Regular readers will know that last year Luke and I took our Introduction to UX workshop to Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
This was the first time we’d taken any of our workshops overseas, and we were delighted that the principles and format translated reasonably well cross-culturally. Of course, the fact we were able to enjoy a holiday with the lovely folks from UXMNL after the training event was over was clearly a huge part of why we enjoyed the experience so much! (Read Part 1 and Part 2 of my travel diary).
Well, last month I had the very good fortune of returning to the Philippines to deliver more UX training. This time my fellow instructor was A Practical Guide to Information Architecture author and UX Australia organiser, Donna Spencer.
A few words about UXMNL
I feel compelled to give a massive shout-out to Phil and the team at UXMNL. User Experience is not a mature concept in the Philippines—it’s not uncommon to receive poor service in a range of industries, and the UXMNL team want to change that. They’ve set themselves the admirable and ambitious goal of “making outstanding customer experience the norm in the Philippines”. One of the ways they’re making this happen is by running affordable education seminars like this event, titled UX Summit 2015.
They also know how to make speakers feel like rock stars. A massive thank-you to Phil, Christine, Kate, Zara, the helpful conference interns and everyone else involved in the event. Plus, the event sold out, with 250 people attending across both days. I foretell big things in the future for the UXMNL team!
Inspiring Innovation in the Workplace
Day 1 of the UX Summit consisted of yours truly running the Inspiring Innovation workshop that Luke and I have run in Melbourne a couple of times. The workshop is all about helping the next generation of designers become facilitators (psst: we’re running it again in Melbourne later in the year).
The activities in the workshop are a mix of techniques I’ve used on client projects over the years, as well as a few that are well documented in books by some of my heroes in the visual thinking world—folks like Dan Roam, Sunni Brown, and others. Participating in the activities gives students get the opportunity to gain experience running some of these collaborative creativity exercises, which they may not get the opportunity to do at work.
If you’d like more information, check out the excellent write-up at rappler.com, which goes into detail about the activities and what participants learned. The team at When In Manila have also published a ton of photos and thoughts about the day.
Killer Information Architecture
Day 2 saw Donna take the stage to teach a full day of information architecture. Her workshop material was, as always, polished, insightful, and fun. Students were taken on a journey to design a website of their choosing, and along the way learned all about categories, card sorting, and Donna’s weird obsession with organising everything. A handful of lucky attendees also received a free copy of her book!
Celebrating Hard Work
With the hard work out the way, Donna, myself, and a handful of the UXMNL team took some time-out at an amazing resort called Coco Beach, near Puerto Galera. I don’t use that word amazing lightly—I’m talking golden sand, thatched-roof huts dotted throughout the hillside, amidst a jungle of coconut trees and chirping wildlife.
I won’t go into a terrible amount of detail, for fear of making you green with jealousy. Suffice to say the next few days involved a fair amount of snorkelling, scuba diving (sea turtles! giant clams!), drinking cocktails by the pool, and reading books in a hammock. It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it. Yes, this was one of those memorable “pinch me” moments that I will treasure forever.
Now that I’m back to the real world, allow me to mention the fact that you don’t need to travel to Manila to learn all about UX design, sketching, or innovation. We’re teaching a handful of UX training workshops between now and the end of the year. Feel free to download an info sheet if you’d like to know more (or have something to show your boss).