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(April 2011) Confessions of a qualitative girl in a quant-filled world at RIM

Posted: March 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

In recent uxWaterloo events we’ve heard from Adam Baker on how Google uses large-value sampling to drive design decisions and  heard Sam Ladner discuss the merits of qualitative vs. quantitative methods. Now, come and experience some of Tammy teWinkel’s reality at RIM in trying to deliver qualitative user experience insight to quantitative-based communities. Can qualitative data be used with quantitative data? What works; what doesn’t – for the corporation? What works, what doesn’t – for the user experience group? Ultimately, what works for the user?

Tammy is a user experience researcher, currently enjoying professional life as a User Experience Architect at RIM. Tammy has been with RIM for three years, but before that has had the opportunity to work in a number of different environments including software development companies, agencies, and, as a consultant with small interaction design firms. That experience has provided the opportunity to practice user experience across a wide variety of applications, services, and technologies providing deep insight into the practice and process of making software more usable for people.

Tuesday April 19, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo


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(March 30, 2011)- Design Meets Efficiency in Waterloo Mixer

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

uxWaterloo’s very own Robert Barlow-Busch is going to be speaking at next week’s  Design Meets Efficiency in Waterloo Mixer!
Pivot Design Group is hosting this event and it will be a great chance to discuss discuss how we as designers can really begin to think about designing more efficiently. Network among colleagues and friends in the Waterloo area and share in open discussions with industry professionals. With 5 ideas and 5 images, prominent, local speakers will discuss the idea of Efficiency in Design as it relates to design in the 2010’s.

Please check out the details for this event and we hope to see you there!
List of speakers & Registration:
When: Wednesday, March 30,  5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Caesar Martini’s – 140 University Ave. W, Unit 1A, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

(March 2011) 7-Minute Soapbox on User Experience

Posted: March 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Tuesday March 22, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm

Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo

An evening of bite-sized ideas

This month, we’re harking back to our roots to repeat one of the very first events we held in 2007: the 7-minute soapbox. At this fast-paced event, we’re giving people a chance to share ideas about UX — for no more than seven minutes each.

If you prefer simply to take it all in, you’re welcome to participate as an audience member. But of course you’re sure to have the most fun by stepping onto the soapbox yourself!


You get up to seven minutes on the soapbox to talk about anything related to user experience. At seven minutes: BZZZZZZT! You’re done. After each soapbox talk, we’ll spend a few minutes in discussion or Q&A.

Visual aids are not required, but feel free to use them if you’d like. We’ll have a laptop hooked up to a projector and speakers. If you have a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation, bring it along on a USB drive or email it to in advance. The laptop will also be connected to the Internet if you’d like to demonstrate something online. Available browsers include Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.


Anything goes, as long as it’s related to user experience. Obvious choices might include design (product, Web, interaction, industrial), usability, and information architecture, but please don’t feel limited by those examples. Our field draws from so many disciplines that we couldn’t possibly list them all.

Want some ideas? Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

  • Question something you’ve read recently.
  • Make observations about current trends.
  • Predict the future.
  • Share a design problem you’re facing.
  • Rant about a device you don’t like.
  • Effuse about your favorite product.
  • Show some results from a usability test.
  • Relate an experience from work.
  • Ask the crowd for advice on improving something.
  • Perform an interpretive dance on applying game mechanics to enterprise software. (Someone please do this, it’d be a real crowd pleaser.)

No sales pitches, please!

Besides the 7-minute time limit, that’s our only other rule. Please do not sell anything. The goal of this event is to share ideas.

You’re welcome to demonstrate something you’ve worked on. In fact, we love hearing from each other in this way. But please do so in the spirit of teaching or sharing ideas: use your work to illustrate a more general theme or issue about UX.

RSVP and grab a soapbox timeslot

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March Recap – Creative Thinking Hacks with Scott Berkun

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Our latest event was an exciting success, bringing uxWaterloo attendees face-to-face with Scott Berkun for an unstructured and exciting lunch-hour dialogue on the theme of Creative Thinking Hacks. Scott is the author of two bestselling books, Making Things Happen (formerly titled The Art of Project Management) and The Myths of Innovation. The inspiring setting of Quarry Integrated Communications provided a backdrop for this event.

The format of the event was similar to Scott’s previous talk at uxWaterloo on The Myths of Innovation, where all of the content was based on questions from the audience.

Scott started the event off by giving a brief talk on who he was and what his opinions were on creative thinking, before opening the floor to questions from the audience. He gave advice and told stories about how creativity and ideas happen, and drew from his own experiences to entertain and teach.

Below is a selection of the many insights that Scott shared with the group.

Thanks to Scott, Communitech, and Quarry for making this event possible!


Collecting, Developing, and Sharing Ideas

We all have ideas, but the difference lies in what we do with the ideas we have. As Scott described, epiphany is a consequence of thinking creatively. Maintaining creative habits makes those insights more likely and subsequently increases the likelihood of something being done with them.

Scott suggests that everyone carry around a notebook and write down their ideas when they occur. Later, you can look at those ideas and explore them further to help you understand which ones are actually good ideas.

You can also more easily develop your ideas by cultivating a group of individuals who act as good sounding boards for your ideas. They’ll be frank with you about your work, and will help you realize what questions need to be answered to fully flush out your ideas.

Creativity and Education

One of the discussions Scott led was about the focus on “right” and “wrong answers” in education.

If he could change the education system, Scott would put more control back in the hands of teachers so that experiences can be tailored to specific students and classrooms. For example, standardized curriculum levels the playing field but it averages out the high points and removes teachers’ power to do what they actually do best.

Scott also noted that education shouldn’t always be a means to a second goal (such as getting a job or getting a certain grade). We should focus on education and learning for their own intrinsic value and find places for there to be no “right” answer.

The Impact of Social Media on Innovation and Creativity

Asked what he thought the impact of social media (such as Twitter) was on creativity or innovation, Scott listed off significant inventions that somehow were invented without the internet or Twitter. We shouldn’t overemphasize the role of technology in innovation – it’s not essential, and sometimes keeps us from actually sitting down and being creative.