This is the final in a series of posts analyzing event attendance in the Austin design community. You can jump to any post using the links below.
- Overall community profile
- Lunches, happy hours, & workshops
- Presentations & panels
- Field trips & recommendations
Also, be sure to read the caveats for this analysis.
Today we turn our attention to a final type of event, field trips. We then provide a brief set of recommendations for improving your local community, wherever you are.
Field Trips (57 respondents)
In my experience, there are not many true field trips occurring in the Austin community. While it is not uncommon to hold events at company offices (National Instruments and Apogee Results have been recurring locations for the Austin UPA, and frog design hosted an IxDA talk by Stephen Anderson last year), it is less common to hear from a member of that company about the work that goes on in that organization (I believe the closest Austin UPA came this past year was Paul Janowitz’s eye tracking presentation at Sentient Services and Maira Garcia’s talk about how the Austin-American Statesman used social media to cover the Central Texas Wildfires). This may be for practical reasons, as some group members may be put off by location inconsistency or inconvenience.
Nevertheless, there is clearly a subgroup of the community who is interested in field trip events. These people are more likely than others to list marketing among their skills. They also tend to be more interested than others in learning about research, suggesting that user research companies may be prime locations for this type of event. Field trip people are also more likely to indicate that they are missing iteration in their workplaces.
Our data show that on the whole, there are not a lot of major differences between people who attend various types of events. But there are enough to suggest that targeting events to specific types of attendees may be worthwhile. The Austin design community shows a need for workshops that involve critiquing and research techniques, for well-advertised happy hours, and for company events about logistics. But moreover, there is a need to continue to learn about our community, to better understand what all of us need professionally and how organizations can provide for these goals.
If you are a group organizer, I urge you to start documenting your event attendance and to ask your members what they want. If you are a community member (and especially if you are not) I encourage you to reach out to your local group organizers and let them know what your needs are. There is a lot to be gained from community involvement, but we need to be informed in order to reach our full potential.
Thanks for sticking with us throughout the week. If you are interested in reading more, consider picking up a copy of Vitorio’s essay in Distance. I’ve enjoyed working on this project and feel that it’s helped me to gain a better understanding of the Austin design community. I’ve learned to appreciate it for what it is and isn’t, and I’ve gotten an inkling of how to make it a little better. If you have any thoughts about this project, or if you’d like to do something similar in your own community, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.