February news

Winter is here: Brave the cold for some UX events

It’s cold outside, but there are things worth braving the elements for, this weekend and next month.

  • World IA Day in Ann Arbor, Saturday, 2/21
  • Design at the Googz, Thursday, 3/12

If you cannot bear to leave the warmth of your house, at least fill out the UX community survey.

World IA Day

There is still time to join the carpool to Ann Arbor on Saturday, February 21st. The Toledo Web Professionals are meeting at Thread Marketing Group on Alexis Road in the morning, driving to the University of Michigan, and enjoying a full day of free sessions for World Information Architecture Day.

Check out the program at worldiaday.org and RSVP at meetup.com if you are planning on joining the Toledo crew. Expect Cuban food for lunch!

Design at the Googz

On March 12th, Toledo Web Professionals are hosting “Design at the Googz,” a talk by Rita DeRaedt about her experiences interning with a Google UX team, and other thoughts.

RSVP at meetup.com. Another great event hosted at Seed Coworking.


A few folks have asked when the next Toledo UX conference featuring remote speakers from Rosenfeld Media will be. I do not know, since RM has not scheduled anything yet!

If you are really craving to get together with your Toledo UX colleagues to watch some brilliant UX talk online, then we could do a free O’Reilly talk featuring RM authors (2/26 & 3/10). Or we could pool our money and pay for the UIE virtual seminar series.

Let me know what you are interested in doing.

Rest of the year

I am not planning anything major for the UX community for the spring or summer, but contact me if you are interested in doing something: maybe we could make it happen.

Instead, I am concentrating on events for September, to be part of something bigger. Stay tuned for more information.

January 2015 Newsletter

Happy New Year! Thanks for participating in user experience activities in 2014. What do you want to do in 2015?

We did several things to learn more about user experience in the Toledo Region in 2014, including:

I partnered with the Toledo Web Professionals and many regional companies and organizations in 2014: thanks to all of you for your support.

What about 2015?

What are your user experience professional needs in 2015? Which ideas should we pursue in the next 12 months? What other suggestions do you have? What are you interested in helping make happen?

I have updated the UX community survey from 2013 and would love it if you could spare a few minutes and fill it out.

Feel free to pass this along to others. I’d like to have input from many people.

There are a few things that are already in the works for this year:

  • World IA Day in Ann Arbor, February 21st.
  • A panel by people who attended UX-related conferences last year, like Midwest UX and HOW Interactive Design. Contact me if you want to share the highlights of a conference you attended.
  • A talk by a BGSU student who interned on a UX team at Google.

Stay tuned for more information. Provide your input via the survey or contact me directly.


November news

World Usability Day road trip, Visual literacy conference

The Toledo Web Professionals are organizing a road trip to Detroit for World Usability Day on November 13th. World Usability Day includes hundreds of local events around the world: the theme this year is engaging user experiences.

For the road trip, we leave at 5pm, listen to two talks in downtown Detroit (one about potty training and one on engaging city residents), and enjoy the company of UX colleagues on the way up and back.

RSVP at the TWP meetup event to be a part of the carpool and then get your $5 ticket at the Detroit UX meetup.

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August Newsletter

I started using MailChimp and created my first “official” email newsletter. Below are the details from the first newsletter, sent on August 3rd. If you did not get this one and want to get the next one, you can sign up for the newsletter on the right of most pages on this site.

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Rosenfeld Media mini-conferences

Rosenfeld Media will be announcing another “virtual conference” soon: great speakers presenting great UX content, live over the internet.

In the past, they have stressed individual participation (watch it from the comfort of your home for about $150) and allowed companies to host something internal for their employees (for about $500, companies can set aside a conference room so several people can participate).

This time, RM will also be marketing this as an opportunity for local communities (such as Meetup groups) to partner with one or more sponsors to make it a public mini-conference.


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Midwest UX 2014 Sessions

A list of sessions for the Midwest UX 2014 conference, October 23-25, Indianapolis, has been published. More details and the full program are coming, but this may be enough information to convince you that you should register. I will organize a carpool so we can travel together from the Toledo region: that adds to the conference experience.

Check out the speakers page on the conference site. I have extracted some of the content here if that is easier for you, but my content will become out of date quickly (and I will not update it).

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Upcoming UX events

Looking for some UX education, networking or inspiration later this year? The Toledo Web Professionals have one meeting planned and one in the works.

The big event in the midwest will be Midwest UX 2014 in Indianapolis, October 23-25. I will be arranging some sort of road trip so we can carpool. The conference will be great: traveling together will make the trip even better.

If I hear about anything else, I will let you know.


The Art of Video Games

From June to September, the Toledo Museum of Art will have an exhibit and programming that should be of interest to user experience professionals (and many others).

The Art of Video Games is about the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling, and thus, it is about user experience. It covers 20 gaming systems from 1997 to 2005, including Commodore 64, Nintendo, Sega, Xbox, DOS & Windows. The exhibit is made up of still images, videos, interviews, consoles on display, and games to play.TAOVG-ArTMAttersCover2

It aims to show that video games are more than code and graphics; interaction design and storytelling also contribute to video game experiences. Over time, elements of video game experiences have bled into other forms of entertainment and non-game digital experiences. Even if you do not work on video games, I think you will be inspired and informed by the exhibit, helping you plan, design, and code user experiences in other contexts.

The exhibition started at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2012, then went on the road. It was in Phoenix at this time last year and arrives in Toledo from Yonkers in a few weeks. Learn some more about the exhibit: watch videos on YouTube, scan #TAoVG (general exhibit hashtag) & #GameOnTMA (local exhibit/program hashtag), buy the book, read the history, check out the local media kit.

The museum has more than just this exhibit to attend! There are parties, talks, movies, and panels about the video game industry.

  • Chris Melissinos, the curator of the exhibit, will be giving a presentation and doing a book signing on Friday, June 20th at 7pm to help kick off the exhibit at TMA.
  • Exhibit opening party, June 21, 8pm to midnight, sponsored by UXTR supporter Hanson Inc.
  • Thursday evening film showings of WarGames (July 24) and The Last Starfighter (August 21), with perhaps another one to be announced.
  • Friday evening panels “Life of a Pro Gamer” (July 18) and “Where are video games headed?” (August 15).
  • Added 7/26: AIGA Toledo is having a Cocktails & Creatives in conjunction with the exhibit on August 1st.

Check out Toledo Tech Events tag TAOVG for more information on each of these events, and an updated list as more are announced.

There are even more things going on, loosely related to the exhibition, not listed at Toledo Tech Events. If you have kids age 10 or under, there are Family Center activities planned related to the video game theme. The Community Gallery has an exhibit on Computer Generated Art which opens on May 16th.

See you there!


PS. If you are talking with a colleague and want to point them to more information, use “gameon dot toledomuseum dot org“.