CanUX 2008 – Day 1

I arrived in Banff this afternoon for CanUX 2008, the Canadian User Experience workshop. The annual event brings together a wide range of people who care about making things work better. CanUX is organized by Edmonton-based nForm Experience Consulting. One of the most appealing things about CanUX is the size – there are only about 80 people in attendance, and that’s on purpose. It makes for a more intimate type of event.

The day started at 9am with the UX Bootcamp, a preconference workshop to get attendees up-to-speed on user-centered design. The conference officially began after the Bootcamp at 3pm. Each attendee received a tote bag with two books inside: Subject to Change by adaptive path and Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug.

The first session of the conference was called Design Slam. A group from the University of Lethbridge led the session as “BestJet”, a fictional airline not unlike the real WestJet. We broke into groups and were tasked with designing a strategy to help BestJet grow its market share and reduce customer frustrations. It was a fun exercise, and served as an ice-breaker without feeling forced! Most groups came up with some sort of airline profile, so that passengers could save preferences for future flights. Almost everyone said the planes should be upgraded to contain touchscreens.

The design work and presentations for Design Slam were split by dinner, and followed by the opening night reception. It was great to meet a bunch of new people today, and I look forward to the rest of the conference! I’ll be blogging about it here and on my own blog, and uploading photos to this photoset at Flickr. You can also follow along on Twitter!