The Twitter feed on the conference site was addictive and tortuous. Like wiggling a tooth. I was crashing the conference; attending some networking events, gathering requirements for the UUX site overhaul, and attending one of the pre-conference workshops, but not the conference at large. Since I was staying with family, my evenings and non-SIG times were spent meeting my cousins’ babies and talking about their business.
I loved that, but I really missed the conference experience I had last year. Last year, I met almost every STC person on my Twitter list and asked questions related to every project I had going. I even attended the awards banquet, because chapter-member Karen Bachmann became an Associate Fellow.
Still, it was absolutely worth being there in person, even on that piece-meal basis. As much as I wanted to dive into the #stc10 feed and find every tweetup, I had to focus on a just few things, which is probably good practice for me.
The Suncoast Chapter
During the morning session of Leadership Day, I picked up some information about legal requirements for chapter officers. Dear volunteers: I didn’t say anything about this when we recruited you, but we’ve got to come up with a conflict-of-interest policy, whistle-blower policy, and a new tax form. And, we have to watch our asses, because we’re liable. But the tradeoff is we can ask the Society for money, which I didn’t know before this weekend. “Zero-based budgeting doesn’t mean zero money.” Rah-rah, please RT.
I’m happy to know that we can build conference attendance into our budget next year, and I’m proud that we made it through this last year on our own financial resources, but I’m annoyed by how hit-or-miss it is getting information about chapter resources and responsibilities.
For example: I think Leadership Day is important enough that new officers should either get sponsored to attend or it should be available in e-learning modules that get a lot of PR with new officers. If I hadn’t been so hyped about attending the conference last year, I still might not know about Leadership Day. There was a woman there who had been volunteering for 13 years without having heard of it. Ridiculous.
I know STC has had to concentrate on making it through the budget shortfall, and I fully expected other improvements to be deferred. Now that they’ve made it through that crisis, I hope streamlined communication is a priority.
At this point, the biggest reason I’m involved with the UUX SIG is because I want to be in on the site redesign. Yes, I also want to know how to do usability testing, and user analysis, but I really want to learn what all is involved in shipping a website.
During the conference, on Twitter, a usability consultant (not an STC member) who was presenting, Whitney Hess, asked about our SIG name. She thought the UUX acronym was strange, and possibly at odds with the universal handle, UX. Why does the SIG name, Usability and User Experience, call out user experience but not other parts of the discipline, such as information architecture?
At the business meeting, Ginny Redish and Whitney Quesenbery gave some insight into the history behind the name. When the SIG was named in 1992, the name choice was intended to expand the thinking about usability into the area of interaction design. While it’s true that we could also specifically call out other disciplines as pieces of usability, we also have to end the name somewhere. We have an IA SIG, so that’s one place we draw a little line between the two. Does it make sense? We can talk about it.
That’s a big part of planning the new site: identifying our members. Why are they here as opposed to (or in addition to) some other usability organization? Some of our members have gone on to be leaders in other UX organizations–should part of our focus be connecting members with those organizations?
Teh Content Strategicals
My employer paid for me to attend the Architecting Content workshop by Rahel Bailie. I asked for the UX workshop first, because I thought it would be easier to justify, but that one got changed to a regular session, so I resubmitted my request and asked for Rahel’s workshop, and it got approved. Boy, are they in for it.
I can hardly sit still during a content strategy presentation. I want to jump up and get my manager, and my director, and the CEO, and make them watch the session. I want to run home and practice my ROI and IRR justifications in front of the mirror before I forget how the presenter delivered them. I want to draw pictures on the white board.
Perhaps what I need now in order to move forward in this area is not more content strategy sessions, but deep breathing exercises.
I asked Rahel how I can use this information now, while I’m an employee rather than a consultant. It’s not easy to tie content goals to corporate goals when I am not privy to corporate goals. She explained that I can help my manager do it. I give the information to my manager and she passes it up the chain. One of the ways that Rahel got to be consultant was by being good at speaking the executives’ language. She kept being asked to explain to the execs how the initiates supported the business.
Taking a deep breath…
Other Blog Posts About the Conference
Read these; they’re good: