[sketch notes and photo by Veronica Eb]
This Saturday, JESS3 helped sponsor MobileUXCamp in Washington, DC. The full-day event brought together members of the mobile community (both professionals and enthusiasts) to discuss the here-and-now of mobile technology and their projections for the future. Mobile UX was done in BarCamp fashion in that unlike traditional conferences the participants not only take an active role in industry discussions, they lead them. Each individual had the opportunity to decide what they wanted to talk about (if they wanted to speak) and then sign up to lead a classroom dialogue on that issue. This setup allowed for the camp participants to partake in discussions that they found valuable and relevant.
What struck me the most about MobileUX was the atmosphere. Even though everyone in a room faced their professional competition, the environment could not have felt more welcoming. From early on, there was an instant sense of community, partnership and excitement that made for an enjoyable and stimulating learning space.
The event organizers Jimmy Chandler, Glennette Clark, Olga Howard, Steve Fisher and Kafi Waters kicked off the morning by explaining the BarCamp style. I was surprised to see that a single white board set up the organization for the whole day! Anyone could go up to the board and sign up for a time slot to discuss whatever topic they wanted. No one was intimated. Everyone wanted to share, discuss and learn. Many individuals found they wanted to speak on similar issues, so former strangers paired up, quickly de-briefed, and then lead classroom style dialogues. The topics ranged from iPad UX design, to User Research, QR Codes, Marketing, and Job Hunting.
I had the chance to participate in the iPad UX, User Experience Research and Mobile Marketing discussions. My favorite was iPad UX. I “borrow” my boyfriend’s iPad all of the time and love to play around with the apps, read books and surf the net. What I didn’t realize was how much thought goes behind my “User Experience.” I now expect to be able to sit in my comfy chair (instead of leaning over my desk) and use multiple gestures to glean information (instead of my mouse). According to Ken Yarmosh, the discussion leader, these expectations have seeped over into other areas and as a result, are changing the way a user wants to interact.
Each classroom experience I joined, went through a similar discussion pattern; meaning they had the same goals. What is the mobile community doing now? What has been successful? What methods have you used? What suggestions would you make based on your experience? All of these questions focused on a give-and-take talk; people wanted to ask questions, share their own knowledge and at some points engage in a friendly debate.
If you are a mobile enthusiast or professional, I would highly recommend signing up for next year’s event!
Check out the tweets from the day’s events!