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As I drove home from the third IxDA Phoenix event, once again I was feeling completely overwhelmed. It never ceases to amaze me how inspiring those events can be and how passionate and enthusiastic not only the design community is here in Phoenix, but the entire community as a whole.
Over the weekend I attended a friend’s party and had a chance to catch up with some people I know and get to know some people I hadn’t met before. The formal UX community may be small here, but it is definitely not lacking. I couldn’t even tell you how it began, though I’m sure I started it as I’m constantly thinking about experiences and interactions users have with anything at all times. The entire table I was with, including people I knew and people I just met, ended up in a very lengthy conversation about the difference and challenge in designing a user experience for someone such as a police officer or fireman who had to potentially be doing activities while driving. It makes perfect sense that this would be an issue, seeing as how text messaging and talking on the phone while driving are prohibited in several states. The conversation was very engaging and some great feedback and thoughts were given by all. In fact, it drove people who are not UX or IX designers by trade to attend the recent IxDA Phoenix event.
Our last event involved physical prototyping, which was a suggestion from one of our members. I haven’t done too much of it, and most people have never done it before so I figured what could it hurt. It would be a fun challenge for all of us. I found some moving boxes left over from my trip out here ages ago, some tape, and other misc supplies and loaded them in my car. Once I arrived at Gangplank, I completely changed my mind about what we were going to do also.
The challenge was to break out into groups and think of a household appliance that could use some improvement in a new an exciting way. The improvement had to include a change in the product design and could not be simply sticking a software interface on it and calling it done. After two hours and lots of brainstorming, both groups came up with fantastic products. One was an improvement to a toaster oven and the other changes the way laundry is done. Head over to the IxDA Phoenix site to read a recap as well as view photos and video from the event. The video is also below:
IxDA Phoenix from James Archer on Vimeo.
Observing everyone brainstorming and collaborating together was truly inspiring. All of this reaffirms my decision to move to Phoenix and to bring a group like IxDA to the area. I don’t have a grudge against any of the cities I’ve ever lived in, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to pull anything like this off in them. Phoenix really seems to embrace learning and collaboration and has people that love not only growing in their own trade or profession, but learning about other interests too and why people love them.
I am giddy with anticipation over what the next IxDA Phoenix event in September will bring.
This was first posted here: http://ixdaphoenix.ning.com/profiles/blogs/helping-ixda
I joined IxDA’s discussion a couple years ago. I was just graduating from my master’s program, and was looking to meet other professionals for networking and hopefully a job. For a couple years, IxDA was just a discussion list to me. I read some interesting conversation about common practices and discovered interesting job leads.
Almost a year ago, job searching lead me to Phoenix, which would be a huge move from the Midwest where I had spent most of my life. Along with that, I began researching other local UX/IxD professionals in the area and organizations that existed. One of my coworkers was helping start a local UPA chapter in the area, which was exciting, but I also wanted a space where we could come together and collaborate and learn in a more hands-on environment. I imagined bringing the community together to geek out and tinker with new ideas and philosophies, and maybe work on something to help the community. That’s when I discovered IxDA local groups and decided to inquire.
I was flattered by how much support I was given by the IxDA board, members, and other local leaders in this endeavor. I was given guidance and suggestions by others that were just starting up and those that had well established groups. This support only encouraged me more in my efforts, so much so, that I decided to attend the Interaction ’09 convention, and along with that, the opportunity to attend the local leaders workshop being held prior to the beginning of the conference.
After I returned, I scheduled the first IxDA Phoenix meetup. We met at Gangplank, a collaborative coworking location in the Phoenix metro area. I had no clue who was going to show up. I had been spreading the word via twitter, facebook and our newly done ning site. I was nervous, not only about no one showing up, but about people disliking my approach to meetings. It ended up being a success. Attendees had a blast and said they were looking forward to coming back.
IxDA has helped me tremendously in more ways than I can even begin to count. I have been connected with so many amazing and absolutely inspiring people through this organization. I have learned more about myself, and my thoughts in regards to the UX/IxD profession and have become more sound in standing up for my thoughts and ideas. I have started to think outside the box and discover new ways to use and share my knowledge.
I have enjoyed becoming a local leader so much that I have decided to volunteer for IxDA in other ways. I recently accepted the task of being the IxDA Local Group Initiative Community Lead. I have such a passion for the local groups and believe they are the starting point for great things within the community and worldwide. So much starts at the local level.
Additionally, I have been involved with a group of IxDA members that are helping to create a new IxDA site. For months, many IxDA members have been giving their time and efforts to researching platforms, brainstorming ideas, and creating artifacts to assist in the creation of the new site. Local groups, discussion, multimedia, jobs, and more will be represented in the new site.
I want to encourage everyone reading this to think about donating a little to IxDA. More information on how the money will be spent, is available on the board blog.
“As a thank you to all that contribute, we will hold a drawing each day and select one name to receive a complimentary registration to interaction’10, being held in Savannah, GA next February! (Note: Each day starts at 12:01 am GMT. No IxDA Board Members are eligible for the drawing. All registrations are transferable but not eligible for cash exchange.)”
Give back. Help IxDA as they’ve helped you.
I’ve officially spent 6 months in Phoenix. Monday will be my 6 month mark at my current job. Today marks 6 months of this blog.
Once I realized how long it had been, it made me surprised it had been that long already, while other people said it felt like I had been here longer. Whichever way you see it, I can say without a doubt that I am completely satisfied with the decision I made to accept a position here and am happier than I have been in a long time. Of course I miss my friends and family back in the Midwest dearly, but this has been a good move for me. I’m the farthest away from home I’ve ever been, and have really worked even more on my independence, happiness, courage, and life balance.
Today I went back and read my first blog post, and I have to admit, I am tearing up some, especially when I think about how the name for my blog came about, and re-reading the text message from my mother, and thinking about how important that message was.
“Been thinking of you all day. I am so proud of your courage and independence. Go far and be happy. Call when you get home to Arizona. Love, Mom.”
I don’t think I ever focused on the use of the word “home” in that message as I should have. Now that I think about it, I don’t recall another time that my mom has said home in any other manner than to mean my parents’ house.
Home. I truly am home here. I am also comfortable saying that now. I cannot describe how blessed I have been since I’ve been here. All my friends and family have been truly supportive even though we really miss each other. Likewise, I’ve been able to make some new friends, and lots of new acquaintances. Slowly but surely, I have pushed myself into the Phoenix scene.
I am home here because I was able to start a local group in Phoenix for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). It was challenging, seeing as I didn’t have many connections here. Most of my connections were back in the Eastern Time Zone. It’s been very rewarding. We are already having our second meeting in a few weeks!
I am home here because I am thinking about actually becoming a first time home buyer.
I am home here because I have already had adventures that you truly only have when you are home; especially those embarrassing adventures.
I am home because I truly enjoy my job and look forward to going to work every day (almost).
I am home here because I can easily call it home. I see myself here.
I want to thank everyone for giving me the courage to start a new chapter here, and to everyone that welcomed me into Phoenix.
I’ve been way too incredibly busy lately. So busy I have have to miss two volunteering sessions on top of not having time to blog.
However, I did blog about the IxDA Phoenix event this week finally.
It’s available here:http://ixdaphoenix.ning.com/profiles/blogs/inaugural-meeting-recap
Are you an interaction designer or usability specialist? Perhaps an information architect or human centered designer? Maybe you simply have a passion for creating user friendly interfaces for applications and devices.
Are you looking for more in an organization than just hearing speaker after speaker? Would you like to grow in your profession and help others simultaneously?
If so, and you are located in the Phoenix area, then IxDA Phoenix is for you. IxDA Phoenix will be a professional meetup that focuses on ideation and brainstorming all while helping each other and the community.
Join us for discussion as well as updates on events.
We are also on twitter @IxDAPhoenix
I’ve been spending a lot of time since I have been back from Vancouver thinking about what I could possibly write about Interaction 09 and all that I learned and experienced while I was there. I have realized that it was about so much more than the education on techniques, processes, and deliverables that were shared in workshops, lightning rounds, and keynotes; it was also about friendship.
There is no way for me to completely describe how amazing the experience was from a personal level. Up until Interaction, I had never met any of the people that were attending face to face. Thanks to Crowdvine I was able to begin tracking the people that I wanted to meet. There were people that I had conversed with through volunteering for the IxDA via email and phone. There were some that I had found through the lovely IxD twitter crowd, and there were some I was just plain a fan of. Not only did I end up meeting nearly all the people I had aimed to (Christian, I promise next time we are doing coffee or something), but I met so many more that I admired and those I had never been aware of until the conference started.
I made some great professional connections, but even more than that, made truly mind-blowing friendships; friendships that are truly real and extremely overwhelming, to the point of being emotional. Being around so many talented minds was truly inspirational.
However, as with anything else, I also learned that some relationships end up being one sided. Sometimes these relationships can appear to be fantastic, but when evaluated, it’s learned that you are the one putting all the effort into the relationship and making it work. Not much is being returned to you. While this does have to be done on occasion especially when learning a new craft or skill, I feel that mentors and other role-models should play a more active role in those relationships. It made me start to evaluate who I interact with on a daily basis through mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, and email.
And now, a list of people that I found truly awesome at Interaction, that I hope to continue to learn from and build better friendships with.
If I am following you on twitter (and even if I’m not), chances are very good I want to keep in touch. My account is locked, but please request a follow. My id is @toniambartz
If I left your name out I truly apologize. There was no way I was going to be able to write about everyone tonight – I would never get to sleep. I want to keep the friendships and conversation going.
Pics of my adventure are scattered both on Flickr and Facebook
I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since last Tuesday!! I tried so hard to get one in yesterday before January ended, but oh well, no such luck there. This will be an extremely quick one as I have a busy day of starting to get ready for my trip, volunteering, super bowl, I heard I was going to be singing.. I don’t even know
This week was hectic. I’ve been working on composing lyrics and melody for a song. I’m a bit rusty and we all know I’m indecisive so that doesn’t make for a good situation on top of being so super busy all week long.
I am working in two different offices for the next couple months so that adds an additional thing I have to remember every week. Monday and Tuesday I got in some good quality work time in while at Lux and Tuesday even met up with Todd afterwards at Rosie’s. Wednesday I worked on laundry and other misc things from home and headed to bed a little early. It was nice and relaxing.
Thursday I went to Rockaroke (go figure). A friend met me there and alas my Black Velvet Rockaroke curse happened again. So no singing Black Velvet, which was disappointing. Ending up singing some Blondie. Had to get SOMETHING in before I leave.
Friday I brought two of my friends with me to East Valley Friday Night (#evfn) which was at Whole Foods this week. I met more new people which was great, reconnect with some I already knew, and I’ll leave it at that. A small few of us closed down Whole Foods (yes, we closed down a grocery store, and I’m not afraid to admit it). Afterwards, I went to Tilted Kilt for a little bit but was extremely disappointed.
Yesterday I had an extremely busy day. Started off hiking Pinnacle Peak with Kerri. Afterwards we headed to the FBR Open as I had won grounds tickets. It was the most interesting PGA stop I have ever been to. It honestly reminded me of Happy Gilmore and I was quite pleased. Great people watching. Great party. Great everything. Next year I am definitely getting 3 Day VIP passes. Argyle, sun, people having fun? I’m there!
After the FBR, I went to dinner and dancing with the Alta girls. We started at Bada Boom Pasta Room Great food, lousy waiter. Then we went to the Hyatt Resort in Scottsdale to watch Flamenco dancers. What a beautiful BEAUTIFUL resort. To top it off, it has gondola rides? I’m definitely going back. We then wanted to head to Barcelona but with the FBR crowd it was just way too packed. Some guys tried to impress us and ask us to bar hop with them in their limo. Only issue was, the hummer limo did not belong to them! Ended up going to Devil’s Martini and while it was a fairly good DJ and we always have a blast wherever we go, I was not impressed at all. I have finally hit the age where I am not impressed by stripper poles in bars. Does that make me old or just a little more sophisticated… hopefully sophisticated.
I tried to make it out to karaoke in Mesa, but we got home way too late and I needed to crash. Today’s plans are heading out to volunteer shortly then coming straight home to the Super Bowl party that is starting at my house without me. Alas this week I really have to get everything in order as I will be gone for almost a week straight.
Interaction 09 here I come!!
Well gosh darn it I’ve done it. I’ve officially registered for the Interaction 09 conference being held Feb 5-8, 2009 in Vancouver. Interaction is hosted by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). This is also going to be the first conference I have attended. I am proud that it is going to be Interaction 09. I belong to several different associations, and for some reason I just feel right at home within the IxDA community. I am starting a local group here in Phoenix as well as volunteering elsewhere within the organization.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to attend this conference. So many of the people I admire I will finally have the chance to meet and to hear speak. So many I have had the chance to exchange tweets with I will have a chance to hang out with in person. It’s going to be such a spectacular time. I know I will learn and grow so much both professionally and as a person from this experience.
I will be in Vancouver from Wednesday, Feb 4th through Monday the 9th. If anyone else is heading in early, feel free to let me know and maybe we can go exploring together or grab some dinner and hang out.
I wasn’t able to register for Dan Saffer and Bill DeRouchey’s first seminar but was able to register for the second one that was added today. However, I now have a conflict with the Local Leader Workshop on Friday. Hopefully someone will be willing to trade sessions with me. Dan Saffer is a friend / colleague of my boss at GD, so that, on top of the topic of discussion, will be exciting.
Here are some of the items I am planning on attending while i am there:
Personally I think everyone should attend. Come check out the Interaction social networking site today!
Last night I tried out a Refresh Phoenix gathering that was held at Gangplank. Refresh Phoenix is just one chapter of the Refresh project. Refresh is focused on the creative, technical, and technical culture by promoting design, technology, usability, and standards.
I had attempted to attend a few Refresh gatherings back in Detroit while I was there, but most of them I was told were geared towards more of the technical and coding end of the spectrum and less on user experience and usability standards. I was hoping that this would be different.
While it was very interesting, it was definitely not geared towards user experience and interface design. There was a talk on Adobe CS4 and one on developing applications for Android. I loved hearing about the Android development. I only wish there was more talk on accessibility and user standards.
I am even more determined to have an IxDA local group in Phoenix. While Refresh Phoenix is a very great organization, I’d love to bring some more interaction design and user experience focused opportunities to the area. I miss that.