For quite some time, New Zealand stayed relatively off the grid in terms of tech life and industry. However, that’s slowly beginning to change. With the introduction of several popular companies and a variety of interest-piquing startups (both in Auckland and its neighbouring Wellington), the country is starting to demand attention. For UX designers, this means new opportunities and an increasing number of options.
There are several good-sized tech companies scattered across the city of Auckland. These include up-and-comings like Syngency, Bitcrunch, Weirdly Ltd, Ora, and Intuto as well as more established companies, such as Vista Entertainment Solutions. In addition to the pre-established venues, rumours abound of future development and the next names in Auckland.
While the country has not yet developed a wide enough base to attract huge conventions, it does host several UX events throughout the year. Of that list, Webstock is by far the most notable. An annual conference hosted in New Zealand’s Wellington City (Auckland’s neighbor to the south), it provides an array of keynote speakers and a variety of workshops (that range in topics from responsive design patterns to creating a nourishing work culture). The three-day event is quite popular among the UX-interested inhabitants of the island.
One of the sole organizations stretching to New Zealand, the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) offers membership (and the perks that come with the title) to user experience professionals in Auckland and other locations on the island. In addition to providing support and discussion opportunities, the New Zealand chapter of the organization also keeps its members updated on current events in the industry as well as notifies them of local events and conferences.
Although perhaps more limited in meet-up options than UX practitioners in, say, the Silicon Valley, Auckland’s primary group (The User Experience Auckland Group) works to host events that attract hundreds of New Zealanders in the user experience realm. Open to everyone, the group schedules monthly get-togethers to discuss “anything UX.” The events provide the ideal environment for UX professionals to network, learn, share, and discuss. Dates, times, and exact locations can be found on the group’s main Meetup.com page.
While the area is still in the beginning stages of development, it offers a surprising number of resources to its growing population of UX professionals. From conferences to hang outs, Auckland-based practitioners can easily find outlets and associations that will help them to hone their skills and networks.
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