UXBrighton refreshed

I’ve written on a number of occasions about my journey to being able to put UX Designer as my job role on a CV. For years I struggled to get jobs I applied for because of apparently not having sufficient experience. Today, it seems anyone, and everyone is a UX Designer and to me – that’s fine!

Many years ago, Twitter was this thing on the web, it made it easy to have amusing short stunted conversations with friends in public; a bit like being the rowdy table in the bar. I was working at a web software company in Brighton, my friends a few roads away had just launched their own photography studio, and completing the triangle was our friends at the local independent music mag. We’d spend the days sending each other useless slanged up code messages,  hooking up for lunch and going out after shutting up our respective studios.

Man, those days were fun.

It also gave me insight into how and what other people like me or, that I aspired to be, were looking at and writing about because they too were on this Twitter app and sharing… stuff. I got told by one of them to check out Lanyrd, and through Lanyrd discovered community meet ups and notablythe monthly meet-up called UX Brighton.

The first time I came there was a talk by Dr Harry Brignull, who I would later work with both as a colleague at Clearleft and as a partner in our public Workshops. His talk was so simple. For half an hour he showed a group of people, chomping down Pringles sipping beer, a simple spreadsheet. Hardly sexy you’d think? But behind this spreadsheet was a way of logging events in a user testing session. I was completely engaged, and also quite intimidated that this group of people in this room half knew one another and seemed to know what they were doing.

Without UX Brighton, I’d never have been able to get to where I am today. That same year I attended the first ever full-day UX Brighton conference and again learnt truckloads of methods and techniques to do my job better and with that took a punt and made what many felt was a dramatic career change from a relatively successful senior front-end developer to a UX practitioner. It also gave me the chance to meet people in the community, have the confidence to talk to others and seek advice and guidance and in time, got me some work (Thanks Jesse).

Bumpstarting UX Brighton

UX Brighton has been somewhat dormant in 2015. Recent years have seen it focussing less on members of the community sharing their discoveries and experiences and more on creating thematic nights and seeking guest speakers from out of town. These are not bad events, far from it, but I can imagine it is time consuming to organise and research. It has also meant that I’ve got to learn less about how people work in my immediate network.

I spoke to Danny Hope, founder of UX Brighton at the start of October with the idea of doing something small, community lead, and to serve as a reminder that this community is built upon people sharing what they have learnt, and that it doesn’t matter whether you have been doing it for 50 years or 50 minutes, everyone has something to learn and can contribute.

And with that, so has begun UX Brighton Lightning talks, an event I hope I can continue to run throughout 2016.

The format is quite simple. You have 5 minutes to talk about something you would like to share, ideally something related to digital design, but that could including coding, designing, researching, or anything that you think the community will find interesting.

November saw the first event which sold out, with 6 fantastic speakers, some who had done a little public speaking but more who had not. Everyone was excellent and shared some great insights into their day and advice for everyone to take home. Videos from the talks are available on the UX Brighton Youtube channel.

If you would like to take part in the next event, keep following uxbrighton.org.uk, and in the meantime you can contact me – email@byandyparker.com