Belated: ‘UXPA World Usability Day’ and the ‘FunnyBizz’ conference

My mind has lumped together UXPA World Usability Day and the FunnyBizz conference because of how close in time they were, and because I pretty much used the same slide deck for presenting at both of them. Both were a lot of fun, and both allowed for me to meet a lot of badass people in a short period of time.

But, as you might have guessed, they were very different events. I’ll let some embedded media explain.

FunnyBizz Conference, Oct. 30, 2014 @ Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY

At FunnyBizz, we teach you how to tap into humor’s power. In just one (raucously entertaining) day, our elite roster of speakers will teach you essential principles of comedy, improv and storytelling, how to apply those concepts to you and your business, and generally show you how being funny can make you more successful.”

(Look carefully at the following screenshot. I’m in the thumbnail promoting the 2014 conference videos. Famous.)

Screen shot 2015-01-25 at 6.07.57 PM

My presentation:


Some tweets:


NYC UXPA “World Usability Day: Engagement”, Nov. 13, 2014 @ AppNexus, New York, NY

NYC UXPA “World Usability Day 2014: Engagement”

2014 Theme: Engagement

User Experience is all about engagement. Technology, products and services are usable when they engage people. At work we strive to engage with those around us—whether they’re users, colleagues, or stakeholders … How can you engage people to use technology products and services? What kind of design thinking needs to be incorporated, to keep people engaged? How can you engage those outside our field, to understand the importance of a good user experience?”

The master deck of all the presentations:


Some tweets: 


I felt the best way to avoid making a completely meaningless comeback-from-nowhere post was to finally redesign this site again — that way I could at least say “I’ve been slackin'” while also saying “But, I haven’t been slackin’ that much, check out this new design, boom.”

While I hate and try not to use excuses, I could probably pull some out (re: slackin’) that people would be cool with. But, then I’d be doing two things I don’t like: 1) making excuses, and 2) spending time on making excuses (i.e., wasting time).

So, that’s that until I come back and post more stuff in the coming days.

And now I’m going to insert a random photo I took recently in a cool cemetery in Terlingua, Texas. I visited Terlingua, which is a ghosttown just north of Big Bend National Park, while on a roadtrip around west Texas — a roadtrip that validated my lifelong suspicion that my soul belongs in and to the desert. (I now rock a lifestyle I call “desert woman”. So far it just involves me having “desert hair” — a.k.a., I don’t do anything to my hair.)


SXSW Interactive 2015

Vote to see my session at SXSW 2015!

I, along with the legendary Chris Trew, have submitted a workshop proposal to SXSW Interactive 2015. Yes, we did a workshop last year, but it went so well and they dug us, so we are set on doing a refined, extremely hardcore session.

Last year’s session focused on humor and its role throughout the design process. Our next workshop would focus on the elements that make a humorous product. It’s the untouchable topic — the frog dissection, according to E.B. White:
“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.”

The last frog I dissected (9th grade) was already dead. I don’t know what that means in terms of metaphors, but it’s something.

Also, man, people give SXSW lots of shit. Whatever the reason for that is, I want to extend the major fact that SXSW has been a huge influence on my life — especially on my transition from being an introverted young journalist from a South Texas town no one’s heard of to being an ambitious UX designer living in New York.

It’s definitely sucked more in recent years, but ya gotta give something a chance in order for it to suck less, or something.

I just wanna share the love and obliterate the (/all) negative vibes, as per usual.

Belated: The Ad Council’s UX Advisory Committee

While at SXSW this year, I had the honor of attending my good friend Baratunde’s dinner party. It was lovely — there were about 20 of us there, all of whom had great stories and smiles, and could inspire you with just a few words.

I met and chatted with an amazing woman from the Ad Council at this dinner, which meant that conversations about social impact and humor as truth pretty much had to happen.

One thing led to another, and I met up with some Ad Council folks back in NYC to talk about how I could help contribute. They asked me to become a part of the Ad Council’s UX Advisory Committee, which I graciously accepted, and am so excited about and love already.

Changing the world with humor becomes more of a reality every day, people.


Belated: LeanUX NYC 2014

And with April comes LeanUX NYC. Or, so the joke goes (this year), LeanUX Jersey City.

Taren Sterry and I got together to run a workshop that was about 50% improv (led by Taren), 40% design activities (led by me), and 10% (give or take a percent) me ranting about humor & design stuff. You can read the workshop description (and other workshop descriptions) here. Some slides for you:


The conference was pretty fun. Props, all. See you next year.


Belated: ‘Encyclopedia of Humor Studies’

I kind of hate when I consolidate a lot of topics in one blog post, so I’m putting “Belated” in the titles of all the posts that should have gone up sooner but didn’t because I kept forgetting, was too busy, or some other excuse that is not worth digging up.

So, first up: the Encyclopedia of Humor Studies. Salvatore Attardo, one of the leading humor researchers on the face of the planet (and a great dude), emailed me one day a couple of years ago and said he had read my humor research. He asked if I would  be interesting in writing the “Design” entry for the Encyclopedia.

I accepted and had a few months to write my first draft. I spent most of those months anxiously debating how to shape a concise high-level synopsis of humor and design. For an encyclopedia.

Anyway, I think it ended up OK. Unfortunately the book is a tad expensive (but it’s only because it’s epic), so it’s not super accessible. But hey, you could always ask your library to order it, or something. Or just ask me the next time you see me (I have a copy). Emoticon.