Among the many unusual characteristics of the User Experience (UX) industry, is its willingness to share knowledge. In other disciplines, what might be considered your competitive advantage and protectively guarded, is freely (often for free) given away. As most practitioners would admit, a significant proportion of our understanding of the field and how we keep up with contemporary practices, come from the exchange of ideas at the many and various UX events.
Another notable trait is the understated style of networking, engendered by the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at these occasions. The connections we make at UX events result in us having friends and colleagues to consult with, when presented with a new design challenge. A UX practitioner’s role can have a wide-reaching remit, so it’s customary (and considered by many to be good practice) for us to get advice from our peers from time to time (without breaking any NDAs of course!).
These two aspects, along with a desire to contribute to the UX community, encouraged me to get involved with organising some UX events here in Brighton. About a month ago I put on Brighton’s first UX Camp with a fellow UX designer Gavin Wye. The one-day ‘unconference’ was held at Cogapp’s spacious design studio on Saturday 1st October 2011.
There are no spectators at a UX Camp, as everyone is both an attendee and a participant. As well as learning from our contemporaries and taking part in discussions, each attendee is expected to conduct a session. This provides some useful practice in an important part of a UX designer’s job, giving presentations and running workshops. For more details, please have a look at the range of presentations and blogs about the day listed on the UX Camp Brighton website.
I am also involved with arranging the upcoming Design Jam Brighton on the 5th of November 2011, also to be held at Cogapp. Like the UX Camp, it is the first event of its kind to be put on in our city. Co-organised with UX luminaries Gavin Wye, Alison Austin, Danny Hope and Cennydd Bowles, we are expecting an exciting day of hands-on designing, experimenting, learning, sharing and fun.
Attendees are separated into small teams and given a one-day design challenge, which will only be revealed in the morning. Participants will to get a chance to try-out unfamiliar techniques and to design without the usual constraints. They will share and learn with their fellow teammates and be guided by some specially selected mentors. For more information on Design Jams, have a look at the Design Jam website.