On June 24th, I attended a one-day unconference, called UX Camp. I heard about this through Meetup/email. I’m not sure what I expected, but I did hope for more hands-on workshops.
Using Dance for Cultural Exchange: This was presented by Ana Milena Aguilar-Hauke. I thought it was really smart and innovative, but only 2 people showed up to learn about this which is a shame. We could use more cross-cultural exchange these days. Her idea came from her experience living in Germany and the United States from the perspective of someone of Colombian descent. Her idea was to use salsa, which is a fun, easy to learn dance, to might help people interact with each other.
You can read more about this project on her website.
Independent UX (More of a pow-wow/thought exchange): Helpful, especially for people who are managing their own work as an independent or seeking to. We used voting and Kanban boards, which I hadn’t heard of before, to go through ideas. I got that recruiters really take away your ability to earn more money because they’re skimming off the top. And, I learned that other UX professionals are experiencing the same portfolio headaches that I am.
I’ve since become interested in learning more about Lean and Kanban, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post.
Tips on Design Sprints: I kind of wish I’d skipped this because, apparently, a really great talk that confirmed many of my job hunting suspicions was going on that I missed and probably would have enjoyed. But on the other hand, it was a hands-on activity like I wanted and it gave me new ideas to think about.
Agile to Tri-Track: This was presented by Dave Malouf. To be 100% honest, as soon as I walked into this one, I wanted to walk out. Unfortunately, I was sitting at the front of the room and had walked in a few minutes late. I didn’t understand what he was going for with this talk, or what anyone other than the speaker would get out of it, or even, really, what the speaker would get out of it. But, my biggest disappointment with this talk was that the speaker didn’t seem willing to accept new ideas when challenged with alternative approaches.
Systems Thinking: I went because I wanted to learn about systems thinking. It started off OK. But I noticed that there was one specific moment where he lost me and several other people. One person left, I mentally felt myself check out; another guy started checking his email. And, although he asked for feedback, I felt rude about providing this criticism in a public setting. It just needed to be shorter and get to the point faster.
Portfolio Discussion: This was helpful and vindicated some of the concepts I’ve been thinking and writing about when it comes to what UX managers look for (or don’t look for) when reviewing portfolios. My strategy now is to include information about an unexpected challenge I experienced and what I learned on the job.