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Ready, Set, Design! at NYC UXPA

Paper sketches and pencil on a table

I attended an event hosted by NYC UXPA last night led by Greg Dilley, a UX Designer and strategist. He split everyone into 5-7 groups to brainstorm and sketch ideas on NYC UXPA website redesign. It’s one of the best events I’ve attended so far – mostly because of its interactive nature that allowed us attendees to exchange our ideas for the project to increase membership and to increase traffic among other things.

As a deaf professional, I’m very grateful to NYC UXPA, one of few organizations related to user experience and product management that provide good quality communication services based on my recommendations. Most of their events are presentation-based, so I usually use live captioning to follow speakers. It also helps many other audience members, most of whom have normal hearing and some of whom happen to have hearing loss and tell them they were not aware about captioning access. During my last month’s presentation by NYC UXPA, both live captioning and sign language interpreting services were provided – captioning for the whole audience as part of universal design and interpreters to voice my signed talk. Last night I used two sign language interpreters due to the highly interactive nature of the event.

I was excited to put my user experience, accessibility, and product management skills to use during the project. The picture on the top of this article shows my sketch examples. I also shared ideas – for example, to implement WordPress for CMS as it has many great plugins and easy to install and maintain, to make navigation simpler and remove the complicated left navigation, to make the website mobile friendly (currently it is not), to add login, newsletter sign up, join membership buttons, to explain membership benefits, to incorporate social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), to link to blog posts of NYC UXPA members, and so on.

We went through several rounds of sketches and brainstorming sessions: 4 individual sketching (5 minutes total) plus presenting (30 minutes), 2 pair sketching (5 minutes total) plus presenting (15 minutes), 1 team sketching (5 minutes) and reviewing ideas (10 minutes), then final presentations of all group representatives. Alla was our group representative to explain our final sketches and to discuss our ideas.

Last night’s event was so much fun and importantly fully accessible to me as a deaf professional to be able to participate on an equal footing with fellow attendees. I wish to be able to attend more events related to user experience and especially product management, but many of their organizers keep refusing to provide communication access services to me for a long time despite having many organizations as sponsors for their events who could cover accessibility expenses. It’s a very frustrating experience for me as a deaf professional.

Do you want to make your products, services, events accessible and to have an experienced deaf professional give a workshop / training to your organization or speak at your event / conference? Contact me!

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