavior that point to a universal human need. That’s what you’re after at this point — patterns that yield ideas.”

Back in 2004, Peter Boersma wrote a blog entry worth checking out, in which he explores the T-shaped model in depth from the perspective of information architecture and user experience (complete with pictures, even!).

Last night, we also shared some thoughts on the qualities and characteristics of UX practitioners. In the course of conversation, we touched upon these two resources:

Be sure to check out Qixing Zeng’s blog post from this morning, in which she shares her thoughts as a result of last night’s discussion. Her post includes links to some other resources around the question of what does it take to be a great UX designer?