Saturday, February 19, 2011

Michigan CHI

MOCHI is officially dead, but a new Michigan chapter of SIGCHI has been formed. See

Friday, October 24, 2008

Axure Tech Talk (Ann Arbor, MI)

The following came through on the SI and SOCHI mailing lists. It is on campus in Ann Arbor. It is intended for students, so if you are not one, and attend this talk, please be aware and appropriate.
Hi everyone,

One thing that SOCHI is trying to do this year is help students teach other students the software and technologies that they know. We want you to be able to pick up new skills from this that can help you with class projects and finding jobs. Our first official Tech Talk of the semester will be on Axure, a prototyping tool that is great for making interactive prototypes for websites.

WHAT: Axure Tech Talk
WHEN: Next Wednesday, October 29th, 12-1 pm
WHERE: 412 West Hall
WHO: Presented by me, Debra Lauterbach

WHY you should come:
I learned how to use Axure this summer at my internship and found it surprisingly easy for making prototypes that can look and feel like they actually are real websites. This is great for user testing. To see some examples of what Axure can do, check out the sample prototypes and also the design patterns here and here. As you can see, pretty much every AJAX-y interactive website component can be mimicked using these patterns.

Even better news - Axure is available free to HCI students in good standing through their Good Student Program. Just email them your transcript and you get a free license, which is normally $589. (I checked with them, and first-year HCI students are eligible as well). Otherwise, you can download a 30-day free trial.

So, if you're going to come on Wednesday, I'd advise applying for your student license now, and getting the free trial set up on your computer until then. Caveat: it's Windows only, but if you have a Mac with Parallels or VMWare that'll work too.

On Wednesday, I'll explain the features of the software and demo how to actually build a simple prototype in only a few minutes. Then, I'll get into the advanced features of the software and how to use the design patterns. If you've got a project to use Axure for now, come with your questions and I'll do my best to answer them. And if anyone else is also a resident expert on Axure, please come too!

See you Wednesday!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Mozilla Design Jam II

SOCHI and SCSI bring you the second design jam in our browser redesign series, answering Mozilla's call for participation.

WHAT: Sketch your ideas for improving or redesigning Firefox
WHEN: Thursday, October 16th, 7-8:30PM
WHERE: Design Lab 1, Duderstadt Center (North Campus)

You don't have to be a Firefox user or an HCI student to attend. Everyone is welcome, but if you were unable to attend the previous design jam, we ask that you read through SOCHI's summary of the event and check out the photos. Bring your sketchbooks if you like, (especially those students taking 682, this might add valuable content to your design notebook,) or do your sketches on a whiteboard. Snacks and swag will be provided, including a chance at free Firefox t-shirts.

This event is sponsored in part by SourceForge and Mozilla.

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SI Design Jam

(this from the SOCHI mailing list)
SOCHI and SCSI have joined together with SourceForge to bring you this school year's first design jam.

WHAT: Brainstorm your ideas for improving or redesigning Firefox
WHEN: Thursday, September 25th, 6-8PM
WHERE: Design Lab 1, Duderstadt Center (North Campus)

Please indicate via the Facebook event if you will be attending so that we have an accurate count for ordering pizza.

More information about the event:

We will be answering Mozilla's call for participation, which requests that we all put our heads together to come up with revolutionary new ideas for the browser. These ideas can range from a simple improvement on how new tabs work (see one idea from Aza Raskin, Mozilla's UX lead) to a more complete browser interface redesign such as the very futuristic designs seen on the call for participation page.

You don't have to be a Firefox user or an HCI student to attend. Everyone is welcome! Come share your browsing habits, frustrations, and ideas!

We will follow up with the ideas generated at this event during two additional design jams later in the semester in which we will sketch ideas and create prototypes, but coming to one is not a commitment to attend all three.

Not only will this be a whole lot of fun, but this is a great opportunity to build up experience and portfolio materials in interface design and contribute to open source in a way that matters with no long term commitment. SourceForge is providing T-shirts to all the participants. If you plan to attend, RSVP and please take a look at some of the videos in the links above to rev up your creative engines!

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Refresh Detroit meeting May 21st - 6:30pm-8:30pm

May's Refresh Detroit meeting will be on the 21st, from 6:30 to 8:30 at the downtown Ann Arbor District library in Ann Arbor. Map to the location.


TOPIC: There will be a few quick presentations by members of our great group, and general discussion on the latest news, challenges, projects, and ideas that the group members have encountered in their web related occupations/hobbies/activities.

The event like always is free to anyone who is interested.

The current speakers will be:

Nick DeNardis
Designer of the Wayne State University Library and Information Science website. He will discuss the latest release of the website, their goals, process and challenges.

Brian Kerr
Information architecture, user experience, and django development guru. Exact topic details to comeā€¦

Paul Tarjan - Yahoo! SearchMonkey
The fine folks at Yahoo! are sponsoring this event and promise to bring lots of swag as well as give a short presentation on their new open source semantic web search in your own applications and websites. This new product they are releasing is called "Search Monkey" and you can read more at:


Friday, March 28, 2008

Social Media: If you could only leverage what your customers know

Sean O'Driscoll

7:30pm - 9pm
Monday, March 31st, 2008
411 West Hall (Ehrlicher Room) directions...

Abstract: Web 2.0, social media, Marketing 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, communities, transparency, virtual worlds, social graphs? Like most new trends, there's no shortage of buzz words, but there's a big gap between the enthusiasm for this "new media" and what it means to a business. This sessions will try to address the following fundamental questions designed to inform a business on how to get started: - What is Social Media? - What is Social Media Strategy? - Why does it matter to a business? - Who are the "influencers" who make these social spaces thrive? - How do you measure it? - What is the social graph...and why should I care?

About the Speaker

Sean O'Driscoll is a 15 year Microsoft veteran who recently left to form his own strategy consulting business focused on Social Media, community and influencer initiatives. In his most recent role at Microsoft, he was the general manager of community support services, where for the past 5 years he was responsible for leading the Web 2.0 strategy across Help and Support, focused on influencer engagement, user generated content, and integration with customer listening systems. For a bit more, visit his blog here:

Thursday, March 06, 2008

TechSmith talks user experience

Refresh Detroit is hosting Barb Hernandez from TechSmith to talk about how they evolved their Snagit product to focus on the experience of the user that leads to the conversion from interested person to customer.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Internet User Experience 2008: March 31 - April 3

Our area's largest and best user experience conference, Internet User Experience, continues in its 4th year. It is again at the Morris Lawrence Building on the Washtenaw Community College Campus. It is 4 days of tutorials, panels, presentations, workshops and general hanging-out with some of the leading UX people in this part of the country.

See for more information. See you there!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the last Sochi Design Challenge of the year

Exciting interaction design challenge tomorrow at the School of Information. Here is the description sent by Joshua Palay

It will be on Thurs. at 5:30 in Room 405A/B with lots of food.

Dealing with Google's open source phone OS - Android and its $10 million competition.

Hope to see you all there!

Here's a video introducing Android:,39029453,49294145-5,00.htm

We'll send out an agenda next week, but let SOCHI know if you're interested!

For more on Android, read on below thoughts from HCI faculty member Mark Newman:

There are several videos on YouTube that seem to be about the best intro to what they're up to (start here: and look at the other videos from "androiddevelopers" as well). The focus is primarily technical, which makes some sense because Android is being positioned as a Mobile OS. In some sense, it isn't technically very different from, say, Windows Mobile. The primary difference is that it's an open platform and, well, it's not Windows Mobile (or Palm OS, or Symbian OS, or the stripped down Mac OS running on the iPhone).

Thus, I'm not sure that a deep understanding of Android is totally necessary for the design jam. It might be enough to say "Now we'll be able to easily design and deploy applications for smartphones that have a persistent network connection and can (presumably) easily integrate with the latest and greatest web services like facebook, flickr, google maps, . We can assume that the platform will have a critical mass of users over the next few years. What applications should be developed to take advantage of such a platform?" While, in theory, this design exercise could have been done a few years ago, the fact that Google is putting its leverage into pushing this platform (not to mention the fact that Apple is opening up the iPhone SDK) means that such an exercise is more relevant now than it was previously. One can argue that smartphones are about to explode in the US (they are already fairly ubiquitous in Japan, Korea, and Europe) and that a new opportunity is presenting itself. Not to mention that Google is planning to give away buckets of cash for the best applications developed for Android. I'm not sure that SI can realistically compete with the various startups and major software companies that are likely to be going after that cash but who knows?

Finally, the Andriod platform may provide an easier way for handset manufacturers and third parties to create peripheral hardware. GPS locators are one add-on/built-in that is already on the rise for smartphones and will presumably be even easier to integrate with Android. We can probably assume that phones that know their location will be ubiquitous in the next few years. What other assumptions are safe to make? Cameras, limited voice recognition, bluetooth connectivity, are effectively ubiquitous already. 3D graphics acceleration, accelerometers (for doing in-air gesture-based interaction), integration with peripherals (large monitors, printers, scanners, speakers), and others may be coming sooner rather than later once an open platform exists that allows various market players to compete.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Come hear the Yahoo! VP for Advanced Development give a talk at U of Michigan

Bradley Horowitz, VP for Advanced Development at Yahoo! will be a Guest Speaker on campus next week Tuesday, November 27 from 4-5pm in the 1670 Computer Science Building on North Campus. He is being co-sponsored by SI and CSE and the topic is of clear SI interest "Innovation and Evolution - How Search, Social Media, and New Ideas can Shape the Next Web".

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