uxWaterloo » Events

By: Uxwaterloo  09-12-2011

uxWaterloo » Events

Posted: June 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: | Tags:, , |

Thursday June 16, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Google Waterloo
151 Charles Street West, Suite 200
Kitchener, ONT

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

Bob Rushby thinks that pixels are about to escape the bounds of their current display devices. As the recently-retired CTO of Christie Digital, he knows something about throwing pixels around, and in this month’s uxWaterloo session he’ll discuss the convergence of lighting and information display and the major effects it will have on architecture, graphic design, communications and how we live and work.

Electric lighting is used everywhere around us. It’s so ubiquitous that we are almost unaware of it. Yet the way we think about lighting is about to fundamentally change. No longer will lighting merely illuminate our desks, our walls and our buildings. Whether at home, in our workplace, or in public spaces, lighting is about to be transformed — it will communicate with us, interact with us, and help us see the world with new eyes. Pixels will be everywhere and this will have profound implications on our lives.

Bob retired from Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. in February 2011 after an exciting career leading talented teams in the creation of ground-breaking high technology products. Christie is a global leader in projection and electronic display products and has the world’s largest installed base of digital cinema projection systems. Bob is currently involved with several exciting university entrepreneurship initiatives — in particular, the University of Waterloo REAP program and the Ryerson University Digital Media Zone. He is also writing a book on the theme of Digital Light… pixels everywhere.

Thursday June 16, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Google Waterloo
151 Charles Street West, Suite 200
Kitchener, ONT


Posted: May 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

iOS devices like the Apple iPad and iPhone represent a new paradigm for interacting with powerful computers. Designing for them presents a set of exciting challenges that we’re only starting to explore.

Thursday May 19, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo


Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

 In our March 7 Minute Soapbox event, we had uxWaterloo members share their ideas in an open format!  The only catch was that they had 7 minutes on the podium.  Our volunteers braved this challenge and shared some great insights with our group!   Notes from each session have been posted below and thank you to all of our volunteers for sharing their ideas.

Mark Connolly

 Mark shared information about the usefulness of realistic data in UI mockups.  He explained that the right time to move away from fake to realistic data in your designs all depends on the project and the audience.  Sometimes you move onto realistic data early on, to get more feedback from users in testing.  But, be aware that there is some overhead with doing realistic mockups in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

 Sandra Loop

 Sandra showed us how she has used PowerPoint to explain concepts.  This has been a useful technique for her, as it’s very easy to share files with team members and it is a fast way to explain a concept to a development team.  She proved that the animations that are built in with PowerPoint allow you to explore a new or unusual design problem and to work on showing possible alternatives. 

 Karen Cecile

 Karen shared a story about her parents’ adventures with technology.  She emphasized that when designing for the general market, we should always keep seniors in mind.  Seniors often have unique needs and conducting a quick interview may help you quickly understand ways to tailor a product or design to them.  

 Tom Robinson

 Tom shared his journey through his personal experiences in usability.   He explained that during school, he focused on development.  As he worked in various positions and throughout grad school, the purpose of usability became clearer and he gravitated toward a user-centered approach.  While discussing, the group agreed with Tom and thought that having usability courses available in design/development course curricula would help promote usability.

 Robert Barlow-Busch

 Maryam Ashoor

Posted: March 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

Tammy is a user experience researcher, currently enjoying professional life as a User Experience Architect at RIM. Tammy has been with RIM for three years, but before that has had the opportunity to work in a number of different environments including software development companies, agencies, and, as a consultant with small interaction design firms. That experience has provided the opportunity to practice user experience across a wide variety of applications, services, and technologies providing deep insight into the practice and process of making software more usable for people.

Tuesday April 19, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo


Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

uxWaterloo’s very own Robert Barlow-Busch is going to be speaking at next week’s  Design Meets Efficiency in Waterloo Mixer!
Pivot Design Group is hosting this event and it will be a great chance to discuss discuss how we as designers can really begin to think about designing more efficiently. Network among colleagues and friends in the Waterloo area and share in open discussions with industry professionals. With 5 ideas and 5 images, prominent, local speakers will discuss the idea of Efficiency in Design as it relates to design in the 2010’s.

Please check out the details for this event and we hope to see you there!
List of speakers & Registration:
When: Wednesday, March 30,  5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Caesar Martini’s – 140 University Ave. W, Unit 1A, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Posted: March 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

Tuesday March 22, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm

Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd., Waterloo

This month, we’re harking back to our roots to repeat one of the very first events we held in 2007: the 7-minute soapbox. At this fast-paced event, we’re giving people a chance to share ideas about UX — for no more than seven minutes each.

If you prefer simply to take it all in, you’re welcome to participate as an audience member. But of course you’re sure to have the most fun by stepping onto the soapbox yourself!


You get up to seven minutes on the soapbox to talk about anything related to user experience. At seven minutes: BZZZZZZT! You’re done. After each soapbox talk, we’ll spend a few minutes in discussion or Q&A.


Anything goes, as long as it’s related to user experience. Obvious choices might include design (product, Web, interaction, industrial), usability, and information architecture, but please don’t feel limited by those examples. Our field draws from so many disciplines that we couldn’t possibly list them all.

Want some ideas? Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

  • Question something you’ve read recently.
  • Make observations about current trends.
  • Predict the future.
  • Share a design problem you’re facing.
  • Rant about a device you don’t like.
  • Effuse about your favorite product.
  • Show some results from a usability test.
  • Relate an experience from work.
  • Ask the crowd for advice on improving something.
  • Perform an interpretive dance on applying game mechanics to enterprise software. (Someone please do this, it’d be a real crowd pleaser.)

No sales pitches, please!

Besides the 7-minute time limit, that’s our only other rule. Please do not sell anything. The goal of this event is to share ideas.

You’re welcome to demonstrate something you’ve worked on. In fact, we love hearing from each other in this way. But please do so in the spirit of teaching or sharing ideas: use your work to illustrate a more general theme or issue about UX.

RSVP and grab a soapbox timeslot

Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

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,  (formerly titled The Art of Project Management) and The inspiring setting of provided a backdrop for this event.

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.

Posted: February 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

Last week, Sam Ladner, PhD, brought to our attention that even designers have unspoken theories about social life.  These assumptions can impact how we think about the world, so we should become aware of our assumptions before starting any design research. 

What assumptions do I have?

Do you find yourself thinking “how many people did we talk to in our usability tests,” ”how many hits did our site get,” or “how can I add statistics to my reports?”  This means that you have an implicit assumption that social phenomena can be counted and this leads you to focus on gathering quantitative information for your design research. 

Maybe this doesn’t sound like you, and you think that counting and numbers are just not enough!  You realize that people have different experiences, therefore you include more qualitative information into your design research.  You want to see the world through the eyes of your respondents and aspire to have your participants’ voices heard.

Which design research method is best?

Knowing your implicit assumptions will help you understand whether you will gravitate towards qualitative or quantitative research methods.  The best method is usually a mix of both qualitative and quantitative.  However, you should also ensure that your design research method coincides with the type of project you’re on, your strengths, and your clients.  You may find that you are in a situation where your clients have assumptions that everything can be counted, so you may need to be prepared to include some numerical data in your research. 

Check out the Mobile Work Life Project!

Hope to see you at our March Events!

uxWaterloo has these two events lined up for March, and we hope to see you there!

Posted: February 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: |

If you missed our January event, Ali Ghassemi and Dariusz Grabka of Desire2Learn hosted over 50 uxWaterloo members and shared their insights about accessible design.  They shared their key formula with us, which was:

Accessible Design = Personal knowledge x thoughtful design x good technical implementation +/- magic

Now, getting your hands on some magic may prove to be difficult, but you can remember these key points to improve the accessibility of your designs. 

1) Use different personas for each piece of hardware

Dariusz Grabka

Consider how your design will work for someone without a keyboard, mouse, monitor, or sound.

2) When designing for screen readers

3) Design standards to consider

Keep your code clean, as page layout is very important for screenreaders.  Remember to use inline headings in your CSS to help users with screenreaders understand what your page is about.  Stay away from using tables as the layout of your page, as they are difficult to interpret on a screenreader.  Ensure that images on your site have alternative text and captions, as captions will help your images appear in a search of the site.  On a web form, you should ensure that your error pages do not require users to re-enter data, as this increases their effort.

Ali Ghassemi

4) Tips for developers

Developing with accessibility in mind can be tricky, so collaborate and quality test with other developers and designers.  You can have alternative designs for users, to give them options.  For example, a drag and drop design can also include checkboxes as an alternative.   Off-screen CSS is also a simple way to provide information for screenreaders only.  For example, when colour or images imply information on your site, you can use off-screen CSS to identify the colour or relay additional information.

5) Accessibility Resources

Thanks again to Ali and Dariusz for hosting such a great event!

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