UXCampLondon – a retrospect

Sometime late last year, I offered to organize uxcamplondon 2011 with the support of previous years’ team and a bit of help from my friends. I was determined to see it happen this year after I missed last year’s uxcamp due to an illness. After all, I had learnt a thing or two after volunteering since 2009 – I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

But organizing an event for the first time teaches you a lot of things. It’s a very “people” job, one that often requires a certain amount of savvy, timing, and humility. Only then does everything else become “logistics”.

As Cennydd said, the devil is in the details.

So being an organizer, you will replay countless scenarios in your head, but the end result is often surprising. And just as some had predicted, we had a decent turnout (about 60 people – see update), the day went by quite smoothly, sessions were really interesting, and everyone had a pretty good experience through and through.

Some highlights included James O’Brien’s Agile UX talk, Laurian Gridinoc’s session on “reactive documents“, and the repeat of Cennydd’s IA summit wayfinding debut.

I regret not putting enough thought into my own session. That’s a scar I’ll have to bear forever, but the credit certainly goes to the many UXCamp newcomers like Nick Dunlavey and Clarence Lee, who presented some really interesting stuff.

Still, the best part of any UXCamp is the sheer camraderie and partnership you get from the combination of attendees, sponsors, and organizers.  What we may remember best is Jonty Sharples’ venn diagram oddities, finding common ground about UX in the enterprise, Dr. Simone laughing over a pint, Cennydd as a perennial UXCamp favorite, and the crowding of the otherwise quiet local to wind down the day.

Plus I met so many cool new faces on Saturday I stopped worrying whether this year’s camp would be as cool as the last.

And that’s the way it ought to roll.


(update: I made an error calculating the percentage of 60% turnout initially by basing it off an outdated list. The number is closer to 75%, or 20 no-shows. It’s still a concern, but not as bad as I originally thought.)

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