Ok, before you go on reading thinking someone paid me $200 to WRITE a blog post, let me be clear. That wasn’t the case. I wrote a blog post for an online contest and won 1st prize which was $200 worth of UX (User Experience) books. However, I had to get your attention somehow so this sensational title was worth a shot. Anyways, it’s a great story so I thought I would tell it.

I blog on both my personal blog (here) and the Roundarch (my employer) blog. One of the usability blogs I follow was running a contest. I’m a student of usability and have read a couple books on the subject but I was hungry for more. This was a great opportunity for me to get in on some books without having to pay for them provided I won. All you had to do was write a blog post on “why you love usability and want to jump-start your usability training”. I thought to myself, that’s pretty easy. I can write a blog post. I write blog posts anyways.

For the last month, I’ve been pretty slammed at work, so you probably noticed tumbleweeds and cobwebs on my blog. The blog at work was also suffering a similar fate and needed remedying. So I thought, why don’t I kill 2 birds with one stone and blog about usability on the Roundarch blog. It would give others an idea of the importance we as a company place on usability (because we do), and I would have a blog post to submit for the contest. (And if by chance I won, I’d have a great blog post for my own blog in the form of this story I’m telling you right now). Mind you, I wasn’t expecting to win.

You can read the blog post and judge for yourself. I don’t personally think it’s award winning material by any means but if you looked at the competition, a lot of it was pretty half-assed. Like Woody Allen says:

80% of success is just showing up

I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that I was being lazy. I killed 2 birds with one stone by writing a blog post on usability on the Roundarch blog so that I could have a blog post there AND have an entry to the competition. As luck would have it I won.

Here are the books I won:

I’ve read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Don’t Make Me Think, and Tipping Point. The person running the contest, a guy by the name of Peter Meyers, was gracious enough to let me swap out the books I already had for other usability books. I’ll give him a shameless plug. You should read his blog if you are interested in usability and UX.

So the point of this entire blog post is this: There are tons of small little contests and competitions like these all over the internet with prizes waiting to be claimed. You just have to seek them out and give it a shot. This one particular contest had 20 entries. That means you had 1 in 20 chances of winning. Why not? Anyways, if anyone did decide to listen to this tidbit of advice and actually wins something on the web down the line, please give me a shout out on this blog post and tell me your story.

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