What is a Local UXPA Chapter?
The goal of Local UXPA Chapters is to enable people with the same interest to come together regularly to share their experience and to encourage each other in the UX profession. The focus is on truly local activities connecting UX professionals with each other. Business meetings with invited speakers, usability lab tours and UX roundtables, where you can bring interesting UX problems to be solved jointly, are some examples of what a Local Chapter may offer. Above all; it provides a handy and convenient network for everyday access.
A Local Chapter is a group of UXPA members who live or work in a particular locality and who, as a matter of geographic convenience, organize themselves to promote the goals of the Association cooperatively. It serves as a focal point for its members to share their professional experiences and provide educational opportunities in the advancement research field. Local UXPA Chapters offer a number of benefits to its members.
A Platform for Networking
One of the greatest resources for professional and personal development is to meet with colleagues in the same field. You gain new information on state-of-the-art technology, access to others’ experiences and knowledge and you will get the chance to broaden your insights.
Your Chapter meetings and activities allow you to expand your knowledge in the UX research/development area. Chapters bring continuous education opportunities closer to home and provide a bridge between the annual UXPA conferences. It is also possible to organize Mentor Programs as a way for the members to grow in their profession.
Exchange of Services and Contributing to UXPA as an Organization
The Local Chapters will give you the possibility to exchange both professional experiences and services, such as reviewing each other’s papers and conference contributions. It will also act as a greenhouse for new ideas that can be implemented globally by the Association, and provide UXPA with potential new members to the Board of Directors.
A Creative and Stimulating Environment
Design contests and brain-storming exercises are fun and stimulating ways of learning more about UX and the other members of the Chapter. Local Chapters often organize activities such as usability lab tours and site visits to interesting work places, for example Air Traffic Control Centers and High-Tech Manufacturing plants. Learning more about UX issues in these “extreme” working conditions will often give you good ideas to bring back home.
How to start a Local Chapter
Organization of a Local Chapter
A Local Chapter is part of the UXPA organization, but it is responsible for its own finances. Initial expenses when starting a Chapter are likely to be related to the arrangement of meetings. It is often possible to find an organization that will sponsor meetings by providing a free meeting room. It may also be possible that this (or another) sponsor will cover the cost of refreshments. If not, you will need to charge an entrance fee.
Two potential models for financing your Chapter are:
- Makes all UXPA members Chapter members, and charge a small entrance to people who are not Chapter members. This can build up a large Chapter membership, while still attracting enough non-members to cover the cost of refreshments at meetings.
- Generate income by charging Chapter members a membership fee. UXPA can also collect the fee on behalf of the Chapter. When UXPA members join or renew membership, they can opt to pay for Chapter membership at the same time. A Chapter can also have Local members who are not UXPA members.
Steps to start a Chapter
- Contact the UXPA office or your UXPA Regional Director. Your Regional Director will then send you the information that you need in order to start a local Chapter. They will also continue to help you create your Chapter and guide you through the process of getting approval from the UXPA for Chapter status.
- Establish a Chapter in Formation (optional). If you have enough interest to start a Chapter immediately you can go straight to step 3. Alternatively you can ask your Regional Director to set up a UXPA Chapter in Formation, which needs a minimum of only three UXPA members to form the Council. Once the Chapter in Formation is established, you can:
- Organize meetings using the Chapter in Formation name (with the agreement of your Regional Director).
- Carry out other activities that support the objective of forming a UXPA Chapter.
- Establish a web site (making use of any UXPA resources for creating Chapter web sites).
- Participate in any UXPA Chapter discussion forums.
- Establish a full Chapter. Round up at least two other volunteers in your area who are interested in starting a Local Chapter. This is the core team that will help you prepare the constituting meeting.
- Write a tentative plan for meetings and other Chapter activities to present at the constituting meeting.
- Organize a constituting meeting with at least ten people that currently are, or are prepared to become, UXPA members and support the Local Chapter. Up to five of the foundation members of the Chapter are entitled to up to 12 months free membership of UXPA.
- Submit a Petition, along with a Chapter Charter, proposed Bylaws and the proposed boundaries of the Chapter to your Regional Director.
A UXPA Chapter in Formation can receive the following benefits:
- Advice and support from your Regional Director.
- You should make every effort to organize meetings that are financially self-supporting (donations-in-kind, sponsorships, dues, operating expenses per meeting, etc.). In truly exceptional circumstances if you are unable to cover the costs of organising a meeting from other sources, UXPA may consider providing some financial support.
- Up to five (Counci)l members of the Chapter in Formation will be entitled to up to 12 months free membership of UXPA for the first year only.
This is just an overview. For the full details read this Chapter Manual and contact your Regional Director.