Category Archives: Toledo Web Professionals

May UX News

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People Skills for UX, May 27

Toledo showing of Rosenfeld Media speakers

Another all-day UX conference for the Toledo region is ON for Wednesday May 27th!

Experts from outside the design world will be paired with UX leaders on the topics of listening, facilitation, negotiation, and leadership.

Learn more about the Rosenfeld Media virtual conference speakers, but do not register there. Instead, check out our Call for Sponsors for our local conference. Starting today, companies and organizations can sponsor our local conference for $100, giving them access to purchase tickets now. Tickets for individuals will not go on sale for two more weeks.

Our hosts will be LaunchPad Incubation at the University of Toledo. See the Call for Sponsors for the list of sponsor benefits, a tentative schedule, options for paying, and other details.

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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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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.


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.



May 8: Making our users feel great (Josh Walsh)


One of our strategies for building a UX community in the region is to help existing groups add UX content to their programs. The next example of this is the May 8th Toledo Web Professionals Meet-up, featuring Josh Walsh of Designing Interactive (in Cleveland). I had heard of Josh’s tour when he made stops in Cleveland and Cincinnati earlier this year, so I suggested that TWP’s Greg and Dan contact him to see if he wanted to add a stop in the Toledo region. Josh quickly agreed.

Add this to your calendar, plan on attending, and let your colleagues know about it.

  • Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 6:00pm, at Seed Coworking. Pizza sponsored by Kforce. (Mud Hens home game that night: get there early or be prepared to pay for parking.)
  • Talk starting at around 6:30pm: “Making Our Users Feel Great: The Psychology of Making Things Easy to Use”
  • TWP meet-up event: RSVP here.
  • Facebook event (by Seed): Invite colleagues to help spread the word.

Josh’s talk in Toledo may be similar to the version he gave in Cincinnati in March: watch the video to get a sense of what to expect. Description of one his past talks on his tour:

The design industry has lost focus on what it means to be a user experience designer. It’s not about writing requirements, drawing wireframes, graphic design, or even user research. It’s about making your users feel great.

While those other skills are important, they are just a means to an end, a way to enable users to accomplish what they need to accomplish.

We conduct user interviews and usability testing to learn directly from our users, but our brains aren’t wired to express how we feel. So, how can we learn from our users’ feelings to make our products better?

See you there! I will likely give an update on our UX community progress.