Increasing Exposure for the Northern User Experience Group

Following my 1st meet-up on the 6th August, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the group and its current exposure in the north-west.

From what I understand, what the Northern User Experience group is currently

  • a monthly get together attended by a very small group of people passionate about usability, user centered design and accessibility
  • attended by the likes of a usability guru from Sage, and ex usability consultant at HSBC (now at Ability Net) and one of the original founders of WordPress
  • an offshoot a chapter of the Usability Professionals Association (UPA), the worldwide association for usability professionals and advocates
  • an opportunity for attendees to discuss topical areas of the usability market, gaining insights from client-side specialists, agency side consultants, freelance consultants and developers

From my initial exposure to NUX, where apparent weaknesses are

(Please note this isn’t intended to come across as being critical of anyone involved in the group to date, and I know it is run purely in peoples spare time and simply out of passion!).

  • a current lack of exposure as being the primary usability community in the north
  • due to the lack of exposure, very low attendance to the monthly get togethers
  • a lack of engaging reasons as to why someone should attend the monthly get togethers
  • very limited content on this blog, meaning new visitors may not feel the group has the kind of credibility which it does actually have by the people involved (Mike I know that a profiles page is being planned which will certainly help this)

Potential ways to increase exposure and help build credibility

Below I have listed out some ways in which I would be very keen in helping to implement in order to increase the exposure of the NUX and therefore strengthen its credibility. I am sure this will provide benefits across the group, both in the effectiveness of this blog and in the scale of the monthly meetings.

  • promoting the group and the monthly events through Manchester Digital
  • promoting the group and the monthly events through the Geek-up Google group
  • promote the monthly get together to the larger agencies in the north west, who have a vested interest in user experience
  • providing links into external blog posts tagged with, for instance, NUX, therefore providing more regular content being available through this blog (for instance I have recently published an article on our User Centered Design process, which may well spark some commentary from people within the NUX group)
  • promoting NUX on our own usability blogs, therefore increasing exposure to people interested in and reading about user experience and user centered design
  • creating a podcast of each monthly event and promoting it on the blog, increasing the amount of engagement on this site and hopefully helping to encourage new visitors to come along and participate
  • for when attendee numbers increase (or maybe not) videoing the monthly events and posting these up on the blog
  • harnessing the increasing flexibility and power of WordPress to provide an improved user experience of this blog, perhaps even using the blog to push some of the boundaries of what WordPress can do – this could provide interesting online news and provide increased exposure of the group

I know these initial ideas would take varying levels of time to implement, but although I am new to the group, I am extremely keen in seeing the Northern User Experience grow in exposure and credibility over the long term, like I’m sure others are.

As a side note, if London can end up with having a large event focussing on the BBC user experience with a BBC UX representative, then why not have ambitions of this kind of coup for the North West!

What does everyone else think?