Ladies that UX conference taking centre stage at Fanshawe College

Header image for the article Ladies that UX conference taking centre stage at Fanshawe College Credit: ANGELA MCINNES
Emily Wyss is a Fanshawe graduate who now works in UX - user experience - design. She is helping to organize the annual Centre Stage conference for Ladies that UX.

London's chapter of Ladies that UX is holding its annual UX Centre Stage conference at Fanshawe College this year for the first time in its history.

The conference will feature UX professionals from various disciplines and industries to talk about current methods, techniques and careers in optimizing UX — user experience.

Event organizer and Fanshawe graduate Emily Wyss said that user experience pertains to both the online world and real life.

“User experience is how we can make anything that a user interacts with more delightful and easier to navigate. That might come down to something like accessibility, or more intuitive forms that are easier to complete,” Wyss said.

Ladies that UX is a global organization that facilitates monthly networking meet ups between members of the tech industry whose work focuses specifically on UX. Despite its name, Wyss said that the doors are open to anyone with an interest.

“The meet-up was created as a safe space for women to come and talk about user experience,” she said. “Our chapter specifically is women focused, not women only. We welcome anyone with an interest in UX and try to make sure it's an open, welcoming environment for anyone who works in the tech industry and has UX as a part of their role.”

Fanshawe professor of Interactive Media Design & Production and co-ordinator Justin Brunner said that holding the conference at Fanshawe will expose students of programs such as interactive media design, IT, business and graphic design to a formerly overlooked aspect of the industry.

“It's that connection between students and industry. Even if they're not looking at getting into a UX position, the UX fits well within the pipeline of what our students do. Getting to learn more about it and how it affects the pipeline is a great thing for them,” Brunner said.

He said he hopes that the conference will also prompt some students to consider career possibilities within London's rising creative tech scene, where companies such as Arcane, Northern and Digital Echidna are buying and growing out of spaces within a five-year span.

“There is a very high outlook for students in this industry,” Brunner said. “We're seeing more females now which is great because it was such a heavily male-involved area before.”

The conference is scheduled to run throughout the day for Oct. 20 at Fanshawe's Oxford Street campus. The keynote speaker will be trainer and consultant for UX for designers Joe Natoli, along with five other UX professionals from across North America and representatives from sponsors and leading tech companies in London.

Wyss said that based off her own experience, events like these are critical to developing a career path.

“Learning doesn't stop at the classroom walls. There's so many opportunities to continue growing and fresh perspectives that you can get just by coming out to these events. Being able to meet people in the industry and form connections is one of the most valuable things that you can do.”

More information on Ladies that UX can be found at ladiesthatux.com. Info on the UX Centre Stage conference is at ltux.ca.