Going out to eat teaches us about UX

First of all, let me start by saying I was particularly excited about attending this talk. I would be lying if I told you I don’t watch an episode of an Anthony Bourdain show at least once a week, so when I heard there was going to be a talk about how restaurant experiences can teach us about UX (i.e. combining my two favorite things), I was doing my happy dance.

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Jimmy Chandler, UX Architect, Co-organizer  and presenter of the talk, started off with showing us one thing we New Yorkers are all too familiar with, the Shake Shack line! Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 1.09.46 PM.png

What is that make people stand in line for hours on end when there are countless of other options? The answer: brand loyalty.

How can restaurants build brand loyalty to their customers and how do they treat different customers with different needs?

Fun Fact: The factor that angers restaurant-goers the most? Waiting for a table – especially when they tell you 15 min and it takes 45.

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Music Hacking Meetup

If you told me that by the end of Women Who Code NYC’s very first Music + Wearables Workshop that I would be playing the piano with cups of water, I would think you were crazy! And then it happened…

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Stefania [l] and Nancy [r]

Once we all settled in and grabbed our share of pizza at the Hook and Loop’s NYC office, Stefania Druga and Nancy Otero gave us an introduction to Arduino, an “open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software [that’s] intended for anyone making interactive projects.” In a nutshell, you can program the Arduino microcontroller to mapping any conductive material (i.e. your skin, water,  coil tape) to render a particular sound. Here is one of my favorite examples of a guy who created a guitar out of old drum pads, some softpot ribbon potentiometers, and a sparkFun joystick shield.

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Designers are from Mars, Engineers are from Venus

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Meetup space filling up @Motivate_Design, NYC

“Designers and engineers always get along,” said no one…ever. That is why the meetup I went to last night at Motivate Design was packed with people, curious to gain a better understanding of how to communicate effectively with team members of all disciplines, and learn best practices to help facilitate more project collaboration.

Jack Cole, Director of Design at Motivate Design, was the presenter for the meetup which was coordinated by NYC Code and Design Academy and the UX Labs meetup group. Jack is a 15-year veteran of working as a UX/Design professional who has experienced the thrilling highs and the crushing lows of corporate life.

What’s the issue? Many from the two disciplines don’t see eye-to-eye, which causes friction and unnecessary roadblocks that prevent success. 

He started off by taking us through a few particularly challenging projects and what he learned from each of them from a designer’s perspective.

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I Survived Protohack

Pitching to the JudgesMy team and I doing our 90-second pitch!

I’m not going to lie: I’ve always felt intimidated to participate in a Hackathon.

All those smart, savvy, competitive minds battling it out in a cut-throat environment to quickly code up and release a product in 12-hours? I stepped away from being a code-monkey years ago and I certainly don’t fit into a visual designer role – who had time to work with UX person in such a stressful environment? That being said, I felt a sense of admiration of my friends who had pulled of a hackathon, so when I got an heads up about Protohack from @LadiesThatUXNYC, I finally felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to bring out the inner entrepreneur and do a hackathon without the intimidation.

What is a Protohack? The only code-free hackathon for non-technical entrepreneurs. A jam​-​packe​d 12-hour​ ​hackathon … to pitch your idea in front of investors, developers, product people, and more. Walk away with a prototype, pitch, and awesome prizes to take your product to the next level all without writing a single line of code.

Getting the party started! Sort of…

I arrived at 9:30 AM, and was expecting to walk into some sort of ice-breaking event, or at least some sort of way for people to meet each other and share their ideas, but instead everyone was sitting at a table and appeared to have already made teams. Not entirely sure what to do, I grabbed an empty seat. I scanned the room and recognized one girl from a previous LadiesThatUX Meetup, and quickly made my move (I wanted to work with a team, after all!). I was able to join her team, and the day just got better from then on.

Keynote Speaker: 

Bradford on stage

As founder & CEO of  founder of  Brad definitely has an impressive portfolio along with plenty of experiences to talk about.

As a keynote speaker, apart making people who asked him a question yell out their “spirit animal”, he shed light on the deep struggles but also joyous moments of living the start-up life. A few of my favorite quotes include:

  1. I’m going to fucking fail today and I’m going to fail fabulously.
  2. If you do it and fail, it’s better than not doing it at all.
  3. You are not going to be successful unless you really believe that what you will do will change the world and it means something to you.

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Taking the Leap: My First UX Meetup

Last Monday, I attended a panel held by the NYC Meetup group Ladies That UX and General Assembly (GA) called “Why Soft Skills Are Essential in UX”. This being my first UX Meetup, I walked in not knowing anyone and not knowing what to expect. Low and behold, I find an empty seat in the second row and notice that the environment is warm, relaxing and inviting. There are about 50 other UXers (both female and male, woohoo!) in the room, and I chat with my neighbor about her positive experience taking GA’s class on UX until the panel gets started.

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Panelists from left to right: Jessica Greco, Rashida White, Shannon Copfer, Meaghan Nolan, and Melisa Chiem (the organizer of the Meetup)

Melisa Chiem, the organizer of the meetup who is leading the panel, starts asking a variety of questions, including:

  • How did you get into UX? 
  • What are some tactics with how you deal with a difficult person or situation?
  • What are some qualities of a good leader?

A few key points stuck out in my mind for each question.


How did you get into UX?

Jess mentions that one of her first jobs was working the front desk of a hospital before going to get her Masters where she built a robot for her final presentation. She realized that many of the users couldn’t figure out how to use it (though noted that when they did, it was fun to play with 🙂 ), and from then on, entered the world of helping users how to easily and painlessly learn and accomplish their goals with the program/interface/thing they want to use. Continue reading