Category Archives: Regional events

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.



October events

What is happening in the Toledo region in October for people interested in user experience.

  • October 1: The UT Internet Marketing Conference covers some UX-related topics like findability, publishing, social media and mobile.
  • October 9: Agile Software Development Methods might include something about how UX methods like iterative design and usability testing  work hand-in-hand in agile environments.
  • October 16-19: Road trip to Midwest UX. Carpool to the best UX conference in the area!
  • October 24: Ignite UX. 5 minutes/20 slides on various UX topics. In Ann Arbor, but I am partnering with the organizers to encourage more of us to attend from the Toledo region.

And save November 14th for World Usability Day at BGSU. More details coming.

Other road trip opportunities, or if you happen to be near one of these cities already, attend to meet others interested in UX.

More October road-trippable events will be added: seems like not a lot of them have been advertised yet.


September events

What is happening related to user experience this month.

In the region

Road trippable

Planning ahead

  • September 30 – October 5: Cincinnati Design Week. Evening talks, TEDx conference, crawls and parties.
  • October 4: Destinations workshop. It’s about planning, a crucial aspect of corporate user experience success.
  • October 17-19: Midwest UX. World-class conference, a few hours drive away. Want to carpool?
  • October 24: Ignite UX in Ann Arbor. A fun night of short talks about UX. Submit your topic by September 12th!
  • November 14: World Usability Day event in the Toledo region is in the works. 

Mobile UX Virtual Summit at Hanson, Sept 12

The March survey indicated you wanted online webinars to help you address your user experience professional needs. So I organized a local showing of the May 29th Rosenfeld Summit. It was a hit, so let’s do it again!

This time, the wonderful folks at Hanson are taking the lead, for the September 12th Mobile UX Summit, another virtual conference from Rosenfeld Media. Hanson is hosting it at their offices, and paying for the meeting room ticket, and supplying refreshments. You just need to bring or pay for your lunch. Wow!

About the Mobile UX Summit: 27 tips and 2 case studies

Practical advice on designing mobile experiences.

  • Brad Frost: Media queries
  • Greg Nudelman: Android tips, iOS to Android case study
  • Theresa Neil: Silvercar case study
  • Jason CranfordTeague: Mobile typography
  • Mike Fisher: Mobile user research
  • Josh Clark: Touchscreens

Learn more about the presentations and the speakers at

How to attend in the Toledo Region

Other people around the world will be paying $180 to watch this at their homes, but we have something much better for you.

  • Make sure you can be at Hanson for all/most of the day. We expect mostly locals, but you can drive in from Ann Arbor or elsewhere if you want. If you cannot be at the Toledo location, you cannot participate! The rules say everyone has to be in the same room. If you cannot be in Toledo, you have to buy your own ticket ($179) and watch from your own location.
  • Clear your schedule of meetings for September 12th. You can bring some work to do while you watch the summit (bring your computer so you can check email and work on documents). You can step out for part of the day to take calls if you must.
  • Register on Eventbrite. It is FREE to attend, but Hanson needs to know who will be there to help them plan. We had 50 people in May, so Hanson’s 60 seats might fill up. Decide if you want to pay $10 for a Panera-delivered lunch or not.
  • Recruit some of your colleagues to join you. This is a great deal: great content, free, no long travel involved, hang out with smart people all day.
  • Show up at 9am on September 12th at the Hanson offices in Arrowhead Park. The summit starts at 10am but you will want to get there early to get a good seat, network and socialize, and hear announcements about the other UX things in the works.
  • Enjoy the summit! Watch as the (remote) speakers are projected on a screen. Someone from Hanson can submit questions on behalf of all of us in the room. Use #mobileuxsummit in your tweets to be a part of the global conversation during the event.
  • At 5pm, go out for dinner with your new colleagues (maybe) or go downtown for the Art Walk: start at Seed Coworking. Or go home after a great day of mobile user experience insights, education, and tips.

Recap: Register for free (with or without $10 for lunch), courtesy of Hanson.

And be sure to thank Hanson! They are providing the room, paying $480 for access, doing all of the planning, etc. And making it FREE for you.


PS If you want to attend a SECOND, FREE virtual conference that same week, you can drive to Ann Arbor for the Accessibility Summit (courtesy of Refresh Detroit and the University of Michigan).

UX designers needed for Startup Weekend Toledo


User experience professionals are invited to attend Startup Weekend Toledo, September 20-22, 2013. This includes user interface designers, information architects, graphic designers, user researchers, interaction designers, ethnographers, usability engineers, creative directors and many other roles.

Startup Weekends are intense, 54-hour events where people with backgrounds in technology, design and business form teams around interesting ideas. The teams create prototypes and business models to test the business viability of those ideas. Winning teams get prizes to help them develop their ideas further. Everyone who participates is a winner, however, because they get to work with cool people from the area and gain experience in a startup environment.

Startup Weekends are happening every weekend around the world. The first one in the Toledo Region was last year.

Why should UX designers sign up for Startup Weekend Toledo?

  • Pitch your innovative idea to the group and try to convince others to join you in pursuit of your dream.
  • Join a team with an idea that appeals to you and help design the business. Do more than make things look pretty: apply your strategic design skills. One of the judging criteria is “User experience design” so teams will be recruiting designers to join them.
  • Experience the thrills of trying to start up a company: it is eye-opening.
  • Hang out with and work side-by-side all weekend with some of the most creative people in the Toledo region.
  • Take a shot at building the next “big thing” – or even a “small thing” that makes the world a better place

See for more information, including the schedule, coaches, speakers and judges.

Early bird registration is only $35 and ends on August 21st. Be sure to sign up for a “designer” ticket.

Let your UX colleagues know about the event via Facebook and Twitter. Encourage other user experience designers – and anyone else you think is interested – to attend.


August events

What is happening related to user experience in the Toledo region and within road-trip distance in August.

In the region

Road trips

Looking ahead

There are some big local events in September to plan ahead for.

  • September 9: AIGA Toledo’s Rock, Paper, Sizzle and Pixels of Fury. Social event, fundraiser, album art show and design tournament, all rolled into one.
  • September 12: Rosenfeld Virtual Conference: Mobile UX Summit. Tentative: only if someone else (not me) is willing to host it and deal with the logistics.
  • September 19: TEDxToledo. The 2nd edition of TEDxToledo features local thought leaders and doers for an all-day conference that should inspire UXers and everyone else.
  • September 20-22: Startup Weekend Toledo. The 2nd edition of this business design extravaganza needs UI and other designers to participate on teams as they go from idea to business model to prototype to pitch in 1 intense weekend.

Farther out (in time and in place), here are some more events that you should be considering:

  • September 25-27: WebVisions Chicago. Includes many great UX topics and speakers.
  • September 30 – October 5: Cincinnati Design Week. Collection of evening talks, TEDx conference, crawls and parties.
  • October 17-19: Midwest UX in Grand Rapids, MI. It is a top-notch UX conference you do not need to fly to.
  • October 24: Ignite UX in Ann Arbor. A fun night of short talks about UX. Submit your topic by September 12th!
  • November 14: Local World Usability Day event. Host, location, other details TBD, but save the date. We will likely have it in the evening so you can also go to the EPIC Toledo Summit.

Busy times!


July events

July is a vacation month for many of us, but there are still some local events related to user experience planned. And plenty of road trip (2.5 hour drive or less) opportunities.

In the Region in July

And in early August: AIGA Toledo Ice Cream & Beer Social, August 3. More info. RSVP on Facebook.

On the Road in July

For me, the big road trip is to DC for a User Experience Professionals Association annual conference, July 9-12.

As always, let me know if you know of something else about UX in the area. If you are planning on going on one of these road trips, contact me or tweet with #UXTR. Maybe we can organize a carpool.


Call for Attendees: March 29 Webinar

Because of the fantastic financial support of several sponsors, we got enough commitment to purchase a “group ticket” for the May 29th Rosenfeld Summit Webinar. We got a larger venue (enough for 70 people) at Levis Commons, so we can now let individuals register to join us.

The cost for individuals is only $25: a great price.

Learn more about attending the Rosenfeld Summit Webinar on May 29th in the Toledo region.

Help spread the word to your colleagues!


Call for Sponsors: May 29 Webinar

Over the last 3 weeks, I have been talking with many folks about how to organize and fund a local group ticket for the May 29th Rosenfeld Summit of 31 UX tips. Thanks to everyone who answered the attendee survey and provided other feedback.

I think we finally have enough details worked out to announce the call for sponsors to a broader audience.

Please check out May 29 Webinar Sponsorship, contact me if you are interested, and spread the word to potential sponsors. We already have commitments from several groups, so it is time to start making it happen for real.