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Internet User Experience 2005 Hits Michigan

by Tim Keirnan
President of the Michigan Chapter of UPA

In March, people from all over the American Midwest came to Internet User Experience 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a “mini conference” that exceeded all expectations. In what should prove to be an annual event, the Michigan Chapter of UPA co-sponsored Internet User Experience 2005 with the following local professional groups:

  • Society for Technical Communication Southeastern Michigan Chapter (STC/SM)
  • Southeast Michigan Northern Ohio Chapter of Computer Human Interaction (ACM SIG-CHI)
  • User Experience Network
  • Washtenaw Community College Internet Professional Program

Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus, Michigan UPA’s events director, had an idea in his head that wouldn’t go away. “There’s a critical mass of people and companies right here that focus specifically on perfecting the design of the user experience for software and hardware; it includes some of most noted presenters and instructors in the profession, and it made all the sense in the world to me to put together a ‘mini conference’ to showcase it. I’m really happy with how it all came together.”

Outgoing chapter president Timothy Keirnan agreed. “At our February chapter meeting, I told attendees that there is a ‘usability scene’ brewing in Michigan, and this event proved it beyond even my own expectations. Michigan has several professional society chapters that care about usability, and the officers in those chapters are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and make things happen. Professional chapters do great things when they work together.”

The conference started on Monday, March 14th, with a day-long tutorial on designing usable websites by Tom Brinck, co-author of Designing Websites That Work. Attendees returned to Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Auditorium the following day to hear the following presentations:

  • Experience Design Unplugged, keynote by Peter Morville, Semantic Studios
  • How Field Research Improves Usability by Laurie Kantner and Stephanie Rosenbaum, Tec-Ed
  • Driving Web Development Through User Success Metrics by Tom Brinck, Diamond Bullet Design
  • Designing For The Five Fundamental Web Navigation Questions by Jason Wilthow, Washtenaw Community College
  • Practicing Multi-Channel Information Architecture by Jean-Paul Carmichael and Dana Hawes-Davis of Frye Multimedia
  • The State Of Website Usability: A Panel Debate by Michigan’s own “cavalcade of stars”

When attendees weren’t learning from the presenters, they were eating and drinking with them during breaks and mealtimes. At the end of the day, everyone gathered to discuss as a group Today's Internet Solutions, Customer Wants & Needs, and "Appropriate" Internet Solutions for the Future, moderated by Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus. In this innovative conference closer, everybody was “the panel” and the mic passed round and round as the group engaged in a spirited free-for-all discussion on the day’s topics.

Further details on Internet User Experience 2005 can be seen at www.iue2005.com.

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