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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about User Experience on Saturday 12th March

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  • How Progress Bars Change the Way We Live

    by Evan Jones

    Once upon a time slow connections begat the Progress Bar - bloated sites would taunt us with '15% loaded' screens. High-speed promised to kill the beast and free us from their tyranny but yet it lives! Progress bars are being used MORE lately to direct user actions. Look to Farmville and LinkedIn which push their users to collect 100% of their personal information. Incomplete progress bars are an itch that needs to be scratched. They carry the implicit language that declares 'You are here' but more importantly 'The end is in sight'. Game design motivates us through incremental, measurable progress towards a tangible goal but is this the way real life works? Is the progress bar's ubiquity in technology starting to affect the way we measure progress in meatspace? This panel will reach far across time and space to look at the story of progress bars, why they hypnotize us and what we need to do - slay the beast once and for all, or throw ourselves into its partially-complete embrace...

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • iPad Design Headaches (Take 2 Tablets, Call Me in the Morning)

    by Josh Clark

    The iPad and its entourage of Android tablets have introduced a new style of computing, confronting designers with unfamiliar aches and pains. Learn the symptoms (and fixes) for a range of new-to-the-world iPad interface ailments, including Greedy Pixel Syndrome, the dreaded Frankeninterface, and the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" bait and switch. Explore practical techniques and eye-opening gotchas of tablet interface design, all grounded in the ergonomics, context, psychology, and nascent culture of these new devices (both iOS and Android). The presentation inoculates you against common problems with close-up looks at successful iPad apps from early sketches to final design. Genial bedside manner is administered by Josh Clark, author of the O'Reilly books "Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps" and "Best iPhone Apps: A Guide for Discriminating Downloaders."

    LEVEL: Advanced

  • It's About Time: Visualizing Temporality

    by Joanna Wiebe

    Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. I agree about the banana, but I'm not so sure about the arrow. What is the shape of time? Our online calendars, clocks and other models of time often are designed with the understanding that time is a forward-moving arrow. This sounds logical to the Western, English-speaking scientific mind. However, not everyone conceptualizes time as a relentless hurtling forward. Some cultures understand time as a fractal, a spiral, a mandala, a cycle. And a child, playing with the same toy over and over again, lives in a single seamless moment from dawn to dusk. Visualizing temporality is a fundamental issue in interaction design today. For example, we are looking at a future where our work must be useful for both Eastern and Western audiences, who differ in time-oriented cultural traits such as long-term vs. short-term orientation. We also need to be able to provide tools to differentiate the personal, bodily-felt experience of time from clock time. We may want to expand our customers' perception of time, to invite them to stay in the Deep Present. Our beliefs about time and its passage profoundly affect the design of software and interactive media. It's time for interaction designers to understand deeply how our customers know time, whether as an arrow, a spiral or a squiggle. How people slice and dice nature into concepts is fundamental to designing tools people can use to successfully live on the earth, for a long time.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom C, Austin Convention Center

  • Stop Listening to Your Customers

    by Mark Trammell and Nate Bolt

    A common assumption among startup entrepreneurs is that listening to potential customers is the best way to find out whether your product or idea will succeed in the market. Honestly - don't bother. In our ten years of user experience research for startups and big companies alike, one thing we've seen time and again is that it's behavior, not opinions, that tells you whether people want to use your product.

    The main problem with opinions is self-reporting bias: Opinions are often inconsistent with behaviors or other attitudes, especially when discussing hypotheticals. Remember Clippy, the little character that appeared in Microsoft Word years ago? That little bastard arose, in part, from Microsoft asking users if they wanted help working on their documents - everyone said, "Sure, sounds great." But once people started actually using it in the real world, they hated it - it might be one of the most hated features in the history of computing. But Microsoft employs hundreds of researchers. So where did they go wrong, and how can you avoid making the same mistake?

    It's simple. Never ask people what they think of your product or idea. Instead, I'll walk you through the world of researching people, including what you need to ignore customers effectively, just like Apple and 37 Signals. I'll go over examples from our research with Volkswagen, Electronic Arts, and Wikipedia, and show how to use remote research to construct behavioral scenarios and eliminate poor research.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 12th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage slide deck

  • Josh Clark: Tapworthy Book Signing

    by Josh Clark

    Josh Clark will be stopping by the SX Bookstore to meet registrants and sign copies of his latest book, "Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps."

    At 11:10am to 11:25am, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom D Foyer, Austin Convention Center

  • Dear Miss Manners: WTF with the Social Web?

    by Deborah Schultz

    The social web is now a teenager –awkward, arrogant, snarky, fearless, experimental and open. She is shaking things up and having a major impact on our culture, social dynamics and etiquette. What are the new social dynamics and cultural impacts of all these tools and technologies?

    This session will explore the emerging etiquette issues of our participatory hyper-connected world. What are the new rules? How are our relationships, culture and business assumptions changing? Do we understand the impact of this new relationship persistance?

    - Do I have to ask before I post a photo of a friend online? Who has editorial approval?

    - Am I required to respond to every inbound communication I receive or is “ignoring” an accepted response?

    - Where is the line between encouraging participation and being just plain annoying?

    - What are you doing mucking up my activity stream?

    - What the heck is a “friend” anyway?

    How do we design, build and manage these new spaces? What are the new rules of the online commons and the associated appropriate etiquette? This participatory session will ask attendees to contribute their own real world examples and will lay out a new framework for a new social contract. It’s our job to decide what we want our web teenager to be when she is all grown-up.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Inclusive Design: Creating Beautiful, Usable & Accessible Websites

    by Sandi Wassmer and Ian Pouncey

    The concept of the Web for All is something that we hold dear, but sometimes it feels like we are holding on to it for dear life! There is plenty of knowledge sharing about Web Standards and best practices, but too many opinions about
    what a website really is. If you ask a designer, a developer and a marketer, you will probably get 3 different answers and this can be a tad problematic when you only have one website.

    So I set out to find a solution, stopped thinking about the medium and started thinking about what the word Design really meant. Things that are designed are invariably products of some sort and it became clear that the internet is a product that people interact with using technology. I reflected on those who inspire me, such as Dieter Rams, whose ten principles of good design are as relevant now on the internet as they were when he first uttered them. And then I looked to Frank Lloyd Wright, the godfather of Inclusive Design in Architecture.
    With these parallels to hand, it is quite simple.

    Applying the principles of Inclusive Design to building websites makes sense, but understanding existing technologies and practices in order to ensure its successful implementation is where we are at now. Presenting the principles and how they can be applied to the web, and interspersing these with hands on, practical advice will provide both a breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding.

    Questions Answered
    1. What is Inclusive Design?
    2. How does the Inclusive Design approach differ from or improve upon existing best practices, such as accessibility, usability, UX and mobile optimisation?
    3. What practical techniques can I use to adopt Inclusive Design principles and
    methodologies into my working practices?
    4. What tools and prior knowledge do I need to implement Inclusive Design?
    5. How does Inclusive Design on the Web draw from and correlate to existing
    principles in industrial design and architecture?

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Design Across Disciplines

    by Elaine Wherry, Matthew Robbins and Stephen Atkinson

    New technology brings broad experimentation and new design challenges. It takes years, if not decades, to establish an effective design vocabulary to discuss what "works" and "doesn't work." This panel asks established professionals in architecture, speech writing, and event planning to describe their creative processes and vocabularies and will compare them with the best practices in interaction design. This session brought to you by Meebo.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

  • Designing for Silence: Using Email for Good

    by M Jackson Wilkinson

    Every service you use bombards you with email. Status updates, notifications, nudges. Whether you call it spam, bac'n, or even just effective, it's certainly annoying. We can do better, though. We can create web apps that get more valuable, not less, when users don't visit every single day, and we can use email in more valuable ways to greater effect.

    This session will explore a few product and interaction design strategies to embrace this silence between your product and the user. We'll also look at how business models can adapt to value mindshare over visits, and how to surgically use email to it's best effect.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom C, Austin Convention Center

  • Metrics-Driven Design

    by Joshua Porter

    For every design change you make affecting your user’s experience, do you know if you’re having a positive or negative impact? Are you adding to your organization’s bottom line or eroding it? Are you sure? Or, are you like most design teams who release work through a ramshackle process made up of politics, prayer, and paralysis?

    The health of the business must be the highest priority for designers. With a plethora of fast and cheap analytics tools available that bring us the ability to measure almost anything, we have no excuse not to be measuring every design change we make. From a/b testing small interface tweaks to measuring time-on-site for new users to measuring user satisfaction over long time periods, we can know more about the people who use our software than ever before.

    In this talk, Joshua Porter will provide you with a simple, easy framework for metrics-driven design. By using a combination of research methods as well as powerful new tracking tools, Josh will show you how to align your design priorities with what keeps you in business. You will come away from this talk with a clear idea of what metrics are most important, which ones to focus on, and which ones to ignore. So don’t drive blindly: use metrics-driven design to make sure the impact you’re having is a positive one.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage note