by Joe Lachoff
Today was Thursday, the first full day of conference presentations. Some highlights:
Bill Verplank's opening keynote was inspiring. Every designer should make an effort to catch a presentation by Bill Verplank - the guy is a living design treasure. I don't know if he invented the live sketch presentation format, but I first saw him do it at a BayCHI presentation about 10 years ago, (on a different topic), and it didn't seem new to him even then. I feel lucky to have had another chance to see him present in that format here at Interaction 11. I won't try to summarize his rambling unified field theory, (as if I could!) - but: Some key words he diagrammed while explaining include, art, craft, control, DO-FEEL-KNOW, sense, map, path, buttons, handles, ENACTIVE-ICONIC-SYMBOLIC, person, tool, media, fashion, and infrastructure. You had to be there. Pictures:
Michael Meyer presented next. My big take away from his talk is summarized by this quote: "If you're not actually making something, are you really a designer?" His talk emphasized that only by becoming deeply familiar with the materials of our craft can we understand them well enough to wield them and earn our right to act as their proxy in specifying their expression in our work. The discussion that followed focused on what exactly are the "materials" of interaction design. Post it notes? Wireframes? Software? Code? Widgets and patterns? One compelling answer from the audience was time - interaction is made of narrative. I liked that answer a lot, notably given by the founder of CCA's new undergrad program in IxD.
There was more - much more! Briefly:
Carl Alviani gave a talk on describing IxD to the outside world, his point being, as a profession we must find an externally digestible story we can tell, because our internally-facing story is just too inaccessible. Amen.
Peter Knocke reminded us to be considerate and stop creating addictive experiences just because we can, to the detriment of our over consumptive users who can't regulate themselves when we train our fire hoses of food pellets on them. (clearly I'm tired...)
Tim Wood made a pitch that we not rely on usability research and pattern libraries, (so called "IxD clip art") as substitutes for taking a careful, custom approach. True, true. Easy does it.
Finally, Scott Stroud told us the tale of creating the National Public Radio iPad app in just 3 weeks. Nicely done.