UX Helping the Community – UX4Good
Last night, I had the honor of attending the first annual UX4Good reception that presented the hard work of 40 UX designers in Chicago. Their challenge was to solve 5 of the top social issues facing our city and society: unemployment, urban violence, public education, community mental health and cross-cultural understanding. Many of the organizations impacted are non-profits who don’t have the resources to hire UX folks and I felt inspired seeing the great ideas that were generated for them when smart people worked together towards a common goal. Mashable applauded the great effort and even Mayor Daley sent his gratitude to the teams for helping.
All the presentations were well done, but one really stuck with me: unemployment. The unemployment team tackled the misperceptions that exist for a local magazine called Streetwise. Vendors for Streetwise are usually homeless and are looking to get their lives back together and selling Streetwise is their job. I see these vendors on the corners and I admittedly ignore them. I grouped them with the other people begging that I see throughout the city, but last night I learned they are different. These vendors are trying to make a change in their lives by selling Streetwise. They’re not looking for a hand-out, they are looking for a hand-up. The team already changed my perception of Streetwise and I am confident their great ideas will help change the perceptions of many other Chicagoans.
It was humbling to be surrounded by such talented designers who gave up their time and energy to help good causes progress forward. I look forward to the opportunity to participate myself in the future.