A Snapshot of the UX/UI Design Community in Singapore

By   |  2 November 2020November 6th, 2020Design Thinking

Where are the gathering spaces that UX/UI designers in Singapore go to connect and form communities?

As more designers in Singapore join the maturing fields of UX Design, UI Design, Digital Product Design, Service Design, Design Thinking, and the like, more gathering spaces are arising where people meet to form communities.

Recognising ourselves as part of this sector, Studio Dojo has created a snapshot of the gathering spaces we see where designers are meeting, whether online or offline. This article is a compilation of what we see and our thoughts on each of them.

We hope this snapshot would be useful to anyone looking to immerse yourself in the design community in Singapore. If you think there is a gathering space we overlooked, do let us know in the comments!

 

Overview

We visualised these gathering spaces according to four main qualities: 

  • Open. Spaces where larger numbers of people gather.
  • Intimate. Spaces where there is a smaller number of people.
  • Organisation led. Spaces that are led or started by an organisation.
  • Community led. Spaces that are led or started by members of a community.

2 by 2 axis showing the gathering spaces where UX and UI designers in Singapore meet

 

 


 

Conferences

Large scale conferences or conventions are important spaces in any industry. Those featured here were chosen either because of their roots in Singapore or Southeast Asia, or their presence and influence in the local design scene.

 

DesignSingapore Council

 

The DesignSingapore Council is the country’s national agency for design. It was set up to champion the use of design to grow business, spur innovation and improve lives. DSG does this through numerous initiatives and events, of which large scale conferences and conventions are included. Notable conferences by DSG include the Design Education Summit and Brainstorm Design.

 

Design Up

 

DesignUp is an annual conference for “Product Creators, Designers, Makers and Thought-leaders” in India and Southeast Asia. There are many popular design conferences held around the world, but few originate from the region. The conference was held in Singapore in 2019, and went completely online for 2020.

 

DT|UX Summit

 

Organised by Singapore Polytechnic, the DT|UX Summit is an annual event that has in fact been running for over 10 years. Speakers are professionals from both the local design scene and the region.

 

 

 

UX STRAT

 

UX STRAT is an international design conference for design leaders and experienced design professionals who have a desire to grow their leadership from a tactical level to a strategic level. In 2020, UX STRAT Asia will be held online and will feature speakers from Google, Netflix, Instagram, as well as Studio Dojo’s Founder, Khai Seng.

 

UX+ Conference

 

UX+ Conference is a new conference that held its inaugural run in 2019. Despite being the new kid on the block, UX+ is held with a great degree of quality, featuring speakers that are some of the most renowned UX professionals from Southeast Asia all the way to Silicon Valley such as Julie Zhuo, John Zeratsky, and more.

 

UXSEA

 

UXSEA Society is a non-profit UX community originating from Southeast Asia that promotes “Design Local”. Since 2017, the society has organised UXSEA Summits, attracting ever increasing crowds from the region. Studio Dojo’s founder, Khai Seng, spoke at UXSEA 2019 on the topic, “Outside In, Better design by Looking Outwards“.

 

World Interaction Design Day

 

World Interaction Design Day is an annual event organised by the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) with an aim to have a positive, long-lasting impact by facilitating dialogue. It is a day where IxDA chapters around the world work together to offer a full day’s worth of content for each major region in the world. In 2020, IxDD was held online around the theme, “Culture and Sustainability”.

 


 

Social Media Groups

Much like chat groups, social media is an online space where many UX designers gather to have conversations. While there are numerous groups available on various platforms, we have chosen to feature those that are still active, and that are catered to designers in Singapore.

 

Singapore Usability/UI/UX

 

Created in 2013, Singapore Usability/UI/UX Group is a LinkedIn group for UX professionals, managers and academics based in Singapore. It has close to 400 members so far and still draws various posts and sharings from its members.

 

User Experience (UX) Singapore

 

Created in 2015 by Human Factors International (HFI), this LinkedIn group is meant to be a space for a constructive dialogue around digital experiences and the many ways it can be used for a common good. It has over 100 members so far but is unfortunately not very active.

 

UXSG

 

UXSG is a community initiative to create a platform that connects UX professionals across disciplines and cultures. This Facebook group was created in 2010 and boasts over 6,000 members with regular discussions happening on the page.

 


 

Chat Groups

While there are many design chat groups that exist today, those featured here were chosen for their focus on Singapore or Asia.

 

Design Sprint APAC Slack Channel

 

The Design Sprint APAC channel has over 300 members and is relatively active with designers from the Asia Pacific region. The channel has separate spaces for community chat, events and jobs. This Slack channel is also affiliated with the Design Sprint Singapore meetup group.

 

DesignSG Telegram Channel

 

The DesignSG Telegram channel seems to have been started late 2019 or early 2020, and has since grown to over 700 members. It is quite an active group with discussions around design case studies, job listings, the design industry in Singapore, events, volunteer opportunities and other relevant topics. The admins have so far done a great job of keeping discussions relevant to the group.

 


 

Volunteer Opportunities

Highly skilled volunteering is a great way to learn and grow alongside other designers, on top of getting to widen one’s own circles. The opportunities featured were chosen for their focus on utilising the skillsets of UX/UI professionals.

 

Better.sg

 

Better.sg is a tech for good movement hoping to build a better Singapore. They are a volunteer-run charity that builds open source products that are free to use, in hopes of bringing out the best in society. The team has amazingly managed to draw on the strengths of volunteers from multiple disciplines to ship over 50 digital tools thus far, including tools like callhome.sg, GrantHunt, and more.

 

TechLadies

 

TechLadies is a community-led initiative for women in Asia to connect, learn, and grow in the tech industry. They have 4,000 members who are professionals working in Software Engineering, UI/UX Design, Data Science/Engineering/Analysis, Product Management and the like. They are always on the lookout for volunteer community managers, chapter leaders, bootcamp coaches, mentors, writers and designers.

Participate in Design

Participate in Design (P!D) is a registered non-profit design, planning and educational organisation that helps neighbourhoods and public institutions in Singapore design community-owned spaces and solutions. P!D is known for using participatory design methods to help develop neighbourhoods in Singapore in more socially just and inclusive manners. They are always in need of volunteer community facilitators.

 


 

Meetup Groups

There are two types of meetup groups. Ones that enjoy more unstructured conversations through informal meetups, and ones that enjoy more structured conversations through speaker spotlights, panel discussions, talks, workshops, and the like.

To keep this list focused, the groups featured in this category are those with a focus on more intimate, unstructured conversations. They are intimate spaces for deep conversations and can be difficult to find. The groups that organise regular talks or workshops will be categorised under “Talks (Community Led)” and “Workshops (Community Led)” instead.

 

Design Innovation SG

 

This is one of the larger design meetup groups around, with over 3,000 members. It aims to gather individuals interested in the intersection of Design, Creativity and Innovation and provide a platform for sharing insights and lively discussions. The group is still holding active online discussions in October 2020, around the topic of “Designing Organisations”.

 

Design Research SG

 

This is a relatively small and more private group for people who primarily do design research or user research. The higher levels of privacy with the group was deliberate to maintain a safe space for its members, especially since the group aims to hold conversations not only about their craft but to also support one another emotionally. This group is still meeting regularly online in October 2020.

 

UX Writers Singapore

 

This small group dedicated to the maturing practice of UX writing has under 100 members so far. They aim to be a space for members to have conversations about their career trajectory that landed them into UX writing, to collaborate on projects and to build portfolios.

 


 

Mentorships 

Amazing Design People List

 

Amazing Design People List is a community-initiated talent base helping designers land new jobs and connect to design mentors globally. The process of both registering as a mentor or looking for one is straightforward and simple. As of October 2020, there are close to 40 mentors based in Singapore. One of the founders of ADPList, Felix Lee, is also a designer based in Singapore.

 

Interaction Design Association (IxDA)

 

Started in Nov 2011, IxDA Singapore is one of the 200+ local groups of this global professional network. It aims to foster a community where design professionals can learn, discover new inspirations and form meaningful connections with one another. On top of the many talks and workshops for the community, IxDA Singapore is also running a mentorship initiative.

 

TechLadies

 

TechLadies is a community-led initiative for women in Asia to connect, learn, and grow in the tech industry. They have 4,000 members who are professionals working in Software Engineering, UI/UX Design, Data Science/Engineering/Analysis, Product Management and the like. Their mentorship initiative is a free 12-week programme to help women advance in their careers.

The Codette Project

The Codette Project is a non-profit, ground-up initiative that aims to provide social and economic opportunities for minority/Muslim women to gain access to and opportunities in the tech industry. They try to do this by building a community, providing workshops, offering mentorship initiatives, and publishing content to reclaim narratives of success for minority women. Their last mentorship initiative involved mentors from design agencies, non-protfits, tech consultancies, and more.

 


 

Talks (Community Led)

Talks are one of the most common gathering spaces for UX/UI designers in Singapore. We typically see two types of talks, ones that are offered by businesses or organisations, and another are talks organised by the community for the community. In this section, we have chosen to highlight community groups that are still actively organising talks.

 

Amazing Design People List

 

Amazing Design People List is a community-initiated talent base helping designers land new jobs and connect to design mentors globally. On top of that, they also host regularly talks they refer to as Coffee Hours or After Hours, where notable designers like Chris Do have been featured.

 

Design Sprint Singapore

 

Design Sprint Singapore seemed to have started only in May 2020 but has since grown to over 1,000 members. This community led group regularly hosts talks for digital product designers, UI/UX designers and design enthusiasts. One of its organisers, Jill Quek, also manages the Design Sprint APAC Slack channel also featured in this article.

 

Friends of Figma

 

Friends of Figma, Singapore or FOF Singapore is an official user group of Figma. It is run by Figma Community Advocates based in Singapore, as a way to bring folks together for meetups, sharing sessions, to discuss topics related to Figma and the field of product design. The group has organised both talks and workshops for its members and are still active, recently hosting a talk on the topic, “Designers vs Recession”.

 

Interaction Design Association (IxDA)

 

IxDA is an especially recognisable name in Singapore for its consistent and regular activities. Talks, panel discussions, workshops and more have been put together for the community, featuring notable designers both from Singapore and abroad.

 


 

Talks (Organisation Led)

Talks are one of the most common gathering spaces for UX/UI designers in Singapore. We typically see two types of talks, ones that are offered by businesses or organisations, and another are talks organised by the community for the community. In this section, we are highlighting groups or talk series that are organised by businesses or organisations.

 

Canopy Design Events – Singapore UX & Research by DBS

 

The Canopy Design meetup is organised by the DBS design team with an aim to help designers in Singapore learn, grow and network with other. Their first talk was held in September 2020 and drew over 80 attendees. Future topics they are looking at include accessibility, user experience, best design practices, latest trends and so on.

 

Curious Core

 

Curious Core is an education organisation that specialises in helping mid-career professionals break into the User Experience (UX) Design industry and business leaders to learn the fundamentals of Human-Centered Design (HCD) to solve business challenges. They actively host webinars, free introduction sessions as well as portfolio review sessions.

 

DesignSingapore Council

 

 

 

The DesignSingapore Council is the country’s national agency for design. It was set up to champion the use of design to grow business, spur innovation and improve lives. DSG does this through organising regular talks and workshops around design.

 

General Assembly

 

 

 

General Assembly is a popular education and career transformation organisation and is likely the source of many designers’ initial training in UX here in Singapore. They hold regular talks and workshops not just on design as a craft, but also on personal development like overcoming imposter syndrome, emotional agility, and the like.

 

Service Design Drinks Singapore

 

Service Design Drinks are open and informal meetups to bring the Service Design community together. It is an event format present in many countries, including Berlin, Milan, India, and more. The format was brought to Singapore by Ideactio, a design consultancy based here. The SDD events held here typically involve a speaker and a topic in focus.

 

STACK-X by GovTech Singapore

 

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) is a statutory board of the Singapore government that is committed to building the Government Tech Stack as well as meaningful products, platforms and solutions for the public good. They started the STACK-X community to gather others who share the same passionate using technology to improve the lives of everyday Singaporeans. STACK-X talks and workshops are popular, regularly drawing more than 100 participants each run.

 

UX Evening @ Google

 

UX Evenings @ Google is a quarterly speaker series that invites innovators from across industries to Google to talk about user experience (UX) in APAC. They are typically live streamed with recordings made available after. To date, they have featured speakers from Google, Chope, DBS, as well as Khai Seng from Studio Dojo. His talk on the topic, “What Does a UX Strategist Do?”, can be seen here.

 


 

Workshops (Community Led)

Similar to talks, we typically see two types of workshops. Ones that are offered by businesses or organisations, and another are workshops organised by the community for the community. In this section, we have chosen to highlight community groups that are actively organising workshops.

 

Friends of Figma

 

Friends of Figma, Singapore or FOF Singapore is an official user group of Figma. It is run by Figma Community Advocates based in Singapore, as a way to bring folks together for meetups, sharing sessions, to discuss topics related to Figma and the field of product design. The group has organised both talks and workshops for its members and are still active, recently hosting a talk on the topic, “Designers vs Recession”.

 

Interaction Design Association (IxDA)

 

IxDA is an especially recognisable name in Singapore for its consistent and regular activities. Talks, panel discussions, workshops and more have been put together for the community, featuring notable designers both from Singapore and abroad.

The Codette Project

The Codette Project is a non-profit, ground-up initiative that aims to provide social and economic opportunities for minority/Muslim women to gain access to and opportunities in the tech industry. They try to do this by building a community, providing workshops, offering mentorship initiatives, and publishing content to reclaim narratives of success for minority women. Some of their past workshops include a career critique convention, a hackathon and more.

 

Workshops (Organisation Led)

Similar to talks, we typically see two types of workshops. Ones that are offered by businesses or organisations, and another are workshops organised by the community for the community. In this section, we are highlighting groups or workshop series that are organised by businesses or organisations.

 

DesignSingapore Council

 

The DesignSingapore Council is the country’s national agency for design. It was set up to champion the use of design to grow business, spur innovation and improve lives. DSG does this through organising regular talks and workshops around design.

 

Design U by Lazada

 

Design U is a series of design workshops by Lazada that explores methods to improve the user experience of products and services. Some topics they have covered so far include design systems, how to design the right thing, and even how to design a better event for designers. Lately, Lazada’s design team has also been putting out original content discussing design on their LinkedIn group.

 

General Assembly

 

General Assembly is a popular education and career transformation organisation and is likely the source of many designers’ initial training in UX here in Singapore. They hold regular talks and workshops not just on design as a craft, but also on personal development like overcoming imposter syndrome, emotional agility, and the like.

 

We hope this little snapshot has been useful to anyone looking to immerse in the local design community. Feel free to share this article if you have found it helpful, or reach out to us if you think there is a gathering space we overlooked!

3 Comments

  • anonymous says:

    Academy Xi has closed in Singapore and no longer runs talks or workshops.

  • Damien Teo says:

    Thanks for the heads up! We heard from others too and have excluded Academy Xi from the snapshot (:

  • Andrea says:

    Hi Damien, thank you for writing this article and compiling these resources. You may want to include Techforshe as one of the gathering spaces too! 🙂

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