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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

Jobs: Design Positions at BlackBerry

Posted: June 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Jobs | Tags: | No Comments »


The lovely people over at BlackBerry are looking for a variety of UX Designers, Graphic Designers, and Motion Designers in Waterloo, Ottawa, or Toronto. Check out a sampling of the postings below.

There are a total of 13 jobs posted for design at BlackBerry!

Follow the links for details on the positions and how to apply.


January 2015: Design is kids play at UX BookClub

Posted: December 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Design for Kids, by Debra Levin Gelman

A new year is fast approaching, and with it comes new UX Book Club meetups, topics to discuss and colleagues to meet! We’re excited to let you know that our next UX Book Club meetup will be on Thursday January 15th, 2015.

To kick off the 2015 series, we’ve selected a fun read that focuses on something completely different from previous books: Design for Kids by Debra Levin Gelman (@dgelman).

Debra’s book discusses how design changes when your users are kids. How do they interact with and understand technology? What special considerations should you take into account when your product will be used by kids? How should you change your UX practice and methodologies?

Many of our interactions with children will have helped us form our own ideas about how to design for kids. Debra’s writings and our own anecdotal experiences should fuel an interesting and thoughtful discussion. We expect this will be a great one!

There are many locations to buy this book, including, or buy a hardcopy or e-book from Rosenfeld Media. (Psst! If you came to Fluxible, now is a great time to use that free ebook coupon for Rosenfeld Media!)

Please register at for this free event

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


Thursday January 15, 2015
7:00 – 9:00pm
Boltmade Inc.
187 King St North
2nd Floor
Waterloo, ON
N2J 1R1

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September 2014 – A Simple and Usable UX Book Club

Posted: August 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | 1 Comment »

After a great summer, we’re back! We hope your batteries have been recharged and you’re ready to trade in your beach novels for UX lit.

Join us on Thursday September 11th at 7pm to discuss Simple and Usable web, mobile, and interaction design by Giles Colborne (@gilescolborne). You can grab the book directly from and other places, including WordsWorthBooks in Uptown. And if you’re just looking to borrow a copy instead, we’d be happy to lend you ours.

As a special treat this month, we’ll be joined by Giles himself! We’re honoured to have him on hand to help further the discussion and give us a chance to pick his brain. (As there may be some jetlag involved, let’s not go too hard on him though.)

Giles’ book is an easy to read page flipper on how we can approach the surprisingly difficult activity of simplifying designs. It outlines interesting and real-life examples, and talks about how we can apply them to our own work.

This time around, we’ll be hosting the event in Waterloo’s own Seven Shores Urban Market and Cafe, the wonderfully delicious cafe in Uptown Waterloo. We’ve booked the private back room – a great space for intimate and lively conversation! As space is limited, registration will be capped at 20. Be sure to register soon to avoid disappointment.

If you can’t make it to UX Book Club on the 11th (and even if you can!) you can also catch Giles at the Fluxible 2014 conference, September 13-14. He’ll be giving a workshop on “Rediscovering Efficiency” which will teach techniques for designing highly efficient user interfaces.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there.


Thursday September 11, 2014
7:00-8:30 pm
Seven Shores Urban Market and Cafe
10 Regina St. N Unit 4
Waterloo, Ontario

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.

June 24 Think Aloud Event – Recap

Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Last Thursday, June 24th, the UX Group met to learn more about the Think Aloud method from Guelph Master’s student, Amy Gill. Amy graciously gave us a presentation on her Master’s work, which has been focussing on learning about the psychology roots of the Think Aloud method, and how it can and should be used by UX practitioners today. We had almost 30 attendees this month, which made the discussions lively and insightful.

The session taught us a lot of about how Think Aloud was created, and some very interesting guidelines for how to use the method to gather the best results. The presentation was a great lead-in to an exciting discussion. Amy brought to light a number of interesting points, including:
  • Think Aloud was originally created in the psychology tradition to learn about the thought processes inside of subjects’ heads
  • We can gather great quotes to convince others of changes that need to be made
  • It can provide us with insight into the mental models and the assumptions of the user
  • The method doesn’t alter though patterns if we stick to level 1 and level 2 statements that do not require extra thinking or meta thinking.
  • When we ask “Why?” the user has to start thinking about what they should say – altering their thoughts
  • Asking “Why?” can also produce inaccurate reports as users tell us what they think we want to hear
After Amy’s presentation, the discussion broadened to include topics such as:
  • When we ask “Why?”
  • How we know when usability testing is being done “correctly” or is having a positive impact
  • How people in the community incorporate usability testing, and when
If you missed Amy’s presentation, she has graciously provided us with a number of resources which were used or mentioned throughout her talk:
Thanks to Amy and everyone who showed up to see her present and participate in the insightful discussions. See you in July!