I don’t know how we do it, but each event we have for the SA UX Forum in Cape Town just seems to be better than the last.
60 chairs were laid out at the Bandwidth Barn tonight, we had wine sponsored by the CITI and snacks + drinks available. We were expecting less than 60, but in the end 75 UX-keen people showed up. This meant a dash for more space and seating, somehow we just managed to squeeze everyone in.
Why all the interest?
Phil Barrett’s infectious charm has a lot to do with it. He managed to scoop up Professor Uli Weinberg (who was on an African holiday) for a talk on Design Thinking. I didn’t get to see or hear much of the Professor’s talk, but the audience seemed well engaged for the ~45 minute talk on collaborative and innovative thinking. [I did notice the Professor was using one of those complex annimated image-map-type slides for the visual part of his talk. I'm not sure I like those, they're very distracting!]
The caterers were waiting patiently for us after the first talk which ended at 8:30pm. A lot of folks were networking and the general mood was pleasant.
Jason Hobbs, one of the Johannesburg SA UX big-wigs, then gave a talk after the break on “The door, the wind, the bird and the valise.”. What had that to do with anything? Well, Jason likes his Academia, Information Architecture and the thinking behind the thinking. His talk tied in well with Prof. Weinberg’s, in that it was exploring the periphery of our UX thinking and research methods. Jason highlighted Practice-orientated or Practice-led Research as a way to help build knowledge bases, but also to help us understand our respective UX disciplines and therefore apply more academic methodologies to our work.
User Experience and its varied disciplines are very much in their infancy, when compared to established industries such as medical or financial ones. There’s a growing need for solidifying and understanding our work as Web Designers, Information Architects and User Experience Consultants from an academic point of view. We’re getting there, albeit slowly. [I'd love to do a specialised and associated degree on the subject(s)!]
Back to the event itself, sound clarity wasn’t great, some folks couldn’t hear our two speakers very clearly, partly because the air-conditioners were working overtime, and not really accomplishing much – our venue was busting at the seams.
We’re taking notes and had a lot to learn from tonight. In terms of the next event, we’ve got some talks offered already, it’s just a case of finding a venue and a date. I think we’d actually like to run two types of events:
- A chin-wag, social event for a small crowd. Food and drinks
- Small evening conferences such as tonights.
We’re always looking for initiative from the SA UX community, so if you’ve got a talk, know of a decent venue or would like to help organise the next event, stand up and be noticed!
Until the next time…