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If you're an Ottawa, Montreal or Kingston-based UX professional, or are involved in any related disciplines, you probably know that in a little less than a couple of months, on October 13-14, 2012, the third annual edition of UXcamp Ottawa (Twitter: @uxcampottawa) is coming to the Ottawa Little Theatre and Ottawa U's Lamoureux Hall.
Unlike last year when the event was a multiple track, single day of pre-planned conference sessions and unconference-style participant-driven conversations, we've moved to a single track, two days format, to allow everyone to see every speaker. UXcamp Ottawa III features a spectacular lineup of world-class speakers on Saturday, and a full-day Design Jam on Sunday. If you're interested to see the full schedule, read about the speakers, get in touch with the organizers (disclosure: I am co-chairing the event) head on over to our new home at http://uxcampottawa.org. Registration is now open, and for the third year in a row, we hope it's sellout once again. And if you're still not conviced, and you need hard-hitting (:O), totally subjective reasons why I believe UXcamp Ottawa III is a must-see event for Canadian UX professionals, you're in luck: the following is my roundup of the top 10.
If you live in Ottawa and you're on Twitter you probably know that in a couple of weeks from now, on November 5th to be precise, the second edition of UXcamp Ottawa will take place at Ottawa U's Lamoureux Auditorium.(Twitter: @uxcampottawa)
Similar to last year, the conference will contain pre-planned sessions (ranging from 10 minute Ignite-style talks to hour long presentations) as well as unconference-style participant-driven conversations in the afternoon. If you're interested to see the full schedule, read about the speakers, look at photos or watch video highlights of last year's sessions head out to ottawa.uxcamp.ca and get all details there. Registration is also now open, and for the second year in a row, we're heading towards a sellout. But if you're still not conviced, and you need hard-hitting (:O) reasons why I think UXcamp Ottawa 2011 is a must-see event for UX professionals and designers, you're in luck: here's the roundup of my top 10:
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.
The term 'intrapreneur' is not a novelty in the business world. It's been around for 25 years and is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk taking and innovation". The idea is gaining a lot of traction these days in the corporate world, with companies like Google and 3M allowing their employees to spend up to 20% of their time incubating their own side ideas. In government however, spending time on rethinking a process or product while working around bureaucracy is a notion that is typically frowned upon.
Governmental bureaucratic structures typically enforce compliance with rules and procedures and can kill new ideas because innovation often requires challenging the status quo or questioning long-held assumptions that may have worked well in the past. Furthermore, cultivating innovation is an evolutionary process and cannot be done overnight. Trial and error, experimentation without taking on undue risk, and adaptation to change should be concepts in the arsenal of every PS employee especially given the government's newly adopted PS renewal mantra. In this day and age, intrapreneurship seems to be the only cost-effective way governments can quickly replicate successful internal and external innovations, by adapting them to local contexts instead of always trying to reinvent the wheel.
Over the last few years, the Government of Canada has done its best to attempt to control the look and feel of its internal and external web properties by instituting the first two versions of the Common Look and Feel (CLF) Guidelines and mandating that every department and agency adheres to them by certain specific dates. And while the current version (CLF 2.0) is a definite improvement over the original version of CLF in terms of accessibility, coding standards and visual interface features, ask any user experience designer out there (and by out there I mean outside of GoC since I'm outside the firewall and therefore have no idea about the CLF pulse on the inside) and they will tell you that it is still nowhere near a modern web standard.
I mean no disrespect to the guys at TBS, but after a couple of iterations, it's time to get this thing on the right path. I think the first two versions have proven one thing: that creating the visual blueprint of our government's web presence should NOT be left (entirely) up to internal organizations. I can't even begin to guess the total amount of taxpayer money spent on creating the CLF specifications, and the even more obscene amount spent to port government web content from CLF 1.0 to CLF 2.0. And while there are a handful of departments (e.g. Service Canada) that have done a nice job of designing within and around the constraints of CLF, most of the Government of Canada sites (including the TBS site) are still a visual eyesore. And it's not just TBS' fault, it's the individual departments' complete ignorance of color theory and their inability to select design shops (because let's face it, most of them hire external consulting firms to do the web deed for them) that actually understand how to design a professionally pleasant website in the 21st century.
I could go on an on about why CLF 2.0 is bad, but that's not the point of this post. What I'm going to do is attempt to give you my thoughts on what would make CLF 3.0 a much more successful endeavour, from both the GoC perspective, as well as the taxpayers'. Feel free to download the template (MS Word document, 100Kb) that I created for the purpose of this discussion (you can also do so by clicking on the image above). The template is distributed under a Creative Commons (CC) Attribution Share-Alike license.
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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