Our EventOur 1-hour lunchtime event consisted of 2 activities:
Usability Brilliance & Bombs (25 min)
Description: A photo slideshow of employee-submitted examples of usability greats and quirks from work, home and out and about, with commentary from one of Esri’s User Experience professionals.
Special Supplies Needed: none
- Invite employees 2 weeks ahead of time to email us with photos & description
- Select top 20 photos
- Compose a PPT slideshow of the top 20
SpeedGeeking on UX (35 min)
Description: More rewarding than SpeedDating, this is a fun, interactive way to get quick, 5-minute earfuls from 6 speakers on a variety of user experience topics. Choose the topic you want to hear first, then speedgeek your way through our speakers toward a broader understanding of user experience.
Special Supplies Needed: cowbell, timer
- Email a call for speakers 4 weeks or more ahead of time
- Create and send speakers guidelines for their 5-minute lightning talk
- Create a topic sign for each speedgeeking table
- Create numbered slips of papers to hand attendees as their starting table assignment
Considerations for Planning Your World Usability Day
- Will you follow the WUD theme? Check worldusabilityday.org for the current theme and decide if you can work it into your event. This year's theme was "Usability of Financial Systems" a good theme for sure, but we hadn't the slightest notion of how to work that into what our company does so we ditched it.
- What’s the takeaway for attendees?
What do you hope the attendees will get out of your efforts? Awareness? Education? Knowledge about your products / services? Respect for your commitment to the user's experience? Sign-ups to your group? Keep your goal in mind. Our main goals were awareness and education.
- Will it be a public or private event?
Is this something you want to open up to people outside of your organization? One of the obvious benefits of doing so is publicity for your company and for the fact that you care about the user experience of your products. Another benefit is the purely non-selfish one of spreading the UX gospel out to the masses. Some downsides are logistics, funding and time. We decided right away the downsides would quickly bring down our first event … so we opted for an employee-only event.
- Will you host event on-site or off-site or neither?
Whether public or private, are you going to host your event at your organization, another venue or virtually? This could depend on what type of event you choose to do and the reach you want. Or it can drive the type of event you do. Lack of time and budget to manage an off-site event made us go for on-site.
- How will you pay for it?
Speaking of budget, where will it come from? If you have a central UX team, then you probably have your own UX budget. If you’re a grassroots team from all over the company like we are, then funding could be an issue. Our Plan A: approach our Sales director. He'd said several months back that he liked the idea of our UX group and ever since we'd unofficially dubbed him as our corporate sponsor. So we'd try to go all official with it. Our Plan B: approach each director the team members reported up to (about 4 or 5 directors) and ask if they’d share the cost. Our Plan C: reach into our own pockets. Plan A worked really well. Some costs you may need to consider:
- site or room rental (don't forget to book a rehearsal day, too)
- speaker fees
- promotion (signage, fliers, newspapers)
- food or snacks (a great time to get rid of previous week's Halloween candy!)
- support staff (event coordinator, A/V, network)
- materials (handouts)
- giveaway swag
- Will you have attendee participation?
Instead of just having a speaker present to the audience, you might be considering an event where the attendees can have active participation either before the event (submitting photos, treasure hunt), during the event (quiz show, "hallway testing") or after the event (follow-up surveys). Those are fun ideas but they may require more planning and prep time than you have available.
- How far ahead should you start planning?
Do things get done quickly or slowly in your organization? Do the coveted conference rooms or nearby venues get booked months in advance? Do internal announcements and company-wide emails take a long time for approval? Is this a volunteer effort where planning team still has their normal work to do that takes priority? Is anyone in the planning group well-connected with key people who will get things done quickly just for them? Consider your answers to those questions as you plan your timeline.
- Is your audience UX-savvy?
Are you preaching to the UX choir? If so, you can raise the level of your presentation and pack it full of UX jargon, abstraction and inside humor. But if you’re trying to indoctrinate UX newbies, keep it light and stay out of the weeds. Everyone can relate to a bad user experience, use that as a starting point.
- Designate a main coordinator or two
- Check current and past WUD events for ideas
- Brainstorm and refine ideas based on your goal, audience, venue, time and budget
- Make backup plans in case of speaker no-shows, equipment failure, venue/room hijacking, hurricanes, etc.
- Make a task list and an asset list with names, dates and times
- Arrive early
- Remember the goal
- Have fun
- Take pictures
- Thank your sponsors