IxDA Interaction 09: Day 1

IxDA Interaction 09

Well Interaction 09 was a blast! Vancouver is a hip, chic town and the energy level at the conference was really high. My favorite thing about the user experience community is just how much everyone loves each other and feels inspired by one another. While this year, IxDA’s second running the conference, had a very different vibe than in Savannah, it was still a great turnout and a wonderful opportunity to get a sense of the state of interaction design today.

As always, I took detailed notes of the sessions I attended via Twitter. This time I was officially sponsored by Boxes and Arrows, the foremost online publication for information architects. I was able to attend the conference thanks to their generosity. If you design websites for a living and aren’t already an avid reader of Boxes and Arrows, you really ought to start now.

My Twitter notes from Interaction 09 Day 1 — Friday, February 6, 2009 — are below. I have gathered my tweets from Day 2 and Day 3 in other posts.

Conference Opening Remarks

  • I’m Twittering from Interaction 09 http://interaction09.ixda.org. Opening remarks by outgoing IxDA president @jseiden
  • @jseiden say he wasn’t sure we could recapture the amazing energy of inaugural conference in Savannah last year. But he’s feeling it
  • @jseiden reading IxDA’s mission statement. In short: to improve the human condition by advancing the discipline of interaction design

Keynote: Experiencing Sustainability by John Thackara

  • Thachara mentioning Vancouver’s unbelievably big homeless population. Lots of people talking about it. I noticed too already
  • Thachara showing an inverted pyramid of global liquidity. Derivatives, securitized debt, broad money, power money http://is.gd/iG2s
  • @kaleemux has a better handle on this stuff than I do. It’s completely going over my head
  • Thackara showing this Energy Flow in the U.S. Food System graph: http://is.gd/iG6D
  • If the sea level rises by just 1 meter, all this is gone: http://is.gd/iG7p and 6 meters: http://is.gd/iG7y
  • While I think that what Thackara is saying is important, I don’t see how it relates to interaction design. Am I dense?
  • @jkolko @daveixd I understand that, but he’s talking about the what, not the how.
  • @jkolko Sorry, just tired of ppl telling me that the world is ending & I need to save it w/o any solutions. Maybe he’s getting there
  • Foodsheds production, distribution, storage, preparation & waste are all components of the systems for designers to focus on
  • Nice, Lou! RT @louisrosenfeld: @whitneyhess Here’s some how help (available in < 1 month): http://is.gd/iGbK #ixd09 ;-)
  • Thackara: Closed-loop/off-grid water as a solution?
  • From stormwater management to rainwater management: http://is.gd/iGdL
  • Dry toilets: http://www.schoolsanitation.org/BasicPrinciples/DryToilets.html
  • Neighborhood approach to renewable energy, decentralized network using the Internet: http://is.gd/iGgE
  • Thackara talking about Bricolabs http://bricolabs.net/ The Lewes Pound: http://www.thelewespound.org/

Panel: Jared Spool & Friends

  • Up next, @jmspool and friends. “Interaction Design: Coming Into Our Own”
  • @jmspool cracking jokes already. Har har har. @gpetroff asked Jared to put this panel together
  • Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay in 2007, told analysts on a conference call why their #s were down; cited they were investing in UX problems
  • @jmspool talking about Adobe Engage conf, which he didn’t particularly enjoy. Showcased Air products that never saw light of day
  • He went back the next year cuz he really liked the food. Changes: eBay, SAP, other major cos were invited to share their Air apps
  • @jmspool says that in order to support what these major cos are really trying to achieve, they need 10,000 new interaction designers.
  • “There are only 450 of us here. Where are they all coming from?”
  • How are we going to meet the demand? @jmspool asks Matthew Holloway from SAP, VP of Design Services Team. @sukinono is on that team!
  • @jmspool asks Matthew Holloway what SAP looks for in interaction designers: education, experience, skills. Has to be right balance
  • @jmspool asking @jseiden *my former boss!* the same question. What do they look for in interaction designers? Currently a team of 10
  • @jseiden also says nice balance of skills, but also capable of playing in the strategy space. Depends on level of course though
  • Andrei Herasimchuk @Trenti, first interface designer at Adobe years ago, now the Chief Desgin Officer for Involution Studios
  • @Trenti says his team is more tactical. Looks for people with skills who can build the actual product.
  • @Trenti doesn’t really care about résumé, cares much more about portfolio. @jseiden saying he doesn’t care much about portfolio
  • @jseiden and Liquidnet look much more to exercises, take home and in person. I know because I had to do them to get hired :)
  • @jmspool‘s friends are disagreeing with each other. This is what a panel is all about! I hate when panelists totally agree. Bo-ring!
  • Matthew Holloway talking about behavioral interviews at SAP. @sukinono @gpetroff, did you go through these? I want details!
  • If I were hiring, I’d look quickly at résumé, somewhat at portfolio & use a probational project to decide if the person was right fit
  • @jseiden says you can’t teach those things. Other things like domain & techniques can be taught. But designer needs to LOVE the work
  • @jkolko UX vs. interaction = “UX folks are designers who can’t design.” I might hurt him later. Pull on his earrings
  • @jmspool introducing @bobulate. Chair of the MFA Interaction Design and School of Visual Arts http://interactiondesign.sva.edu/
  • @bobulate talking about the MFA Interaction Design program. Starts this fall. Wants to connect IxD with business value.
  • @daveixd It’s a different focus. I do research and I design. I choose to use this title. Doesn’t automatically make me a bad designer
  • Jeremy Yuille @overlobe, co-founder of Media and Communication Design Studio at RMIT in Melbourne http://mcdstudio.rmit.edu.au/
  • @emenel big difference between *don’t* and *can’t*
  • @overlobe also a project leader for Australasian CRC for Interaction Design http://www.interactiondesign.com.au/
  • I’m now in love with SAP’s Matthew Holloway who’s asking us to stop defining the differences b/w us and come together to do good work
  • I’ll be happy when people stfu and start designing stuff that people actually use
  • Woman in the audience just said in response to @jmspool‘s ? where are we getting these 10,000 IxDs: “can we recycle print designers?”
  • @Trenti just said that if you can’t draw you can’t design. Audience groaned. Matthew Holloway called bullshit. Audience applauded
  • @daveixd at the mic: “If you can’t sketch, you can’t design…But everyone in this room can sketch. You have to sketch to design”
  • @daveixd taking the opportunity to proselytize his definitions to the room. “Did someone record that?”
  • Now the panel is onto talking about “design thinking” – I love this shit. No one can define design so they modify it
  • @feadog, liked your comment about print designers. Gave me a chuckle
  • Forgot to mention, @jkolko of frog design also on the panel. He started the Interaction Design minor at SCAD http://is.gd/iGKs
  • @jseiden: “we have a very poor shared vocab as a community…If we could develop lang to describe our work, would help us share it”
  • Wow, this panel *exhausted* me. Thanks a lot @jmspool for putting it together. Honesty and openness will hopefully get us somewhere

Keynote with Fiona Raby

  • Fiona Raby is up next. 2nd keynote of the day. http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/content/biography Also has an accent. I see a theme
  • Technical difficulties for Raby’s talk. She’s trying to play a video, but isn’t working in Keynote. No one is getting up to help
  • Raby got it working. It was the Beatles’ Yesterday run back and forth through translators. The words were way off and very funny
  • Raby says a theme of her talk is man meets machine. Talking about the identity of robots; wonders if they’re being over-rationalized
  • Project notes: “Over the coming years, robots are destined to play a significant part in our daily lives …
  • … not as super smart, functional machines, nor as pseudo life forms, but as technological cohabitants.”
  • One of the robots in the piece is paranoid, it monitors sensations around the room trying to identify problems. It’s oversensitive
  • Are we all really designing robots in abstract forms?
  • Raby showing a scale that can only be read by someone else lying on the floor. Another one that texts the weight to someone’s phone
  • These start conversations about who we trust. Humble object raises complex questions
  • Raby showing a retarded error message in Microsoft Word about replacing Normal template. “We don’t know what ‘normal’ is anymore.”
  • Now Raby’s slides are stuck. Why isn’t there a tech up there helping her?


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