why you need to join a ux community

Many of us practice UX in a solitary way. The stream of presentations and writing on the topic continues to flow. Even if we are part of a UX team, the team is usually spread across many projects and not working together very often. We spend our time helping others understand the value of talking to users and the benefit of user-centered design. When you are the only zebra in a team of horses, life can get a little off kilter. Meeting with others like you is valuable and important.

Mixed metaphors aside, connecting with other professionals is an important avenue for growth, especially if you are looking for new ways to face challenging situations. Comparing notes with your peers can reinforce that you are doing things right, or conversely, clue you into some changes you need to make. There is power in validating your own experiences and challenges.

Here are a few of the benefits of regularly gathering with your local UX peers:

  1. Find new techniques share your own and build upon your ideas together
  2. Discover new trends in your region
  3. Hear the local business news and connect with people who may influence your future
  4. Commiserate — Never underestimate the cathartic power of talking shop with people who feel your pain
  5. Build your reputation and always be ready for that next (sometimes unanticipated) career move
  6. Get to know people that you may need to recruit for your own team in the future
  7. Explore the angles on new trends and ideas
  8. Work together to have a positive impact on your community
  9. Find a mentor
  10. Become a mentor

Being part of a community elevates us all. In a market where UX is still searching for our seat at the table, we can all work together to raise awareness and influence area businesses to take advantage of what we have to offer. Collectively we can increase adoption much faster than we can by individual or competitive efforts. And that is good for everyone.

Get our there and support your fellow UX professionals in your town. Find out who they are and reach out. Show up at their presentations even if you know the material. Read each other’s blogs and start some online conversations. Promote each other’s work.

If you haven’t been to a mkeUX event, stop by with a friend. Meet some nice people over a beverage and maybe learn something new. Or give a presentation and drop some knowledge of your own. I look forward to seeing you there.


This article was written by Gail Swanson, Director of User Experience at Centare. Find her on twitter: @practicallyUX

07. March 2012 by Michael Seidel
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