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Beer and design conversation go together quite well

Posted: December 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

Well, the weather last Tuesday was frightful, with freezing rain turning area roads into sheets of ice. Even so, 6 brave souls found their way to McMullan’s on King for our second annual product potluck, and the resulting evening was delightful.

The products (either actual artifacts or printed representations) included a label maker, a musical shaker (much like a güiro), a beautiful field camera with a wooden body and brass fittings, a Graflex Grafmatic film holder, a magnetic strip interface used in hospitals, MP3 player ear buds, and a compact musical instrument tuner.

The range of products, and the curious and interested folks around the table, led to some wide-ranging discussions. In addition to the merits of the various product designs, we also had a great discussion about eye/face tracking systems for use in user research.

There’s a great user experience community in Waterloo Region, and an event like this really showcases the design thinking that is available to share. News about our January event will appear soon.

(December 2009) Annual Product Potluck

Posted: December 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Tuesday December 15, 2009
5:30 to whenever!
McMullan’s on Kin
56 King Street North, Waterloo (enter off Princess Street)

‘Tis the season to share, admire, complain, laugh, eat, and drink.

Last year we held our first “product potluck”, a chance to swap stories and get hands-on with some fun and frustrating products. It was so much fun that we’ve decided to make it an annual December holiday event.

Please join us on December 15 for a potluck with a twist: instead of food, we’re asking you to bring a product. Make it a product that you either love or hate, because we’ll be sharing stories with each other about these products. And the juicier the story, the better!

Some guidelines and tips:

  • You’ll have a few minutes to introduce your product and describe what you love or hate about it.
  • If the product you want to share isn’t something you can physically demonstrate at the event (like a particle accelerator, a Wankel rotary engine, or a table saw), then bring something that helps you talk about the product. If you’d like to share software or a website, a laptop would be best, but a printed screenshot will do the job if technology is scarce.

This year, we’re meeting at McMullan’s on King — because what’s a potluck without food! (Note the UX Group is volunteer-run and without a budget, so plan to pick up your own tab.)

RSVPs requested

If you’re hoping to attend, please help us make an appropriate reservation by RSVP’ing to Wanda Eby at Communitech. Thanks! Everyone’s invited, so spread the word.

Lot’s of talk around big impact ideas

Posted: November 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »
Things that will have an impact on UX

Things that will have an impact on UX

Yesterday’s UX Group meeting was a wonderful session talking about things that will have an impact on UX. Everybody was asked to write three items down on index cards, which were then placed on the wall one at a time and talked about by the group. Location-based media, aging population, super-sized displays, and mobile health apps were just some of the cards that ended up on the wall during the session, and the ideas led to much lively discussion. It was also great to see some new faces at the meeting.

(November 2009) What will have a big impact on user experience?

Posted: November 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

This month we want to explore the factors and issues that will have an impact on user experience design in the near future. As the world goes mobile, what does it mean for users? If everything is accessible, how can it all be managed? What does the move from point-and-click to tap-and-pinch mean? Bring your own issues and questions, and share them in a group discussion with our inquisitive and curious UX community. If you have online videos or other resources to share, let’s have a look at them.

If you hope to attend, please help us anticipate numbers by RSVP’ing to Wanda Eby at Communitech. Thanks, and hope to see you! Oh, and please let people know about this group and this event.

Thursday November 19, 2009
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
Meeting Room #2
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo

Yes, you can sit in a chair and learn something

Posted: October 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Facinated by personasOur most recent meeting featured an informative presentation from Bob Barlow-Busch on personas, and there was some great discussion amongst the attendees on the nuances of their value. As you can see, there was a good turnout on hand at Primal Fusion (location of this month’s event).

(October 2009) Personas: Love them or hate them, but at least understand them!

Posted: October 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Thursday, October 15, 2009
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Please note the special LOCATION this month:
Primal Fusion Inc.
7-258 King Street North, Waterloo
Need to park? You may park in any spot around the building, regardless of whether it’s marked “Primal Fusion” — and yes, that includes the bizarre diagonal spots by the sidewalk!

Personas in product design

Personas are a type of user profile that have become a common tool in the product design process, although you’ll find both advocates and skeptics of their value. Done well and at appropriate times, personas can galvanize teams around a product’s vision. Done poorly, they are little more than an exercise in creative writing.

In this session, Robert Barlow-Busch (Twitter @becubed) will share case studies and stories from the trenches to illustrate how to get the most from personas. What exactly is a persona? When are they useful — and not? How do you actually create them, and what do you do with them afterwards?

RSVPs requested

If you’re hoping to attend, please help us anticipate numbers by RSVP’ing to Wanda Eby at Communitech. Thanks!

(September 2009) Design Interactionary: Get hands-on and have crazy fun with a series of extreme design challenges!

Posted: September 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Thursday September 17, 2009
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
Meeting Room #2
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo

In February of this year, we enjoyed a visit from Scott Berkun, who filled the RIM Theatre for a lively discussion of the myths of innovation. This month, Scott’s with us again in spirit as we kick off the 2009-2010 season with a fun event that he first imagined almost 10 years ago: the design interactionary.

What is a design interactionary?

In a design interactionary, small teams of typically 4 people work together on solving a design problem. The catch? You have only 10 minutes. The pressure of producing a completed design concept in only 10 minutes is, as you might guess, quite insane. But it’s also insanely fun!

This event was originally designed to take place on-stage during large conferences. Audience members could witness design teams work through their challenges live, one team after another. Judges would score each team’s efforts and declare a winner. If you’re curious to learn more, check out this essay on Scott’s website.

How we’re adapting the interactionary format

We’re changing the event format slightly, to make it more suitable for a smaller group in which everyone can participate. Our plan is to form teams of 3 or 4 people. We’ll still get only 10 minutes per design challenge, but the teams will work simultaneously. There’ll be no scoring and we’ll have no judges aside from other participants, since we’ll be presenting our final work to each other.

We hope to complete at least 3 design challenges. They’ll be fun and won’t require any specialized knowledge, so everyone is welcome to participate!

Want to suggest a design challenge?

If you’ve got a great idea for a design challenge, please email it to uxgroup (at) gmail (dot) com. We’ll keep the challenges secret until the last minute!

RSVPs requested

If you’re hoping to attend, please help us anticipate numbers by RSVP’ing to Wanda Eby at Communitech. Thanks!

Video of Scott Berkun's February 2009 talk in Waterloo

Posted: August 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Last February Scott Berkun was in Waterloo and gave an entertaining talk to a full house of designers, developers, and anyone else interested in hearing about Scott’s experiences. The result was a talk in which the audience engaged in a wide-ranging discussion with the speaker. UX Group stalwart Henry Chen has uploaded a video of the event. Enjoy! (Sorry about the lack of embedding. Couldn’t seem to make it work!)


(August 2009) Summer fun on the patio

Posted: August 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Thursday August 20, 2009
5:30 pm to… whenever!
Huether Hotel 3rd floor patio (cash bar)
59 King Street North, Waterloo
[Directions on the Huether’s website]

Join us for drinks and conversation

We’re keeping things casual for August, lounging in the (hopefully) warm sun on the Huether’s patio. If you’re interested in design or user experience, come hang out with folks who share your interest and we’ll talk shop.

RSVP required

We’ll be making a reservation under the name “UX group”, so please RSVP if you hope to attend by sending an email to Wanda Eby at Communitech.

I am IxDA. You are, too. So please support IxDA during this week's fundraiser!

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: General | No Comments »

This week, the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) is asking its members to chip in with a small donation to the organization. Well, that’s us folks! Please take a moment to learn about the goal of this fundraiser and then, most importantly, to make a small contribution. Through the support and generosity of IxDA (and of course Communitech, our local sponsor), the UX Group has grown from an initial experiment two years ago to a community of over 200 people — at absolutely no cost to our members.

Contributions are needed to upgrade IxDA’s technology infrastructure

This blog post by the IxDA board explains the goal of this fundraiser in detail. Here’s an overview:

For the price of a cup of coffee you can help IxDA deliver our next-generation platform to serve the needs of the interaction design community. We can’t do it without your help.

Since its inception as a mailing list in 2003, IxDA now supports over 10,000 discussion list subscribers, 80 IxDA Local Groups from around the world, an annual conference (with a regional conference on the way in South America), several budding community initiatives and over 12,000 people affiliated via LinkedIn. Despite our ambitions, our current technology infrastructure is no longer able to support our needs, nor expand to meet our future ones.

Please chip in! Visit IxDA’s website to make your contribution. It takes only a few minutes.