Midwest UX and Fresh Blood

Last weekend I attended the Midwest UX conference in Columbus, Ohio. I have attended CHI conferences, IDEA conferences, Interactions and local TEDx events. This conference stands out though as one of the more unique.

The content was similar to what you would find at other UX conferences: discussions around theory and practice, definition of the field and the tools used. Discussions around mobile application development and agile development lifecycle. What made Midwest UX stand out to me though was the people.

The UX community has the echo chamber. On twitter, at conferences, and through other channels I regularly hear the same names, see the same faces, and listen to the same conversations. Because of its location in Ohio, we escaped the usual circuit. Though I did not meet every one I wanted to, I met new personalities in the design community. Just seeing the range of attendees was inspiring that there is a broader community thatnI have been previously exposed to.

This is not to say that there were not some of the same faces. Some of the keynotes and presenters represented a population I had seen before, and I socialized with a close group of colleagues. But I forced myself to break out of the usual circles and made sure to meet some new faces. I send my thanks and admiration to the conference organizers who put this innagural event together with hardly a hitch worth more than a disgruntled tweet. The conference brought fresh blood to my attention, not only in new speakers on the stage but new colleagues to continue the back channel with. I urge everyone to get out of the echo chamber they find themselves in and to reach more of the professional community they are a part of.

4 Responses to “Midwest UX and Fresh Blood”

  1. 1 Binaebi Akah April 12, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I agree. I attended CHI 2009/2010, Interaction 2011, and a local TEDx in late 2010. MidwestUX was great because of the people. It was intimate enough that I was able to make real connections rather than drive-by introductions. I don’t think we got a chance to meet, though!

    So this is me saying hi.

  2. 2 brainfarks April 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Binaebi, thanks for your comments. I was at IxD11 too so this makes 2 events we missed each other at. Will have to coordinate better next time!

  3. 3 ericdux April 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    I also agree. I met some great new people, and the ones I didn’t meet in person I’m now corresponding with on Twitter. I’ve come away totally jazzed to be at work — even though all you guys aren’t milling about the building I work in.

  4. 4 Brian Sullivan May 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Your experience at Midwest UX is the kind of experience that we trying to create at the Big Design Conference, too. As one of the organizers, it gets hard to pull a conference where you can mix new faces with familiar ones.

    Thanks for your suggestions on the Big Design Conference site. We do appreciate it. We all work on the conference in our spare time. We have over 70 speakers this year, the complexity is challenging, hard, and fun.

    If you get a chance to make it Big Design, please come on down. I think we have the same vibe as Midwest UX. Jared Spool, Russ Unger, Bill Scott, and many others have said so.

    Again, thanks for your suggestions on the Big Design Conference site. Maybe next year, you would like to speak at Big D.


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