I am curious to know if anyone has been or knows about the Usability Week conferences that Nielsen Norman Group has organized for 2012 and what is their impression. Is it quality training or can achieve the same by reading some books? Is it overpriced or good value for money? Which are the most recommended conferences?

I've got the feeling that training in new trends such as Agile or UX is highly overpriced —almost scammy— but on the other hand NN/g is a reputable institution.

Day 1

  • Interaction Design 1 with Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini
  • Web Page Design: The Anatomy of High-Performing Web Pages with Kara McCain
  • User Experience Basic Training with Marieke McCloskey
  • Mobile User Experience 1: Usability of Websites and Apps on Mobile Devices with Raluca Budiu
  • Fast and Cheap Usability Methods with Garrett Goldfield

Day 2

  • Interaction Design 2 with Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini
  • From Science to Design: Applying HCI Principles to Real World Problems with Kathryn Whitenton
  • User Testing with Marieke McCloskey
  • Mobile User Experience 2: Touchscreen Application Usability with Raluca Budiu
  • Agile Development and Usability with Lynn Pausic

Day 3

  • Interaction Design 3 with Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini
  • The Human Mind and Usability: How Your Customers Think with Hoa Loranger
  • Application Usability 1: Page-Level Building Blocks for Feature Design with Garrett Goldfield
  • Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet 1 with Kara McCain
  • Improve the SharePoint User Experience with John Pruitt

Day 4

  • Fundamental Guidelines for Web Usability with Jakob Nielsen & Hoa Loranger
  • Website Design Lessons from Social Psychology with John Boyd
  • Application Usability 2: Workflow Design with Garrett Goldfield
  • Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet 2 with Kara McCain
  • From User Data to Great Design with John Pruitt

Day 5

  • Information Architecture 1: Structuring and Organizing Web-Based Information with Kathryn Whitenton
  • Writing for the Web 1: Foundations of Web Content with Marieke McCloskey
  • Managing User Experience Strategy with Christian Rohrer & Nancy Dickenson
  • Wireframing and Prototyping with Hoa Loranger
  • Websites that Sell with Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini

Day 6

  • Information Architecture 2: Navigation Design with Kathryn Whitenton
  • Writing for the Web 2: Presenting Compelling Content with Hoa Loranger
  • Research Beyond User Testing with Christian Rohrer
  • Mobile Usability Methods: How to Run Your Own Usability Studies with Raluca Budiu
  • Intranet Usability with Marieke McCloskey

Prices:

        1 day   2 days  3 days  4 days  5 days  6 days
Early   $769    $1,399  $1,887  $2,293  $2,689  $2,999
Regular $854    $1,554  $2,097  $2,548  $2,988  $3,332
On-site $1,054  $1,754  $2,297  $2,748  $3,188  $3,532

Disclaimer: I know I am putting myself at risk here with a subjective question but I can't think of a better community to get feedback from.

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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Shouldn't this be in the meta section...? Well anyway, I attended the NNG Conference 2011 in San Francisco and these are the sessions I took:

Interaction Design 1 and 2 with Bruce “Tog” Tognazzini: Very interesting speaker, would love to hear more from him. But unfortunately the workshop seemed to be aimed at people very new to the field. Didn't learn much.

Mobile User Experience 1: Usability of Websites and Apps on Mobile Devices and Mobile User Experience 2: Touchscreen Application Usability with Raluca Budiu: Over simplified, clearly not for anybody with any UX experience and the speaker was pretty bland as well.

Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet 1 and 2 with Kara McCain: A bit better but still not suited for anybody with experience. At least Kara's a good speaker.

Conclusion: It was the second and definitely the last time I attended the NNG conference. They sell it as if it was THE conference for UX pros but it's not - it's for managers and people who are new to the field. I talked with many other attendants and they all felt more or less the same. But I'd say if you have never done UX it's probably a great way to kick start your career.

Pricing: Yeah it's rather expensive but not many people actually pay it themselves. Oh and one more thing: The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins (where the conference took place) is definitely not worth the price. The service is terrible and the food (daily breakfast) is too - good to see that they recognized it and switched to the other Intercontinental for the next conference in SF.

Hope that helps, Phil

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sorry, I know it's not a question per se and wouldn't know if it belongs to meta. Thanks for all the valuable feedback. I am a freelance so price matters. –  Naoise Golden Dec 21 '11 at 10:57
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You might want to consider going to 2012.uxlondon.com - Contents and speakers look great. And it's cheaper as well... I'll be there :) –  Phil Dec 21 '11 at 11:11
    
I sat next to Phil on day two of mobile UX and we were just looking at each other going 'wtf?'. far too basic; some interesting things for sure, but swamped by basic stuff. edit: and I paid for it myself. –  colmcq Jan 3 '12 at 20:39
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Yeah, i agree with Mervin. Though they talk about lot of stuff which might be useful in our day today work, but pricing is seriously high... I think if it is company sponsored, then it is fine.

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+1 for 'if it is company sponsored, then it is fine.' –  Kris Dec 21 '11 at 5:18
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I went along to Fast and Cheap Usability Methods with Garrett Goldfield in London. I thought overall it was a good course. It covered mostly different types of user testing and research methods. Most of it was useful but there was some filler about wireframing towards the end. I think the course went up another level with the quality of the teaching, I thought Garrett was excellent and very knowledgeable but allowed other people to pitch in and get a conversation going.

My company paid for it so it was worthwhile, I wouldn't have gone otherwise!

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thanks for the feedback on Goldfield –  Naoise Golden Dec 21 '11 at 10:54
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Though I am pretty sure there will be some value add, I am not sure how much information I'll be able to absorb, with just six days of training. Furthermore, the cost is way too high.

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This is mostly an opinion question, so perhaps not appropriate here.

But, here's my opinion:

The conferences serve many purposes:

  • to learn new things
  • to network
  • to take a break one's habits and get new perspectives
  • to keep the resume looking good
  • to interact directly with experts (ask questions, debate, discuss, etc.)
  • a perk for employees (working vacation)

And they are expensive, but consider:

  • they're typically paid for by employers who:
  • not only receive benefit from you attending, but also in the knowledge transfer you provide to the rest of the team

All that said, yes, it's a business. And they're out to make a profit. But these prices don't seem out of the norm of any other industries' conferences either.

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I know it is an opinion question, but can't imagine a better place to ask. I am a freelance so price does matter. –  Naoise Golden Dec 21 '11 at 10:59
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