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Toledoan's blog

Toledo User Experience Professional hat

This blog is for when I have my local (Toledo, Ohio) hat on. I will concentrate on pointing out activities for other user experience professionals in the area (and within the Ohio-Michigan region).

In May, 2013, I started doing Toledo region UX updates and news at

UX Tips Toledo region conference, April 24

I am organizing another Rosenfeld Summit virtual conference in the Toledo area. After doing a survey of local folks early in 2013 and finding that "virtual training" was the top need, I organized the 31 UX Tips virtual conference in May of 2013. I have also encouraged others to host Rosenfeld virtual events in the area. It is a good way to get the local community together, enjoy top-notch speakers, at a very low cost.

I still need sponsors for the April 24 event. Let me know if you are interested, or if you want to recommend a company for me to contact.

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Midwest UX 2013 recaps and slides

The 3rd Midwest UX conference, back in October in Grand Rapids, MI, was great! Below are links to recaps and slides and other things, to help people who were there to get more out of the event afterwards, and for people who were not even there.

Conference resources

Conference recaps

Session & speakers, with link to slides and other resources

Keynote: Making Sense of Place
Abby Covert

It's Not You, It's Your Anti-Pattern
Edward Stojakovic, Fran Diamond

Boats, Trains & Shopping Malls: Testing the Usability of Products in their Natural Habitat
Kathi Kaiser

Dude, Who Stole My Community?
Charles Erdman

Everyone is a Designer, Whether You Like it or Not
Kyle Murphy

Hey, You Got Your Map In My Territory!: The Role of Language in Placemaking
Andrew Hinton

After Orientation: Making Room for a Novice UX Designer
Megan Schwarz

Keynote: Places Make Us
Christina Wodtke

Panel by Design West Michigan
Christina Wodtke, Chris Hoyt, Jeff Reuschel, Ritu Bajaj

Narrative Spaces
Christian Eckels

The Essence of Experience
Kaleem Khan

The Programmable World
Matt Nish-Lapidus

Field Manual: UX Lessons From The Military Profession
Jason Alderman

Defining our Place in Emerging Technologies
Erik Dahl

Resistance is Futile: Google Glass and the Cyborg Workforce of the Future
Donna Lichaw

Pecha Kucha:

Turn About is Fair Play: How We Employed UX to Transform Our Workplaces and Rethink Our Business
Seth Starner

The Place You’re In Is More Than The Place You’re At
Phillip Hunter

Social Smarts for Small Screens
Sonia Koesterer

Distant Land, Different Life
Kerry-Anne Gilowey

Scratch Your Own Itch: Simple, Designer-driven Apps
Simon King

The Four Mobile Traps: How To Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Plaguing The Mobile Space
Michael Mace

Keynote: Data is the Experience
Karl Fast

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UX Community Survey Results, Part 1

Back in March, I published a survey to get insights into what people in the Toledo region needed to help them create better user experiences. We have gotten 43 replies, so it seems like a good time to start analyzing the results and sharing them. This write-up will just cover the "needs" part: "ideas" results will come later. Just the data, no interpretation yet.

Before we start: who replied? I let people answer anonymously, and purposely did not ask "demographic" questions, preferring instead to keep the survey short. But here are some generic job titles of people who left their name and/or told me they answered:

  • Executives: CEO, President, Vice President, CIO
  • UX Practitioners: Web designer/developer, Usability analyst, Creative director, Interactive designer, UX designer
  • Other practitioners: Communications, Software developer, Application developer
  • Academia: Student, Instructor


We can rank each need by the number of times it was selected, out of 43, to get a sense of what people think are the most important answers to "What do you need to improve the user experience (UX) of the things you create?".

30Insights into innovative UI & interaction designs
29Knowledge of advanced UX techniques
27Case studies showing how others do UX
27Practice doing UX
25Training and formal education on how to do basic UX methods
19A UX "tribe" to hang out with, get support from
15More commitment from my clients to pay me for UX work
13Better tools for doing UX work
12Awareness and understanding of UX by others within my company
8UX talent to hire

Comments about the needs

A summary of what people typed in, edited and grouped.

What I need....

  • Inspiration and aspiration for my team
  • Real-world use cases and empirical data
  • User interface design guidelines and best practices
  • Good UX (for my app), without paying too much
  • UX value to business
  • More of ALL of this

How I want to address these needs....

  • Tell war stories with other veterans of UI
  • See UX teams in action
  • Network with people who need my services
  • Compare my practices to the work of others
  • Bounce idea off of others
  • Learn by doing

That is all for part 1. The "ideas" will be more complicated, and perhaps more interesting.

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BGSU last week

I spent most of last week on the campus of BGSU. Lots of different things, from Sibs N Kids to graphic design portfolios to playing hockey.

One of the major events was Entrepreneurship Week that included The Hatch, a Shark-Tank-like event, and the Sebo conference, which I have written about in the past. One of the personal hi-lites was being recognized as the person who reached the largest audience with Twitter during the conference. Hanson folks did a great job getting the audience engaged: loved the live social network analysis.

My other major on-campus activity was presenting to 3 undergraduate Usability Engineering classes. I extracted what I thought were the key things they learned this semester and pointed out some other things they will need to survive and prosper doing user experience-related work in industry. It was great meeting the students and learning about what they got out of the class. As usual, the questions they asked were better than the topics I was prepared to talk about, so the slides (PDF) are only a poor sampling of what we discussed.

It was great to spend so much time on campus last week. I learned a lot.

Survey about UX Needs & Possible Ideas

If you are in the Toledo region and a practicing user experience professional, I want to hear from you. What do you need to do your job better?

If you are a business leader in the Toledo region who realizes the UX of your products & services is crucial to your business success, I want to hear from you. What does your company need?

If you are a student (at UT, BGSU, elsewhere around here) or someone who lives here and just wants to get started in UX, I want to hear from you. How would you like to begin your professional journey?

I created a survey to help compile information about needs and reactions to possible ideas for addressing those needs. It should only take 3 minutes to fill it out: I kept it pretty short.

Below are the important elements of the survey (for anyone who wants to peek ahead).

I have contacted many folks by email and already gotten a good response. More people are welcome to give their input: thus this post and related tweets, etc.

At some point, I will compile the data and share with the community (exactly when depends on how busy I am: this is fun but not the top thing on my to-do list). I will post something here and schedule a session at Seed Coworking, where we can discuss the results as a group. I would also like to get people to break into smaller teams to tackle specific needs or solutions.

Thanks in advance for your responses! If you want to be sure to catch the results, leave your email address at the end of the survey. And/or follow @UXToledoRegion.

We are collecting information about User Experience needs for the Toledo Region. We would also like your reaction to ideas to address these needs. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey. It will help us plan local UX community activities. Thanks in advance!


What do you need to improve the user experience (UX) of the things you create? The things you are creating might be web sites, software products, paper brochures, smartphone apps, hardware, healthcare services, events. And more.

  • Practice doing UX
  • Awareness and understanding of UX by others within my company
  • Better tools for doing UX work
  • Insights into innovative UI & interaction designs
  • Knowledge of advanced UX techniques
  • More commitment from my clients to pay me for UX work
  • Training and formal education on how to do basic UX methods
  • A UX "tribe" to hang out with, get support from
  • Case studies showing how others do UX
  • UX talent to hire


What can we do to address your UX needs? Below are some of the ideas that have been suggested for the Toledo Region.

Scale: Bad idea | Good idea | Great idea, will help | Awesome idea, will pay $

  • Plan road trips to UX events in Detroit, Columbus and other nearby cities
  • Launch a UX book club
  • Set up a site where we can show off our UX capabilities
  • Schedule UX reviews so we can talk about UX and help improve local products and services
  • Collaborate with AIGA Toledo
  • Set up an online area for discussions (e.g., Google group)
  • Arrange online webinars and virtual training
  • Create hands-on training of UX methods
  • Rejuvenate Refresh Toledo
  • Create a marketplace for UX work (where clients and agencies can meet)
  • Organize a local conference about UX
  • Set up a mentoring program for students and others new to UX
  • Evangelize UX to local business leaders
  • Build a directory of UX people/companies in the region
  • Establish a local chapter of a professional organization (like IxDA or UXPA)
  • Create a Meetup group, schedule meetups
  • Add more UX events to the Toledo Web Professionals program
  • Set up an exchange program with other cities (to help us get up to speed faster)
  • Compile a list of classes to take (e.g., BGSU CS 3240)
  • Suggest the best national UX conferences to travel to
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Toledo Region UXPA Member Lunch

After helping the tech and startup community form in the Toledo region the last few years (see my summary of 2012 activity), it is time to focus on the user experience community.

In 2012, we attended a UX webinar as a group, did some card sorting, made sure designers participated in Startup Weekend Toledo. AIGA Toledo continued to serve professionals with a graphical design focus in innovative ways.

As a next step to kick off 2013, I am helping organize a local UXPA Member Lunch.

  • Join us for a lunch gathering of User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) members in the Toledo region. We are meeting at Dyers Family Restaurant, 200 Campbell Hill Road, Bowling Green, OH 43402, from 11:30am - 2pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.
  • People interested in meeting user experience professionals in the area and learning more about user experience & UXPA are welcome as well.
  • Everyone buys their own lunch as we meet each other and talk about user experience.
  • UXPA supports people who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services. Current UXPA members can discuss how to get the most out of membership. Non-members can learn about UXPA and see if they want to join. See for more information.
  • If this lunch generates enough interest, we will talk about forming an informal local group to help advance the UX community in the Toledo region.
  • RSVP if you are planning to join us, to make sure we have enough seats at the lunch table. Leave a comment below or email me at keith2013 at instone dot org.

At this point, there are only 4 people who are UXPA members in the Toledo region, with half of them living south of BG and half in the Toledo metro area (thus why we are meeting in the middle). But I know there are more people interested in UX and several design agencies that employ UX people. So I am hoping we can start to grow a larger community of user experience professionals in the region.

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Midwest UX, May 31

I am at the Midwest UX conference.

I am just hanging out today. Tomorrow I will be the emcee in the Gallery Theatre. (It is hard to find, so if you are going to a session there, be sure to follow the signs to the 2nd floor and then the additional signs to the theatre.) If you are here and want to find me, your best bet is to come to the theatre.

Here are the sessions in the theatre that I will be attending: (links to slide decks added as they are posted)

A great set of sessions! You can follow along with these sessions, and the rest of the conference, with the Twitter hashtag MWUX12. And since I cannot make it on Saturday, I will be following Day 2 virtually myself.

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Save $100 on Midwest UX conference registration

I am going to the 2012 Midwest UX conference (May 31 - June 2) in Columbus and I'd like others from the Toledo region to join me.

Last year was the first year for Midwest UX, and it was a great conference, with content rivaling events that are much farther away. If you are interested in user experience and in the Toledo region, I highly recommend you go to Midwest UX (and/or Internet User Experience, in Ann Arbor, slated for July 16-18 - follow @internetUX for info).

To encourage people from the region to attend, I am running a little contest. The winner gets $100 off their Midwest UX registration. To enter, send me an email (to midwestux at instone dot org) with why you think you should win, in 100 words or less. I will pick my favorite on April 15th and send you a promotional code so you can go off and register and save $100. $350 is already a bargain: $250 is a steal.

There is only 1 thing I ask of the winner: write up a summary of your experience at the conference on Saturday, June 2. I will be missing that day (my daughter's high school graduation is then). Post your summary publicly (anywhere you want) so that I can see some of what I missed, and others can benefit from my $100 contribution. You can write up more than just what you learned on Saturday, of course.

Contest only open to people who live in the Toledo region (loosely defined) and have not already registered for Midwest UX. You cannot use it for workshop registration, only a regular conference pass.

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Midwest UX presentations and recaps

Midwest UX was 3 weeks ago. I am still trying to review the presentations and the reports about the conference. My list....

Summaries, recaps and other things about the conference

Slides and presentation material

Let me know if I missed something.

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