Once upon a time, the phrase “online community” meant you had a forum.
This would consist of a bunch of regular users who formed friendships, answered each other’s questions, got into heated debates that spanned multiple pages, and tried to outdo each other’s post count.
While forums are still alive and well in certain niches, there are now many alternatives to online community out there.
At UX Mastery we don’t have a forum, but we certainly feel like there’s a growing community developing—even if it is scattered across a range of different services. When Luke and I launched UX Mastery six months ago, we both felt very strongly about wanting to build a strong community around our common interest in UX Design—the kind of community we wanted to be a part of.
It sounds a bit trite to explicitly articulate it like this, but the feedback we receive and the conversations we get to participate in really are what drives us to keep the site going and evolving. As a result, we’re making a conscious effort to foster a unique, inclusive, supportive UX community. And while we’re still relatively new to this online publishing lark, we understand enough to know that recognising the important members of your community is a Good Thing To DoTM.
We therefore thought it would be fun to acknowledge and celebrate some of those folks who are a big part of the UX Mastery community. Note: this isn’t supposed to be some kind of elitist leaderboard—just a chance for us to take the spotlight off ourselves and shine it on a few individuals whose input makes our humble little website all the better.
Gary is a freelance user experience designer from Western Australia. If you’ve ever attended a web- or UX-related event in Perth, or one of the larger conferences on the east coast of Australia, you’ll probably have met Gary.
His blog has won awards, and his ability to be everywhere (online) constantly amazes me. Whether it’s commenting on a blog post, favouriting a Flickr image, sharing a YouTube video, dispensing client advice on Facebook or engaging in debate on Twitter, Gary is always one of the first people to reply or retweet the content we produce. He’s also one of the first to call us out if something we’ve posted is dubious or needs to be challenged, and we appreciate that fact as much as we appreciate the support.
Irith is the hard-working coordinator behind UX Book Club here in Melbourne. I met her about a year ago when she was on the lookout for an internship, and I was able to give her the opportunity to be involved in some user testing on one of my freelance projects.
Because she fell smack bang into our target audience, she was in the unique position of being able to provide insight into the challenges faced by newcomers to UX Design, and did a ton of work helping us fleshing out concepts for the website and the different directions we could take it.
Fast forward to 2013, and she’s studying a Masters in Interaction Design and applying her new-found skills to the mobile health industry. She created a wonderful comic detailing her journey into UX Design which has had over 40,000 views on Slideshare (see below). Irith randomly shares ideas with us that continue to shape our site, and for which we are grateful. Keep up with her on Twitter at @IrithWilliams.
Anticio Duke trained as a mechanical engineer in Chicago, and has since followed his passion for good design to transition to UX, UI and Product roles.
Unlike Gary and Irith, I haven’t met Anticio in person. My sketchnoting article caught his attention, and since then he’s become a regular commenter on the UX Mastery blog, chiming in with words of encouragement (flattery will get you everywhere, folks!). He’s no slouch in the online publishing space himself though—in his own unique, suave style, he posts articles and short videos to his personal site covering topics such as productivity, design and startups.
I’m excited about the idea of meeting Anticio in person at a UX event one day. In the mean time, thanks for the support, Duke! You can follow him on Twitter at @onlyaduke.
And Many Others…
These are just three of many folks whose involvement we appreciate. We’ll showcase other members of our community in future posts, but for now let me leave you with mosaic of a random selection of our 2,000+ Twitter followers. (Wow, 2,000 people!)
A big thank-you to everyone who has advised, emailed, tweeted, Liked, commented, favourited, subscribed or contributed to the UX Mastery community in some way during our first six months online. We look forward to getting to know more of you over the next six months and beyond!