A focus on critical details: The thinking behind UX Immersion’s Full-Day Workshop Format

Jared Spool

February 29th, 2012

A lot of folks don’t know this, but we start planning for each UIE conference about eighteen months in advance. This year’s new event, UX Immersion was no different.

With this new program, we’re trying to fill a huge unmet need: How do we bring today’s UX Professionals to a new level of producing great designs? How do we, in just a few days, give them the skills, knowledge, and confidence to go off and create really great stuff as the world around them is changing?

With that mission in mind, we set off, like we do, to research what today’s UX Pros are most in need of. We knew we had to carefully select our format, topics, and speakers, to make sure we really delivered something that would move the needle.

While there’s a growing amount of UX resources out there, it’s hard to find the really great stuff. Sure, you can go to any number of conferences, workshops, and UX magazine web sites. However, we found it hard to get an in-depth understanding on a topic. It always feels like, just when the article or conference session starts to get interesting, it ends, leaving with a ton of unanswered questions.

This is why we focused on building an event around full-day workshops. In this age of shortening conference sessions to 20-minute TED-talk-style presentations (or the even shorter 5-minute Ignite formats), we’re giving each expert six full hours to get deep into their topic.

The beauty of full-day workshops is you can get into the subtleties and nuances of a topic. At UX Immersion (or UXIM as we’ve come to talk about it), each expert speaker spends about an hour with the big-picture overview, just as they should. That leaves five full hours of workshop to get into the nitty-gritty details.

Because of the full-day format, each attendee gets a chance to do something we don’t often get to do in our day-to-day work: practice our craft. Each workshop has specially crafted activities to give you a chance to exercise the skills you just acquired, under the guidance of the workshop’s expert leader.

There’s another advantage of the full-day format that we love: you get to ask detailed questions. The make-or-break aspects of our work require an understanding of all those details that go into our current situation. With the time, you can pose your trickiest questions to the expert and bring home solid take aways: new strategies, clever approaches, and the depth of experience you can only get when people really get when they have a common language and understanding.

We didn’t pick this year’s UXIM topics — mobile design and Agile development — at random. Practically every UX Pro we’ve talked to is dealing with one or both of these areas (or will be very soon). And those topics require the depth of understanding to work down to the make-or-break details. They are perfect for the full-day format.

And we didn’t pick this year’s UXIM workshop presenters — Rachel Hinman, Hugh Beyer, Jeff Gothelf, Luke Wroblewski, Dave McFarland, and James Robertson — by accident. These guys are the best in the business and fabulous instructors to boot. They are the perfect folks to be learning from, since they know their stuff and communicate it so brilliantly.

That’s why we’re so excited about April’s conference. If you’re a UX Pro and you see yourself dealing with either mobile design or Agile development in your future, you need to get yourself to the 2012 UX Immersion conference. You don’t want to leave yourself behind while your peers are leveling up their UX skillets.

[Register by the end of today, 29 Feb 2012, and you'll save yourself $300 on the full conference price. Details at the UX Immersion site.]

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