Ignite UX Michigan Draws Standing-Room-Only Crowd

Five minutes, twenty auto-advancing slides, and an excited standing-room-only crowd. Are you a little crazy? Not at all. You are a presenter at Ignite UX Michigan.

On October 21, 2014, thirteen people presented their thoughts about user experience at Ignite UX Michigan at Conor O’Neill’s in Ann Arbor.

Big Ideas

We heard about some big ideas: the user interface as a magic ritual; a future with many more do-it-yourselfers who will need to know the same basic design principles we use now and who will have limited resources; embedded user research as another approach to [qualitative] research, based on a summer teaching experience with Girls Who Code; and philosophical questions: How does LATCH—Location, Alphabet, Time, Category, and Hierarchy—a way to organize information, intersect with reality? How do we make reality?

End Users

However, the majority of the rest of the talks focussed on end users in one way or another.
One person talked about some common disabilities and how to design for the using good writing and good HTML design, while another gave some quick examples of good and bad design when telling stories with data visualization.

One speaker had an epiphany on a trip to Paraguay. Speaking no Spanish, the best visual and social cues she used were nonverbal ones. Her big questions were: What would it mean to be a traveler on a website? How can we extend the nonverbal communication of login pages and search bars to other areas?

A content strategist who is the one-person UX team at her company explained how to create plausible streamlined personas even while lacking time, budget, or even users.

Academic software design was critiqued, and suggestions were made for creating smaller products grounded in learning theory for the primary end users, teachers and students.

Business

There were also business-focussed talks. One speaker talked about how to have jobs come to you. A visual designer explained how UX people can work effectively with visual designers.

Another speaker talked about applying user experience to project management: What if, instead of having processes and procedures coming from the top down, workers became participants in creating their work environment?

The last presentation was a cautionary tale of a website project that got too focussed on implementation instead of goals. That speaker reminded us to solve the right problem at the right level for the right reason.

The program ended with a raffle: nine books and six posters, contributed by sponsors, were given away. Many people lingered to talk afterwards. The presentations were very stimulating, and many of the slides themselves were both interesting and well designed.

Looking Ahead: World Usability Day in the “D”

Whether you are conscious of it or not, successful technical communication always involves creating a good user experience. Your will have a chance to learn more about user experience on November 13, 2014, World Usability Day.

STC New England chapter is now accepting entries…

The STC New England chapter is now accepting entries for their 2014 technical communication competition! Anyone is welcome to submit an entry; STC membership is not a requirement.

The deadline for entries is October 3rd.

For more information, visit the STC New England chapter’s website. Feel free to contact Emily Alfson with any questions at emalfson@gmail.com or contact the competition committee directly at competitions@stcnewengland.org.

Welcome to a New Program Year: A Letter from the President

by Pat MartzP Martz Feb 2013

We had our Council and Planning meeting at Washtenaw Community College on Sunday, September 14, so I would like to fill you in on some of our plans for the year. Most of our discussions revolved around planning the program year, but we also discussed tweaking the fee structure and volunteer opportunities.

While this is my chance to talk to you, please feel free to contact me with ideas or questions.
(more…)

STC-SM’s First Networking Event of the 2014/2015 year

Four of us met at Paesano’s on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor Tuesday, September 16, for dinner and conversation. The group consisted of the program committee chair and three of the council executives, so the conversation quite naturally turned to chapter business.

We discussed the programs for the coming year, the new fee structure, and the need for more volunteers to fill the vacancies. But we also talked about our jobs and our recent vacations. The company and the food was excellent.

Please see the “Upcoming Events” calendar to see what we have planned. The details have not all been fleshed out yet, but check back often to find out more about what’s happening in the chapter. We will also be publicizing the events on the listserv, on Facebook, here on the blog, and by email, so keep an eye out for that too. We will be using Eventbrite again this year to register people for the events.

Please join us at one or more of the events. We’d love to see and talk with you.

Submissions for Ignite UX are open; deadline is 9/25

Ignite UX Michigan is looking for talks on user experience-related topics in the Ignite format — short, tightly focused talks with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds, for a total of 5 minutes.

This event happened for the first time last fall, and the organizers are doing it again.

If you participated last year, you know. If you did not, we encourage you to consider.

Click here for details and contacts.

Click for more information on Ignite UX Michigan and on Ignite UX sponsors.

Final Program Recap

By Sharon McDonnell

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, a dozen or so of us met at Little Daddy’s in Livonia for our final program of the 2013/2014 season. We met for several reasons: to network, to acknowledge and appreciate, to brag about our work, to announce the changing of the guard, and to eat!

Secretary, Susan Fisher, presenting her Information Architecture wireframes for a software application.

The member showcase portion of the program featured several very interesting offerings:

  • Technical and marketing copy in print form authored in Word and Acrobat
  • Online training materials authored in Flare and Captivate
  • Information architecture wireframes for  a web application describing body systems
  • Portfolios in online and print formats

 

Each contributor briefly presented his or her offering and afterwards we perused them.

Our outgoing president, Tom Glennan, recapped his goals for this year and compared them to the accomplishments we have made. Most of the things he set out to do were done, so he can be proud of his effort. (more…)

Some presidential reflections

Written by Tom Glennan

Oct 2013 GlennanThe STC-SM member showcase and volunteer appreciation dinner meeting held on June 25 at Little Daddy’s in Livonia was a great opportunity to recognize and reflect on the contributions of our members both in the workplace and in our chapter. And it also gave me the opportunity to reflect on the past program year as my year of serving as your chapter president draws to a close. In reflecting, we can both celebrate what we have achieved and think about where we want to go as a chapter. (more…)

Congratulations, Maryann Bowen!

Written by Tom Glennan

Tom and Maryann with DCSA 2014Congratulations to Maryann Bowen, who was approved by the STC Board of Directors to receive the Distinguished Chapter Service Award (DCSA) for 2014! Maryann was recognized as a DCSA recipient at the recent STC Summit in Phoenix as well as in the online STC Notebook and in the May 2014 issue of Intercom.

The DCSA is bestowed in recognition of the recipient’s exemplary effort, energy and dedication to his or her community and its activities. Maryann was nominated for her commitment and service to the technical communication profession, and to STC-SM in particular. Whether it’s her service to the chapter by serving in a variety of elected and volunteer positions, her dedication to providing value for our chapter members or her tireless efforts to develop and present meaningful program events and speakers, Maryann has served as an inspiration and model we would all do well to emulate.

In recognition of her significant professional and personal accomplishments, Maryann was presented with her DCSA certificate at the STC-SM volunteer recognition dinner meeting held on June 25. Please make a point of congratulating and thanking Maryann when you see her at an upcoming STC-SM event.

2014-15 Elections

Elections are underway for the 2014-15 chapter term.  STC/SM chapter members should have already received an email from “electionbuddy elections” containing instructions to participate in online voting. The online process includes the actual ballot and profile information for each candidate.

If you are a current chapter member and have not received the election instructions, or you are unable to complete the online voting process, please contact pastpresident@stc-sm.org.

1 2 3 4 6