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Women in Tech Summit PHL 2013

On Saturday I went to the second annual Women in Tech Summit. Beginning at 9 am, women from the Philadelphia area gathered and taught, encouraged, and discussed everything tech.  Philadelphia has such an amazing tech community.

One of my favorite parts of the day was Jessica Ivins‘ UX/Design Principles Workshop.

UX Workshop

 

We were given three scenarios about three separate people going to Barnes and Noble.  We then had to write six things for the first person who was a broke law student and what he may do before going to Barnes and Noble.  Then six different things we imagine he would do while at B&N, and six more for after B&N.  For the next two people, we had to write four each for before, during and after.  We then split into groups where everyone stuck their notes on the wall.  Then we grouped them with like notes.

Photo Apr 20, 11 06 18 AM

Many creative ideas were discussed about the way these people could use a Barnes and Noble mobile app, from using it in a way to meet other people in the store who are interested in the same kinds of subjects, to using it to find other nearby stores.

Good design doesn’t happen by accident

We learned the importance of researching users.  We are not our user.  Know who your user is so you can design accordingly.

There was a lot of talk during the day about feeling confident in the skills it takes to get into the field.  When Natalie Nixon was asked about the characteristics it takes to be a good designer, she told us about swimming.  She said she swims several times a week, back and forth.  Back and forth.  One day she thought it would be cool to do a flip turn.  So she went on YouTube and learned how to do a flip turn at the age of 43.  She said how if she had been scared to look a little foolish in the water when she was first learning, that she may have never learned.  But it is important to learn to accept discomfort because that is where the magic happens.  It’s when you step outside your comfort zone that you learn and grow.  And you may well look foolish, but at some point it will become smooth and natural.

During the last panel of the day, Yasmine Mustafa explained that many women ask her when they should go ahead and apply for that job.  They think they don’t know enough.  Men, however, whether by lying to themselves, or by some other means, convince themselves that what they know is enough — it’s okay, I’ll learn it on the way.  Women feel they need to master everything and then apply for that job.  We have the knowledge, she says.  Just go for it.  Try it.

We can do this.

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