UXcampNL madness: bridging the gaps and becoming UX unicorns

by Stefan Manojlović

Dear readers,

If you want to know more about the most awesome UX event in the world, you are at the right place!

UXcampNL tradition goes back to the year 2009; being the first one of its kind in the Netherlands, more specifically in Eindhoven. This year I had the honour to be part of the organising committee, so let me tell you more about it.

UX (user experience) camp is an “unconference”, born from the desire to bring together the industry and academic communities to share knowledge in an open environment. It is present in many places, such as UXcampEurope (Germany), UXcampDublin(Ireland), UXcampNL and UXcampAmsterdam (The Netherlands), UXcampBrighton(UK), UXcampCopenhagen (Denmark) and many more.

UXcampNL is known to be a completely free and open environment, a safe place to share ideas, projects or even challenges. Participants come from different parts of the world and bring with them a baggage of various UX (and non-UX) knowledge. They themselves are the ones who shape the event by giving talks or facilitating workshops. To make it even better, the variety of talks presented at UXcampNL is always depicted. This year, the variety can be seen from the titles of our 3 best talk awards:

  • 1st prize: “How to combine design methods with agile and remain sane” (by Den Tsekrovnyi — @dtserkovnyi)
  • 2nd prize: “Introvert’s guide to user research” (by Maria Leonova -@marys_point)
  • 3rd prize: “UX & robotics: bridging the gap” (by Nina Buchina — @METiger)

This year, some of our sponsors had the opportunity to expose their shining talent(s). We invited Mirabeau and StudyPortals (two awesome companies everyone should check out) to take part in workshops.

Mirabeau shined in explaining the secret of their wireframing, calling it: “Breaking the Fairy Tale of Wireframes”. StudyPortals on the other hand, shined in “A Grand Experiment (of 50 minutes ;)) in Multidisciplinary Teamwork” (*we heard about the paper plane challenge StudyPortals, smart move*).

As a new addition to the UXcampNL, we organised the panel discussion. We had the joy to invite Karin Slegers (KU Leuven), Gabriela Braga (IBM) and Ivor Grisel (TU/e) for an intriguing one-hour discussion. Topics varied from current hypes in the UX, future concerns and fears, tips and suggestions and many more.

Some of the questions posed by the audience were: What will be the next big move in UX? And what are the biggest challenges experts face in everyday work? Are we going become UX cyborg designers and/or UX drone researchers?

Aside than having fear about the unknown future, participants were interested in the panelist’s job experience, specifically “How do we bridge gaps between design and engineering, or design and research? How can everyone be on the same page and speak the same language?”

This event wouldn’t be possible without an amazing team of hard-working and passionate people. The organisers are UX professionals from the User-System Interaction (USI) programme at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Add them and to talk to them, give them some love. :-)

To recap, I had the honour to be part of the UXcampNL and experience…

… a total of 200+ reserved tickets

… so many nationalities and disciplines

… UX Designers, UX Researchers, Front-End Developers and many more

6 organisers and 8 volunteers

9 amazing sponsors

16 talks, 3 workshops, 3 members of the panel discussion

… A lot, a lot, a lot of energy, enthusiasm and fun

To conclude, I feel that people in this community are ready to change the world of UX. I saw people with stories and passions, ready to show their superpowers. Coming back to the title, we are not ready to become UX unicorns, but we already are (*). As a personal note, I would like to encourage everybody to start the UX camp initiative in your town or even country. It is amazing to discover and come across different stories and experiences. If in doubt, I am more than willing join the conversation!

A big shout out to Gabriela Braga, she inspired me to write this article. Thank you, Gabi!

For more info visit http://www.uxcamp.nl/ and follow us everywhere (@UXcampNL).

Enjoy your day!

Stefan


Originally published by Stefan Manojlović on October 22, 2016.

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