What is an 'Unconference'?

Unconference is all about you. It is about stepping out of the traditional conference model involving presentations selected months beforehand and panels of speakers. It is about making the conference a social event. You as a conference attendee have the chance to pitch your topic, get votes, and become a presentation star. These sessions are intended to create space for peer-to-peer learning and creativity. These are lightning talks of 8 minutes for each topic. A total 12 topics will be selected based on the attendee vote on Thursday, June 23.

Topic submissions:
There will be a designated spot to post your submissions at the conference. Check your registration packet. Follow announcements at the conference.

Duration of each topic:
Maximum 8 minutes for each topic.

Allowed topics:
Any non-commercial topic related to usability from any perspective. Some examples: Show and tell, throw a challenge to the usability field, host a question and answer session, teach a new technique, interactive usability game, sing a usability hip hop song, or be crazy and brave. Remember that each topic is allowed a maximum 8 minutes.

Format of the presentation:
You as a presenter decide which format works for your topic. There will be a projector in the presentation room. If you need any other material work with Unconference committee chairs or conference reception desk.

Advice for unconference presenters:

  • Don't feel that you have to "fill" up the 8 minutes of time. If what you have to say only takes 5 minutes, end the session early and give the next presenter a chance to start early. If you have more to say than fits in 8 minutes, share your contact information with attendees and ask them contact you.
  • There is a special mix of experience and opinion in the room and that's the beauty of unconference. Never assume people in the room know more/less than you. Relax and have fun. Show up smiling, everything will go easier. :)
  • Don't be scared to pick tough topics. Create both topic and an angle.
  • Be prepared for unexpected things such as your slides don't work, projector doesn't start, microphone have an issue. Move on your topic, remember you have only 8 minutes!


Why it is for only 8 minutes?
Revolutions are triggered with just 140 character tweets. According to Scott Berkun, an average American says 12,000 words a day, mostly at work, and frequently to convince others of their ideas. In 8 minutes you can say lot more than 140 characters or thousands of words to talk to the usability professionals at large.

Where can I get the presentation template?
There is no specific template for presentation. It is up to the presenterto create slides themselves if they need them.

Do presenters of Unconference sessions get a discount in conference registration?
No. Unconference is intended to make you famous for 8 minutes.

More questions?
Contact: unconference2011@usabilityprofessionals.org