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March 2017: Engaging people with dementia

Posted: February 16th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

As a growing number of technologies emerge to help people with dementia maintain their independence and quality of life, there’s an increasing opportunity to give people with dementia a voice in the development of technologies intended for their use.

Join Jennifer Krul, of Emmetros, to learn how they approach user research when developing technology that makes it easier for people with dementia to speak for themselves. Jennifer and her team are fully committed to including and engaging people with dementia and their care partners in many aspects of our business, including product design, testing, and commercialization.

Engaging people with dementia matters to Jennifer and her team. They’ve partnered with Applied Health Sciences (AHS) and the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) at the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG) on a research project exploring best practices for engaging people with dementia in design, testing, and commercialization of technology intended for their use.

Today, Jennifer shares what they’ve learned.

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Thursday March 16, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 2nd floor
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February 2017: How FreshBooks persuaded its customers to accept radical change

Posted: January 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

Change can be hard. Join Aaron Wright and Jeff Kraemer as they take us on a journey of change at Freshbooks:

At FreshBooks, we realized that we had to reinvent our 10-year-old product; it was inflexible, and riddled with tech- and UX-debt. But we had a problem: our customers generally loved the old product. So, we designed and built a new product in stealth. We tested and iterated every week for almost two years, until we had a product we believed our customers would love.

But how to get them to switch? Most companies just push users to “upgrade,” but the new product had fewer features—isn’t that a downgrade? Lots of companies force users to change, but we heard loud and clear that our customers needed to be in control. And we’re determined to give our users extraordinary experiences, so what’s an extraordinary “change” experience?

This is the story of how we learned just how much our customers hate change, and how we persuaded them to change anyways. We’ll go into detail on how we tackled this as a design problem, starting with phone call interviews in which we simply told them a new FreshBooks was coming, and listened. Then, onto a technique from the Lean Startup framework called the “Concierge MVP” that gave us cheap and early insight into how our customers would react. You’ll also hear about our Lean UX process, which gives our designers a way to pilot and test radical changes, validate them with our customers through usability testing, and iterate from their findings.

About the presenters

Aaron Wright stumbled into the field of UX while pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at York University. Originally just trying hone his web design and app-building skills, he soon learned that there was, in fact, an entire field devoted to the study of user experience itself and immediately changed focus. And hasn’t looked back. Now a UX Designer at FreshBooks since 2012, he’s livin’ the dream of taming complexity and trying to make boring work (like accounting) as close to fun as humanly possible.

Jeff Kraemer ran his first usability test back in 2001; this was before screen-recording software, so recording the test meant pointing a VHS videocamera at the screen. Since then, he’s spent time specializing in content strategy and instructional design, but he really loves being a UX generalist. Previously at Workopolis and Usability Matters, Jeff is now Principal UX Designer at FreshBooks.

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Thursday February 16, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
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January 2017: Researching the Kano Model

Posted: January 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

In a fast-paced agile environment, UX professionals often pull from their well-established toolbox of tried and true methods and practices to quickly and effectively solve user problems. However, it is sometimes necessary to seek out alternative methods which satisfy the unique needs of a particular project. In this month’s session, Erin Steed and Tony Bergstrom of D2l share their experience with the Kano model.

The Kano model, a customer satisfaction model created by a Japanese academic, is used to identify the delighters, must-haves and less relevant aspects of a user’s experience with a design. To evaluate the Kano model as an effective tool for an upcoming project, the product design team at D2L tested it with a feature-rich prototype which already had significant qualitative feedback. Through experimentation and iteration, the model proved useful by quantifying qualitative results, validating individual features and informing business decisions.

Tony and Erin will discuss why D2L chose to investigate this model, explain how the data is compiled and provide insights into lessons learned along the way.

Erin Steed is a user experience designer with degrees in psychology and adult education, as well as a diploma in graphic design. As Senior Product Designer at D2L, she applies her interest in user research and passion for the design process by creating delightful and intuitive experiences for educators and learners.

Tony Bergstrom is a Senior User Researcher with graduate degrees in Computer Science focusing on Human-Computer interaction. Working at D2L, he spends time finding ways to investigates questions and provides insight into user expectations. He favors approaches that balance both qualitative and quantitative feedback because it demonstrates more clearly what people do and what people think.

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Thursday January 19, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
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December 2016: Creating a brew pub experience at Abe Erb

Posted: December 6th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

As many of you know, we’ll sometimes host uxWaterloo sessions at a pub where we can enjoy great conversations about UX and related topics in a casual atmosphere. We’ve done this at many locations over the years, but for December we’re doing something special.

Abe Erb is a Waterloo brew pub that we’ve visited in the past, most recently for our UXtoberfest session back in October. Abe Erb is about to open a brand new  location at the historic Tannery building in downtown Kitchener, and anticipation is high within certain circles in the community. Join us for a special private tour of the new space, and hear from co-founder Tony Theodosiou as he shares with us the thinking that goes into creating a delightful brew pub experience, lessons learned along the way, and new things to expect from the new location.

Note the special day and time for this event: Sunday December 18, at 1:00pm in the afternoon!

You can find Abe Erb on Twitter.

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Sunday December 18, 2016
1:00 to 2:30 pm

Abe Erb (Tannery location)
151 Charles Street West
Kitchener, Ontario


November 2016: UX in the Wild

Posted: November 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Recently, KW’s very own Sarah Klassen-Rempel gave this talk at the UX Cambridge conference in the United Kingdom. Please join us as Sarah gives a hometown reprise!

One year ago, my idealistic view of what it would be like to work as a UX designer in the real world was shattered. I went from being surrounded by like-minded people, learning more UX and being able to approach projects my own way, to being the first and only UI/UX designer at a transportation management software company. It meant I needed to learn a lot of things, fast. And the things that I did learn were not things that I thought I would be learning when I started the job.

This talk, at its core, is about those things. The things I needed to learn and implement quickly — in order to go from drawing icons and being called the “UIX designer” to running sessions at a user group conference and visiting customers to talk directly to our users.

On the surface, this talk is about what it’s like to go from being a full-time student to a full-time UX designer — in a place that has never had one before — and the unexpected challenges that came with that experience. But it’s also a reminder that UX isn’t always glamorous, a celebration of how far UX has come as a discipline, and a case study or testimony of how important mentorship can be.

The first time I did a version of this talk was at UX Cambridge this September (that’s Cambridge, England, not Ontario), and I am really excited to have the opportunity to share it with my home community.

Connect with Sarah on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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Thursday November 17, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm

Communitech Hub
Roddenberry Theatre on the 3rd floor
151 Charles Street West
Kitchener, Ontario


October 2016: UXtoberfest is back!

Posted: October 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

September was a busy month on the UX calendar in Waterloo Region. Fluxible 2016 delivered a full week of events that delivered plenty of insights into practice, products, and the people behind them.

Let’s get together and celebrate Autumn with our second UXtoberfest session. We’ll meet at Abe Erb in Uptown Waterloo and together talk about all of the UX goodness that will fit!

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Thursday October 20, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario


September 2016: Fluxible, Canada’s UX Festival

Posted: September 6th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events, General | No Comments »

September is a busy month in the UX community here in Waterloo Region. The fifth edition of Fluxible is happening!

Started as a two-day conference back in 2012, for 2016 Fluxible has grown into Canada’s UX Festival, a week-long affair that runs September 19 through 25! The Festival comprises Fluxible Conference, Fluxible Workshops, and Fluxible Meetups, with each providing some fantastic opportunities to learn and to meet UX folks in the community.

We think there’s something for everyone, and rather than create a single uxWaterloo event for September, we’ve decided to  suggest instead that you look at the various Fluxible events and see which ones appeal the most. Go check them out!


July 2016: Informal Pub Meetup

Posted: July 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: | No Comments »

In what is now a beloved summer tradition, it’s time to replace energizing presentations and deep UX thoughts with a lighter event befitting the season. Let’s savour that summer feeling with a July uxWaterloo session that features informal talk, some of it even UX-related, and drinks. As befits any self-respecting tradition, 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 2016, Canada’s UX Festival! You’ve been warned…

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Thursday July 21, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Abe Erb Brewing
15 King Street South, Uptown Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario


June 2016: Innovation and UX at Deloitte’s d { } Lab

Posted: June 15th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

d { } (pronounced “Dee Space”) is Deloitte¹s prototyping hub dedicated to accelerating the development of new products and services by leveraging emerging technologies. d { } opened in May 2015 in the Communitech Hub. Its team helps Deloitte intrapreneurs explore new business models using lean thinking and digital prototypes that are created by multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial teams possessing deep technical and design skills.

Join us for an informal overview of the moonshots, MVPs, and proof-of-concept projects undertaken by the lab in its first year. Norm Malloch, the lab’s Director, will discuss their experience in domains such as wearables/IoT, mobile collaborative experiences, and blockchain technologies. Come see the impact of design thinking and UX practices in a fast-paced innovation lab!

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Thursday June 23, 2016
6:00 to 7:30 pm
Communitech Hub, 3rd floor theatre
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May 2016: Case Study of Design Week with UNICEF Canada

Posted: May 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | No Comments »

Canada ranks at only 17th of 29 industrialized countries on overall child well-being, a fact that UNICEF is tired of. Over the past two years, UNICEF Canada has been exploring the possibility of opening an Observatory for Canada’s children that would aim to improve the well-being of kids in Canada. They started working with Kitchener’s Overlap to explore what this could look like and how it could work. There are many observatories for child well-being around the world, and when UNICEF Canada started out, they figured it would take the same form—an organization much like a think-tank that would monitor, analyze and report on the state of children in Canada.

So in October 2015, Overlap tested how this might work by running what they called Design Week with UNICEF Canada. For six days, Overlap brought together around 25 experts in child well-being, measurement, storytelling, and design to tackle questions like, “how might we measure child well-being in ways that are relevant to children and youth in the context of Canada?”

In this talk, Delaney Swanson of Overlap will describe what they were trying to achieve in the project, how they used Design Week to prototype part of the Observatory, what they learned from it, and where they are in the project now. This will touch on what they learned about facilitating design processes with non-designers, and the value of a design sprint in getting things done fast, especially in traditional institutions.

About the Speaker

Delaney Swanson is a service designer at Overlap, a research and strategy firm in Kitchener that uses human insights to improve services and systems, and integrate new ways of thinking into big institutions. She believes in the power of good design to influence behaviour through policy, services, physical spaces, and products. She thinks most of the time, real life gets in the way of the “ideal” behaviour most things are designed for—instead, she’d rather things be designed for the complexity of real people. Delaney helps organizations understand the needs and experiences of the people they serve (and employ), and align their strategy to meet these needs

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Thursday May 26, 2016
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Area 151 at the Communitech Hub
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