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Being interviewed about how I got started

I have been interviewed twice in the last 3 days about how I got started doing what I do, what influenced me along the way, what were the major events in my career. (Not sure when each interview will debut.)

The first was at Kent State, where I made a video for the IAKM program. They interviewed several people at the IA Summit in Vegas last month. I waited to do mine since I knew I would be visiting them. Questions ranged from how I got started in IA to the challenges I see today. The panel session later in the day also had several good questions about the early days at Argus.

The second was this morning, part of the brand new UX Pioneers project by Tamara Adlin - site launched about 2 hours ago. (Tamara delayed the debut of her new site for an hour and a half to talk to me today.) Just in time for CHI - 3 interviews up so far and lots more to come. I am in the "and later" category: it will take a while for my meanderings to be transcribed, edited and made intelligent.

It took several months to set up this interview. I think the first hurdle was getting over the "pioneer" label, which Tamara finally convinced me did apply. Never written a book, never run a company, never invented an input device, never created software of note, never established a research program, never did anything that I think people would normally think of an HCI, IA, UCD or user experience pioneer to have done. Yet, there I am, listed with many people I admire. Go figger.

Anyway, these interviews have caused me to think back a lot and appreciate how lucky I have been. I am sure I will do some blog entries that look back - I will try not to bore you.

Nametagging at Nexus for Change

Reporting from the Nexus for change conference. First activity was what I would call nametagging - where you add labels to your name tag to classify yourself and help start conversations.

We did this at the 2006 IA Summit and I assume I will be doing it again Saturday morning at the 2007 IA Summit. The IAs like to leave a lot of extra room for the tagging, and of course we analyzed it.

I "loose" tagged myself IBM, web, UX and BGSU. We also had 3 questions to answer: What do you aspire to experience? ("Change (lame answer)", What methods do you use? ("UCD", abbreviated on purpose) and something about what your speciality is ("User experience, web"). And we had stickers and markers to spruce up our name tags: none of the stickers worked for me, so I chose this weird looking bug (since I am not sure I fit in here yet) and some sort of whale (since I hope to have a whale of a good time).

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Save the date for DUX: November 5-7

The date and location for DUX 2007 were just made public: November 5-7, Chicago, Illinois, USA. This is the 3rd Conference on designing for user experience. I missed the first DUX in 2003, attended the second in 2005.

We are planning some UXnet meetings in conjunction with the conference - so I am definitely going. The challenge will be to get back home for World Usability Day on November 8th. Being in Chicago will help.

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Development in the fast lane

The CIO article Development in the fast lane has some interesting stories about the combination of simulation software, user-centered design, usability engineers as business analysts, and agile methods.

"How to keep it simple" week

I think it was coincidence: Parade magazine published John Maeda's How to keep it simple the same week as World Usability Day. John's article was based on his 10 Laws of Simplicity.

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Usability sprint this weekend

This weekend is a usability sprint with several open source projects in Mountain View. This is the third time they have put usability people and open source developers in the same room to collaborate. It does appear to be a movement.

Drupal is one of the projects participating. Kieran is doing remote usability testing this weekend. Another goal is to "explore how to recruit User Experience professionals to the Drupal project". I'd suggest doing the next sprint in June in Austin if you really want a lot of usability professionals to show up.

Also, Hyperscope is another open source project that is at the sprint.

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Five conferences on the same day

Five events I would have loved to have attended, all today, October 24th:

Two in Seattle, a third also in the Pacific Northwest, a fourth also on the west coast.

And then at least 3 local meetings I would have attended if I was there (New York City, San Diego and Cleveland). Am sure there were more good local meetings that happened today around the world.

A few more today that I would not have attended but were still pretty easy to find: MexIHC and ACM Multimedia 2006.

I wonder if this is a record for 1 day.

World Usability Day website updates

The web site for World Usability Day was down for a few hours this week to put the next version in place. With 2 months to go, they are switching from "save the date" mode to "here are the events" mode. The next big switch will be "here is what is happening right now" (on November 14th).

Some of the new things (maybe they were online before but I just noticed them):

The site looks awesome this year.

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Zacker and Jesse

I was catching up on news about CivicSpace by reading Zach Rosen's blog and found him sitting next to Jesse James Garrett in a roundtable discussion with a Senator.

Jesse's face seems to be everywhere.

My UPA service award

Yes, I got an award from UPA last week at the annual conference. Thanks for all of your kind words and congratulations. A few people missed the ceremony and later said they would have showed up for it - I did not tell very many people, just the way I am. For all of you that missed it, here are some pictures.

Keith waiting to get the award from Thyra Rauch
Waiting to get the award from UPA President (and fellow IBMer) Thyra Rauch, with conference chair DeeDee DeMulling seated.

Keith celebrating the award
Celebrating the award! (a bit blurry, I think Whitney the photographer was laughing too hard to hold the camera still).

And here is the award itself:

Keith's UPA service award
"UPA Usability Service Award is awarded to Keith Instone...for your leadership and tireless work in creating the first World Usability Day, and your innovative work on the event web sites. 2006"

There you have it - nice to get the recognition, but it was all worth doing without any award. Even better than the award was seeing long-time friends and making new ones at the conference. Oh yea,I actually attended a few sessions while I was at the conference - I will blog those later.

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