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Sept. 5, 2021

User Experience Professionals Association 2021 Recap | #UXPA2021 | Bonus Episode

Recorded on September 3rd, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome and Christy Harper

| Recorded on September 3rd, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome and Christy Harper.

| Join us as we take a look back at#UXPA2021.


| Visit the UXPA International 2021 Website:

- Image source: UXPA International


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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hi everyone welcome to a special bonus conference coverage up a sort of human factors cast we're recording this live on 9/3/2021 actually is not live it's pre recorded but I'm has Nick Roman joined today by Christie Harper owner of end to end user research and we are here to talk about you X. P. 8 international hi Christy we're gonna show. Hello thank you for having me thank you thank you for coming on so we are covering you X. P. A. international today. So I figured we'd just kind of get into what you X. P. A. S. I know. A lot of people kind of see that thrown around but. Can you tell us a little bit about you X. P. A. and what it is. Sure so user experience professionals association it's set up similar to HM yes if you're familiar with that and that it has local chapters and national presence and that it has a national conference and also has some smaller. Local conferences so this is the national conference USPA used to be at time usability professionals association that's going back quite a ways out if you've heard of that that is now you X. yeah. And last year of course they had to cancel their conference and so this is their first time back in a little while to have something in person. Yeah we can talk about that just a minute but I'm so you X. P. a it's a conference that. Supports research design and kind of evaluating that user experience of products and services. It sounds like and and correct me if I'm wrong it sounds like there's a lot more or it's it's more sort of. Industry focus then H. FE es where you might have more an academic focus in H. FE es you might have more of an industry focused and best practices design trends those types of things that you have to be is that right. That's exactly right so I think HVS does tends more towards the scientific and the academic wear USPA there are researchers there argument yes people they are and they're also designer. People who are very much in industry and doing very applied work so the talks seem to be more about you know how to work in industry as opposed to you scientific you know. Findings research type things. Yeah I think you XP air the folks behind you world usability day right is that do you know that that that. Yeah so you actually went to U. X. P. A. this year and I was where I was wondering what actually brought you to the conference this year you know a lot of people are kind of on the fence about whether or not they should go to conferences in person right now especially during co bid but you had a reason to be there right. Yes I am didn't talk this year so you know last year. I was planning to go obviously cope it changed everything that they didn't have the conference and nobody wins but they contacted me and said do you still want to do your top from last year and so I didn't talk about how does show the return on investment of USD start and you wouldn't think you would have to show return on investment but a lot of times you do is you know part of this job is selling your restart so that was my primary reason and then also that. I haven't been out in a very long time and what they promised to do was to make sure that they kept a really big rooms there was a lot of space for people to be far apart and socially distance and mass were required unless you were speaking so. Yeah. Pretty good you know yes I mean you kind of talked about a little bit about the venue this year what was it like in the past like traditionally what does you X. P. A. look like right how many people what kind of set up is it similar to H. F. B. S. I think that's a good frame of reference for a lot of folks that listen to the show what was it like in the past. So in the past I would say it's more like 5 or 600 people it has a similar format in in that one day they have workshops and then the rest of the days they have talks throughout the day and sometimes they have multiple tracks the left you are usually 3 tracks although it wasn't quite like that this time but they usually have about 3 tracks they have an opening reception they also have a closing reception which I think is kind of nice and it's it's you know it's usually pretty bad right and it's in the same kind of hotels that you would expect to find HM yes you know and sort of that city's touristy kind of areas places you go when you're not at the conference. Yeah so how did things change for cove and I know you mentioned like larger rooms maybe a little bit less people worse some of the bigger changes that you noticed. Well. First of all there were ants as many people obviously the talks there were less talk so they were instead of having each round you might only have for some we had 3 but for some there were 2 only and then you know they're just a lot of things that happened that some people because of the storm also some people who were driving in from other places had to you know turn around and go back so on top of you know the coded restrictions and. Dealing with that other people had the storm to deal with him weren't able to get in so that was kind of strange but it you know in another way having a smaller group you got to see people over and over again USPSA provides breakfast and lunch as part of their conference package so you would see people at breakfast and you might see the same person that luncheon at the reception and because of a smaller you ran into people more often because you know the big huge conference you see people once you may not see him again for a few days right you may not really get to talk to them because of the nature of this being small and contained I think I've met people and got to know them a little bit of a deeper level this year. That's kind of cool it and feel it it sounds like it felt a little bit more intimate wear. I'm. You know I I think I'd probably be more obvious by the the. First lunch your second breakfast that yeah I'm gonna see a lot of these people and it's almost like a subtle encouragement to get up and introduce yourself or have a conversation with somebody that you're going to be sharing the next couple days with 1.8 do you want to make is that you mentioned. The storm that we are recording this on the third so the conference concluded yesterday in. I guess the aftermath of items coming through is is kind of what you were mentioning there just for anyone who's listening later in the future or wondering what we're talking about. So that's that's interesting I. I I actually kinda like that intimate approach and and. Wonder how may be conferences this is just me speculating how conferences can maybe harness that in the future. Of you know even even with conferences with larger attendance perhaps bringing in some of that intimacy and encouraging. You know that networking aspect. I do want to get into the conference itself it sounds like. You know there's a couple different tracks there's a couple there's talks there were posters I want to get into kind of what some of your favorite talks moments and posters were. So we can start with talks did you have any favorite talks from the event. Well you know I really did enjoy the keynote the keynote was just an hour and he was talking about. Working towards having connection and fulfillment in your career and he talked about being in a company where he was just doing research and testing and he didn't really care about the product he wasn't motivated to go to work you know and thinking about you know do you want to do that for 20 years or do you want to find a place where you feel more fulfilled in the work that you're doing which I think is always. Something to think about right nobody wants to spend their entire career just sort of going through the motions so I I kind of appreciated that and I felt like it was a good start the conference. Kind of an up lifting. What are you doing with your life get out there find the thing you're passionate about I I like that message to and I think you know we we try to echo that on the shows like find something that you're passionate about or. You know find your niche and so. What about posters that there's a poster session was there one poster session multiple poster sessions and poster session but it was really small I want to say 6 or 7 posters and so the way they did it they would have coffee breaks and so they extended one coffee break to be longer and that's when the posters. Poster presenters were there but the posters were up through the entire conference so whenever you had a break you were able to go over and look at them most of them had Q. R. codes that leads you further information about the poster if you wanted to read about it I thought that was really helpful in case you didn't get a chance to actually speak to the author of the. A lot of other interesting topics it. You wanna talk more about talks or. Interesting yeah I was gonna say I thought it was interesting that there are so many government talks and that may have been the location right there were 4 or 5 boxes out working in the government there are a lot of talk about accessibility. And there was one about chat bots autonomous vehicles but the rest of the talks were very very light. How to get the most out of your U. S. career what is a senior US person do you have how do you make that transition when you're in the mid career and decide whether to go to management or stay and research and then there were skills things like journey mapping and making the best surveys and so I think it's very applied but I think there is enough of a range that a lot of people would get something out of it. Yeah it definitely sounds like at least from some of those. Themes that you mention for talks it sounds like it be a lot more. Applicable to. Kind of those early to mid career professionals who are looking for. To keep up with design trends or keep up with. You know research the methods that are coming out or anything like that as well as kind of answering some of those career questions or or sort of highly. Highly sort of looking for most frequently asked questions about career path those types of things. Yeah it sounds like there is there is quite a range of of. Topics there and it sounds like a great conference and I'm like I said I may have mentioned it on this episode I don't know if I mentioned before we were talking but I haven't actually been to you X. P. A. before it's been something that's on my list. Something that. You know for one reason or another overlap with H. FES are similar. Temporal proximity can't attend and so I'm glad that we have sort of this coverage I and are able to talk with you and any other favorite posters that you saw while you were there. No I actually didn't spend a lot of time at the posters I was mainly going to talks and then because I have my own talk I was like fine tuning that in between. Yeah okay and then just what what were some of your favorite moments in general from the conference. Well I thought. I thought it was really nice the whole networking piece of it and that may have been because we've been away from that for so long everything I've been attending husband virtual and even the way I work is changing and we don't go into the office is often in last week you need to write if you're not running research you know you don't really need to be up there so you know everybody's being more careful. But I felt like I had. There is just so much. Sort of deeper networking so everything became more fun like the breakfast and lunch for more fun the coffee breaks you weren't standing by yourself checking your email you are talking to people that you already met so you know there were some like really aha moments and some of the topics but I think what stuck with me the most when I last was sort of like wow I really made connections I really and I met somebody from Houston and we're gonna get together again in Houston and I met somebody else from San Antonio was coming to Houston for another work thing and we're going to get together so I feel like there was just a lot more of that kind of activity that was really exciting for me. Yeah that sounds that sounds like a great like I said I think I think if there's a way for conferences to harness that. That intimacy of a small conference at a large event I think that's kind of the key right. I wanna talk about key take aways from the conference you said there are a couple aha moments from the talks but you know is there anything that you learned that you're gonna bring home. For your own research sure anything like that. Well you know we don't do as much work with software but there were a lot of interesting talks about how to work with an agile development cycle which is something that's interesting to me because I love that idea sort of fitting something into somebody else's process and working quickly and you know I really like that. I talked a little bit there was a talk about the right method which is that rapidly it really testing and that's another thing I really like you. And you know there was there were talks about how to get into you U. S. research how to get your job and things like that but they're also talks about what do you do you as a senior person how do you thrive when you feel like you know you've done this for a long time especially if you don't want to be a manager and they talk a lot about mentoring and finding ways to be fulfilled later in your career which was kind of I thought a nice thing to talk about. If you don't usually get you know a lot of things are really aimed at junior level right so it's nice to see just a few top looking at people who are in mid and senior level careers. Yeah that is a great point you know like you said most sort of these frequently asked questions are typically geared towards the folks just out of school or mid career and you're right there is kind of all a lack of resources for. The the people who are having a lot of these departments and might not know kind of what to do next and they're just kind of winging it and it sounds like it was a good kind of support system for those types of roles. I'm. Any anything else you wanna mention about you X. PA. International. I think it's worse checking out because I I know a lot of the people I know go to HM yes and this is very different so if you're in industry if your practitioner and you're interested in applied work I think this is a nice balance HM yes I love the job yes and I you know but I like going to both because I think there is a different crowd there's you just meet new people and it's a different approach to a conference so I would say to check it out. Awesome well that's gonna be it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of the U. X. B. a recap if you like you can hang out with us on our slack or discord to get to us on any of our social channels visit our official website sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest human factors news and conference coverage you like what you hear there's a couple things you can do to support the show one was a 5 star review that always helps us out do you tell your friends about us or 3 consider supporting us on Patreon and as always thanks to all of our socials and website will be in the description of this episode what I think Christie Harper for being on the show today working our listeners going find you if they want to talk more about you X. P. A. or just get in touch with you. Okay well I'm on Twitter at at Christine Weiss OR one you can also look me up Christy harbor on linked in or go to our business website which is end to end user fees. And as for me I've been your host Nick Rome you can find me across social media at Nick _ Rome so Christy at the end of a show we like to say it depends because in all things human factors and user experience it always depends so I'm gonna count us down thanks again everyone for tuning into human factors cast until next time 321. It depends. Human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and A.'s with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patrie on only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends.

Christy HarperProfile Photo

Christy Harper

Managing Partner

Christy is the owner and managing partner of the consulting group End to End User Research which conducts UX research on diverse topics, provides facility rentals and in house recruiting services. Prior to that, Christy spent 17 years with HP, where she led a team of 10 employees, doing research that impacted product design and development throughout the lifecycle. For HFES she is is the chapter committee co-chair, active practitioner committee member, and for HFE Woman she is the incoming committee chair and the 2020 sponsorship chair. She graduated from UHCL where she is a distinguished alumni.