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User Experience in the Cedar Valley

User Experience in the Cedar Valley header

User experience (UX) isn’t new to the Cedar Valley. The Cedar Valley is home to many tech businesses—all who rely on having a digital presence that’s engaging and easy to use. For example, web design companies, game development companies, SaaS product developers, and a growing entrepreneurial community.

What is new, though, is a local User Experience Meetup Group. With growing interest in the field, Alyx Sandbothe of How Factory and I decided to start the group. We held our first meetup on April 13. Ten people attended and heard Matthew Wilson speak about how UX has changed over time and about customer experience (CX) today.

What is User Experience?

User experience is an umbrella term that “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products,” according to the Nielsen Norman Group. Essentially, UX focuses heavily on the user, including needs, values, and limitations. It looks at what their motivations are and how they behave.

Here are some common practices within user experience:

  • User research seeks to understand users and their behavior. This is accomplished through observation and testing, as well as other methods.
  • Usability focuses on how easy a process or system is to use and how intuitively users can navigate it.
  • User interface design focuses on ensuring users have the tools they need to complete their actions, including design and placement of buttons.
  • Information architecture is the practice of structuring and organizing information in a meaningful and relevant way.
  • Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, and delivery of content.
  • Visual design is the practice of creating an interface that is aesthetically pleasing.

Why is User Experience Important to Far Reach?

At Far Reach, Product Owners are responsible for ensuring all of our products provide a great user experience. This includes understanding the end users’ needs and motivations, as well as staying on brand. We want to build products that are easy to use and that people enjoy using.

What Happens at the UX Meetup?

The Cedar Valley UX Meetup meets every second Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Currently, the events are hosted at Visual Logic and will move downstairs to the Id8 Workspace once the space is completed.

Topics range from educational discussions and hands-on workshops to opportunities to show your work and get feedback. The events are informal, and there’s a wide range of experience levels that attend.

Future topics will include:

  • Customer research
  • Personality in design
  • Presenting and communicating design
  • Personas and mental models

When is the Next UX Meetup?

The next meetup is May 11. Megan Lehman of Visual Logic will be discussing the difference between UI and UX.

You can like the group on Facebook or join our Meetup page to stay updated.