More sponsors for UX Tips conference

In the past 2 weeks, we have gotten many new sponsors for the Toledo region edition of the Rosenfeld Media “32 Awesomely Practical UX Tips” conference (April 24th, BGSU at Levis Commons).

A big THANKS to all of these organizations who will help cover the cost of the program, the food, and the venue. These are in addition to the early sponsors: Beyond Gaming, Agile Oasis Technologies, Spoke, Paychex, and BGSU Computer Science.

There are a few sponsorship opportunities still available, but not many. Lunch has been paid for, for example.

Individuals can also buy tickets.


Individual tickets on sale for Toledo region UX Tips

Individual tickets for the local viewing of the Rosenfeld Media “32 Awesomely Practical UX Tips” virtual conference, April 24th, are now on sale.

What is it? We gather in a central place (BGSU at Levis Commons) to listen to top-notch speakers over the internet. We connect with others while we spend the day together. We get other work done, since it is socially acceptable to multi-task when the speaker is not in the room. We learn about user experience as a community. We go back to work the next day and help our companies/clients compete.

$30 lets you watch the talks and gives you access to the recordings. Breakfast and lunch included (assuming the sponsors who have indicated an interest chip in). You might even win a prize worth more than what you paid. A great deal!


  • 8:15am: Registration, breakfast and networking
  • 9:00am: In-person guest speaker (tentative)
  • 10:00am: Dave Gray (sketching, visualizing, and collaborating)
  • 11:00am: Christina Wodtke (game design)
  • Noon: Brenda Laurel (design research) with lunch provided during this session
  • 1:00pm: Break, continue lunch and sponsor presentations
  • 2:00pm: Kim Goodwin (leadership)
  • 3:00pm: Steve Portigal (customer insights)
  • 4:00pm: Leah Buley (methods and evangelizing)
  • 5:00pm: Prize raffle, sponsor presentations and wrap-up
  • 6:00pm: Continue hanging out at a nearby bar/restaurant

Purchase your individual tickets at Eventbrite: 

Sponsors are still needed.


Thanks to the early sponsors

Thanks to the early sponsors for the Toledo region UX tips conference, slated for April 24th at BGSU at Levis Commons.

There are several more organizations who have told me they are interested, just have not committed yet. Still more opportunities!

Also, individual ticket sales start next week, in case you want to attend on your own and not as a team.


Call for sponsors: 2014 UX Tips (virtual) conference

We need sponsors so we can host another UX Tips virtual conference in the Toledo region.

  • Who: Anyone interested in user experience in the Toledo region
  • What: A conference with in-person and virtual speakers, and other activities
  • When: April 24, 2014, 8:15am – 6pm
  • Where: BGSU at Levis Commons, Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Why: Professional development for you and your employees

Sponsors help pay for the content, the venue, the food, and other expenses. In return, sponsors get recognized in all marketing materials, a steep discount on tickets, and a chance to present to the group.

Check out the Sponsorship details, including more about the program and the various things we need support for.


Practical UX Tips Virtual Conference: April 24, 2014

It is time to start planning the Toledo Region meeting room for the next Rosenfeld Media UX Tips virtual conference. Last year’s event was a big success and the feedback was “do it again” and do not change much.

About the virtual conference this year:

  • Same UX tips format, 32 tips this time instead of 31.
  • Different speakers, but still superstars: Brenda Laurel, Christina Wodtke, Dave Gray, Kim Goodwin, Leah Buley, Steve Portigal.
  • April 24th (a Thursday), about a month sooner than last year.
  • 10am to 5pm, a different speaker each hour, with a few minutes for questions and barely enough time to chat with your colleagues and take a bathroom break in between the presentations. Lunch break from 1-2pm.
  • Still virtual, of course: watching the speakers over the internet, projected on large screen(s), while we all watch in the same room. And access to the recordings afterwards.

Check out the description at to learn more about the virtual conference.

For the local logistics, again, probably not going to change much:

  • I am checking to see if BGSU at Levis Commons is available.
  • Having local companies “sponsor” by committing to buy a certain number of tickets, to make sure we will have enough attendees to buy the meeting room ticket.
  • After the companies grab their blocks of tickets, charging individuals for tickets until we are full.
  • Having coffee, lunch, snacks and drinks included. Prizes and other goodies if we can.

The expenses will be something around $1500. With 50 attendees, then that is $30 each to break even, which is the goal.

I am open to new ideas as well. Other locations, other funding models, whatever.

Contact me at instone at if you want to propose something new or different. More importantly, contact me if you are interested in “sponsoring” in some way.


Road Trip to WIAD, Ann Arbor, Feb 15

Please consider joining the Toledo Web Professionals on a road trip to Ann Arbor on Saturday, February 15th for World Information Architecture Day. Eight of us carpooled from Toledo last year and we had a great time. The trip up and back was enjoyable, hanging out together was fun, and the conference was great.

World Information Architecture Day 2014 will take place in 24 locations and we are lucky to again have one, Ann Arbor, be very close. The exact program for Ann Arbor is not set yet, but they have announced some of the talks/speakers [updated with final list of speakers and topics]:

  • Form Follows Forces by Dan Klyn & Abby Covert
  • Architecting the Information of Society by Dan Cooney
  • Undiscovered Public Knowledge & IA by James Kalbach
  • Ubiquitous computing and the in-store shopping environment by Jonathan MorganKarl Fast
  • Boundaries of Architectural Practice by Paul Dannels
  • Lightning talks by Claire Barco, Michael Beasley, Sean Marshall, Vanessa Moore, Juan Pasquier

To join us on this road trip, RSVP at the TWP meet-up event so we know who is going and can plan the car pools. Or course, you can also attend WIAD A2 on your own.

Also, be sure to register for the event. It is free but you still need to register so they know how many people to expect.

Later, we will figure out exactly where to meet, when to leave Toledo, who is driving, and when we are coming back.

WIAD is a great event. You can watch a selection of videos from the first two years: from the Ann Arbor events and others around the world.


November events

Local UX events in November around the world are often lined up with World Usability Day (2nd Thursday each year). A lot of local groups shift their monthly schedule and topic to match WUD. This year, that is November 14th.

Big event in the Toledo Region for WUD: Web usability panel at BGSU.

Within a few hours drive, there are lots of events to choose from for WUD:

The UP is too far to drive, but I noticed they are having their own all-day conference. Also a bit farther, Chicago is having a week-long series of events, which I think will be the next stage in local community events (“User experience week including World Usability Day”), similar to some “design weeks” that have cropped up. (A bit of history on the early stages of WUD.)

There are a few other things that happened/are happening this month, but just about everything is on the 14th.

Looking ahead to December:



Web Usability Panel, November 14th

Plans for World Usability Day in the Toledo region are taking shape. November 14, BGSU, panel about web usability. Here are some places to learn more – hope you can make it.





World Usability Day 2013 planning

I am helping organize an event in the Toledo region for World Usability Day. So far:

  • Who is collaborating: Toledo Web Professionals and BGSU College of Technology (Visual Communication Technology) & School of Art (Graphic Design) teachers.
  • What are we doing: A panel on web usability, based on the classic book Don’t Make Me Think.
  • When will it be: Thursday, November 14th (time of day: TBD).
  • Where will it be: On the BGSU campus (building/room: TBD).

World Usability Day is a single day of events occurring around the world. The events educate people about how to create usable products. They also celebrate the strides that have been made in making our world work better. The Toledo region hosted WUD events in 2006 and 2011, but this year’s event looks like it will be much larger than those were.

Several BGSU professors and instructors will be incorporating the event into their courses:

  • Jodi Hagg‘s VCT 3660 “Applied Interactive Media Production” classes use Don’t Make Me Think as a textbook.
  • Jerry Schnepp‘s VCT 4820 “Advanced Concepts of Multimedia Production” students used DMMT earlier in their education.
  • Todd Childer‘s ARTD 4030 “Systems-Based Graphic Design” class has user interface design topics.
  • Amy Fidler‘s ARTD 4050 “Interactive Graphic Design” class covers UI design principles.

Some teachers may have their students attend the panel instead of class; some might offer it as an option. In all cases, the panel topics will be directly related to learning objectives for the courses. (I’d be interested to hear from other BGSU instructors who are interested in having their students participate.)

The event is not intended to be only for BGSU students: anyone interested in web usability will be invited to attend. The Toledo Web Professionals meet-up page is the best way to RSVP and to stay in touch as the plans solidify.

What will the panel be about? We will get a group of practitioners to talk about aspects of the book Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It is a classic that serves as an excellent introduction to web usability and user experience thinking in general.

We are compiling a list of potential panelists. We are looking for people who:

  • Have read Krug’s book and have practiced what it says. They might agree with the author or disagree with him, but they need to be experienced with the concepts in the book.
  • Are willing to do a small amount of prep for the panel, so people can ask questions about a topic from the book and they can engage in a conversation with the other panelists and audience.
  • Have some special web usability story they are willing to focus on, such as a case study, applying a unique background, or something to vent about.
  • Be able to attend the session at BGSU on the 14th, which might mean taking some time off of work. Toledo region locals would be great, but if an expert is willing to drive a few hours, even better.

Some of the topics that the panel might talk about:

  • When did you first encounter DMMT? What impact did it have on you?
  • Show a page and talk about the visual hierarchy of it (bad examples are funnier).
  • Tell us a story about “happy talk” that you encountered as a designer and had to fight hard to get rid of.
  • Are breadcrumbs good or evil?
  • Give 1 reason why you hate tabs.
  • Show a page that you have designed and do the trunk test on it: does it pass?
  • Tell us a story about a major home page battle and how you won/lost it.
  • Give us an example of one of your antidotes for a religious debate.
  • Do you really need to only test with 5 users?
  • Why don’t clients care about accessibility?
  • What is one of your own recommended readings that is not in the back of the book?
  • Krug is working on the 3rd edition of DMMT: what should he add, update or delete for the next edition?

If you want to be considered as a panelist, or to nominate someone, contact me.

More details coming as we continue the planning.