5 Minute Ignite Talks

300 seconds. 20 Slides. Big ideas, and fast talking. The team at Midwest UX is excited to bring a new twist to a "traditional" plenary with the not-plenary: A lively Ignite series of talks. With a lot of rapid-fire information and a bit of fun, this will be a presentation event you won't want to miss.

Apprenticeship Now!

Alla Zollers

If you talk to senior designers about how they got into the field, you will probably hear a lot of fascinating stories about their transition to UX from development, print design, marketing, library science or countless other roles.

The same senior designers probably never held a “junior design” position because they both pioneered and defined the role within their company.

Now that our field has matured, and there are programs across the country that are offering degrees in design, it is much more difficult for recent graduates and people who want to transition into the field to get their foot in the door.

Not only are job listings for junior designers far and few between, but our profession has no apprenticeship model to help junior designers grow into senior designers.

So what is the result? Junior designers are forced lie about their experience just to get a job.

UX design is a craft and we are doing our entire profession a disservice by not taking the time to hire, mentor, and bring up the next generation of designers.

The UX profession needs apprenticeship now!

Call To Action

Moe Rafiuddin

There are many problems in the world. Poverty, war, and disease to name a few. The people trying to solve these problems by helping those in need in our communities often struggle with advocacy, awareness, and prevention. Fortunately for us there are great for-profit and not-for-profit organizations big and small who have come to the rescue. These organizations tackle unique challenges that require unique and passionate people. I feel that the UX community is the perfect place to find the problem-solving passionate folks that these organizations need.

There are many types of projects that our community can be a part of. By working with these organizations, you can help make their voices louder, and their efforts to bring joy to your neighbors easier. The ways that you can contribute are varied: anything from raising awareness by helping to build websites, to building solar-powered water wells in Africa, or even finding unique ways to bring education online to the villages of a South Asian country.

In this 5 minute talk I will show examples of various projects to inspire our community to find ways to contribute. I will also provide simple steps you can take to get started today. We have a great opportunity to give back to our communities, to refine our skills, follow our passions, and get into uncharted and exciting projects.

Living with Wearable Tech

John Wayne Hill

Wearable computing has come a long way. Devices of yester-year were clunky, hard to use, and fashion backward. As computers continue to miniaturize, the world will see more and more wearable devices. Manufacturers and product makers will continue to try and figure out how to put technology into wearable products and into our lives. As devices make leaps and bounds towards usefullness, utility, and connectedness we will see more and more technology integrated into our lives. How that technology fits into our lives, depends on designers advocating for the best possible experience. Wearable computing takes on a broad range of topics, but most important is the relationship between the person and the technology. Because wearable technology is with us, and on us, throughout most of the day, it's important to remember how the technology fits into the lives of individual people and the context in which they interact with the technology. This quick presentation describes my relationship with wearable technology and puts forth insights gained from living with the technology through a user experience viewpoint.

Wabi-sabi: the Beauty of Imperfection

Rachel Nabors

In our industry, attention to detail and perfectionism are championed. But they can also hold us back. On our Quests for Perfection, we can lose track of the big picture, miss the forest for the trees.

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese concept of evanescent beauty. During this delightful photographic essay you will learn how accepting imperfection, incompleteness and impermanence into your life can increase your productivity and happiness.

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a UX Designer

Jessica Bailey

What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you know that you would be a designer from the beginning? Or did you take some other path of discovery to UX? For me, dreams of being a marine biologist morphed into dreams of being an artist, then a computer scientist. Somehow that love of art and technology converged, and I found this wonderful world of design.  
My guess is that a lot of us didn't have any idea what we were getting in to. Maybe that's the way it should be, but just for fun what would you go back and tell your younger self?
I'm sure that I could guide my younger self in many different directions. I could tell her to start learning Fireworks so she doesn't have to struggle through that hectic learning phase when working on a big project. I could tell her to sit up straight (just as my current mother would do) so all those late nights hunching over a MacBook don’t kill her back. And maybe go find the perfect pair of horn-rimmed glasses to get ahead of the curve.
But what is that younger designer really struggling with, and what would be the biggest surprise for her to hear? In this talk I’ll discuss the things I would tell her.
And since we have invented this time traveling world, what would the designer that I become in the future travel back in time to tell me? I'm sure that I will look back on my current self as blissfully unaware of so many things, but what are the things that I hope to discover in the future?

What UX Can Learn from the Alt-Country Movement

Derren Hermann

The alt-country movement of the 1990s injected a breath of fresh air into traditional forms of music that so many people loved. It combined a wide range of influences and created something new while maintaining a respect for tradition. The movement has lived on and has continued to evolve over time. It was not just a fad.

UX is on the verge of a very similar movement. We need a blast of excitement that will shape our future. We are quickly adopting new and exciting influences. Just take a look at the rising interest in content strategy, ethnography, and mobile first design as examples. But we must be thoughtful in shaping our future by respecting our past. Our opportunity here is to create a movement that evolves into a culture that grows our field.

When Good Design is Used for Evil

Anna Eaglin

While listening to coverage regarding the uprising in Libya, a woman was interviewed about her first-hand perspective. She told them about the conflict, what was happening to her and her family and friends, and then she talked about how there were rapists walking around with Viagra in their pockets.

I was shocked! Viagra? The same drug that allows older men with salt-and-pepper hair to have campfires on the beach with their wives? That Viagra? The little blue pill was being used as a vehicle for mass sexual violence?

From Viagra to the Craigslist killer, there are implications to everything we bring into the world. As designers, we create with the intention to make things better than they were. We generally learn as much as we can about our users in hopes of improving their lives in some small way. What happens when something we create inspires horror? Is it the fault of the designer? Of the user?  Do we just assume that the Craigslist killer could have just as easily been the Match.com killer?

It is impossible for us to know every facet of the complex ecosystems in which our designs live. We cannot possibly conceive of every way our designs could be used - but how do we live with these potential consequences? As we consider the greater good, must we too consider the greater evil?

The goal of this talk is not to answer this, instead to offer it as a topic of consideration – hopefully it won’t keep you up at night too.

Which Way?

Alaina Kraus

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign... Whether you're in a big town or small, down the street or around the world finding your way is an important thing to be able to do. What makes one place more walkable than the next or one out of the way place more easily found than another? Step away from the smartphone and see some examples of the good, the bad and the ugly of wayfinding.