CanUX 2007: Intimate and Interactive

I just finished my two-day CanUX conference in Banff. What a great time! I really enjoyed the intimate and interactive style of the conference.

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Design Slam: create a comprehensive shopping experience for Mobey`s (a food store) to promote healthy eating and improve customer loyalty. Working with other UX Professionals on creative problem solving was a lot of fun.

Design with Assumptions and Constraints A&S). In Brad Nemer 's session, we did group exercise of imagining how a sport experience design would change when there are different A&S for the sport. I absolutely loved the exercise. Our group designed a new type of soccer game where it combines with volleyball movements, has two balls, and 15 players for each team. Immediately, you start thinking about how the experience differ for players (i.e. skills, strategy, etc.) and for fans. I also think this exercise would apply very well to youth when we are teaching them creative problem solving under A&S. In this case, the A&S are out of box and very interesting.:-)

The Theatre Experience. It was a refreshing experience that you rarely get at other conferences. The Banff Leadership Arts Ensemble created a interactive play which told a story of a company going through mid-course conversations. The story revolved around what matters to people. The play had 6 main characters with their own sub-stories, and the characters interacted at various acts. We, as observers, could decide who and which sub-story to follow.  We got to see the behind-scene stories of what's going on with each character and what matters to them. The key point I got from the session was that to lead a complex world, we really need to understand how people are motivated.

Innovation Process. Kes and Sue Sampanthar talked about innovation techniques and process in their session. During the session, we divided into groups and used different innovation techniques to solve one problem. Our group used Mind Mapping technique to come up with creative ways to hire design talents out there.What I liked about the process and techniques Kes and Sue talked about was that there were practical steps you could follow to be creative. The process can be used beyond brainstorming stage of just coming up with ideas since it also covers stages such as the incubation and evaluation of ideas.


There were around 80 people attended this year's CanUX. With a conference this size, you can meet almost everyone at the conference and have an intimate chat with the speakers such as UX/IA heavy weights Lou Rosenfeld and Dave Armano . There were many networking opportunities through food (attendees ate three meals together for two days!), drinks (receptions, show and tell night,...), and group activities like the ones I talked about above.  I met many interesting and creative folks such as Joanna Briggs who has a flickr account consists of entirely toothbrush with toothpaste photos, and Trevor van Gorp who started his own UX consulting company, Affective Design, just 4 months ago. I also had a chance to catch-up with my grad school classmate Dmitry Nekrasovski at CanUX. We haven't seen each other since we graduated!

CanUX Keynotes Slides

Lou Rosenfield: Eating our Own Dog Food: Using UX Methods to Build a UX Business

David Armano: The Fuzzy Tail

Thanks to Gene Smith and Jess McMullin from nForm for organizing such a great Canadian User Experience conference. I look forward to the next one already!

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