When I attended my first Internet User Experience conference in Ann Arbor in the mid-2000’s, I knew I wanted to get involved with local user experience groups.
The people I met at the conference were doing all the things I found fascinating about the web: user research, usability testing, and information architecture. I wanted to learn more!
It was easy to find out what user experience groups were in the area. I asked Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus, coordinator for the conference, co-founder and then-president of Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA), now known as Michigan User Experience Professionals.
There weren’t a lot of active local UX groups in the mid-2000’s. Michigan UPA was organizing the majority of the UX events happening in Ann Arbor, metro Detroit, as well as other events around the state.
Fast forward to 2014.
I’ve seen incredible growth in the number of metro Detroit UX groups in the past few years. The new groups held meetups, book clubs, and brought brand new events to the area, including:
I’m amazed at all the new people I meet at UX events in the area.
At our Detroit User Experience group happy hour last night, one of our new members asked:
Deborah, I want to attend more user experience events. How do I find out about UX groups and their meetups?
Music to my ears.
I love sharing information about local UX groups! If you’re also looking for UX groups in the metro Detroit area, here are the ones I know about.
Detroit User Experience
Founded in early 2013 by Jodi Bollaert, Detroit User Experience (UX) has grown from the first book club meeting of five people (I was one of them!) to almost 300 members. I joined the group as co-organizer in mid-2013.
The Detroit UX group is for people working in a UX-related profession (or wannabe) who would like to meet like-minded folk to network, share ideas, present, learn, vent (a little), discuss good books, and more.
We meet at various locations in Detroit and the suburbs. We’ve held networking events, book club meetings, held the first World Usability Day Detroit, hosted Rosenfeld Media full-day UX webinar, partnered with Vitamin T for Digital Detroit Rendezvous events, and held an accessibility awareness day panel of web professionals.
Ladies that UX Detroit
Formerly Detroit Women of Design & UX, the new Ladies that UX Detroit group aims to bring together brilliant and creative women* in the design and UX fields of southeast Michigan who want to build and leverage a network of like-minded ladies.
Through organizing events and providing a central place for connection, they hope to foster an atmosphere of learning, mentorship, and support.
Ladies that UX Detroit is an inclusive group; if you identify as a woman, and you’re involved in the UX, tech, and design fields, you’re welcome to participate.
I was glad to hear my friend Emily Bowman, who recently returned to the Detroit area, will take on leadership of the group. I can’t wait to hear about their future events and activities.
Content Strategy–Metro Detroit
Started in 2012, Content Strategy–Metro Detroit is a group of professionals with responsibility for content, including strategy, delivery, management, governance, distribution (you name it!).
If you’re into communications, marketing, social media, publishing, sales, asset management, or user experience–this is the group for you.
The group hasn’t held any meetups since September 2013, but is relaunchin the group for the July 23 meetup, with a discussion on the difference between content strategy and content marketing.
Michigan Computer Human Interaction (CHI)
The Michigan CHI group is a local Special interest Group in Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI) of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), for professionals who live in Michigan.
The group’s focus is on human-computer research and interactions for software, websites, tablet, and mobile computing. Their events are held in southeastern and central Michigan.
Michigan User Experience Professionals Association
Founded in 2002, Michigan User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) is one of the oldest user experience groups in the state. Michigan UXPA is a chapter of the User Experience Professionals Association, which supports people who research, design, and evaluate the user experience of products and services.
The group includes user experience professionals, information architects, content strategists, interaction designers, graphic designers, software developers, technical communicators, and project managers. It’s where I continued to learn about the practice of user experience, user-centered design, and usability, and where I served as officer for three years.
Educational and networking events are held throughout the year, mostly in the Ann Arbor area, metro Detroit suburbs, and Lansing area.
Society of Technical Communicators, Southeast Michigan
The Southeastern Michigan Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC/SM) brings together technical communicators from southern Michigan and northern Ohio for learning and networking opportunities.
Their events are held in metro Detroit suburbs as well as downtown Detroit. The event calendar shows monthly events for the first half of 2014. Unfortunately, no events are listed after July 1. Hopefully you’ll see events listed on their calendar soon.
Do you know of any other Detroit-area user experience groups? Share them in the comments.