Why UX Ireland: Part 1 of 2

Why UX Ireland: Part 1 of 2
September 15, 2016 Tiffany Moon

In 10-11 November, the Emerald Isle will see its User Experience (UX), User Research and User Interface (UI) design communities come together for the first ever UX Ireland conference.

This 2-day conference is all about creative networking and celebrating our passion for designing empowering experiences to transform people’s lives for the better. Brought to you by Graphic Mint and our friends from Software Acumen, specialist software event providers based in Cambridge, UK.

Joining us today are the co-founders of UX Ireland – Séamus Byrne, Director of UX at Graphic Mint and Mark Dalgarno, CEO and Founder at Software Acumen – to tell us more about the state of UX in Ireland and this groundbreaking event.

User Experience is becoming even more globally recognised as an integral part of designing products and services. How is the UX industry here in Ireland?

Séamus: The UX industry in Ireland is very strong. People look to Ireland now as being a real hub for design, more than we traditionally did.

It’s certainly a combination of seasoned practitioners – the pioneers who’ve been doing and providing user experience services in Ireland for decades – and the younger practitioners who are coming in from new courses about UX and related disciplines.

This confluence of, I suppose, older and younger practitioners creates this really great dynamic and energy, which calls for a time and space where the community can come together and collaborate, connect and interact with each other around key topics in the area – and that’s how UX Ireland came to be.

I agree. It’s great to see how active the local design community is. There are groups and organisations for every discipline. We’ve got quite a few focused on UX.

Séamus: Ireland is due a UX conference. We haven’t really had one. Back in 2012, we hosted Interaction12, the IxDA’s global annual conference, which started this, but that was primarily relating to Interaction Design. Then, there was Rebase last year, UXcamp Dublin last February and many grassroots smaller events. Right now, Ireland needs that BIG event – it needs to make a fuss about UX because it’s hitting our coasts from all sides. There are so many seasoned and new practitioners in the area – so it’s time to celebrate our discipline in our own backyard.

“Ireland is due a conference… Right now, Ireland needs that BIG event – it needs to make a fuss about UX because it’s hitting our coasts from all sides.”

Mark: Across the pond, Software Acumen run a number of UX events in the UK that have shown us how dynamic, passionate and engaged professionals are in this arena and how much our style of event suits the audience. Ireland is a natural next step – there is a vibrant community here that we are looking forward to working with over the coming years to evolve UX Ireland into a real staple and an event you absolutely must have in your calendar to be sure of enriching your knowledge-base, your skill set and your community of peers.

What is the inspiration behind this conference?

Séamus: The vision for UX Ireland is to explore and celebrate our passion to create experiences that empower and transform our fellow humans’ lives for the better.

It will be a great opportunity to tip our caps to the past and to honour the pioneers that have set the stage before us. That’s why we’re bringing great keynotes over like Jon Kolko and Brenda Laurel, who are clearly pioneers in their fields.

We also want to celebrate the future by shining a spotlight on the mavericks at the cutting edge of our discipline, as well as the innovators and entrepreneurs who utilise the best practices of research and design.

Finally, we want to promote Ireland as a hub of excellence for human-centred design. There is something very unique in the Irish psyche. Maybe it comes from our perceived hospitality; we always try to make people feel welcome, accommodated and comfortable. There’s an innate sense of problem-solving or trying to make everyone happy that, hopefully, we can capitalise upon by re-channeling those energies through design and research methodologies towards making the world a better place.

“We want to promote Ireland as a hub of excellence for human-centred design.”

Watch out for Part 2 of this series where we talk about what sets this conference apart from other design events.

Tiffany Moon