I am so lucky and honored! I have reached the superb level of gaining 1,100 followers on Twitter. I am truly thankful for all of the support I have gained through the years. I am touched that even just one person is interested in anything I have to say or share.
Thank you so much for showing interest in my UX Design and Research tweets. You can imagine how lucky I feel to have reached 1,100. I really appreciate all of the love.
Guess who is the latest city to have it’s own IxDA chapter? Dallas!
Guess who is one of the co-founders and leaders of the local chapter? Me!
What is IxDA
That is a very good question. “IxDA, or The Interaction Design Association (IxDA) is a member-supported organization dedicated to the discipline of interaction design. Since its launch in 2003, IxDA has grown into a global network of more than 100,000 individuals and over 200 local groups, focusing on interaction design issues for the practitioner, no matter their level of experience.” Yep, I totally swiped that from their website.
So why does Dallas have a chapter now? Well, quite frankly, it’s time. We have an ever-growing Interaction and UX design community here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There are a lot of major (and minor) companies with a strong UX presence locally. We want a place to gather, share ideas and feel like we belong.
Also, IXDA was created in Dallas to give back to the community. This is our chance, as interaction designers, researchers, product owners, information architects, students or whatever your profession might be to get more involved in your UX community. We don’t want this just to be the same old meetup where you show up, listen to a speaker and then leave. Oh no…. We want you to come to our events to participate, have an interaction with another human being, meet new folks, teach someone something you know, maybe even give a talk yourself. There is a fabulous design community in Dallas, and we want to give everyone a voice and a platform to get more involved.
“All people deserve to live in a well-designed world.”
Who are these leaders anyhow?
Well you know me, Jen Blatz. I feel very honored and privileged to be asked to join the leadership panel with two other great local UX designers. Coby Almond is a UX designer at Pivotal. Rahul Akbar a Design Thinking coach, and Creative Director at IBM. We casually met a couple of times to determine what value we thought this group could bring to the Dallas UX community, as well as how to kick everything off. Once we met, we decided that this was the right time and place to plant an IxDA tree to grow and nurture.
Nice to meet you
So this past week, we had our first meeting. I feel so honored that we had nearly 40 people show up to the event, curious and eager to get involved. We started off by introducing IxDA as an organization, along with it’s values and (best part) lack of membership dues.
Then we gave the mic to Dallas Give Camp. This is a local hackathon that brings together designers, product owners and developers for one weekend. In that weekend, these groups come together to design a website for a select group of charities to help the group better promote their cause and mission. This is also a great way for local designers to give back and help their local community.
Finally we wrapped up the evening with an interactive activity. We asked the room to break up in to smaller groups and grab the old stand-by of a Sharpie marker and a pad of Post-its. It was brainstorming time. We asked the groups to take a few minutes and come up with what they wanted the local IxDA group to be. Specifically, we wanted them to think in 3 themes for the IxDA group:
Their hopes and wants
Their fears no dislikes
Then we asked each group to select a representative to speak on behalf of everyone’s Post-it notes. To us, we view these notes as the way we should form and shape the local IxDA chapter. In the spirit of IxDA giving back to the community, we also want this community to decide what their want and need from this organization at the local level.
Overall, the first meeting of the Dallas IxDA chapter was a grand success. Not only did we have a good turnout, we also generated excitement and enthusiasm that some said has been missing from the UX community for quite some time. We hope that this enthusiasm grows as we host more meetings. Thank you to all of those who came out to “check it out.” And thank you for giving me the honor and opportunity to help bring this group to life and lead it to success.
We want you
Are you interested in participating in the IxDA community here in Dallas? Our next event will be World Interaction Design Day on September 25 , 2018. We are still working out the details so the best place for you to stay on top of the latest news is our @IxDADallas Twitter account.
No matter if you are in a large company or small. No matter if your developers are next to your office cubie or in another time zone. As UX designers, there’s always (or at best, often) a point when you need to talk to a developer about the project.
Yes this can be a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like developers are talking a different language. And in some rare cases, you might be working with a developer who is arrogant and condescending. And he/she makes you feel stupid when you try to ask technical questions. Let’s hope that is not happening in your case.
No matter the vibe, we all have to work together to reach a common goal: get the project out the door. So just how do you do that?
Build a rapport with developers
1. Recognize developers are people too.
We are all have hearts, brains and pride and we are using them all to achieve success.
2. You have more in common than you think.
So take the time to listen to them. You might be surprised (but probably not) just how much design knowledge they have.
3. Learn a bit of code talk.
Yes folks, know enough to carry on a conversation. Do you know what a Hex value is? Do you understand what a Div is? Can you explain the difference between html and CSS and know why each is important in it’s own way? I am by no mean telling you become a code expert (that is a heated debate I will fight another day.) But do take a couple of online courses or read some articles to understand some basic coding terms and how those will apply to your designs. Believe me they will.
Developers have great ideas. They might even have a better alternative to what you have thought about. Hear them out and don’t let your “design poodle” ego get in the way.
5. Communicate early.
You have the best design in the world, but is it technically feasible? Maybe it can be done, but the level of work is out of this world. Get ready for a debate, but a healthy one by bringing in developers in to your design early. Find out what walls are up, and determine which walls are worth fighting to break down.
6. Go out for lunch or a beer.
You work with people as much as you sleep. Sometimes you spend more time with your work mates than your family. And that is why I am referring to them at “mates.” Do your best, as a UX designer, to build empathy for your developers. A healthy, happy working relationship will go a lot further than a competitive, ego-driven one.
Jennifer Blatz explores the world of UX through words and imagery