The new board of the IA Institute has just begun its two-year term and I have the good fortune of having been nominated and voted in as the Director of Education. It’s a new, and much needed, position at the institute and I hope to be able to help move things along positively. It’s been great fun so far and my first project is well underway and on track.
Once again, we have hosted World IA Day Johannesburg and, once again, we had a ball. The line up this year included: Sebabatso Mtimkulu, Ray Whitcher, Rob Enslin, Stephen Hobbs, Nicholas Hobson, Lindi Maritz and Rob Cowie.
The star of the event was Flavia Lacerda who we brought out from Brasilia to present on the topic “Pervasive Information Architecture: designing information ecosystems for the Internet of Things” It was, as it always is, a complete joy to see her again.
We also used the event to host a ‘townhall’ to discuss the possibility of forming a UX body of some kind for South Africa.
The guys behind the UX SA Conferences have really been doing a great job. For the last few years they’ve been selling out and it’s starting to gain international attention. This year the majority of presentation submissions came from abroad. They’ve also been a great platform for myself and Terence. Here’s some stuff we’ve done at the conferences:
- UXSA Cape Town 2014: Presentation of Designing for the liminal (youtube link)
- UXSA Johannesburg 2015: Presentation of the Firma Model (youtube link)
- UXSA Cape Town 2015: Workshop ‘Big picture problems (and solutions)’
- UXSA Cape Town 2015: Presentation of the UX Landscape of South Africa (youtube link)
- UXSA Johannesburg 2016: Workshop ‘Developing human-centered UX strategy’ (happening on the 10th of May 2016)
Last year, Dr. Marco Pretorius, Terence and myself embarked on researching and baselining the maturity of UX in South Africa. It was a huge effort but I think it turned out really well. As part of the project we created the report, published an academic version of the findings, created a website – www.uxlandscape.com – and have also presented the findings (youtube link) at the UX SA Conference 2015 in Cape Town. The contents of the report include:
- About the study
- Executive summary
- Part 1: Demographics
- Part 2: UX Practitioners
- Part 3: Institutional UX
- Part 4: Education and knowledge building
- Conclusion and recommendations
- Next steps
Our intention is now to run this every two years so as to meaningfully contribute to the growth of the field here in SA.
The Asian Consortium, part of the Hong Kong 10DAYFEST from the Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation, was a great success.
Brief overview: “140 social innovators from all over Asia came to Hong Kong to channel their ideas of social innovation. Founders of social enterprises, start-ups and leaders in academia from 20 countries, more than 25 nationalities have shared their latest projects in the Network Conference, opened the “Living room by Asian Consortium” exhibition, networked in Changemakers Party and joined the local Excursion to experience social challenges in Hong Kong and explore ways to promote social innovation movements here” – view the photo gallery.
Loads more content can be found at Socia.hk
I also had the opportunity to present a bit about Firma and our work. You can view a round up of the trip and the presentation on slideshare.
Above: The incredible Zaha Hadid building where the Institute is situated.
Above: Cool signage
Above: Inside the building
Above: Me presenting on Firma
Above: Prepping our poster for the exhibition
Above: The mesmerising Hong Kong
This years DEFSA (Design Education Forum of South Africa) theme was ‘ethics and accountability in design’. We submitted two papers. The first, ‘Wicked Ethics‘ and the second ‘The Firma Model’. I think it went well and we definitely enjoyed it.
I’ll post a link to the full papers when the proceedings have been published.
Photo by Tasmin Donaldson
Outside of Tokyo being utterly mind-blowing (the people, the city, the culture) the conference was superb as well. On the first day I presented my work on the Firma Model and on the second, the application of the Model (all work I’ve been doing with Terence Fenn).
Below: Me presenting the Firma Model on day 1 on UXSF, Dan and Peter and myself (plugged in) with the Sociomedia team
Prior to the conference however I had the privilege of conducting a workshop on the use of the Firma Model with staff from Metaphase (one of the sponsors of UXSF). This was particularly interesting as 1. I’ve never conducted a workshop using the Firma Model and 2. I’ve never done it in Japanese. I got really great feedback and the work by the Metaphase folks was amazing.
Below: My workshop with the Metaphase team
Lastly, I was also able to speak at the Tokyo IA Camp organised by Concent. Soyeon Lee had translated my piece “The design behind the design behind the design” into Japanese so I figured it would be good to present that…for two gruelling hours.
Below: IA Camp, Tokyo
So all in all it was really hard work and really great fun. And what a country! I would give anything to go back again. I discovered some of the nicest people in our field and we were treated like royalty. All round, it was amazing.
Below: View from my hotel ala ‘Lost in Translation’
Cumulus Milan 2015 was awesome. Our paper presentation of the Firma Model went down well (we thought) and we got some great feedback. But better still was the conference which contained great content, great people and was held in different locations around the city allowing you to really get a feel for Milan. It was a particular highlight to be at the famous Politecnico di Milano.
One other highlight was the meeting of folks from around the world who are part of the DESIS Network.
Our paper will be published in the conference proceedings which I’ll link to when published.
Below: Terence at the Politecnico di Milano
Okay, so this was one amazing event. The folks at uxsouthafrica did a sterling job of putting on their second national conference with even larger attendance than Cape Town last year.
Here are the details of the of the event
…and you can watch Terence and I deliver our presentation on the Firma Model on youtube.
Below: Terence at the steps of SciBono where the conference was held and a sunset view from the venue over Newtown.
Our survey of the UX landscape in South Africa will be closing soon. We’re really excited to start analysing the data and produce our report and paper. The aim of the survey is to determine the current landscape and level of maturity of the field of User Experience (UX) in South Africa and is the combined effort of myself, Terence Fenn and Dr. Marco Pretorius.