Why did we build this site? What problem are we solving?

Posted on October 20, 2016

By Thomas Yung

This question is why UX is so important. After many months talking/interviewing with Designers from our numerous meetups, several themes started emerging.

Bridging the designer skills gap

There is a huge gap between how many experienced and inexperienced designers there are in the group. If I had to guess, there is an 20/80 split. We want to bridge the skills gap between experienced and inexperienced UX designers. Why is this important? If we want the UX field to be taken seriously, we need many people understanding why UX design is as important as breathing. Right now, lots of things are poorly designed. We need more people to bring back critical UX knowledge to where they work. This leads to greater UX maturity at the organizational level. In turn, the organizational friction will be removed, making it easier for UX to be at the forefront of discussions, rather than an afterthought. Eventually, this leads to more UX design job opportunities in Rochester.

Connecting with other designers

The group started out as a way for people interested in UX (user experience) design to connect in the greater Rochester community. Before we started this meetup group, many of us in Rochester had to make a trip up to the Twin Cities to attend conferences and other networking gigs. We want the website to act as a hub for meeting and networking with other designers. Mentoring is a big part of helping bridging the skills gap. You need to connect with other designers in order to get mentored. You may ask, why aren’t more UX Designers in Rochester willing to be become a mentor? Is it because they are too busy? Already achieved their goals of becoming an expert UX Designer? I am not sure, but that is something we want to address.

Designer Inspiration

Designers need to become inspired to do great work. There is a link between inspiration and creativity. We feel that the website can become a source of inspiration for designers. Storytelling is a big part of this. Websites are a natural medium for showcasing our stories. We hope to curate stories/articles/podcasts/videos from around the web, and even create some ourselves.

Meetup.com platform too limiting

Finally, the Meetup.com platform is not flexible enough to support several things we need. Their system does not allow electronic communication methods other than theirs to message or contact members. It wouldn't be so bad if they gave us analytics or a better mechanism to send richer formatted emails, but they don’t. We really need a flexible CRM backend, and Meetup does not offer that.