DonnaM » Speaking gigs

Speaking gigs

A Camp Grenada catch-up

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Sometimes twitter just doesn’t do it for a good, solid ‘what have I been doing’ catch up post. So here’s one that takes more than 140 characters.

It’s already April and I feel like I haven’t done much work this year. Of course, I have been busy as hell. I’ve done loads of planning and administration for UX Australia, wrote a brand new full-day advanced information architecture workshop, and had plenty of meetings with content authors for a long-running government project.

What I’ve really been doing is teaching. I’ve done five in-house full-day workshops, 2 conference talks, 1 full-day conference workshop and 2 full-day public workshops. So that’s work, and it’s work I love. But it is so fun that I forget that it is actually work, and feel like I haven’t done anything.

But really, the pain of airports and airplanes should make it feel like work. I’ve travelled so much this year that I can visualise the Qantas Club lounge in every Australian city (except Adelaide). I do think I could walk in and make it to the wine bar with my eyes closed. 

But April is looking up. I’m home all month, in my lovely house, with my lovely dog and a brand new bed (mattress arriving Thursday, 1000TC sheets ready in the cupboard). I have a nice pile of client web writing, new book writing (I’m writing an e-book on web content for Rockable press), some wireframes for a favourite client, and more bits and pieces for UX Australia.

I hope that the biggest news for April will be that my card sorting book is published. It is at the printer now, and should be ready in a couple of weeks. I promise I’ll tell you when that happens.

May is also looking like fun. By then I’ll be over my travel fatigue, which is good as I’m going to Philadelphia to talk at the jboye conference (IA workshop and content talk). Just as cool is that I’m going to be around for the IXD/IASummit redux in DC. Going to hire a car, drive from Philly to DC, see some friends. Ahhhh, I’m already getting excited about it.

Then June. OMG June!

In June I’m first going to Denmark to teach an interaction design masterclass (and some community of practice meetings). Then to London to do some touristing with my friend CJ (I’ve never been to London), then two workshops at UX London, then more touristing, then home.

So in late June, I’ll be saying ‘I’m so glad to be home’ and desperately waiting to get away again. I feel like that Camp Grenada song – you know, the one where the kid starts of hating it, then loves it. Me & travel – Camp Grenada.

Conference season

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

For me, the next few months are full of conferences and workshops. My calendar is so packed I don’t know where the work will fit. You can catch me at:

I hope I see you at one or more of these.

And remember, I can teach any of these workshops in-house to your team (see my list of IA, interaction design, usability & content workshops).

User Interface 13 Conference – I’m speaking

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Today’s big, exciting announcement is …

I’ll be speaking at this year’s User Interface 13 Conference, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’m teaching a full day workshop called Information Architecture Essentials: Best Practices for Organizing Your Site’s Content. I’ll also be doing a 90-minute presentation, but haven’t yet figured out what it will be.

I’m excited about this for two reasons. I look at this conference every year and want to go every time – it has a consistently strong line-up of both topics and speakers. And I get to present my favourite workshop – one that I have done enough that I know people *always* enjoy and learn from.

More details to come, and a discount code for you to use!

Website user experience & CSS workshop

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I’m very excited to announce that I’m teaching a new workshop with Russ Weakley. It’s called “Website user experience & CSS workshop: Designing for usability, building for the future“. It will be run in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, in late March and April.
I’m teaching the day on user experience, and Russ is teaching on CSS, which is lucky for you as I’m pretty good at ux and Russ is awesomely good at teaching CSS.

I’m really looking forward to it – I’ve wanted to go to one of Russ’ tutorials for a couple of years. And I love teaching user experience design for the web – I’ve spent a lot of time doing it, and a lot of time thinking about what I’ve learned and how to best share it.

I hope to see you, or your colleagues, there. Please pass details on to anyone you think may benefit.

Workshop description

A hands-on workshop with user experience expert, Donna Maurer, and CSS
expert, Russ Weakley.

Over two full days you will build detailed websites layouts from the ground up – starting with page layout, navigation and form design; and ending with clean markup and elegant styling using XHTML/CSS.

Day 1: Planning and designing the user experience – Donna Maurer

On day one you will plan and design a website – focusing on the user experience: designing the navigation, page layout and forms.

You will:

  • learn techniques to understand your users, and prepare user scenarios
  • understand your content with content analysis methods
  • create an effective and usable site structure (information architecture)
  • design a range of navigation methods
  • create page layouts for content, home, index and special pages
  • design simple forms

For each step, Donna will outline the fundamentals and show examples from small and large website projects. But most of the time will be hands-on -you work on your own project, ask questions and discuss with the group.

Day 2: Building beautiful sites using CSS – Russ Weakley

On day two you will build your website from the ground up – starting with structural markup, adding accessible markup and then styling your layout using CSS.

You will learn:

  • how to create well structured, accessible markup
  • the basics of CSS including rule sets, selectors, shorthand rules, inheritance and the cascade.
  • how to structure efficient CSS files
  • how to create a full CSS layout from a flat graphic mockup
  • how to deal with browser issues including specific browsers such as IE5,IE6 and IE7.
  • how to create a resolution dependent layout
  • how to create CSS for printing and hand held devices


Canberra – Monday 31 March and Tuesday 1 April

Melbourne – Thursday 3 April and Friday 4 April

Sydney – Monday 28 April and Tuesday 29 April

Brisbane – Thursday 1 May and Friday 2 May


More information and registration here:

IA Summit

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

I’ve been working flat out as program chair for the IA Summit. So much has happened in the past few weeks:

And I think it is time to have a rest.

(Of course, none of this is my work alone – just look at how many people are involved.)

Technorati tag:

Ozchi keynote: User centred design: is it working

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Here are the slides from my keynote at Ozchi 2006 last week. My talk was called “User centred design: Is it working?” which is a bit lame, but I really couldn’t come up with a better one.

I talked about 3 things:

  1. my take on where the practitioner user-centred design field is currently up to
  2. a look at some of the neat apps practitioners are interested in (and I didn’t say web 2.0 once)
  3. what I think we need to do to move forward

I recorded it and here it is in two parts – the first file combines the first two topics, the second file combines the last topic plus questions (if you were there, you’ll hear some edits – I trimmed the questions we couldn’t hear and deleted an example from the body of the talk):

The second file is definitely more interesting than the first, but the first gives context.

And here’s some quotes from the second part of the presentation:

  • We have to stop selling usability. It doesn’t have a value proposition. Usability is a quality aspect of something – it is not a process, an artefact, a deliverable or anything that anyone cares about what you are going to give them. I read consultants websites and I think, if I didn’t already know about that, I wouldn’t have a clue about what you are trying to sell me.
  • We want to swoop in and be the centre of the universe and be involved and involved up front and be the centre of it and forget that we are working in teams and working in a context.
  • We’ve got to stop treating people like they are stupid, because they’re actually not. Developers are not stupid. I think Jakob Nielsen and Alan Cooper have done our whole field a disservice by peddling the fact that developers are stupid…They’re working within what they know, we work within the stuff we know and nobody ever knows everything. Nobody goes to work to do a bad days work. More than any community I’ve seen, our community treats them like they’re dumb.
  • I think that Jakob Nielsen’s stuff should be removed from the galaxy…all those bloody rules that don’t fit in any context and lure people into a feeling that you can just get these rules and get it right.

Lakoff’s Women, Fire & Dangerous Things – my Oz-IA talk

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Just below these words are the slides from my Oz-IA talk called ‘Lakoff’s Women, Fire & Dangerous Things: What every IA should know’ (I don’t think the slides appear in my feed – you have to visit my site).

I think this was the best presentation I have ever given. This is a quite hard topic and somehow it ended up quite hilarious – no doubt helped by Alex and his ‘boobies’ comments.

Download the audio and listen along

(read my review of the book)

OZ-IA wrapup

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

I’m back home from my conference run – Web Directions then OZ-IA.

OZ-IA was, predictably, terrific. I met lots of interesting people and caught up with some I hadn’t seen for a while. There was a good mix of presentations – some philosophical, some practical and some hands on.

I particularly liked the way the conference was structured. The first day was a single stream with a mix of conceptual & practical talks. The second day had 2 streams with case-study material in the morning, mini-workshops in the afternoon and an open session last.

I talked about George Lakoff’s ‘Women, Fire & Dangerous Things‘. I had talked about this at the IA Summit this year and hated my presentation. I completely rewrote it for OZ-IA and this time was very happy with it – there was much laughter, which is good for a dry topic in the after-lunch slot. It has been recorded so I’ll blog it when it is ready.

I think there were around 100 people – that’s a great turn-out for a first IA conference, on a weekend, and on a grand final weekend. I’m impressed & think we can do bigger & better things next year.

I only have a small list of things to follow up:

Webstock presentations are available

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

My presentations from Webstock are ready, in as many formats as you can hope for (audio, streaming audio, video, streaming video).

I haven’t watched or listened to them yet, but will do so in the next day or two and will let you know whether they make sense to listen to, or whether you need to watch the video or go through the slides while listening. The second one (usability for rich internet applications) will certainly be something you need to see, not listen to (and I don’t think the hilarious bits will make any sense without seeing it).

I’m keynoting at OZCHI

Monday, June 5th, 2006

How’s this for exciting – I’m going to be this year’s industry keynote at OZCHI (our CHI equivalent). My first keynote, and it is at a conference I love where I get to catch up with great people every year.

One of the most interesting things for me will be the change in type of presentation – I have been doing a lot of conference presentations recently, but they are all very constrained, practical talks (which is great as I’m suited to these). It will be very interesting being able to do something more expansive & forward-thinking.

Web directions 2006

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Details for web directions have been released (September 26-29 in Sydney). Great lineup of speakers and topics covering many aspects of web design & development, including a few information architecture talks (two from Thomas Vander Wal and one from me).

This should be another great conference.

Let me review the usability of your RIA (for free!)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

I’m talking next month at Webstock (which I’m very excited about). One of my talks is called Usability for rich internet applications in which I want to do a similar thing to my recent Digital Web article – to take a look at some RIAs and explain why various aspects should and shouldn’t work from a theoretical usability/cognitive/perception perpective.

I don’t want to pull out the prototypical examples (flickr, googlemaps), and would be interested in looking at some other less well-known applications that use some richness (either AJAXy or Flash).

So if you have one of your own, one that you like or one that you hate, please let me know (comment or email) and I’ll take a look.

I’ll also write up some critiques here either before or after the conference.

(caveat: this is free, so I get to choose what and how much I cover, and you don’t get to approve my opinion first)

WSG presentation: Designing usable rich internet applications

Friday, November 11th, 2005

I spoke at the inaugural Canberra web standards group this afternoon, on the topic of “Designing usable rich internet applications”.

You can read my presentation: Designing usable rich internet applications but it may not make sense by itself. I’ll let you know when the podcast is available (I’m looking forward to listening to it myself – Peter said I used as a verb – as in ‘you can delicious it’).

When you look at the presentation, it may not be clear what is happening. It is in the S5 format – click on the screen (or use arrows or page up/page down) to go through it, or use the controls in the bottom right-hand corner to jump to a slide. View the outline (the little icon that looks like a 0 with a line through it) to see notes and references.

I have used incremental graphics in it, without using positioning for each individual one (as is the case with Eric and Derek’s examples) – I don’t know whether I’ve done something clever or obvious. If it is clever, let me know and I’ll explain.

[Update - a technical hitch meant that the podcast won't be available. But if you are interested in the topic, have a look at the presentation and keep your eye out for more - I'll be writing and speaking about it again.]

Canberra WSG – Inaugural meeting (and I’m speaking)

Friday, October 21st, 2005

The first Canberra Web Standards Group meeting will be held on Friday 11 November between 4-6pm.

There are two fabulous speakers ;)

  • Dean Jackson from the W3C will be talking about the WC3 and its role and relevance today.
  • I will be talking about designing usable rich internet applications (using technologies like AJAX).

Where: National Library of Australia
Venue: Training Room AB
When: Friday 11 November
Time: 4-6pm
Cost: Free