Jeremy Burton, Author at Midwest UX Conference 2015

Excursions: 11 More Reasons to Love MWUX15

From the moment we learned that Pittsburgh had been selected to host Midwest UX 2015, we knew this event could be more than just a conference.

Inviting UXers like you from across the region meant this was an opportunity to show you Pittsburgh as you’ve never seen it, a first-hand experience of the city’s character that illustrates why so many of us have fallen in love with this place on three rivers.

That’s why we’ve curated 11 excursions with some of the most fascinating, talented, and imaginative organizations in Pittsburgh right now. Our excursion partners are as diverse as they are inspiring, from food, art, and robotics to entrepreneurship, craft, hardware, and design.

Going on an excursion is just one option for the final afternoon of MWUX, as you can alternatively choose to attend our stellar Ccareer Ttrack sessions. It’s a win-win! But choose now, as spots will fill up and each excursion and Career Track has limited capacity.

Can’t decide? Here’s a quick rundown of each excursion partner and what to expect. We can’t wait for you to meet them in October!

4moms

4moms is a consumer robotics company that applies technology along with advanced design and a deep consumer understanding to create dramatically better baby gear. The company has redefined the juvenile products industry with its innovations.

Why sign up: “Meet the 4moms UX team and join a discussion about designing for a comprehensive ecosystem of digital and physical products. Tour our beautiful downtown space, including the 4moms design studio, and get an exclusive peek into our latest product development.”

AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear

AlphaLab is a nationally-ranked startup accelerator that helps innovative companies launch quickly and successfully. Its sister accelerator, AlphaLab Gear, is dedicated to hardware startups and was recently featured in TechCrunch.

Why sign up: “Get to know AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear, and how these sister accelerators are firing up Pittsburgh’s startup scene. Then, put your new skills from Midwest UX to the test as you’ll take what you’ve learned and collaborate to solve a startup’s design challenge. Discover what it takes to pitch your idea under pressure!”

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art is one of the most dynamic major art institutions in America, with a collection of more than 30,000 objects across a broad spectrum of visual arts, prints and drawings, photographs, architecture, design, and multimedia.

Why sign up: “Spend the afternoon at Pittsburgh’s premier art museum, with a guided tour that will introduce you to local artwork and artists. The tour will end at a new exhibition, “HACLab Pittsburgh: Imagining the Modern,” which explores Pittsburgh’s complex history of postwar architecture and urban design.”

Deeplocal

Deeplocal is an internationally-recognized innovation studio. From creating a mind-controlled bike to building a robotic pitching machine that allowed a child to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, its projects are wide-ranging and unique.

Why sign up: “Join Deeplocal for a glimpse into how we combine art, engineering, and marketing to invent completely new products and experiences for brands, with a particular focus on UX design. Attendees will also tour our 20,000 square-foot office, which includes studio space and a full workshop for carpentry, metalworking, and electrical circuitry.”

Golden Triangle Bikes

Golden Triangle Bikes is Pittsburgh’s premier bike tour and rental location. This family-owned business has been helping people experience the city of Pittsburgh by bike for almost a decade.

Why sign up: “Experience Pittsburgh on two wheels! During this leisurely tour, you’ll see Downtown and Point State Park and bike along the North Side’s scenic riverfront trail, with additional stops at the historic Heinz Factory and the bustling Strip District. And along the way, you’ll learn about the city’s transformation from frontier outpost to Steel City. Please note this excursion is weather dependent.”

Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon

CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute is a living laboratory investigating the relationships between computer technology, human activity, and society. HCII students and faculty don’t just research, teach and write about HCI — they live it.

Why sign up: “Tour the labs where the interfaces of the future are being designed, where the power of games to change behavior is studied, and where the ways in which crowdsourcing can improve automation of technology are being built. Then, attend a series of short talks from major players in the HCI field.”

Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is a research and development lab for artists. As a museum of contemporary art, it commissions new site-specific works, presents them to the widest possible audience, and maintains selected individual installations in a growing – and distinctive – permanent collection.

Why sign up: “Visit one of the region’s most unique and groundbreaking art museums, where the installations and exhibitions will challenge you to question reality and explore design as sensory experience. Led on a tour by the Mattress Factory’s co-director, learn what goes into this distinctive artwork behind the scenes.”

MAYA + Luma Institute

MAYA is a design consultancy and innovation lab. For more than 25 years, they’ve helped organizations grow and thrive by designing collaborative systems, engaging experiences and next-gen products. LUMA Institute equips people to accelerate innovation, teaching a flexible framework that enables organizations to create new value and drive sustainable growth through the practice of human-centered design.

Why sign up: “Experience how sister firms MAYA Design and LUMA Institute equip people and organizations to innovate and apply human-centered design methods to complex challenges. You’ll get hands-on exposure to methods and practical insight from practitioners who have spent 25 years mastering the craft. Participants will take on a design challenge and learn new ways of working to better frame problems, communicate progress, and make something the world has never seen.”

Smallman Galley

Smallman Galley is a launch pad for the best new restaurant concepts in Pittsburgh. It cultivates and accelerates undiscovered chefs by providing a forum to showcase their talents, hone their craft, and develop business acumen in a unique space that includes four fully outfitted kitchens.

Why sign up: “Get a sneak peek into one of Pittsburgh’s most talked about new food experiences. Smallman Galley is modeled on startup accelerators to lower the barrier of entry for talented chefs who want to start their own businesses. Tour the communal dining space, meet its first four chef entrepreneurs, and engage in discussion with Smallman Galley’s co-founders. Did we mention complimentary beer?”


Society for Contemporary Craft

Presenting contemporary art in craft media since 1971, the Society for Contemporary Craft offers meaningful art opportunities for more than 145,000 people a year through its four core values: providing vital support for artists, filling critical gaps in public education, sharing cross-cultural perspectives, and using art to build community.

Why sign up: “At the Society for Contemporary Craft, we believe the act of ‘making’ with your hands opens doors to emotions, thoughts, and potential that may otherwise remain buried. Learn more about our innovative and community-minded programming, while getting an intimate look at our latest socially engaged art experience, ‘Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art.’ ”

TechShop Pittsburgh

TechShop is a community-based workshop and prototyping studio on a mission to democratize access to the tools of innovation. Its Pittsburgh location offers workshops equipped with world-class tools, computers loaded with design software, hundreds of classes, and the support and camaraderie of a community of like-minded makers.

Why sign up: “Take a tour of our cutting-edge facility and prepare to be inspired. See what members are working on, chat with community makers, and watch some of our machines in action! See for yourself how people at TechShop explore the world of making in a collaborative and creative environment.”