User experience titans descended on The Tannery over the weekend, coming from various points of the globe to speak and inspire us at Fluxible. This most awesome home-grown conference, now in its third year, teaches/talks/tackles a better UX (user experience) in all sorts of products through a lot of careful thought, design, and testing. Not surprisingly, it brings in a helluva nice bunch of people who love to have fun, too.
I caught up with some of the speakers from Day 1 (above) between talks and dinner as they were recording a podcast with Desire2Learn’s Sean Yo (far right). Left to right, these characters are: Indi Young, Dani Malik, Giles Colborn, Bill DeRouchey, Dana Chisnell, Kelly Goto, Sean, and reclining is Jared Spool.
Fluxible is the brain child of UX practitioners-about-town Mark Connolly and Bob Barlow-Busch. Mark is an old friend from way back on a gig I had 20 years ago building the first online application to Ontario universities. I thought I just needed some help with graphics, and Mark brought that and a whole lot more, helping to define and design workflows and everything else that was user-facing. Win!
A much-more-recent beer on Mark’s front porch led to me exploring this year’s Fluxible with camera in hand. I’ve got an affinity for UX, having worked a number of years earlier in my career at IBM’s Toronto Lab User Centered Design group with Karel Vredenburg (who set my standard for great leaders).
The TL;DR: Fluxible was fantastic and sold out. Mark and Bob got meta and provided a great UX to their UX conference. The caliber of talent was impressive and drew attendees from far and wide to Kitchener. I expect Fluxible is going to hockey stick in popularity any second.
You will definitely want to hit up the official Fluxible site for tons of great content, and you can click through for a wholly unreasonable number of pics (hey, it was a 2-day event) as I saw it…
Early morning at…
I knew this was going to be a good gig when I saw somebody carrying a goat before I even got inside. I later discovered that there was a Goat Check, where you could take a break from the conference and chill out in a quiet room while petting a goat.
Sponsors. High five!
Familiar territory for me.
…aaaccks. Fluxible had the best food of any conference I have ever attended anywhere in the world. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but it’s truth.
Love the projection in the event space.
The secret stage, revealed between speakers for brief musical interludes from a wide variety of performers. Mark
said a previous attendee had called it the Festival of Interstitial Music. I had to look up “interstitial”.
Meta! Lots of capturing of this conference.
Mark and Bob.
Kelly Goto talked about…
Dear readers, feel free to send me names/links on these players and I’ll update the post. There were all awesome and you’ll probably want to hire them. This is Andy Dolgan on the trombone. More on the Fluxible players here.
Dani Malik of Facebook talked about the use and mis-use of data.
Packed. My buddy Matthew Reynolds reports that 170 people attended.
Each of the players did an instrumental… I would almost say “experimental” piece.
This guy Colin Labadie plucking and looping and varying volume. It was wicked. More on the Fluxible players here.
Next up was Bill DeRouchey of GE. Fun fact: Bill is neighbours in the east Bay Area with previous speaker Dani. Small world, indeed.
Bill was hitting all my buttons, asking us to think into the future what we might be doing in 20 years…
and noting that…
(to paraphrase) your personal toolset was more important than the actual job.
Taking a shot at stock photography. So fun.
Local artist and my friend David Jensenius talked about a number of his sound-related projects. Watch for his soon-to-be-released iPhone app Found Sound and check out his other work. This is really cool stuff.
I keep dropping in photos of Bob (here) and Mark as a reminder that this kind of stuff, like Fluxible, doesn’t happen by magic. These guys dreamed it up and then, most importantly, did it. And it took a lot of volunteers, too.
Snapped a few pics of attendee “footprints” as people went for lunch.
I wish all fortune cookies were this inventive.
Eric Puigmarti also from Heist. These guys were field testing an app in the foyer.
Some really sharp folks from Conestoga College were doing up these instaposters in near real-time. They would grab a photo and a quote from a speaker and then bolt out to their secret lair, design and print a hilarious poster with that content, and then post them up around the Tannery. As we walked out of talks, we saw these posters based on something that had just happened. It was really cool and unexpected. Challenged my internal latency-expectation mechanism.
Nothing to see behind the curtain.
Giles Colborne kicked off the 5-minute lightning talks after lunch, followed by…
Donna Lichaw, then…
over to Alex Tam. I did a Rapid Ideation workshop with Alex later in the afternoon.
applied UX methodology to dogs, channeling dog thoughts through their users. High five!
Dana Chisnell is…
serious when she talks about…
bad design (of this election ballot) affecting world peace. Bush was elected US president, most likely due to an ambiguous design, and the rest is history.
She gave a shout out to the better designs of ballots here in Canada. Glad she’s working on this important stuff.
Breakout time. Rolled up our sleeves.
Alex Tam, laid out the tools and the tasks.
Half-sheets and post-its to quickly brainstorm, evaluate, and select ideas.
The instaposter of the conference. So good.
I was about head out to THEMUSEUM for the conference dinner when Sean Yo of Desire2Learn (a sponsor) grabbed me in the hallway and asked if I could shoot a few pics of the speakers. He was doing a short interview with them for a podcast. So I ended up in a D2L meeting room with Bill and Dani while Sean rustled up the rest of the speakers
Bill: “Do you know what we’re doing here?” Me: “I’m supposed to take some photos.” At which point Bill started drawing stuff on the whiteboard-table to give me a visual. It was like a reflex. Now there’s a media-savvy guy. Usually I have to say “point at the thing”.
Dani was on board too.
This was not completely staged. Bill explained when credit card purchases require the full cardholder name.
“Serious looks and drawing” shot.
Indi and then…
It was very interesting to listen in.
Once the big questions were tackled…
I got a better group shot than I could have asked for.
Dinner! And by “dinner” I mean Block3 beer!
After Market is way better than King Street. Way.
Day 2. And because I was rushing around elsewhere I completely missed the always-great music of Silvia Di Donato and Rob Deyman aka Silvia Dee and the Boyfriend. Gah! More on the Fluxible players here.
Speaker Kendra Shimmell in the wings.
she had us stand for…
chanting that narcissistic products suck.
So true. IoT fans, take note.
Amrit Chandra talked about the intersection of UX and marketing.
Myo time with…
Brent Bisaillion from Thalmic.
Giant sax? Michael Borkovic on baritone sax. More on the Fluxible players here.
Jill Tomasson Goodwin of UW talked about UX work going on in the REAP lab up in St Jacobs.
And bringing it all home was…
the very entertaining and informative Jared Spool.
In talking about the MEoAK, he called out the point of All Knowledge as being where people actually know how SAP works. It’s funny ‘cause it’s so true.
Daniella Kistemaker rocked the harp. Fifteen years old. Killed it. More on the Fluxible players here.
Panel taking questions and that was a wrap.
UX is happening here. This is Kitchener.