Mike Beasley at Ignite UX Michigan 2015

Ignite UX Michigan, 3/16 & 3/23

Caption for image above: Mike Beasley, one of the Ignite UX Michigan organizers, doing his best airline steward impression: pointing to exits, in 2015.

Ignite UX Michigan has become a staple of our community over the years, with people traveling to Ann Arbor from Detroit, East Lansing, and Toledo for an evening of fascinating talks and an overall good time. It was canceled in 2020 but is going online in March (of 2021). We thought it was a good time to check in with the Ignite UX Michigan team and get the scoop on what is coming up later in March.

For people who have never participated in Ignite UX Michigan before, what is it all about?

Ignite UX Michigan is normally a free, in-person, evening event in an informal setting where you can see 10-12 lightning talks on UX and UX-adjacent topics. The lightning talk format we use puts speakers in front of 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, for a total of 5 minutes. This format gives speakers a way to deliver a clear, punchy point and it brings a lot energy to the talks. Our goal is to give people that you don’t normally see speaking at UX events an opportunity to get experience, and ultimately improve the diversity of voices in the UX community. Our speakers mainly come from Southeast Michigan and nearby areas, although we occasionally have people travel from further away. We get a mix of speakers and attendees, from students to experienced professionals. Our event has happened once a year from 2013 through 2019, but last year we ended up cancelling and are experimenting with a virtual format this year.

Yes, this year will be different! What will be different because it will be virtual?

The biggest difference this year will be that you don’t have to drive to Ann Arbor in the snow! More seriously, a big difference is that Ignite UX Michigan previously took place at bars where you could mingle with other UX people before and after the talks. Although we want to use breakout rooms to give attendees some space to meet our sponsors and have a separate space for chatting, ultimately the virtual format just isn’t set up for 1-on-1 interactions. On the other hand, we hope it’ll be easier to see and hear the talks: no bar background noise! There will be a more structured QA session after the talks.

Attending is fun: what about speaking at it?

We encourage people to use the event as a way to get experience speaking. You also get a video of your talk, posted on our YouTube channel.

Watch past Ignite UX Michigan talks on YouTube.

What sort of topics can people expect to hear this time?

Our speakers this time will be talking about accessibility, UX and Agile, industrial manufacturing, and career development, to name a few topics. As usual, we’ve got a mix of topics!

How do people register?

This year, along with the virtual format (using Zoom), we are also experimenting with splitting the event into 2 evenings. You can register on Eventbrite for March 16 or March 23 (or both). 6:30-8:30pm with 5 talks, both nights. Free!

“What we can learn from Bubble Tea Shops in Taiwan” by Blair Shen, at Ignite UX Michigan 2019.

Check out igniteuxmi.com for more about the event. See you there, even if we cannot hang out at a bar this time.