IxDA Interaction 09: Day 2

IxDA Interaction 09

My Twitter notes from Interaction 09 Day 2 — Saturday, February 7, 2009 — are below. I have gathered my tweets from Day 1 and Day 3 in other posts.

Saturday Opening Remarks

Keynote: Irrational Behavior by Robert Fabricant

  • This morning’s keynote: “Irrational Behavior” by frog design’s Robert Fabricant http://interaction09.crowdvine.com/talks/show/2589
  • After yesterday’s A/V problems, Robert Fabricant is asking the audience to pray to the Keynote gods that his presentation works
  • Does Robert Fabricant have a Twitter account?
  • “Technology is not our medium. Behavior is our medium.” — Robert Fabricant. Nice!
  • “Data visualization is something that seems to be encoded in our genes as interaction designers. Where does that come from?”
  • Fabricant recently found an old family tree that he drew a long time ago. An artifact at his first attempts at interaction design
  • Now his young daughter is creating think maps at school. In the center: things in my life. Node: Pet -> bunny (daddy may be allergic)
  • Fabricant works on a variety of data viz problems at frog, some interactive (website), some not (billboard).
  • Fabricant spent a year and a half sketching designs for a device that monitors stress levels, displays moments of high stress.
  • Fabricant going through a bunch of devices that reveal data that we’re implicitly creating every day, provides read outs
  • As he sees a preponderance of these devices, he asks himself if this is good interaction design. How do we know?
  • “Numbers and graphs aren’t everything. How do we bring some poetry to it?” Metaphors in the design…hard to find the right one tho
  • He started thinking about cigarettes — there’s something about them that motivates people to use them. How can we do that in ixd?
  • Hard to get people to change their behavior, especially something they do often. Easier to change the non-human parts of the system
  • Understanding how unconscious behavior works can work to our advantage. Fabricant showing a urinal, a power outlet. It’s perception
  • Fabricant is showing “Suspended” sculpture at Storm King. I love this piece! http://is.gd/iKw3
  • Find ways to bring consequences closer. Like warnings on cigarettes, there could be photos of fat people on the Big Mac carton
  • Fabricant mentioning http://www.ambientdevices.com/cat/index.html devices with reward systems built in. Just a small star motivates
  • We need to think about how to motivate people as much as how to warn them. National Debt clock: http://is.gd/iKxL
  • Project in healthcare information: how do you make info salient and simple? It’s about emotional state, bringing consequences closer
  • We get a lot further when we compare ourselves to other people. Social features help surface consequences of behavior
  • is in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter! http://tinyurl.com/ap2kcf
  • Fabricant talking about Purity Balls: http://is.gd/3qca I’ve never heard of this before! “This is powerful design”
  • Despite purity balls, pregnancy rates among evangelical Christians is the highest in the country. It’s having a negative impact
  • Outputs vs. Outcomes vs. Impacts. I love this. Outcome = people are buying. Impact = behavior is changing. There’s a BIG difference
  • Fabricant talking about frog’s project using mobile technology to fight HIV and TB http://is.gd/h5c9
  • Fabricant going into detail about Project Masiluleke
  • Big applause for Robert Fabricant who did a great job inspiring the audience while still making it all relevant to interaction design

Session: Design by Community – The Drupal.org redesign by Leisa Reichelt

  • There is no wi-fi at Hotel Vancouver so I’m Twittering via BlackBerry. @leisa‘s “Design By Community” session about to start
  • While A/V gets ready, @leisa is doing a stand-up routine. She’s hilarious! (All Brits are, aren’t they?)
  • @leisa worked on the redesign of http://drupal.org. Their community is incredibly active and opinionated, were involved in redesign
  • Drupal is an open source content management framework. 300,000 users. Redesigning around active users is a unique challenge
  • Rearchitecting is like rebuilding a city around the people already living there. And the Drupal community are the builders
  • Not designing Drupal in an open source way seemed counterintuitive, was obvious to include the community. Oppt’y to showcase process
  • This sounds an awful lot like my work with @boxee. This is great!
  • Project guidelines: 1-Bake community into the process. 2-Be open source like. 3-Transfer skills & knowledge. 4-When in doubt, share.
  • @leisa started off by doing interviews at a Drupal conference. Got embedded in project so quickly, face-to-face with existing users
  • Ditched early ideas about remote research tools. Too cumbersome. Instead relied heavily on Twitter. “Anti-echo chamber”
  • Used Twitter as recruiting tool for research participation. Twitter Search from drupal revealed community’s gripes
  • Did online card sorts to prove that “Drupal speak” was not understood by the general community
  • Weekly user research reviews on the blog. @drupalredesign twitter account posting ideas for lightweight feedback. Flickr pool photos
  • @leisa and partner Mark blogged on http://disambiguity.com about the process. Plugged into the drupal community blogs
  • Drafted an experience strategy but @leisa isn’t pleased with it. Didn’t feel they pushed it enough. But recommends doing one at all
  • Crowd-sourced wireframing. Community sent in their own ideas for designs. “We got the wireframe done in 5 min?” Concerns about this..
  • Crowdsourced usability testing. Interesting concept, but very few people participated. @leisa was really the only one doing testing
  • Put Google Analytics on the prototype page. Got 50,000 views.
  • Design by community vs. Design by committee. By community can work. Scale is your friend. Look for trends. Look for the unexpected
  • With 12 stakeholders you have to scratch every person’s itch. With 50,000 “clients” you can’t possibly do what everyone wants=Freedom
  • Don’t relinquish your responsibilities as a designer. “Design is no place for democracy”. More than ever designer needs to take lead
  • Comm feedback was intense. They annotated screenshots, designed pages themselves. But @leisa ultimately had the research. They didn’t
  • “Social/communication skills are almost as important as design skills”. Respect comm, bake them into process. Token gestures useless
  • If you do a project like this, you *will* underestimate the amount of time you should be spending with the community.
  • Provide a focus for discussion. That will yield better feedback, more value.
  • Give the community time to work it out amongst themselves. Wait before getting involved
  • Ignore flaming comments (unless it’s a trend). Don’t be defensive. Don’t take it personally.
  • Choose battles. But you should be wrong, sometimes. Don’t feel like you always have to be right. You won’t have thought of everything
  • This kind of work is not for everybody. It’s terribly scary. You need a support network. But it’s totally worth it. It matters
  • I asked @leisa how they ensured that they weren’t optimizing the design to the outliers (noisy community members). She said they…
  • …prioritizing their own research over the community feedback. So sounds to me like this is more selling to comm than designing with
  • Great session! Can’t wait to talk to @leisa later about the @boxee process

Session: Designing Natural Interfaces by Nathan Moody

  • I’m Twittering from @atomick‘s talk “Designing Natural Interfaces” or NUIs Works with Darren David at http://stimulant.io/
  • NUI vs GUI. NUI has direct manipulation, lower accuracy, etc.
  • Client requests look like…shows photo of Minority Report. Audience laughter
  • Good news: if you want to design NUIs, you already have the skills. @atomick showing it’s a very similar process/deliverables
  • Prototyping and staging more complex because it’s custom hardware. Looks super cool though. 6′ by 18′ rear projection walls
  • Stimulant works with some big name clients. Exciting to see what these companies are exploring these types of interactive experiences
  • Challenges: managing user expectations, facilitating natural and gestural inputs, designing large format/360-degree interactions
  • Managing user expectations: attracting interest, recognizing interactivity, granting permission to touch. Encourage and instruct
  • Microsoft Surface water app is their attract mechanism. “Innate human interest in beauty” Simple app, but extremely successful
  • Smooth jazz just came over the PA system. Fairmont Hotel Vancouver conference FAIL. Props to @atomick for continuing through it
  • Explicit education is fine, but watch how literal and heavy handed you are. Comes off as cheesy
  • Facilitating natural/gestural input: fundamental ergomonics (touchability, control occlusion). Identification w/o a keyboard & mouse
  • Virtual keyboards have high error rates. Try to avoid them.
  • Unlearning GUI habits: never control by proxy when you can control directly. Unfamiliarity clouds expectations. Real vs hyper real
  • @37signals “defensive design” — designing for forgiveness. Don’t ever allow the user to fail. Every single input must be recognized
  • This is beautiful advice for designing all systems, but particularly critical for gestural interfaces which are largely public
  • Key input challenges: whose finger is that? Session mgmt/usage tracking. Accessibility. Virtual keyboards suck
  • Output challenges: humans have narrow scope of vision, so we actually see very little of large screen display
  • Multi-user challenges: context and appropriateness. Collaborative, not competitive. Who has control?
  • Tabletop computing. Users making eye contact across the computer makes for interesting social dynamics. Orientation of content in 360
  • Tabletop computing more comfortable than horizontal screen, new social interactions b/w users. Designing above-the-table interactions
  • Shadows can be used to determine directionality, figure out if both hands belong to the same person. That’s freakin cool
  • @atomick showing some examples of Stimulant’s designs for Microsoft Surface. TouchTones Music Sequencer. XRay iPhone mashup
  • The work that Stimulant is doing is so far out. I really wanna get involved with this!
  • Reference list: Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge. Designing Gestural Interfaces, Dan Saffer. http://NUIgroup.com

Session: Weathering the current economic climate: A group conversation by Josh Seiden

  • I’m Twittering from @jseiden‘s “Weathering the Current Economic Climate: A Group Conversation” — my old boss!
  • I’m Twittering on behalf of @boxesandarrows http://boxesandarrows.com The best peer-written journal on UX, IxD and IA
  • @jseiden put two big pieces of paper on the wall and had us put post-its up. Questions on one. What I Can Speak To on the other
  • Starting with Questions. “Are we really worse off now?” @ebacon says her leads are drying up. Others saying greater demand for design
  • @emenel: companies’ budgets drying up so instead of using agencies they’re using independent consultants. Several experiencing this
  • Senior management is starting to believe more in the importance of user experience. Quality is more important than ever
  • @joshviney says his company http://eastmedia.com is selling more of the design craft. Echoing the focus on quality & expertise
  • Audience member saying she now has a greater opportunity to get involved in customer experience issues, really fulfilling work
  • Q to the audience: who’s finding a shift in how they sell their services, or what they can sell?
  • I said that I’m finding companies are more willing to try new methods to solve problems, more open to discover the real problem
  • Interaction designers finding themselves on the frontlines of business when our client contacts are no longer employed there.
  • @jseiden – “This is a learning moment for us.” You’re not just an IxD anymore, you’re also a PM, a business analyst, a developer, etc
  • “I wouldn’t call this a time of crisis; I’d call this a time of transition.” — @emenel Whole new industries are opening up to IxDers
  • Wow, the session is already over. @jseiden reading off the “What I can speak to” board so that people can connect afterwards

Session: Sketching haptic and multimodal interaction by Camille Moussette

  • I’m Twittering from Camille Moussette’s “Sketching haptic and multimodal interaction” http://is.gd/iM60 http://www.guchmu.com/
  • Camille is a getting a Ph.D. in mobile haptic interfaces at the Ume√• Institute of Design in Sweden http://www.dh.umu.se/
  • “We’re living in a world where our senses are constantly stimulated.” Camille focuses on the “touch” sense, not as explored
  • Haptic technology is not touchscreen. It’s when you apply forces back to the user to create some stimulation. iPhone is a poor haptic
  • Haptic perception is a combination of somatosensory perception on the skin and proprioception (sense of one’s limbs in space)
  • Haptic perception is *active* touch; interaction is often multimodal (visual and auditory cues). Natural overlap of sound & vibration
  • Grounded interfaces have a base to which you apply forces. Ungrounded interfaces, like a phone, are free floating, no foundation
  • Prototypes = filters that traverse a design space & are manifestations of design ideas that concretize & externalize conceptual ideas
  • That’s a quote from The Anatomy of Prototypes: http://tinyurl.com/bapys9
  • Sketching/prototyping haptics is a challenge but a necessity. Mistakes are even more costly. We have limited vocab about touch sense
  • You should be following @kaleemux who is sitting next to me in this session
  • Vicrotactile devices: audio and haptic vibration recreates lots of surfaces like walking on snow, water, slippery surfaces
  • That was Vibrotactile..
  • Force feedback systems like gaming steering wheels http://tinyurl.com/cdhsdy
  • Distributed tactile displays: http://is.gd/iMaB
  • Camille showing a variety of prototyping techniques for haptic devices based on the length of your timeline.
  • Challenge is describing haptic stimuli and verbalizing sensations. Synthesizing movement/haptic feedback not trivial.
  • Camille has so much great info packed into his slides. This session should have been longer. Lightning sessions are TOO SHORT!
  • Multimodality: available in parallel (user’s pref or context) or fused (data fixed or adaptive). Context influences modalities used
  • OpenInterface project: http://openinterface.org “Focuses on human-human & human-machine natural interaction, physical/virtual enviro”

Keynote: Carpe Diem: Attention, Awareness, and Interaction Design 2009 by Dan Saffer

  • I’m Twittering from @odannyboy‘s keynote “Carpe Diem: Attention, Awareness, and Interaction Design in 2009” http://is.gd/iMjg
  • @odannyboy just played the passing-the-ball moonwalking-bear video: http://tinyurl.com/2zwhrf
  • Now he’s showing the longest threads of 2008 on IxDA mailing list http://ixda.org/discuss Hard to believe this is what we talk about
  • @odannyboy going to tell us what we should be paying attention to. Not just problems. Twitter didn’t solve any problems
  • Design is also about invention. “We’re not just janitors mopping up the problems of businesses.” — @odannyboy
  • New subjects of design: healthcare, education, government, energy, services, organizations
  • In 1995: Intel 486 cost ~$1,500. In 2009: costs less than 50 cents. More computing power in this room than in existence 10 years ago
  • Near future (really now) fields for us to focus on: ubicomp, software agents, wearables, robots, green technology
  • New interaction design paradigms: gestures, voice, touch. I think we’ve been seeing this quite clearly with @interaction09‘s sessions
  • “We can create the paradigms for the next 40 years right now.” — @odannyboy
  • @odannyboy asked Adam Greenfield what he thinks our challenges are: “Making the visible invisible, and the invisible visible.”
  • “How we live is slowly destroying the planet. We’re doing the damage bit by bit and switch by switch…but I’m hopeful” — @odannyboy
  • @odannyboy has a slide up right now that just says, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
  • “Don’t despair, not even over the fact that you don’t despair.” — Franz Kafka
  • “We need a buildup. We need to get back to making stuff.” — Thomas Friedman. @odannyboy says we need *responsible* buildup
  • “I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott
  • @odannyboy says: RESIST THE “DEFINING INTERACTION DESIGN” DISCUSSIONS. Huge applause from the audience. HOOT HOOT
  • Move *between* the frames. They’re religious wars. Be flexible, determine what is best for the project. “There are no best practices”
  • “Best practices should be a place to begin, not where it ends” — @odannyboy “Instead of ‘design thinking’ let’s think *and* make”
  • “Stop fetishing simplicity.” “Don’t forget that for most, the interface is the system.” The faucet is not the water system
  • @russu hmmm where have I heard that one before… ;)
  • Follow the emotion. We have to create products that people are emotionally invested in. The more invested, the more valuable
  • It sometimes benefits us to be more like artists than scientists. They’re hiring us, a designer not an MBA
  • “Nobody gets excited about a wireframe.” – David Verba If your docs look like other ppl in room can do them, why are they hiring you?
  • Steal from movies (glamour), biology (natural ecosystems), architecture (language of space). Look to the past for inspiration
  • Was just the 40th anniversary of Doug Englebart’s Mother of All Demos: http://tinyurl.com/s3hlu
  • “The future is not Google-able” We have no idea what the future is going to be, we can only help bring it about
  • @odannyboy IxDA should make interaction design stars! Where are our Gehrys and Philippe Starks? We need to stop being anonymous
  • “We need to stop waiting for permission.” — @odannyboy
  • “You already know everything you need to know to design for the future.” This is so true. Stop second-guessing yourselves
  • “May tomorrow be more uncertain than today.” — Deepak Chopra Nightly prayer that he has his children say
  • This is a really inspirational talk. Reminds me of @inkblurt‘s closing plenary at IA Summit 2008

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