See me speak at Devsigner Con

My talk “Great Storytelling UX in Comics” has been accepted at the Devsigner conference here in Portland, last week of May.  I’m excited to see more wild-eyed designers discover the amazing variety of ways that comics show us how to engage the user and immerse them more fully in the reading experience.

Have you seen my talk?  If not, this is an affordable opportunity to come see me in my Superman Kilt finery.

Devsigner Con, Portland, May 23-25th.

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Where’s Waldo, May edition

Upcoming speaking gig: I’ll be a co-panellist for the PDMA meetup “What’s the Big Deal About UX?”.  Talking to Product Managers and Product Owners about the challenges of integrating UX into our work – and I get to live the dream, because I wear both hats every day!

You’ll also find me at:

Where to find Mike, March-ish edition

Did you catch my CHIFOO talk last week? Packed house, enrapt audience, 100 full-colour, annotated comics pages to enlighten and entertain. I’m told I was on fire, and I’m thinking hard on whether and where to re deliver this gem (I’ve already accepted one invitation). Let me know if you’d be interested.

Great Storytelling UX in Modern Comics
Slightly altered photo  of me at the event

Th. March 13th: PDX Web & Design “Unconference” – I’m gonna see if they take the bait on my three-minute “tell me my tool chain sucks and how yours is better” interactive discussion. Best way to goad them into teaching me something. [Update: it worked like a charm. I learned a ton in five minutes and loved the generosity of the audience.]

Tu. March 25th: IxDA PDX “Interaction Design Conference Redux” – will I feel as awkward at this group as ever? Only time will tell.

Th. March 27th: PDMA “UX – What’s the Big Deal?” (Don’t ask me where to find this event – apparently I’ve fallen into a secret society, what with both their chapter page and the LinkedIn group locked behind members-only walls. I’ll gladly teach you the friggin handshake for a beer.)

Sa. Mar 29th: BarCamp Portland – maybe I’ll be there and maybe you will too, if they pull off the radically hacked plan and haven’t all committed suicide.

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Batman says

Let’s talk comics!

Ready? Set? Spidey-sense!

One week from now, I expect to see you smiling back at me from the audience of CHIFOO, hearing me regale you with great UX moments I’ve discovered in my favourite comic books.

Like this one:

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If that’s not quite enough to entice you out to the warrens of NW Portland, consider this: you will be one of a privileged few who get to see me sporting the masterpiece that is the Superman kilt handcrafted by my lovely partner Sara.

Hope to see you there!

Details here:
CHIFOO Storytelling Comics

Where has “this week in my meetups” been?

lebowski barEarlier this year I set out to build for myself a community of people I could get together with after work, and wanted to leverage the amazing array of Meetups, events and ad-hoc gathering spots in Portland where interesting geeks and nerds gather to talk shop, get to know one another and advance their personal and professional interests.  I’d started pulling in people I like and that express an interest in the UX & tech scene in Portland, then created a personal mailing, and kept adding more effort to the weekly emails I was sending (like I was trying to impress myself with just how “good” I could make it).
Then I decided to give up sending that email out a month ago, when I realised that the whole point of sending it was to encourage folks I liked to come out to the events I’m attending, and that (I can say pretty confidently) I saw few if any people come to any event because of those emails.  I don’t remember ever getting a response on email that was anything but “keep sending the emails”, but notably never any encouragement of my goal like  “I’m sorry I can’t make it, I’ll see you at the next one”.
 
It became a job, a weekly duty that consumed so much of my time that I started to devote Sunday afternoons to the research, the picture selections and the prose to wrap around the selected meetups.  And yet for all that labour, the self-satisfaction of “building a community”, the net effect since stopping the emails has been the same: no more or fewer people I like attending these events and reaching out to me there than before I even started.
 
It was a disappointing result, because I really like connecting with a community (not just showing up alone and never getting to know people past the small talk), so I’m still trying to figure out if there’s any way to encourage the folks I like to come out to these events (that *doesn’t* cost me hours every week without visible payoff).  At the moment, the next-best tools I’ve got are Twitter, txt and IFTTT.  I’m pretty much stumped, so I’ve been sitting on my heels.
 
Which doesn’t feel good, and I’d like to make something work.
 
Ruminating on this all day, I couldn’t decide if there was any reason to continue – except one: for low cost of personal effort, the effort of posting word to the world that I’m going out somewhere public gives me incentive to follow through beyond my anxieties, fears and self-doubt.
So tonight, in my darkest moment, I prayed to the gods of google, and the pantheon of stackexchange answered:
“ifttt send email to many recipients” coughed up “Using IFTTT to trigger email notifications to group of recipients
 
Create a mailing list, that gets sent whenever I post something to my Design blog? 
 

Sure, why the hell not?  If I can make this work, it’ll make my life easier, reduce the mental burden of getting this stuff “out there”, and open the door for others to contribute on their own.  This’ll be an experiment with a different direction: it’s for me, at my whim, and everyone else is welcome to participate or not at their whim.

 
I’m going to commit to *not* making it a weekly, regular, grinding responsibility for myself.  If this is truly for me, and to encourage myself to post when *I* want, and not when I feel I must post to meet some arbitrary self-imposed obligation, then it doesn’t really matter what frequency it happens.
 
And so, dear reader, while I’m on the subject, I pose the questions that I keep asking myself: why haven’t you come out to the events I’ve invited you to?  Did I not make you feel welcome?  Do you not have the time, but haven’t gotten around to admitting it to yourself?  Do you, like me, have serious social anxiety and have a hard time making the effort to go out to an event where 95% of the people don’t know you and pose a threat?  Do you, like me, like to feel included in something personal, but just aren’t interested in participating in the events I’ve mentioned?  Do you like to have others do the work for you, and once it’s done, you realise how uninteresting it all is?  Do you like to know about the world outside work, and feel comforted that it exists, so that someday in the future you might decide to engage in it all?  Or are you like me a people-pleaser, not wanting to say no to my face when asked if you’d like to join this list, and don’t have the heart to let me know that you’re not really into it?
 
These questions come from my own personal curiosity, and my earnest desire to understand why I’ve failed to draw you out and what I can meaningfully do to make this change (if anything).  I don’t expect an answer – it’s entirely unlikely I’ll ever really know – but these are the questions that have been rattling around in my head for the weeks since I put my efforts on hiatus.
 
I know that when I used to mention an individual event to people in person, I was actually rewarded with real participation.  I know it wasn’t about me, and that there were probably many other motivators; heck, it’s entirely possible that once they got out to those events, they decided that such events just weren’t for them and just didn’t bother to let themselves know that they’re not really committed to going anymore.
I sincerely hope it’s not that, that the timing was bad, and that there is genuine interest in communing with folks like myself at after-work meetups where we can relax a little, learn a little and grow our circle of people we can call friends.  Hope to see you there.
P.S. I’ll be at Portland UX Book Club on Tuesday night.

This week in after-work design & tech events in PDX UX Happy Hour, BSides PDX, Flux

Did any of you get out to Rose City Comicon this weekend? Tell me what you thought – I’d love to hear how it went down. I was in the outskirts of hippie country, catching up with friends who are decidedly veering off the grid.

This week: hackers. You ever wanted to hear how security researchers work their magic, or what they’re interested in breaking (or fixing)? BSides PDX will definitely give you your fill – I’ve been to the past two cons and they’re a fascinating look inside the mind the of the hacker. Sometimes scary, always educational.

This Week in my kind of PDX fun
· Tues Sept 24th: Portland UX Happy Hour “Combo meal with PDX Web & Design” (Calagator)

· Tues Sept 24th: Internet of Things Meetup PDX “The $1K Hardware Contest and Oregon’s Plans for a Hardware Incubator” (Meetup)

· Wed Sept 25th: Lean Coffee (7:30am) (Calagator)

· Sept 27-28th: BSides PDX Annual Security Hackers Gathering (EventBrite)

· Fri Sept 27th: Flux Feminist Hackerspace Grand Opening (Calagator)

On the Radar
· Wed Oct 2nd: CHIFOO “Finding and Measuring the Awesome in Education” (Eventbrite)

· Sat Oct 5th: PDX Code Retreat – Fall 2013 (EventBrite)

· Tues Oct 8th: UX Book Club “The UX Team Of One” by Leah Buley (Twitter)

· Oct 7-12th: Design Week Portland – just ignore the horrible gimmicky page design, I’m sure there’ll be some talented designers featured there

· Jan 11th 2014: Portland Code Camp 2014 (EventBrite)

· March 2014: CHIFOO talk “Show, Don’t Tell: Storytelling Experience Design in Modern Comic Books

This week in after-work design & tech events in PDX Agile PDX, PDX QS

Maker Faire Portland was this weekend, and quite a collection of weird and fun technologies were available to break, create and buy. I saw a couple of friends there – and a lot of pirates, robots, fire, 3D printers and well, the usual weirdos that hang out at these things. Hope you had a chance to catch up with the bleeding edge of DIY.

Genevieve Bell gave us a quick update on where Intel Labs’ research and thinking currently is – intriguing insights as always. IDF 2013 replay available here.

Ever wondered whether mess engenders creativity? Researchers from University of Minnesota have some interesting experiments to share.

Only 20 tickets left for the October CHIFOO event…

Oh hell – and Rose City Comicon is on this weekend, and I’ll be out of town. That is a BUMMER – you won’t even get the chance to see me in my Superman kilt. OK, here’s a sneak peek.

This Week in my kind of PDX fun
· Wed Sept 18th: Agile PDX “Ward Cunningham On Getting Current in the New Web World” (Calagator)

· Thurs Sept 19th: PDX Quantified Self “Show and Tell” (Meetup)

On the Radar
· Tues Sept 24th: Portland UX Happy Hour “Combo meal with PDX Web & Design” (Calagator)

· Tues Sept 24th: Internet of Things Meetup PDX “The $1K Hardware Contest and Oregon’s Plans for a Hardware Incubator” (Meetup)

· Sept 27-28th: BSides PDX Annual Security Hackers Gathering (EventBrite)

· Wed Oct 2nd: CHIFOO “Finding and Measuring the Awesome in Education” (Eventbrite)

· Sat Oct 5th: PDX Code Retreat – Fall 2013 (EventBrite)

· Oct 7-12th: Design Week Portland – just ignore the horrible gimmicky page design, I’m sure there’ll be some talented designers featured there

· Jan 11th 2014: Portland Code Camp 2014 (EventBrite)

· March 2014: CHIFOO talk “Show, Don’t Tell: Storytelling Experience Design in Modern Comic Books

Mike Lonergan, Certified Usability Analyst & Certified Scrum Product Owner

Making software better for users since 2006

Interaction Designer and Scrum Product Owner

“You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs

This week in after-work design & tech events in Portland PDXQS, CHIFOO, PDX Web & Design

I have to admit, I did nothing last week as social “after-work design & tech fun”. Bad Mike – no gold star for you last week. Instead I found myself researching the Comic Book Storytelling UX talk – it’s six months away but I’m already obsessed with collecting the perfect pages – fun for me and eye-opening for you. Dog help me if this keeps up.

Of note: the October CHIFOO event is a tickets-only event, and tickets are going surprisingly fast. (57 left as of press time) If you’re thinking about it, get yours now!

See you on the sunny hot streets of Portland.

This Week in my kind of PDX fun
· Tues Sept 10th: PDX Quantified Self “QS Co-laboratory” (Meetup)

· Wed Sept 11th: CHIFOO “Using Value to Position Design, UX, and HCI More Strategically In an Organization” (CHIFOO)

· Thurs Sept 12th: PDX Web & Design “Developing/Designing for Google Glass” (Meetup)

On the Radar
· Wed Sept 18th: Agile PDX “Ward Cunningham On Getting Current in the New Web World” (Calagator)

· Thurs Sept 19th: PDX Quantified Self “Show and Tell” (Meetup)

· Tues Sept 24th: Portland UX Happy Hour “Combo meal with PDX Web & Design” (Calagator)

· Tues Sept 24th: Internet of Things Meetup PDX “The $1K Hardware Contest and Oregon’s Plans for a Hardware Incubator” (Meetup)

· Wed Oct 2nd: CHIFOO “Finding and Measuring the Awesome in Education” (Eventbrite)

· Sat Oct 5th: PDX Code Retreat – Fall 2013 (EventBrite)

· March 2014: CHIFOO talk “Show, Don’t Tell: Storytelling Experience Design in Modern Comic Books

This week in after-work design & tech events in Portland PDX Web Development

Good morning all! Big news for me – I have been invited to the CHIFOO 2014 speakers series on Storytelling. My talk is current titled, "Show, Don’t Tell: Storytelling Experience Design in Modern Comic Books", and is scheduled for March 2014! I’m excited about sharing a wealth of insights I have on two long-dear-to-me subjects, and I must admit I’m a little intimidated by the enthusiasm that’s already coming out of the woodwork as I share this news with friends and colleagues. I’ll be calling on many of you to preview the talk as it develops, and if you’ve got anything you want to share with me on the subject, allow me to buy you a beer and ply it out of you.

Big items hit my radar for the more recent future:

TechFest NW (Sept 6-8 – this weekend!!), UX Intensive Seattle (Nov 4-7), JavaScript Summit 2013, ConveyUX 2014… (and others you can find in Smashing Magazine’s mega list) .

And the Summer Coder’s Social on Sept 14th (for those of you who are into family-friendly events aka Not Me).

Wanna meet other web developers in town? Come out with me tonight!

This Week in PDX fun
· Wed Sept 4th: PDX Web Development, inaugural meeting “Get to know members” (Meetup)
On the Radar
· Tues Sept 10th: PDX Quantified Self “QS Co-laboratory” (Meetup)

· Wed Sept 11th: CHIFOO “Using Value to Position Design, UX, and HCI More Strategically In an Organization” (CHIFOO)

· Thurs Sept 12th: PDX Web & Design “Developing/Designing for Google Glass” (Meetup)

· Thurs Sept 19th: PDX Quantified Self “Show and Tell” (Meetup)

· Tues Sept 24th: Internet of Things Meetup PDX “The $1K Hardware Contest and Oregon’s Plans for a Hardware Incubator” (Meetup)

Mike Lonergan

Making software better for users since 2006.

Interaction Designer and Scrum Product Owner

“You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs

What’s going on in after-work design & tech events in Portland SEMpdx Networking, UX Happy Hour, big data

CHIBowl was fun last week, but I had to dive out before it got raucous. (At least, that’s the way that event would end if it’s was up to me.) Got to see some friends put on a real conversational show, and made a few new friends whose names are just as ephemeral as my bowling prowess. (I noticed not one but two monogrammed bowling shirts – fashion rules.)

Did you make it to PDX Web & Design? I am dying to know what UI Designer “tools” they discussed – and I haven’t seen any slides mentioned after the event L

I won’t be around next week (vacation on the humid East Coast) so you’re on your own. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

I discovered an interesting Social Psychology course offered by Wesleyan University that starts this week and goes for a couple of months. We’ll hear and discuss about the social dynamics of subjects such as Persuasion, Obedience, Conformity, group behaviour, Conflict and Empathy.

Where could you find me this Week?
· Tues Aug 13th: SEMpdx Presents the Annual Rooftop Networking Party, co-sponsored by CHIFOO and others (Meetup)

· Wed Aug 14th: UX Happy Hour @ the White Owl Social Club (Calagator)

· Thurs Aug 16th: PDX Big Data Discussion Group – open discussion at Green Dragon (Calagator)

· Aug – Oct: free online Social Psychology university course (Coursera)

On the Radar
· Wed Aug 28th: Portland JavaScript Admirers (Meetup)

· Wed Sept 4th: PDX Web Development “Get to know members” (Meetup)

· Wed Sept 11th: CHIFOO “Using Value to Position Design, UX, and HCI More Strategically In an Organization” (CHIFOO)

· Thurs Sept 12th: PDX Web & Design “Developing/Designing for Google Glass” (Meetup)

· Tues Sept 17th: Internet of Things Meetup PDX “(tbd)” (Meetup)

· Delight Oct 7-8: [I’m not going but you might be interested] (Delight)