Susan Weinschenk (aka “The Brain Lady“) is bringing her “Designing for Engagement” tutorial to UXPA 2013! Here she is to tell you a little more about it:
Interested in attending Susan’s tutorial on Tuesday, 09 July? Register today for UXPA 2013!
For this week’s Session Spotlight, we focus on one of our fabulous workshops! Workshops are 3-hour working sessions in which attendees and a facilitator work collaboratively on a problem or technique. Attendance is limited to maximize the interaction, and workshop facilitators choose attendees based on pre-conference activities specific to each workshop. Interested in exploring this year’s workshops? Check them out in the 3:00 timeslot on Thursday afternoon.
And now, Lija Hogan shares more information about her workshop, “Perspectives on Design Patterns: Recognizing the tradeoffs in commonly used approaches.”
UX designers never work in a vacuum. We collaborate with graphic designers, SEO specialists, developers, content managers, subject matter experts, and a variety of others to craft stellar user interactions. Often, due to resource or time constraints, all of these roles are not covered on project teams or are only consulted at a single point in the process when it would be optimal to be involved over the life of the project. This sometimes means that the vital input these practitioners would have is missing in the final product and that has a negative impact on the quality of the user experience.
I often wish that I could set aside an entire day each week just to read all of the new material produced in a week’s time across the SEO, information architecture, content management, UX, graphic design, and search disciplines among others. It’s impossible to know everything about everything, especially at the rate of change that we’re currently experiencing in the mobile setting. I would love to explore the possibility of creating a resource that brings together the perspectives of practitioners across UX-related disciplines that helps provide insight into the pros, cons, and considerations associated with the common design patterns that many sites use.
For instance, we see many sites that are moving toward using tabs to house content on a single page:
This approach has SEO implications because, depending on how the page is architected, search engines will index it quite differently.
Solution 1 – Content on each tab stands on its own and should be ranked individually – a separate listing on a SERP.
Solution 2 – Content that appears on each tab does not stand on its own and should be regarded as being from a single source – a single listing on a SERP.
Additionally, it might be best to use to use solution 1 if you are designing for a content site, and solution 2 if you are designing for an ecommerce site. From a content perspective, it might be useful here to discuss what types of information structures best facilitate comparison. See what I mean?
During the workshop, I’d like to start a discussion around what practitioners feel might be the most crucial things to know. For example, which disciplines are the most sensible to cover? What level of detail would be best? Does it make sense to examine the mobile platform first, or web? What level of granularity would be most appropriate – elements of a page, or an entire logical page? Would it be best to start with a website and work up to a book?
Register today and join me on Thursday, July 11th to talk about these ideas and more at the UXPA 2013 conference!
Michael Beasley lets us know what we’ll learn in his evening tutorial, “Categorizing Search Terms to Gain Insight Into Users’ Information Needs and Behavior.”
Register for UXPA 2013 today!
The 2013 UXPA Conference will provide inspiration and stimulation through workshops,
exhibits, and tutorials to increase our attendees’ passion for leading the way in user experience. In addition, the conference aims to provide sessions to explore all the collaborative relationships, techniques, and team-oriented practices that enrich the user experience profession.
We are building a team of committed volunteers to help with a variety of behind-the-scenes activities such as staffing the information booth, helping at the registration desk, and assisting session chairs and tutorial instructors. In return, volunteers receive greatly reduced conference registration fees and the opportunity to interact closely with leaders in the user experience field who will be attending the conference as speakers/presenters, conference planners,
To learn more about the UXPA 2013 conference and the volunteering opportunity (benefits, expectations, fees, application process), please visit the conference volunteer site. If you have any follow-up questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you are interested in this unique opportunity to volunteer for the UXPA 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., please complete the online volunteer application as soon as possible. We will make our selections in a couple of weeks.
If you need more information or have questions, contact the UXPA 2013 conference volunteer committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your consideration!
Promise Ziegler, UXPA 2013 Onsite Volunteer Chair
I have absolutely no doubt that this is one of the strongest programs UXPA has ever had.
Wednesday, the main conference begins. We are working on an amazing speaker to kick off the event, so you’ll be energized and primed to learn about UX and Agile, look at accessibility from a different angle, and take an international perspective on gestural interfaces. (Wednesday night? Party!)
Thursday, we continue, with more including a look at UX research methods and prototyping. Idea Markets are held on Thursday, as are six fantastic workshops covering such topics as improving requirements, Agile and Lean, and UX Strategy. Thursday afternoon also includes options for exploring the city like a local, with several members of the DC chapter serving as your tour guides.
On Friday, we wrap things up with a number of scheduled talks on information architecture, collaboration with developers, and how people around the world manage their digital identity. Add posters, Unconference, a closing speaker (and another party!), and we have yet another amazing day of networking, collaboration, and downright UX geekery.
We’ll be showcasing a number of sessions from the program as we get closer to the event, but don’t wait for that! Be one of the first 200 people and save $100 ($50 for students) off of the full conference registration rates.
As always, let us know if you have any questions, and we will see you in Washington, D.C. in July!
PS – After you’re registered, let everyone know you’re coming by listing yourself on our Lanyrd page!
So we got a lot of great submissions for the UXPA conference in DC this year. A lot. 316 to be exact.
These submissions have all gone through blind peer review. We aimed to have every submission reviewed by 5 reviewers, but settled for 3.
We’ve made the first draft of the conference schedule and sent out acceptance/rejection letters to all those great people who submitted proposals. The overall acceptance rate was approximately 26%, and some categories were even lower (presentations were closer to 15%).
This is the hard part of the job – turning away some great proposals that would have been amazing in our program. So why do we do it? And how do we make those decisions?
Here’s a little peek behind the curtain…
We believe in blind peer review. So we rely on the recommendations of the reviewers, the scores they give, and their comments about a proposal. This is hard to do after the fact when we see the names and say, “Oh! That’s so-and-so! They are AWESOME! I don’t want to reject them.” But for blind peer review to work, we can’t let names/reputations cloud our judgment. We have to trust. And we have to remember that UXPA has never been just about a name – we’ve always tried to be about good, practical talks that will help people with their career/work/job. So how do reviews work? Reviewers receive “sanitized” submissions (meaning all trace of identity removed) and they rate the submissions across several categories on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the most positive rating. The overall numeric average of ALL submissions was 3.73. (highest 4.92, lowest 1.72) For accepted submissions, the average was 4.09 (highest 4.92, lowest 2.98). For rejected submissions, the average was 3.60 (highest 4.83, lowest 1.72). 108 submissions were rated 4.0 or higher, and we only accepted 85 submissions. Tough choices.
We believe in a balanced program. This is where the conference committee has to make some hard choices. If the top five best reviewed talks are all about agile, should we offer a skewed program that has a lot of agile talks and perhaps lacks in another area? Sometimes we have to reject perfectly good proposals because we have “too much of a good thing”. For example, this year we had a lot of submissions on usability studies, agile, and accessibility that were recommended for acceptance. So many, that these three topics could have easily taken up the entire program. We had virtually no submissions recommended for acceptance on information architecture, content strategy, or UX strategy. So we used the scores to pick out the best of the usability, agile, and accessibility submissions and left some room to accept other great submissions on a wider variety of topics.
We don’t believe in creating idols, icons, or heroes. So if one person submitted 4 great talks, all of them recommended for acceptance, we might not put them all in the program. First, we don’t want to do that to someone – giving presentations is hard work and very draining. I don’t care what anyone says: no one wants to present four talks in three days. And we find that the quality of the later talks can generally suffer as the energy-level of the presenter wanes. But we also don’t want to be seen as putting any individual out there as “the face of UXPA” or “the poster child” for a specific topic. So you may see some names twice in the program: they earned it. They submitted multiple great proposals. But you won’t see them three times. We’ve got to draw the line somewhere!
We only have so much space. We don’t want to run a ten-track conference that costs thousands of dollars to attend. We don’t want to create a monstrous event where you are unlikely to run into half the people at the conference or where you miss 95% of the talks because you can’t physically attend everything. We do want to make choices difficult for our attendees: choosing a session should be hard because they should all be good. So that means we simply had to reject some submissions that had been recommended to be accepted. There wasn’t enough room.
We support both advanced practitioners and those just starting out in the field. Because of this, we need to make tough choices regarding program offering. We need to ensure we have a well-balanced fundamentals program and we need to have a diverse and interesting offering for the “veterans” of our field. Sometimes we can ask a submitter to alter their topic to meet the needs of a specific audience, but sometimes a topic just doesn’t fit into the need for either audience.
So that’s how you ended up with your program. It’ll be up on the website shortly and registration will be open. Our early bird rates are fantastic, but they’re limited to the first 200 people. When you peruse our schedule, know that it was put together with love, sweat, and the hopes and dreams of the entire conference committee. We’ll be adding our keynotes and a few other featured speakers over the next month or two, so keep checking for new and exciting additions to the program.
Registration opens this month, stay tuned for details.
We look forward to seeing you in DC!
Christina and Danielle
UXers, you continue to amaze me.
Both the reviewer survey and submissions are now closed. I’m thrilled to report that a record 413 of you signed up to be reviewers! And it’s a good thing, too, because we have over 300 submissions to evaluate!
Without a quality program, there’s no conference. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for everything you are doing to help ensure this year’s event is top-notch.
Good question. Here’s how it works:
More exciting things!
As always, looking forward to seeing all of your smiling faces in Washington, DC!
-Danielle & Christina
Are you working for the government (any government)? Or are you doing government-related work? Have you done research that would be of particular interest to government usability practitioners? Consider submitting it to UXPA 2013!
Because UXPA will be in Washington, DC this year, we’re hoping that many of our colleagues in the government will join us in a special government track this year. The sessions will be part of the main conference and open to all, but the sessions in this track may be of particular interest to those doing work in or for their government. We are hoping for a variety of submissions representing the local, state/provincial, and national levels of countries all over the world.
So if you have an idea for presentation, panel, poster, or any other UXPA session that you think might be especially of interest to government usability professionals, please submit your proposal! The deadline is February 6! If you have any questions, please contact Jean Fox at email@example.com.
So submissions are open for the 2013 UXPA conference in DC.
The theme is collaboration.
And you haven’t submitted a proposal yet.
You know that submissions close February 6th, right?
What can we do about that? Maybe the theme seems too broad or too generic. Maybe it’s not inspiring enough. Maybe you have laundry to do and don’t have time to put your thoughts together. Or maybe you just need a kick start. So let’s talk about what was in our heads when we put “collaboration” out there as the conference theme…
6 Goals of the theme:
Enrich the practice of UX with perspectives from other professions.
Related fields like marketing, visual design, technical writing, etc. can teach a lot about aspects of business, problem solving, and organizational skills. Learning how other professionals deal with similar problems can be really inspirational!
Engage the experts by diversifying content
The most common lament heard at conferences from folks with a few years under their belt is that “there’s no new content” or “I’m already an expert in that topic”. We want to encourage stimulating thought, new connections, and creative ideas from seasoned professionals by offering new and different perspectives to rev up those synapses.
Generate new and interesting types of proposals
We really want anyone who attends the conference to come away with practical tools, tips, and guidelines to be successful in their work. But we also want people to be inspired and feel like they were part of something a little bit innovative. I don’t know what these interesting and new types of proposals are (duels, debates, tandem presentations, group perspectives, joint presentations with other professions…) – that’s up to you to push the boundaries in your submissions. What have you never seen before that you’d like to see?
Start reflecting the diversity of the profession and the real-life situation that UX professionals work in.
No one works in a vacuum. We work with engineers, designers, marketing gurus, business analysts, copy writers, editors, CEOs, product managers, clients, end users, financial wizards…the list goes on. What have we learned from them? What can they learn from us? How can we turn how we live every day into a better way of working tomorrow?
Diversify our attendees
If we have more diverse content we might appeal to more diverse people and professions. If we have a more diverse mix of people, we might improve networking, build relationships, and get more people interested in what we do. Just sayin’.
Be broad enough to serve across cultures and languages
This theme isn’t just serving the DC conference. It is also at the heart of the theme for the UXPA conference that will be taking place in Shanghai in November of this year. That conference is being planned in conjunction with UXPA China and UXPA Asia members. It is a collaborative effort to partner with User Friendly (an already wildly successful UX conference!) and create a shared experience across continents by potentially sharing speakers, tools, and resources. So the theme has to work on many levels!
Ok. So those were 6 goals around the conference theme of collaboration.
Trust me. There are more than 6 thoughts in our head around the conference theme. This is just food for thought. What other good can we do with a theme of collaboration?
We look forward to seeing your fun/insightful/earth-shattering/practical/cool/enlightening/educational proposal! (So submit, already!)
Christina & Danielle
Amazingly, though I am an admitted conference junkie, this story is not mine. It’s my husband’s. He’s a biochemical engineer whose professional conference sessions have fun titles like “Evaluating and Selecting Single-Use Bioreactors for Antibodies & Biosimilars Manufacturing” and “Modeling Multicomponent Protein Adsorption Kinetics in Overloaded Ion Exchange Chromatography with Macroporous and Polymer Grafted Stationary Phases.” (Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad someone pays attention to such things. But I’m equally glad I am not that person.)
He once told me about a conference session he went to on bioreactor construction (really) with an electrical engineer. When they came out, the electrical engineer was gushing with enthusiasm over how much he had learned and how interesting the session was. Like McKayla Maroney, though, my husband was not impressed. “I covered most of that in undergrad,” he told me. “Besides, we were manufacturers. We didn’t build bioreactors. We just bought them and used them as-configured.”
I know what you’re thinking. What can we learn from this not-at-all-UX-related-story just a few short days before submissions open for UXPA 2013? Four things:
1. If you have ever sat through a conference presentation where you learned almost nothing, that means you know enough about something that you can speak about it knowledgeably at a conference. My husband should have been giving that talk, not listening to it.
2. We don’t all know the same things. If you think everyone already knows about the things you know about, you’re wrong. They don’t. That speaker very easily could have assumed everyone in attendance was like my husband and knew this already. But if he had, the electrical engineer never would have had that awesome experience.
3. Aim for a targeted talk. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. If you do, half of your audience is going to be disappointed. Know what you’re going to say, and give people enough information to determine if the topic is germane to their interests. (Did they learn all of this in college, or will it be new to them? Is it specific to a specific industry? If so, is it the one they are in or hoping to get into?) If the session description had been clear, my husband and others like him could have made better use of their conference time.
4. Sometimes, your spouse’s stories aren’t as useless as they seem.
Submissions open in a few days, so get ready!
Christina & Danielle