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IDEA Conference 2008: Day 1

I’m finally getting a chance to post the roundups of my tweets at the IDEA conference in Chicago, October 7-8, 2008. It was an incredible two days of high-level thinking and insights. Not necessarily material that you can apply to your every day work — not suggestions on how to create better looking documentation or how to do usability testing on a shoestring — but broader topics with loftier goals and more forward-thinking concepts. I really enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of it. And being a volunteer was a great experience because I got to see all the hard work that went into organizing the conference for the three months leading up to it. A special thanks to Sarah Rice, Jorge Arango, Melissa Weaver and Russ Unger who encouraged me to participate and did an incredible job of keeping the ship sailing the entire way.

I’ve lumped my tweets into Day 1 and Day 2. The speakers from Day 1 were David Armano, Jason Kunesh, Dave Gray, Elliott Malkin, Edwina von Gal and Jesse James Garrett.

Without further ado…

David Armano: “Micro-Interactions in a 2.0 World”

  • @armano giving props to Randy Pausch. I was lucky to have had him as a professor at CMU.
  • Go read @armano’s blog post on Randy Pausch’s childhood experience with Disney
  • Google “I love citibank” You’ll get @armano’s post. Brands can’t help that their customers are active participants & will be heard
  • From passive consumption to active participation. User, consumer, community, participant, producer, customer. All people
  • Critical Mass’s “Always in Beta” site put together in a couple of days using ustream video and chat
  • The person at the top of the pyramid no longer has the most influence. Bloggers, Twitterers influence their audiences

  • Lifestreams = multiple data flows from a source intersect at junctions (Flickr+Twitter). Aggregated by services like FriendFeed
  • “A band is not what YOU [business] say it is. It’s what THEY [consumers] say it is”
  • http://brandtags.net for P&G: big, boring, chemicals, conglomerate, corporate, evil. Brands can’t hide how ppl really see them
  • The 3 U’s: usefulness (serve purpose), utility (foster meaningful interactions), ubiquity (effective across multiple touch points)
  • @armano referencing Domino’s pizza configurator, MyVegas, Fiskars Fisk-a-teers crafting ambassadors as examples of high engagement
  • @armano reading his quote from @inspireux
  • @armano showing his Stairway to Brand Heaven and Hell
  • Useful, usable, desirable used to be the goal. But now we have to add sustainable and social
  • Tower Records didn’t understand what their customers really wanted, but Netflix did. One’s out of business, the other’s thriving
  • Portable micro-interactions: allow ppl to interact with your brand on the go, where they are, instead of just where you are
  • Brands have figured out how to broadcast their msg using mass media. Now they have to learn how to act as a facilitator b/w ppl
  • Brands have opportunity to become more transparent and participate in environments where the conversation is already happening
  • Makes conversation about issues w products, not just about Dell. 485 comments on one blog post. It takes work, but there’s benefit
  • Dell employees on Twitter: @lionelatdell @Richardatdell. I don’t know the two other names, sorry

  • My Starbucks Idea. Helping the brand by opening it up instead of trying to fix it on their own
  • Twitter evolving into multi-touchpoint ecosystem. Wasn’t designed to be used this way.
  • @comcastcares @hrblock @zappos @southwestair using Twitter to help their customers. Live direct engagement, not canned
  • From passive to active. Macro to micro. Fixed to portable. Recorded to live. Messages to interactions. Formal to informal.
  • From dictation to conversation. Finite to infinite. Staged to improvised. Faceless to personalities. Promises to actions.
  • “Treat everyone like an influencer. Make every interaction count” — @armano
  • Audience Q: are brands really reaching their audience by interacting with these channels? So few people are actually on Twitter
  • @armano answer: you can’t do it one way. You have to interact in multiple channels, networks. Still do bigger scale efforts
  • @armano — “Do it if you think you can provide a good service. Not just lip service.” GREAT quote, David!
  • Audience Q: how do you maintain professionalism with these direct engagement methods that are run by individuals?
  • @armano: it’s definitely a risk. But you face it with the call service reps today

David’s slides:

Micro-Interactions in a 2.0 World (v2)
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web 2.0)

Jason Kunesh: “Digital Context Clues”

  • Studied T.S. Eliot in college. “Modernist, curmudgeon, hip hop artist.” Addressed modern vs. post-modern. Remixed culture. Mashups
  • CB radio is the analog of Twitter — @jdkunesh. I’ve heard lots of folks say that before. So true. Except we’re not that creepy ;)
  • FastFrog in 99, store shopping with a PDA. But it wasn’t really meeting ppl’s needs “Good product design doesn’t come with fear.”

  • TWEC Listening and Viewing Station, runs FYE brand. He helped build kiosk and website…
  • … Successful project cuz it addressed what ppl wanted to do in space and carry it home.
  • More recent @jdkunesh project was LeapFrog 2007-2008. Designing for kids is a big challenge. Can’t rely on the same assumptions
  • However, kids were fluent with desktop metaphors, far more than they expected. It’s innate to them
  • cMomGo launching soon
  • As IAs, we can’t easily articulate what we do so we get defensive about it. We can’t be so uptight about who we are and what we do
  • We’re “bricoleurs” as defined by Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Savage Mind.
  • Bricoleur = “A person who creates using a diverse range of materials”
  • Alan Cooper wrote in The Inmates are Running the Asylum that we threw away 20 years of desktop technology when we went to the web
  • But we must balance that potential against a common language. Be aware of best practices, pattern libraries, etc.
  • Santa Barbara’s Light Blue Line: painted line where water level will be when polar ice caps melt. Created convo in the community

Jason’s slides:

Jdkunesh Idea2008
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: design ixd)

Dave Gray: “Books and Browsers”

  • I love http://xplane.com/ !!!
  • Dave asks, “Who here is over-documented?” Everyone raised their hands. Who actually understands their co’s benefits plan?
  • @xplane takes all of your company’s documentation and throws it away. They start by talking to your people, the brains
  • Books haven’t changed that much in 500 years. It’s portable and easy to carry around. No batteries, no cords, no firmware upgrades

  • Your book never stops working. It has very generous “screen real estate”
  • “The medium is the message” — Marshall McLewin
  • Medium: shape, interactions, affordances. You can drop a book, spill wine on it, read it in the tub. Turn pages. Read & write
  • With a book, you know when you’re near the beginning and you know when you’re near the end. With e-books “it just ends” no warning
  • There is an ideal size for a portable book, and a sensory appeal: smell, feel.
  • @davegray on our desktops, a lot of it is like loose leafs of paper — windows
  • Scrolling – move forward and backward, but we can’t quickly jump from one section to another.
  • “We’re still in the days of the scroll on the Internet…In the context of the book, that’s less than half-way there” — @davegray
  • Julius Caesar supposedly invented the folding book. He was invading France, and scrolls were too unwieldy to carry around
  • Can’t do very easily digitally, or in a book: comparing pages side-by-side.
  • Roman scroll is binding together pages of different lengths. I’m loving this lesson on books! Reminds me of my bookbinding courses
  • Gutenberg bible had no page numbers, verse numbers, index or table of contexts. Religious text designed to be read linearly
  • Four major phases of the book in history: scroll, tablet, codex, metadata. On the web we’re still at the first phase. — @davegray
  • Roman scroll is kind of analogous to tabs on a website
  • Design, manufacturing and content = book, while the browser is in a uncomfortable middle-man position. Any device. Looser content

  • The oral tradition: mnemonic devices, visual imagery, lots of repetition. Keeping people anchored to an imagination space
  • The tree of talking” packing and unpacking our experiences
  • “The internet is a really good filing cabinet.” — @davegray
  • Internet needs to be a space to create things deeper than a blog post. A landscape, many tracks.
  • Browser needs centers of gravity, paths, random walks. Stumbleupon is a version of a random walk
  • Interleaving: blank sheets in a book where you can write your thoughts. Your journey parallels the author’s journey
  • What if we could do interleaving through the browser? Without having to open multiple tabs. Should be easier to make notes.
  • The Internet should allow us to create, not just to read and react
  • @davegray — “Probably 90% of this stuff already exists, so if it does, someone needs to tell me about it”
  • Consumers needs to be enabled to be Creators, adding their own content in a creative way.
  • Would be impossible to create drawings like Leonardo da Vinci in a web browser today. When we can, we know we’re getting somewhere
  • Get in touch with @davegray: http://communicationnation.blogspot.com/ [email protected]
  • Audience Q: What do you think of doing comic book for Chrome?
  • More visualizations = better! He loves Scott McCloud
  • Browsers don’t tell us when we’ve been to a site 20x before. No sense of “gravity.”

  • @davegray adds the same links to delicious without realizing he’s been there before

Elliott Malkin: “Information in Space”

  • Elliott Malkin talking about Orthodox Jewish practice of “no carrying” on Shabbat. The eruv, wire b/w telephone poles, marks space
  • Mental models change in a space. Allows Orthodox Jews to carry objects out of homes on Shabbat
  • It’s a designation of space only for those who know that it’s there. It’s presence is barely noticeable to anyone else
  • Eruv in Upper Manhattan provides boundary for Orthodox Jews to operate within on Shabbat.
  • Eruv dates back to biblical times. Built around communities where Orthodox Jews live, but not exclusively Jewish neighborhoods
  • It’s not a barrier; it’s a symbolic boundary for members of the community to observe.
  • Psychogeographic, designation of the physical space. Old eruv in Manhattan bounded by the 3rd Ave elevated train and the E River
  • Elliott Malkin put a semacode at various spots along the old eruv to mark the old train line http://www.dziga.com/eruv/index.php
  • What is the next generation of eruv? Elliott approached it as a design question.
  • What if surveillance camera & low-power laser form eruv & video processing software monitor its integrity. It’s done manually now
  • Elliott Malkin created his own system like this: a lens, antenna (to send video out), strong magnet (to hang) and power cable
  • Cemetery 2.0 in honor of his grandparents’ gravestone
  • What can we learn about a person’s life from their gravestone? Birth/death dates, relationship to others (“beloved father”)
  • Found his great-grandfather’s death certificate, found his business in an old yellow pages, declaration of intent for citizenship

  • Elliott Malkin talking about migration patterns of monarch butterflies. Milkweed plant is exclusively where they live, feed, etc
  • You can periodically see monarch butterflies flying around NYC, so Elliott grew some milkweed on his roof in the city
  • Monarch butterflies can see UV light and thus can find the milkweed plant. They see something we can’t see
  • He ended up getting a single monarch butterfly visitor. But not sure if it was due to the milkweed or his butterfly graffiti

[More on Elliott's talk at IDEA]

Edwina von Gal: “Mixing Messages”

  • Edwina is talking about Panama. Now how often does that happen @jarango?! ;)
  • Edwina is a “plant-based designer” who worked for Frank Gehry. Gehry designed a park around a museum of biodiversity in Panama
  • This talk is largely over my head so I’m not really keeping up.
  • @russu is right. Lots of great imagery here so it’s hard to tweet.
  • In this session I’ve learned that I don’t understand landscape design. So layered and complex, understanding ecosystems and space

Jesse James Garrett: Aurora

  • Adaptive Path’s co-founder and president @jjg talking about Aurora
  • @adaptivepath devoted time to Mozilla to think about the long-term vision of the browser
  • Browser < User interfaces < technology and the web < THE WORLD! Kept broadening their vision
  • Jamais Cascio, “professional futurist,” volunteered some of his time to @adaptivepath to help envision the future of the browser
  • Take the abundance of data as a given. Challenge is to manage that and make it accessible in people’s lives
  • Internet went out for a bit so I haven’t been able to take notes during @jjg’s talk. Sorry folks!
  • @jjg playing Part 2 of Aurora videos
  • Audience Q to @jjg: “How do you validate your design concepts?” Answer: “We’re very fortunate that no one had to actually use it”

[Podcasts of all talks can be found on Boxes and Arrows]

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