I have been looking to beef up my Usability and Design experience of late. I have found several organizations in the New York area that seem to host events and have projects running that can use volunteers. Of course, this from the websites these organizations have on offer. Some of them are:
http://iainstitute.org/ (information architecture)
This page was particularly helpful in finding some amazing people to talk to for guidance. Luckily some of them could make time to exchange emails with me. The information they gave was quite useful in terms of:
1) The kind of concepts to familiarize myself with to be able to contribute to the design of products:
- Research Methods – comes with experience. try volunteering/ pro-bono.
- Best Practices – comes with experience. try volunteering/ pro-bono.
- Psychological principles – classes in cog. psyc, statistics, perception, info processing
- Technical skills – html, css, flash .. general web dev and design skills
2) relevant part time classes that can help. For instance website usability and information architecture. I found these in the continuing ed departments of sva and nyu.
- Getting Started with Interface Design (net.tutsplus.com)