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As some of you may be aware (my obsessive tweeting on this very subject during the two weeks leading to the event attests to this) the Ottawa UX community at-large is about to have an official gathering on Nov 27, 2010. Titled UXcamp Ottawa, the event is a one-day professional conference organized by a few volunteers that will combine both planned and unplanned (unconference-type) sessions.
In the spirit of the ever-popular barcamp model, the goal of the event is to bring people who are interested in creating better user experiences together, in an environment conducive to learning, sharing, open conversation and community building. The topics of discussion will include the usual suspects: user experience, user research, usability, information architecture, interaction design, service design, etc. But what you may not know is that UXcamp Ottawa follows in the footsteps of a few similar events worldwide (Washington, Berlin, London, Florence, Prague, Kiev, Seoul) and is also preceeded by three other Canadian dates.
First of all, let me start off by saying that I don't really have an idea why I was extended an invitation to attend TEDxCarletonU last night. Now that the event has passed, it somehow feels even harder to justify my presence there. I'm not a decorated authority in my own field, like the presenters. My definition of being a changemaker is most likely restricted to influencing the lives of the people who are in my life. Hell, I don't even know if the expression I used in the title of this post is gramatically accurate in Latin. So no matter which angle I look at this, TEDxCU was not the typical geek gathering that I normally attend. It was not a meetup, tweetup, bootcamp, democamp, book club or UX conference, though elements from all of those types of events surfaced in various instances during the presentations.
The best way (well, the only way) I can describe it is sharing a room with visionaries, people with big dreams and overpowering desires to do something different and make significant contributions their professional field of choice. You can call them creators, innovators, brainiacs, entrepreneurs, changemakers, but the title itself is irrelevant. What matters is the fact that their work has the potential to improve our human condition. A fact so very few of us can claim.
I'm also not going to attempt to describe the presentations from last night or try to prove that I belonged by quoting some of the inspiring ideas that were unveiled. I wouldn't do them justice and the very presence of the speakers was one of the key ingredients to being immersed in those new exciting realms that mesh science, technology, art and social responsibility. What I can promise you is that if and when the video recordings finally surface on the interwebs, I'll make sure to anchor them to this post, in case some of you are interested in a time-delayed virtual experience of the evening's official events.
A day after World Usability Day (Nov 13), I am heading out to the Rockies for CanUX 2008, an annual event that has become a staple on my conference circuit. Organized by the guys at nForm (Jess McMullin, Gene Smith and Co.), the conference has great workshops and well-respected speakers from the UX world.
This year, the conference is highlighted by Dave Gray (XPATH), Brandon Schauer (Adaptive Path), Luke Wrobleski (Yahoo!, LukeW Designs) and Dennis Wixon (Microsoft Surface). And being in Banff, this will probably also be my first snowboarding outing of the year. Can't wait.
Banff, AB, served as the backdrop of my first CanUX (short for Canadian User Experience) conference and the 2007 version showed that it belongs at the forefront of the Canadian UX landscape. While the workshops and presentations alike provided content that was both educational and entertaining, my top 4 in terms of relevance ended up as follows:
1. Web Accessibility (Derek Featherstone)
2. Tagging (Gene Smith)
3. The Business of Usability (Jess McMullin)
4. The Fuzzy Tail (Dave Armano).
accessibility branding business canUX community conference design GoC CLF marketplace ottawa privacy project management public sector research security standards TEDx thoughts usability user experience user interface UX tools UXcamp wireframes
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