Category Archives: Midwest UX

Upcoming UX Events

Happy New Year (belatedly)! Now that it is February and spring is around the corner, various user experience events are popping up. From today’s email newsletter.

Saturday 2/18 is World Information Architecture Day and several of us are planning to drive to Ann Arbor together for a day of talks about careers, data, innovation, design rules, and more. Register for a FREE ticket and RSVP with the Toledo Web Professionals to be a part of the caravan from Toledo (meeting at the Sylvania Kroger at 7:30am).

Some of you may be interested in doing UX work on Lake Erie innovation projects. Check out ErieHack: first Toledo information session is Wednesday 2/15! Toledo’s hackathon is in March, $100k in prizes awarded in May.

Online, the Experience Design/Agile UX group has been doing regular Google Hangouts for each chapter in the “Lean UX” book. You can still join them for the last two chapters on 2/19 and 3/1.

There is a Design Thinking workshop in Columbus on 2/20. On Tuesday 2/28, Detroit UX is hosting a meetup about voice user interfaces at Grand Circus in downtown Detroit.

Ignite UX Michigan is another event that we regularly carpool to Ann Arbor to enjoy. March 14th is the next evening of 5-minute talks in a nightclub setting. Save the date! Tech Toledo is helping organize it.

March 20th is the next big UX event in the region: an Unconference at Hanson (rescheduled from November). Bring your interesting UX topics or nagging UX challenges to the unconference to discuss with colleagues in small groups.

The next Rosenfeld Media virtual conference will be April 25th. I plan to host another local conference in conjunction with it, but have not started looking into venues, hosts or sponsors. Ideas welcome! The theme this time:

  • Wearables, VR, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things: every invention needs an intuitive, humane user experience to make them work. Easier said than done, right?
  • Let’s tackle rapid change by learning together. Our next virtual conference (tentatively called “To Be Designed: What’s Next for UX”) aims to help you succeed at designing what’s next in your world.

You can give input to the global program by completing a survey (before 2/22) to suggest topics and speakers.

Finally, looking ahead to the fall, the Midwest UX conference is returning to Ohio. After stops in Louisville & Pittsburgh, it is back to a few hours drive from Toledo: Cincinnati, October 12-14, 2017. MWUX is a top-notch UX conference! High-quality conferences like this are more common on the coasts, but MWUX is better, in my opinion, because of the midwest vibe to the program and the whole conference.

Save the dates and start planning your trip. Buy your ticket now, since it will likely sell out. Speaker submission is open until 4/16. Contact me if your company wants to sponsor.

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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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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Car pool, limo/shuttle to Midwest UX?

I am definitely going to Grand Rapids, MI, for Midwest UX. Workshops are Thursday, October 17 and the conference is Friday & Saturday October 18 & 19.

I would rather not drive all of the way there and back by myself. I’d rather carpool with others to make the travel more enjoyable. I am also willing to book a limo/shuttle service so we can really enjoy the trip. I have a quote from 1 service that costs roughly $50/person each way, so $100 total per person. For example, a 6-person van is $650 and a 10-passenger limo is $1000.

My travel dates/times are flexible.

  • I can leave Wednesday evening for people who are attending a Thursday workshop: I am not planning on attending a workshop, but I can work remotely from there. I can depart on Thursday.
  • I can depart right away after the conference on Saturday, at 6pm. I can leave following the after-party, later in the evening. I could leave Sunday morning, if others wanted to party late and stay in the hotel 1 more night (but I suspect most of you would rather not).

Who wants to join me?

  • Colleagues from here in the Toledo region. I know some people from Hanson are going to the conference. Who else?
  • If you are in Ann Arbor, we will be passing through on our way and could stop and get you.
  • If you are coming from Cleveland, Columbus or south of us, you might be passing through the Toledo area. You could park here and take the “Toledo shuttle” the rest of the way.

Contact me if you are interested! Let me know your range of travel times/dates so we can see what might work.




MWUX 2014 Call for Cities

Erik Dahl recently announced the Call for Cities for the Midwest UX 2014 conference.

If you are not familiar with the conference, 2014 will be the 4th year (April 2011 Columbus, May/June 2012 Columbus, October 2013 Grand Rapids).

I would agree with Erik: it is a must-attend User Experience event for people in the Midwest. It also draws from outside the Midwest: people from the coasts have commented they like the “vibe” here, not what they expected from flyover country.

We submitted a MWUX 2103 proposal for the Toledo region (PDF). We were not expecting to win, but it was useful to throw together a proposal. Inspired by not finishing last in 2013, I’d like to try again for 2014.

It will be hard to compete with the larger cities in the Midwest, so we will have to be “creative”. Our base of user experience professionals who live and work in the Toledo region pales to the numbers in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, but we do have a good location between all of them. We do not have established IxDA or UXPA local chapters, but we have AIGA Toledo, which regularly out-performs larger AIGA chapters. UX-related meet-ups are sprouting. The sponsorship and attendee support for the May 29 Rosenfeld Summit was amazing.

So, I am willing to do some work to create a proposal. Who wants to join me? Contact me. I will also be contacting lots of people directly. We have a month: submissions are due July August 31st.

Here are the key criteria to start thinking about:

    • A core group of organizers and producers
    • A location that is convenient for attendees from the Midwest
    • Venues capable of seating 450 people theatre-style; 2-3 smaller rooms capable of seating 200 people each; and 3-6 rooms suitable for small sessions and workshops
    • A selection of hotels near to the conference venue(s) at various prices and quality
    • A plan for providing Internet access (wi-fi)
    • Catering services at the venue(s)
    • Potential venues for conference social events and receptions
    • A strong and vibrant local design community
    • A summary of the process by which the submission was created