Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Words of wisdom at the Oktoberfest parade: Vote and be heard

In past posts (here and here) I’ve written about how much I enjoy the annual Oktoberfest Parade (and related events) here in Waterloo Region. This year was fun despite a little rain, and my youngest son made for great company. (As did my oldest when he finally joined us, having declined to head over to the parade route early in the morning!)

I don’t really have much to say that I haven’t said in previous years, other than I love that the City of Kitchener included a “Vote and be heard” float in this year’s edition. What a great place to remind people that they can make a meaningful impact by voting in the municipal election on October 27.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Muscle memory rules parts my world

I recently bought an iPhone 6 to replace my iPhone 4S.

(As an aside, my wife will now use that iPhone 4S, and we’ll finally retire my original iPhone 3G from daily use!)

I’ve enjoyed it so far, and the new iOS 8, but there are a couple of instances of muscle memory that I’m still working on overcoming with the new device.

First, Apple has moved the sleep button from the right side of the top edge to the upper right edge of the device. The move makes sense given the larger size of the iPhone 6, but after a few days of use I still automatically reach for the top edge to put the phone to sleep.

Second, the iPhone 6 includes Touch ID, which uses the home button to detect my fingerprint. Again, after a few days of use I still press the home button and then swipe to wake my iPhone, even though a button press plus a lingering finger on the home button will engage Touch ID and get me into the device.

At a more minor level, the larger screen size is taking a little getting used to. It’s not uncomfortable, but my hands haven’t yet adjusted to the jump in size from the iPhone 4S.

It’s kind of fun to notice this stuff as it happens.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fluxible 2014 was another great success

Fluxible 2014 has come and gone, and it feels good to look back on what was yet another successful event. The program of talks and workshops was wonderful, with ample support from the Festival of Interstitial Music. The feedback that we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive, which is a gratifying thing to see.

The Fluxible team was amazing, attending to all the details that make Fluxible such a special experience for everyone. Whether it was the delicious food, the customized water bottles, the Saturday party, or even, inexplicably, the live goats, there was someone making sure that it all came together.

I’m particularly pleased that Fluxible 2014 was at the heart of 5 Days of UX, and that each of the other events was also successful.

My friend Darin White created a terrific photo essay of his experience at Fluxible, and you should check it out to see what you missed, or what you enjoyed, as the case may be.

Bob and I are delighted with the outcome, and are already planning for next year's event. I hope you’re thinking about joining us in 2015!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Festival of Interstitial Music, 2014 edition

This past weekend was the 2014 edition of Fluxible. I’ll write more about that shortly.

As any Fluxible attendee knows, music is a big part of the Fluxible experience. And we don’t announce anything about the music ahead of time. We do love our little surprises! We also want everyone to be able to experience the music free of any context and expectations.

But eventually we do reveal all!

This year’s Festival of Interstitial Music was an eclectic one, ranging from baritone saxophone improvisations, to a rousing tour of fiddle styles, to a looping extravaganza on multiple instruments, to a sultry and solo-format-defying duet. I’m grateful to all the musicians who play at Fluxible for sharing their music with us. That they make the Region (or nearby) home is a wonderful thing. Do get out and hear them play some time!

This post first appeared in a slightly different form at the Fluxible site.

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's another edition of the UX party disguised as a conference

This coming weekend is the third edition of Fluxible, the UX party disguised as a conference that I co-chair with Bob Barlow-Busch.

Even after having staged this thing twice before, the 2014 edition of Fluxible has enough twists and novelties to keep it interesting. There’s a lot of work that goes into putting on an event like this, but it’s spread out over a whole calendar year, and we have a great team who each take on challenges and make them seem easy.

As always, we have a superb lineup of speakers who generously share their time and expertise and experience to help build a global UX community. Bob and I invite speakers who we want to meet and learn from, and we’re happy that so many others want to learn from them as well.

It’s gratifying to see it all come together again. Be sure to find me and say hello if you’re there.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tune in to 570 on the AM dial

This week I had a fun experience promoting Fluxible on the radio (and, yes, I’ll write more about Fluxible soon). Bob Barlow-Busch and I were on 570 News, joining Eric Drozd for the Tuesday #TechHour and a lunchtime discussion about UX in general and our experiences with Fluxible.

We were initially connected with the show by Chris Plunkett of Communitech, and we were thrilled at the opportunity to talk about user experience for an hour in the middle of the day on AM radio. Where else but Waterloo Region could that happen? Of course, Bob and I quickly realized that the two of us talking for a whole hour would wear a little thin. We recruited Fluxible 2013 speaker Steve Portigal, Fluxible 2014 speaker Brent Bisaillion, and UW Stratford faculty member Karin Schmidlin to join in as well. That made for a much more interesting range of voices!

Eric was a wonderfully engaged, and engaging, host. He made it easy to talk about the role of UX in creating meaningful products, and the hour flew by. And, as an aside, it was a far different environment than in my days in university radio, where the studios were filled with vinyl, carts, and reel-to-reel tapes!

If you missed it, you can listen to a recording of the show here.

Big thanks to Chris, Eric, and producer Neil Adams for making this happen!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Designing and building at Boltmade

It’s been a while since I wrote a post for this blog (though I do post at Fluxible and uxWaterloo), but there are a few things happening that warrant posts here. For now, I’ll mention that I’ve joined Boltmade, a terrific software product design and development shop here in Waterloo. I’ve known Jim Murphy and some of the other folks at Boltmade for several years, and I’m delighted to be working with them to create great software for our clients. It’s a wonderful group of people, and I love what Boltmade is doing.

I enjoyed four years of designing and building heathcare products with the team at Karos Health, and will miss the daily opportunity to work with them. On the other hand, they’re just a short walk away from Boltmade, and I know that lunches and beers after work will remain a staple of those relationships!