Triangle User Experience Professionals Association (TriUXPA)


  • 03 Dec 2012 8:58 AM | Anonymous

    TTomer Sharonomer Sharon works in the Search team at Google New York. He conducted a half-day workshop for TriUXPA on October 17th. The theme of Tomer’s workshop was how UX practitioners can get support from their colleagues for doing user research and doing it right. Tomer discussed ten ideas, which he calls silver bullets.

    • 1.       Empathy. While UX practitioners find it easy to empathize with users they do not empathize with other stakeholders. Organizational stakeholders often do not understand user research. It behooves us as user researchers to take the time to understand and empathize with our stakeholders.
    • 2.       Maturity. Often, (organizational) stakeholders are not mature in terms of UX. Tomer discussed instances where we might be able to increase their maturity and instances when we may not.
    • 3.       Participation. Having stakeholders participate in user research can be extremely helpful. Invite them to watch a user research session and comment on what they observed.
    • 4.       Lean. Cross-functional teams in a lean environment are the true recipe for progress. Having everyone involved in the whole process, and doing whatever it takes, goes a long way.
    • 5.       Be patient. Organizations are slow to change and so are people.
    • 6.       Get them to listen. People have to listen before you can persuade them. A good way to getting people to listen is by taking all the “buts” out of the conversation.
    • 7.       Collaborate. A key to getting stakeholder buy-in is to collaborate with them. Involve them in user studies from the beginning to select tasks, select users, and so on. Make UX each stakeholder’s baby!
    • 8.       No reports. Identify insights from user research as it is going on; don’t wait till the end. Tomer showed an example of summarized data from user research that provides a quick overview and makes formal reports redundant and saves time. He suggested presenting findings in an expo-like fashion to attract attention from stakeholders.
    • 9.       Quantitative findings. People like data so why not present them with data, ideally visualized properly.
    • 10.   Find the balance. Balance what the stakeholders want from user research with what you want.


    Next, Tomer had the audience break out into teams to enact several scenarios that typically arise in corporate environments. Each team used some of the silver bullets to make its case for user research.





  • 05 Sep 2012 8:33 PM | Anonymous

    Content creation feels like it should be a purely creative process -- you pull ideas from the air and work inside your head before releasing the product into the world with a flourish. Voilà!

    Then you hope that your ideas and the needs of your users match.

    You can do better than hope you meet your users’ needs. You can use data to help shape your content strategy. That’s right -- cold, hard data. Data give you insight into what your users are looking for, what they are finding, and even what they may want more of.

    You can use this information to create compelling content and hone your content maintenance plan. Let’s look at three data sources you can use in content strategy: analytics, search logs, and user feedback. There are more, but these three are key.

    Use your site metrics to help with updating and pruning your content. If a page is visited regularly, you may need to update it more regularly than other pages. If incorrect information on a page is bad, then incorrect information on a popular page is worse.

    Also consider axing pages that don’t receive many views. As we add fresh content to sites, older pages may no longer be relevant to users or to the business. Removing the content from the site means that’s one less piece you have to maintain.

    Search logs
    Search provides two sources of data: what people searched for on external search engines that led them to your site, and what they searched for once at your site.

    An entire industry focuses on external searchundefinedit’s called search engine optimization and it focuses on getting people to your site. It should be a part of your content strategy in conjunction with marketing.

    What about those that are already on your site? You can make sure they have a better experience by looking at what they are searching for on your site. I like to look at the top 50 searches and actually perform those searches each month to make sure the best pages for those terms are at the top of the results.

    If they aren’t, I tweak the page content to make it more relevant. And if no page exists, then I know what content I’m creating next.

    User feedback
    Users can provide more direct feedback. Comments, surveys, and user testing all give users a voice that you can listen to and adjust your content accordingly.

    Comments come in various forms these days, from likes on Facebook to questions posted on a blog. You can delve into this feedback to better understand content your users want and the question they tend to have.

    Where comments are often a side effect of content, surveys offer a directed feedback mechanismundefinedthe intent of a content survey is to learn how users think you’re doing and what they’d like to see more of. These tools can be great for planning new content.

    And you can’t beat the brutal honesty of user testing for raw feedback. From labels to words on the page, you’ll hear it directly when things don’t make sense to a user. The key is making changes that improve the user experience.

    Make Data a Part of a Larger Strategy
    Data alone doesn’t make for a content strategy, but it should play a large role. I like data because it’s hard to argue with numbers.

    Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology at Duke, recently tweeted: "If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine." I think that sums up why data should be a part of your content strategy.

    When you need to make a case, point to the data. It may not be as exciting as creating from thin air, but it’s hard to argue against.

    Michael Gowan
    Michael Gowan is a content strategist, writer, and editor based in Carrboro, North Carolina. His skills for content prophecy are available for hire. Follow him on Twitter @zebgowan.

  • 18 Aug 2012 11:41 PM | Anonymous

    On July 26, The Triangle UXPA hosted a guest lecture by Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla at the offices of Lulu in Raleigh. Titled “Affordances and their importance to UX Practioners” was co-sponsored with Bloomberg. Rex Hartson, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Virgina Tech, and Pardha Pyla, Senior Interaction Designer at Bloomberg L.P. provided a 90 minute overview of the key concepts and consideration of affordances in the design of human computer interactions. Over 40 Triangle UXPA members attended the event.

    The talk was based on a chapter in their recent publication, The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience. This new book is a comprehensive, practical field guide to understanding, assimilating, and applying the complete interaction design discipline.

    In interaction design, the word “affordance” is often used to describe something that helps, aids or makes it possible for the user to do something, but Professor Hartson explained that there are serveral different types of affordances available to the designer.

    • Cognitive Affordance
      Cognitive affordance is a design feature that helps, aids, supports, facilitates, or enables thinking, learning, understanding, and knowing about something. Cognitive affordances play starring roles in interaction design, especially for less experienced users who need help with understanding and learning. As a simple example, the symbol of an icon that clearly conveys its meaning could be a cognitive affordance enabling users to understand the icon in terms of the functionality behind it and the consequences of clicking on it. Another cognitive affordance might be in the form of a clear and concise button label.

    • Physical Affordance
      Physical affordance is a design feature that helps, aids, supports, facilitates, or enables doing something physically. Adequate size and easy-to-access location could be physical affordance features of an interface button design enabling users to click easily on the button.

      Because physical affordance has to do with physical objects, we treat active interface objects on the screen, for example, as real physical objects, as they can be on the receiving end of real physical actions (such as clicking or dragging) by users. Physical affordance is associated with the “operability” characteristics of such user interface artifacts. As many in the literature have pointed out, it is clear that a button on a screen cannot really be pressed, which is why we try to use the terminology “clicking on buttons.”

    • Sensory Affordance
      Sensory affordance is a design feature that helps, aids, supports, facilitates, or enables user in sensing (e.g., seeing, hearing, feeling) something. Sensory affordance is associated with the “sense-ability” characteristics of user interface artifacts, especially when it is used to help the user sense (e.g., see) cognitive affordances and physical affordances. Design issues for sensory affordances include noticeability, discernability, legibility (in the case of text), and audibility (in the case of sound) of features or devices associated with visual, auditory, haptic/tactile, or other sensations. As an example, the legibility of button label text is supported by an adequate size font and appropriate color contrast between text and background.

    • Functional Affordance
      Functional affordances connect physical user actions to invoke system, or back end, functionality. Functional affordances link usability or UX to usefulness and add purpose for physical affordance. They are about higher level user enablement in the work domain and add meaning and goal orientation to design discussions. In an external view it is easy to see a system function as an affordance because it helps the user do something in the work domain.

    Rex Hartson is Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, where he was the founding faculty member in human computer interaction (HCI). He’s a 30-year pioneer in HCI as a field and in User Experience as a discipline and practice.


    Pardha Pyla is a Senior Interaction Designer at Bloomberg L.P., New York, NY, where he is leads the design team for mobile platforms. He is one of the pioneering researchers in the area of connecting software engineering and usability engineering lifecycles.


    Overall, the presentation was outstanding with some great discussions afterwards. We greatly appreciated Rex and Pardha for taking the time to travel to Raleigh for this event and not charging the a speakers fee. We also thank Bloomberg for the the wonderful dinner catering from the local Raleigh restaurant Irregardless Cafe.

    And thanks again to Lulu for hosting the event. Here are a few photos from the event.


  • 05 Aug 2012 7:18 PM | Anonymous
    On July 18th, the Triangle UXPA hosted an all-day workshop by Carol Barnum at the offices of Railinc in Cary. Entitled UX Tune-Up, the workshop offered a deep dive on two of the most important user experience tools, heuristic evaluation and usability testing. Barnum guessed that most attendees would be self-taught UX practitioners--something she confirmed at the outset with an informal survey--who would benefit from focusing on these essential tools.

    Barnum founded and directs the Usability Center at Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she teaches usability and user experience practice, and consults for clients such as Delta Airlines and Cox Communications.

    I’ve embedded the slides from the workshop below, but here’s a brief overview of what was covered:

    Heuristic Evaluation (and Expert Review)

    Barnum described the classic method of heuristic evaluation, which 3-5 usability experts “walking in the user’s shoes” through a website or product, using a heuristic. A heuristic, or guide, is basically a list of points to refer to in your evaluation, the most popular usability heuristic being Jakob Nielsen’s 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design. Barnum had attendees work in groups to do a heuristic evaluation of an example site, giving us a greater sense of the process.

    Here are a few takeaways from the morning that stood out to me:
    • Barnum emphasized the need to have a user profile (or persona) and a scenario from which perspective to perform the evaluation.
    • Heuristic evaluation, when done less formally, e.g. with less evaluators or without heuristics, is usually referred to as “expert review.”
    • Consider other heuristics, or making your own, depending on the project. Barnum also recommended Whitney Quesenbery’s 5 E’s.
    • When presenting findings from an evaluation or expert review, rank them by severity and tie each to the heuristic or principles it violates.

    Usability Testing

    For the afternoon, Barnum shifted the workshop’s focus to usability testing. She described her work in the Usability Center at SPSU, going through her methods, sharing some examples of findings, and discussing the wide variety of approaches to testing. Barnum expressed support for small studies with 4-6 users, pointing to some great resources for these:

    Barnum fielded many questions on the various stages of the usability process, from screening and recruiting, to the test protocol, to reporting findings. I’d encourage you to go through her slides for more detail on the process.

    She also shared one other tool, which I hadn’t known about before, that she uses in conjunction with usability testing: Microsoft’s Product Reaction Cards. These are 118 cards, each with one adjective, that the tester spreads out in random order on a table; the user then chooses the few cards that s/he feels best describe the product being tested. Barnum said the cards are “like magic” in that users very often gravitate toward the same words. For more on these, see:

    Overall, this was a great workshop--very focused on getting attendees a solid understanding of two essential tools. Barnum left us with a mantra for usability testing: test early, small, and often.


    For those looking to go a little deeper on these methods, Carol has a book on the topic: Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set...Test!

    Thanks to Carol for sharing her expertise, and thanks to Railinc for hosting the event!
  • 24 Jul 2012 10:23 PM | Andrew Wirtanen (Administrator)

    John Dozier and Christian Manzella (

    John Dozier and Christian Manzella,

    As one of the Event Directors for the Triangle UXPA this year, I’ve learned that there is a little bit of magic that goes into each event.

    The event was born when one of our Advisory Board members recommended reaching out to our neighbors in Charlotte, specifically Lowe’s Home Improvement. Looking at my LinkedIn, I recognized that I was connected to a UX Researcher at Lowe’s (John Dozier). I reached out to John and, to my surprise, an event was born.

    On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, approximately 30 Triangle UXPA’ers filled the Training Room at Railinc. John Dozier and Christian Manzella (Sr. User Experience Architect Manager) led a fascinating talk about the UX process. The Experience Group for was revitalized about two years, which led to the creation of specialized groups, including UX research. Today, the UX process is much more mature; introduced a Chief Customer Officer on the Executive Management team in April 2012.

    The Experience Group at consists of many job titles, including:

    • Visual Designers
    • Interaction Designer
    • Content Strategists
    • Copywriters
    • Content Editors
    • Front-End Developers
    • User Experience Architects
    • User Experience Researchers

    The Experience Group primarily uses an Agile-like methodology. has three layers of Agile: Strategy, Planning, and Development. The Strategy layer is for brainstorming/discovery and should have very few time constraints. The Planning layer is where ideas are refined and documented. The Development layer is when the output of the Planning layer gets coded.

    John and Christian covered a variety of topics. Here are some of my favorite nuggets:

    • If using Agile, consider an Agile coach. Ask if they have experience with UX (if they don’t, then you may not have the right coach).
    • Make your workspace collaborative. Remove tall cubicle walls and add whiteboards, paper, post-its, and markers.
    • Stick wireframes on the wall to encourage feedback from introverts.
    • Adobe Test & Target and UserZoom are used regularly for Adobe Test & Target supports multivariate and A/B testing. UserZoom is for unmoderated remote usability testing.
    • Realize that not everything will get coded and not everything gets shipped. It’s ok!
    • Send as many of your employees to UX conferences as possible. Do not send only managers that are not doing any research or design.  But it is still important for management to be tied into the UX community so that they can provide support when it is needed.
    • “Always advocate for the user” (this is one of the Experience Group’s guiding principles).

    As of writing this, still has job opportunities listed on the Triangle UX Job Board. All job opportunities are in Mooresville, NC, approximately 20 miles north of Charlotte – check out 

    Andrew WirtanenAndrew Wirtanen is 2012 Director of Events for the Triangle UXPA. He is a User Experience Specialist at Atlantic BT in Raleigh, where he focuses on usability engineering, interaction design, and information architecture. Follow him on Google+ and at @awirtanen

  • 22 Jul 2012 8:42 PM | Anonymous


    The Fortune TellerDon’t you wish you had a fortune teller on your UX design team? Someone who predicts how your product will grow and thrive, or whether it will wither and die. You can have this – we’re called content strategists.
    When I think of user experience design, I traditionally think of interaction design, visual design, usability, and development. It’s time to make room for content strategy within the umbrella of user experience design. And not just because we’re a charming lot on the whole. We bring the gift of the prophecy.

    The Long View

    A content strategist brings the perspective of the long view to a design project – not just how the product looks, works, and reads at the launch, but how it needs to grow over the years. That’s the prophetic aspect of the role.
    I define content strategy as planning for the creation and maintenance of content. Within UX design, this translates to thinking about everything from what kind of templates will be needed to how content on the home page will be populated. You don’t want to design something that’s going to wither on the vine as soon as its launched because nobody thought about how the next headline will get created.
    In some organizations, content creators rarely get a seat at the table during the design process. I’ve always advocated for a content presence at all stages of design. We are the ones who will populate and maintain the content within the final product.
    We can help translate user and business goals into content requirements, content templates, and maintenance plans that think about the future.
    If content strategy isn’t a part of your process, you’re missing vital input about how the content on the site – the stuff that keeps users coming to a site – will work within a design.

    A Bridge

    Content strategists often serve as a bridge between UX and marketing, too. We need to understand the needs and goals of both groups. While UX is representing user needs, marketing focuses on how to communicate business goals.
    A content strategist can help translate how marketing needs get implemented in a user-friendly and sustainable way. This is the difference between a site that is built to integrate marketing campaigns and one that is full of one-off pages that take a lot of time and never get used again. 

    Your Take

    Content strategy is an evolving field. What’s your take on the role of content strategy in user experience design? Leave a comment to tell me how content strategists work with your team.
    Michael GowanMichael Gowan is a content strategist, writer, and editor based in Carrboro, North Carolina. His skills for content prophecy are available for hire. Follow him on Twitter @zebgowan. 

  • 17 Jul 2012 4:50 PM | Jacob Geib-Rosch (Administrator)

    The Durham Meetup @ Viget Labs

    Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski was the chosen inaugural book for the Triangle UXPA Book Club. Several Triangle UXPA members met to discuss what they'd like to read and agreed that even though the work we all did focused primarily on desktop and web applications, mobile is the future. Having read a few of the A Book Apart series previously, we  decided to see what they had to say about mobile.

    To organize all this, I thought I'd try to keep things simple and run the group at, which would give us the ability to run simple, informal events and online discussions in case people had questions in between sessions.

    What I didn’t expect was such a strong response from so many people who weren’t already in Triangle UXPA but were on Meetup. 53 people joined before the first meet-up, with 11 attending the Durham session and another 6 attending in Raleigh. No-one really used the discussion forums prior to the sessions, but Meetup allowed us to reach a new group and run polls on books.

    The Durham discussion was held at Viget Labs on Thursday, June 21st and hosted by the ever-gracious Todd Moy. The Raleigh group met a week later at the Main Library at NCSU and was hosted by Triangle UXPA's own Adam Rogers. Both discussions brought an interesting discussion of mobile and our experiences with it. In general though, the book itself was a higher-level overview of the whole topic of mobile rather than a discussion of why mobile should indeed be first. It combined a few intro chapters about the importance of mobile, then launched into some of the particulars of general mobile usability. While it did touch on the benefits of beginning from a pared-down mobile starting point, it lacked concrete examples of how sites benefited from this approach. We pretty much agreed that it left us ready to read the Responsive Web Design book from the Book Apart series.

    The good news was that what we lacked from the reading was more than made up for by the discussions. Both discussions were lively and insightful. At the Durham meet-up, one of the members brought in an impressive paper prototype of a mobile UI with various icons and buttons cut out and he explained how having the physical representation of just how small a mobile surface is really helpful when he meets with clients. In Raleigh, Adam discussed how NCSU is using mobile to run a scavenger hunt that helps introduce students to the main library during orientation. The result is a much more engaging experience than simply walking around as a librarian takes you on a tour.

    Both sessions discussed options for the next book, and 17 members contributed to the poll. The winner, with 11 votes, was Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter. Seems like the club has decided to give the A Book Apart series another shot. Having already started it myself, I am fairly certain both the book and discussion will be well worth it. Keep your eyes peeled for more details to come.

    - Jake Geib-Rosch
  • 02 Jul 2012 11:52 PM | Anonymous

    I wanted to give the Membership, Sponsors and Friends of the Triangle User Experience Professionals Association a mid-year update on the activities and accomplishments of the first half of 2012 and provide a glimpse into second half of 2012.


    A lot has happened in the first half:

    • Our Name has Changed.  The Triangle Usability Professionals Association (UPA) is now called the Triangle User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA). This change does not affect membership or sponsorship privileges or fees. It simply makes our professional organization more relevant in the shift in market focus from usability to total user experience. This is happening now primarily due to the acceleration of consumer driven IT both outside and now inside the enterprise.
    • Increased Membership. Our active membership continues to grow, approaching 300.
    • Improved Financial Strength. Our bank balance and, therefore, the financial stability and viability of our organization is at an all time high.
    • Evening Webinars now Available. User Interface Engineering (UIE) granted us permission to rebroadcast their live Virtual Seminar Series, normally broadcast live Tuesdays 1:30-3 p.m., enabling us to prescreen and select the best webinars, with our membership input, on the days and times that work best for our membership. We will continue to host some broadcasts live. The overall result has been more than doubling the attendance at these webinars.
    • Launched the Triangle UXPA Book Club. The book club had its first book review events in Durham and then Raleigh in June discussing the book Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski. The club was launched through the online social media “Meetup” and has attracted over 50 registrations, mostly UX/UI practitioners not currently engaged with the Triangle UXPA, which has extended our reach into the broader UX community.
    • Consolidated 3 Operational Applications. We replaced 1) the membership management &  payments processing application, 2) the website & events management application, and 3) the email marketing & communications application with a single integrated system. We then migrated all membership, sponsor, contact, event and historical information from the old applications to the new system. The new integrated cloud-based SaaS system is now fully operational and has lowered our overall monthly data processing costs.
    • Simplified Event Logistics. Capstrat graciously agreed to host most of our evening events and SAS to host most of our daytime or larger evening events, simplifying event logistics and providing a more predictable positive event experience for our members.
    • New Sponsor. Atlantic BT became our newest sponsor of the Triangle UXPA in June.
    • Student and Academic Memberships. A Student Membership fee was introduced in June at half that of the standard membership ($15). UIE webinars remain free for students. The Academic Professional Membership was set at the Standard Membership fee ($30).

    A lot more is coming in the second half:

    • Carol Barnum Workshop: UX Tune-Up July 18. Carol is an award-winning author and speaker and has published six books. Her newest book is Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set … Test! She has been an invited speaker at conferences around the world. Carol is a founding editorial board member of JUS (Journal of Usability Studies), an STC Fellow, a Rainey Award recipient for Excellence in Research, and a Gould Award recipient for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. The Triangle UXPA  offers this workshop to our membership at a 70% discount off the standard rates, but register by Thursday July 12, before the rate goes up.
    • Guest Lecture: Affordances and their Importance to UX Practitioners July 26 (Co-Sponsored with Bloomberg).  With several decades in the business, Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla know a lot about user experience. In fact, this talk is based on a chapter in their recent publication, The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience. This new book is a comprehensive, practical field guide to understanding, assimilating, and applying the complete interaction design discipline. Rex and Pardha will discuss the different kinds of affordances and how they help in designing for a quality user experience. Anyone interested in designing a quality interaction user experience should attend.
    • Designing for the iPad. Panel Discussion with local experts on their experiences and plans for designing for the iPad September 13. This should be a great community event.
    • Tomer Sharon (Google) Workshop: Silver Bullets for Getting Buy-in for UX Research October 17. This half-day workshop provides strategies and tools for getting stakeholder buy-in for UX research. During the workshop we will learn tried and tested techniques, hear success and failure stories, practice and role play, and share insights with other workshop attendees. Registration is not yet open for this event. More details to come.
    • World Usability Day 2012: Usability of Financial Systems November 8. We are working on an exciting presentation with one of our local leading financial institutions. More details to come.
    • Jeff Gothelf Workshop: Lean UX: Getting out of the Deliverables Business November 15. This is a full-day workshop. User experience (UX) web design has traditionally been a deliverables-based practice, defined by wireframes, site maps, flow diagrams, content inventories, taxonomies, and mockups. But that tradition is not the best way to serve the user. In this workshop, you’ll learn that UX is about the experience, not the deliverables, and that as a UX designer you need to focus on the user and not the documentation. By applying a set of lean design practices and principles, you’ll learn how to keep the user’s needs first and foremost. Registration is not yet open for this event. More details to come.
    • UIE Virtual Seminars. One webinar will be presented each month through the end of the year.
    • Triangle UXPA Sponsor Drive.  In August, we will begin a sponsorship drive to enlist additional local companies and organization to sponsor the Triangle User Experience Professionals Association. If you or your company/organization would like to become a sponsor of the Triangle chapter of the UXPA and take advantage of the sponsorship benefits, please contact Mona Singh or Don Sugar at

    I want to take this opportunity to also thank the members of the 2012 Triangle UXPA Executive Council for making this all possible. We are an all volunteer organization with regular full-time day jobs.

    President: Richard Phelps

    Secretary/Treasurer: Don Sugar

    Event Director: Andrew Wirtanen

    Event Director: Adam Rogers

    MarCom Director: Cindy McCracken

    MarCom Director: Dorian Van Gorder

    Membership Director: Mona Singh

    Social Director: Jake Geib-Rosch

    We are currently recruiting for an additional Event Director, given all the events in the planning stage for the balance of 2012 and beyond. If you are interested, please contact me directly and get to meet with the leaders of the Triangle UX community.


    If you have any feedback, comments, inputs or suggestions for the Triangle UXPA please contact me.


    Richard  Phelps, Ph.D.

    President, Triangle User Experience Professionals Association


  • 30 May 2012 11:25 AM | Anonymous
    April 26th marked the kickoff of the TriUPA Community Event series, with a great interactive presentation by multiple speakers focused on prototyping tools.  More than 40 members and guests were in attendance.   We held the event at Atlantic BT near Crabtree Mall.  The event was a great success.  The evening began in typical TriUPA fashion with a half hour of networking and a light dinner.

    Tools and presenters included:
    • Omnigraffle: Todd Moy
    • InDesign: Jon Howarth
    • ProtoShare: Rick Phelps
    • Axure: Andrew Wirtanen
    • Balsamiq Mockups: Colin Butler
    • CSS/HTML/JavaScript: Adrian Pomilio
    We followed this with brief 5 minute presentations by each of the speakers about their particular favorite prototyping tool.  After the series of short presentations, we broke out into 6 separate session at Atlantic BT where attendees could move freely between the simultaneous sessions to see the prototyping tools in action,  watch ad hoc demos, and ask questions from each of the presenters.  The format allowed attendees to freely roam between demos, and stay for as little or long as they wanted.

    The evening closed with a raffle giveaway.  Our thanks to Axure, ProtoShare and Balsamiq for their donations.  We gave away one license to Axure RP Pro 6.0 (worth $589), one license to ProtoShare 6.2 Business Edition (worth $590),  and several licenses to Balsamiq Mockups for Desktop (worth $79).

    Several members noted they wanted to make this an annual event. It was great to actually see all the tools and their different areas of focus on the prototyping process!
  • 14 Apr 2012 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    In his "Telling the Right Stories with Data Visualizations" webinar, Noah Iliinsky shared a lot of great tips for making effective visualizations. Here are a few:

    • Find Iliinsky's chart about using visual encodings on his blog,

    • Try these sources for data for practicing visualizations:,, and

    • Tableau is a great tool for visual analytics that has good defaults. You can quickly iterate on graphics in Tableau. There's a free version, tableau public, but it can't be stored locally. Tableau only works in Windows, however.
    • Omnigraffle is great for diagrams, charts and hierarchies.

    • When you're not sure what story your data shows, seek trends, gaps and outliers, and explore.

    • Selecting the correct axes for displaying data is critical, and most people don't spend enough time on it.

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