Summer event highlights

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We have had a busy summer. We hosted a social event and co-hosted a viewing of Design Disruptors. Chally Meeker shares some highlights from those events below.

UX Speed Networking Recap

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On July 21st at Coelacanth [see-lu-kanth] in Norfolk, VA over 20 local practitioners met for a night of networking, food and drinks. Folks talked about perfecting portfolios to current projects they’re working at their jobs. There were UX Designers, Graphic Artists and Students among the group. Networking events are always fun and a good way to meet other people in the industry.

Design Disruptors Pre-Screening Recap

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UXPA Norfolk, AIGA Hampton Roads and Grow offered an awesome viewing of InVision’s documentary, Design Disruptors, on July 27th at the Slover Library in Norfolk, VA. Around 40 people attended. There was ample popcorn for everyone thanks to the sponsors.

After the showing, the general consensus was that the documentary was truly inspiring. It was refreshing to see industry leaders put design at the forefront of major companies that are changing our daily lives (e.g. Lyft). The title of the documentary was perfectly fitting.  What seemed to be very gimmicky at first, since “Discrupt” seems to be used everywhere these days, turned out to be the perfect word to describe the film. The companies highlighted in the documentary (Lyft, Facebook, Uber, etc.) were exactly that…disruptors.  Everyone has their own design process and style, but this documentary showed that the ones that were willing to take risks, challenge the status quo, and disrupt the industry were the ones who would create solutions that change the way we live our lives.

2016 UXPA International Conference Highlights

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UXPA International hosted their annual meeting in Seattle this year. Around 800 professionals and students from all over the world gathered to share knowledge, learn from one another, discuss the state of the field, and challenge one another to push the field forward. This year, Alex Proaps presented a poster about Visual Perception and Product Design and was among a dozen volunteers who assisted attendees, and recorded and chaired sessions and workshops. Alex shares some of the highlights of the conference below.

Overall Takeaways:

Kelly Goto, digital UX expert, owner of gotoresearch and gotomedia, and author of Web Redesign 2.0 and Emotional UX, presented the opening keynote. There seemed to be three overarching themes that she introduced in her keynote that carried across many of the UXPA 2016 sessions – whether presented as concrete, data-driven recommendations, or as inspirational calls to action for the field as a whole.

First, as scientist-practitioners, we must remember that people don’t evolve as quickly as technology. It’s important that we slow down to improve our understanding of the problem space. “Move fast” works for some engineering problems, but human problems require many small studies in which we can gather ongoing feedback and meaningful stories. This idea of slowing down and diving below the surface to understand what people really need and are feeling: Kansei. We no longer slow down to allow ourselves to have those small meaningful moments. Kansei or sensory engineering focuses on improving or developing products and services through this deeper human understanding. Through Yoyu, the Japanese concept of the “space between things”, we can create that space between. Allow yourself to create the space for extra abundance.

Second, to understand people, we have to be willing and able to see the world as they would see it. We can better discover the why through ethnographic methodologies to understand how people are truly living, so we can understand their needs and emotions. We need deep research insights to inform meaningful UX strategies. Researchers also need to know how to effectively draw stories out of individuals, analyze, and synthesize the data to inform design. Along that same vein, by understanding people, we can understand their pain points and what they actually need with design solutions. Empathy isn’t about putting ourselves in their shoes or framing a solution to a problem based on what we would do; it’s about understanding someone else’s experience. Along that same vein, by understanding people, we can understand their pain points and what they really need.

So, the last core theme this year: It is time to start tackling the hard problems. It is time to start tackling problems that impact overlooked groups of people, such as young, aging and differently-abled populations. We can create experiences that are situationally appropriate and environmentally aware. It is time to bring about a new era of adaptive experiences.

Learn more about the conference:

In his keynote, Nick Finck, Product Design Manager at Facebook, discussed his newest project, UX For Change, for connecting mentors and young professionals on meaningful projects: UXforChange.org

Session slides are available through the online program: uxpa2016.org/program

You can also browse all the amazing photos from Tom Tullis. Check out Day 4: flickr.com/photos/tomtullis/albums/72157669203443756

The call for proposals is now open for the 2017 UXPA International conference in Toronto, Canada. uxpa2017.org

Stay in touch

We post all of our events on social media, so don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to join our LinkedIn group.

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