Monday, November 30, 2015

Designing Fluxible

In the aftermath of Fluxible 2015 in September, the Fluxible team has been reflecting on how things went and thinking about next year’s edition. It’s an ongoing activity, really, as we look for ways to refine what we do to create a great conference experience.

With many of us being user experience professionals, it’s inevitable that we bring our UX tools to bear on the task of improving Fluxible. Recently, we’ve engaged in several story mapping sessions to help us better articulate the experience of our attendees. It’s productive, as well as good fun, to think about the Fluxible experience this way.

User story mapping progress…

Bob Barlow-Busch observed that the thinking and activities that go into designing a conference might be of wider interest, and suggested that we share some of what we go through. That does seem like a great idea and is something that we’re planning to do in the months leading up to Fluxible next year.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Model trains in St. Jacobs

A daylight scene at the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway
I took my sons to St. Jacobs a few weeks back to visit the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway. It’s something that we’d been meaning to do for some time, and after experiencing it we were all delighted that we had finally made the trip. We stayed for well over an hour taking it all in, and surely missed much more than we saw.

A night scene at the St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway
What you see, hear, and otherwise experience is a vast and meticulously detailed “O” scale model train layout that features realistic train operations. The layout covers rural, city, and industrial landscapes and more, with dozens of tiny vignettes that tell stories about life in southern Ontario in the 1950s. Stay long enough, and you’ll see the overhead lights dim as the night-time layout come to life in a beautifully choreographed way.

They’re open through the end of December, and it’s well worth a visit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A visit to the CanUX conference

Bret Marshall presenting at CanUX
Along with Bob Barlow-Busch, I recently attended the CanUX conference in Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa. This was my third time attending the event formerly known as UX Camp Ottawa. As always, Cornelius Rachieru, Tanya Snook, Barb Spanton, and their team put on a fine event, with an interesting lineup of speakers presenting in a great venue (Canadian Museum of History, formerly the Museum of Civilization). It was a special treat to see our friend Brent Marshall delivering his Fluxible presentation to a fresh crowd.

Running Fluxible has made attending other events a bit odd for me, as my attention is always on evaluating experiences that might work well at our own conference. One thing that Fluxible 2016 attendees are almost certain to see is pre-event Friday dinners that will make it easy for UX people in town for the conference to meet each other in informal groups. CanUX set up several of these this year. Bob and I enjoyed lovely evening in Ottawa talking shop with a small group of CanUX attendees and want to bring that experience to Fluxible.

It’s great to see the UX community in Canada thriving in multiple locations, and see such thoughtful events being staged. Hats off to the CanUX team for delivering another successful event.