Speaking at Link-State 2014

The ACM chapter at Case Western Reserve University is putting on their 3rd annual Link-State conference on Saturday, September 20, 2014.  I’ve been asked to give a talk there, and I’m super excited about it.

About Link-State

Link-State is a conference that the ACM@CWRU hosts for students and professionals to network and learn more about what’s going on in the world around them.  Some of their past topics and speakers included:

  • Moving the Cloud – Ben Kaplan, Microsoft
  • The Dirty Work: Scaling Out Websites With Your Own Two Hands – Fred Hatfull, Yelp
  • A Practical Introduction to DevOps with Chef – Nick Barendt, LeanDog
  • A Day in the Life of an Open Source Analog Electrical Engineer – Chris Gammell, The Amp Hour
  • Doing Fun and Unnatural Things With ‘@font-face{}’ in CSS – Eric Meyer

My Presentation – The Case for the UX Developer

There were three topics that I was tossing around for the event, but the one that really jumped at me was the one that I’ve been meddling with for awhile – user experience for the developer.

When people hear the term user experience (UX), many automatically assume it’s a thing for only designers to understand.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  I can’t Photoshop my way out of a scandalous picture – I’m far from being a designer.  At the same time, I understand a lot of UX concepts, and I find that this knowledge makes my projects a lot easier and my coding a lot easier.

For example, I recently served on a website committee for the city where I currently live.  I was the techie on board, and going into it, I already had personas created so that we knew who are targets were and what needed to be included.  So even if a group wasn’t represented based on those of us on the committee, I had already done the research to represent those other cases.  Having those personas made it easier for us to think of the use cases for the site and come up with questions on where there may be gaps.

Throughout the development of a product – be it an application or a website, it is important to keep the end users in mind.  In the beginning, identify the target users and bond with them.  Empathy for the end user goes a long way in development, as this talk will show.  Interviewing, personas, usability testing, and refactoring are some of the tools that developers can wield while crafting solutions.  “The Case for the UX Developer” will show developers how to take advantage of tools to become better developers.

Learning More About Link-State 2014

I’m excited about giving this talk – it’s been in the works for awhile, and now’s the right time for me to unleash it.  Want to know who else is speaking at Link-State 2014?  Follow #linkstate and @cwruacm on Twitter and stay tuned to their website at: http://acm.cwru.edu/acm/conference/2014!