Matthew raises an excellent point about the purpose and validity of a UX community with Canadian content (assuming of course that we don’t have to regulate content like the CRTC does with other media ;-).
"Maybe a Canadian UX organzation wouldn’t appeal to all UX professionals in Canada, but an organization doesn’t have to have to be everything to everyone to be relevant. I’d personally settle for an organization that understands and realizes its mission, even on a very small scale."
What would the purpose of a Canadian UX community be? Is it any different than other organizations. AIfIA defines their role as:
The Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture ("AIfIA") serves to advance the design of shared information environments. We support a global community infrastructure that connects people, ideas, content, and tools. Through research, education, advocacy and community service, we promote excellence within our field and build bridges to related disciplines and organizations.
Does the Canadian context change the mission of existing professional organizations? Probably not. SIGCHI, AIfIA, UXNet, IxDG, HFES, UPA all provide me more options than I can imagine for professional development, networking and conferences.
What I really want is a low cost, easily access (i.e., local) , quality networking, top-quality professional development? It makes me want to develop the TUXS idea a little further. Basically, provide high quaility professional development for Canadian UX professionals using a combination of international and local practionners. A travelling Canadian UX confernce that goes through: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver. Rather than being city based, maybe it’s regional in nature: East coast, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, West coast.
- What are you willing to pay for 2 days of professional development and networking
- Is cost/price an issue?
- Do you pay for professional development personally? Or does your company pay/reimburse you?
- What if the keynotes travelled from venue to venue? And the remaining content was provided through a peer-reviewed paper/tutorial/panel submission system?
- Do you prefer attend professional development/conference events locally? regionally? nationally? internationally?
- Do you want a forum to present your work? findings? processes? ideas?
I am flashing back to 2003. The stress and effort of organizing TUS was huge. Kate and Daniel can testify about our struggles. We talked about a more grassroots effort for 2005, but just could not justify the personal investment. I wonder if this could work in a "promoter" role, similar to TUS was a success because of the incredible value it offered the Toronto UX community. It provided quality content at a very reasonable price. This set it aside from NNGroup Usability Week (approximately $700+/day); AdaptivePath workshops (approximately $400/day); 37signals Building of Basecamp (approximately $400/day); User Interface Engineering’s UI conference (approximately $800/day). TUXS was only $150 for 2 days that’s only $75/day (while the reduced costs was great for participants, maybe this contributed significantly to the stress related to producing the conference).
Hypothetical Canadian UX Tour
A hypothetical six (6) city Canadian User eXperience Tour stopping in:
Each city would be a 2-day conference with keynote presentations, a student interactionary/IA Slam, tutorial sessions and focused networking events.
Presenters could include:
- Steven Garrity from Silver Orange
- Dave Shea from BrightCreative
- Jess McMullin and Gene Smith from nform
- Robert Barlow-Busch from Quarry Integrated Communications
- Terry Constantino from Usability Matters
- Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake of Ludicorp
- Helen Maskery of Maskery Human Interaction Engineering
- Kevin Airgid of Flash 99% Good fame
- Kevin Cheng of OK-Cancel
All of this and keynotes from Bill Buxton and Bruce Mau what more could you ask for. Now to spend time making it happen.