Big budget games with ground-breaking gameplay can so often be let down by difficult user interfaces, cryptic menu systems and poor usability. User experience design and information architecture have become fundamental to the process of developing great websites and mobile experiences; could the same tried, tested and trusted techniques work for AAA games?
In the world of mobile gaming it's frequently the smaller independents’ who are the real innovators. Often coming from a web background, many independent mobile game developers are producing beautifully considered interfaces for a whole new class of intelligent contextual games, while the big publishers are still attempting to port console games to inappropriate devices. Have the web backgrounds of these independents’ given them an innate understanding of designing for user context or is it just never having been restricted by the sometimes stringent requirements for Gold Master and the limitations of the 10ft interface?
This is of course a two-way street. Some of the processes involved in game design for consoles have a far greater lineage than that of design for mobile and web, and as such there are techniques that deal directly with adherence to a set of constantly evolving industry standards that could certainly be considered by the wider developing community.
by Brian Powell, Joe Hershberger, Eric VanWyk, Rebecca Philips and Tim Ousley
Students say it’s “the hardest fun you will ever have.” Just like “real world” product development, building a competitive robot requires diverse science and engineering disciplines and kids all over the world are doing it! FIRST Robotics inspires elementary through high school students with challenging competitions that use science and engineering to grow teamwork, interpersonal skills, and community responsibility. Mimicking the competitive global economy, these international competitions feature complex, multi-disciplinary problems under extreme time pressure to teach the real skills needed by tomorrow’s geniuses.
Our panel includes several humans and a few 5-foot-tall, 120-pound robots designed by teenage FIRST teams. Get the scoop on how supporting learning and competition programs develops the next generation of leadership. This panel includes experienced robot makers and mentors from Texas Instruments and National Instruments who can answer your questions and have you wishing you were still in school. The good news – you can still get involved!
Film geeks, political buffs and gossip lovers may argue, but nowhere has the impact of blogging and podcasting been more dramatic in the past few years than the sports world. In a space dominated exclusively by those with access to the field, the press box and the locker room, the audience has grown completely accustomed to stories being broken by a fan with little more than a phone and a Twitter account almost overnight. Fans and voices outside the velvet rope of media credentialing are not only reporting on the stories of the day, they're making and breaking stories with increasing frequency. They're also emerging as some of the most important influencers, connecting directly with one of the most coveted audience demographics filled with young, passionate adults.
How has this democratization disrupted the existing models for big sports leagues, teams, players, coaches and media outlets? What can other industries learn from the creative and technical innovators in sports media today? What challenges and advances within are other industries and communities ignoring at their peril?
After seeing the backlash over Instant Personalization from Facebook, many people have been nervous to approach the subject. But invariably, as we move forward into an increasingly data-driven society, personalization will need to become a larger and larger part of how we communicate with customers, site visitors, and consumers of online content. So the question is, how do you personalize content without making people feel violated and uncomfortable? Is it just a question of people’s preferences changing over time as they "come around" to the idea of personalization, or is it an implementation question? What's the degree of personalization that is acceptable to most consumers? This panel will look at how to preserve users’ trust while personalizing content to them. It will also discuss some acceptable practices for personalizing content to individual users' data, and shifts in the societal acceptability of content personalization over time & by demographic.
As 3D and online games become more film-like in terms of their development and distribution, game developers need to be more concerned with procuring appropriate rights of 3rd party content and contributions from others. A legally sound game will attract more funding and more interest than others that carry a significant risk to studios and investors. Moreover, having one's legal ducks in a row at the outset, will protect the independent game developer and the licensing studio or development company from undue legal risk. Entertainment attorney, Larry Waks of Austin firm, Jackson Walker LLP, and Intellectual Property attorney, Erik Metzger of Intel Corporation, will provide a "from idea to distribution" overview of the legal concerns behind modern 3D and online game development. This panel is intended for the online and 3D game development community.
When organizations use Twitter to promote themselves, it's largely about playing a role. The person tweeting is tasked to be on message as the voice of the organization while creating a unique and engaging personality to draw an audience in. At the theater, we gladly accept this fake-me-out, but in social media where do we draw the line between being the playwright and playing a character?
Imagine, if you will, that Shakespeare was on Twitter. Would he tweet as his organizational-self, or as one of the many "voices" he created? Would the context of his 140 characters be different depending on "who" says it, even if the source is literally the same? And how could his underlying message consistently reflect the goals for tweeting in the first place? Welcome to the murky world of defining organizational identity with social media.
During this (overly) dramatic session, we will pick the brains of people who live this challenge daily in the non-profit sector, and learn what the Bard's immortal words can teach us all about brand, messaging and creating a compelling voice on Twitter.
Be not afraid of greatness - don't miss this panel! Quill optional.
The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.
At first, Social Media was simple. It was about you and your voice as an individual. Today is different. Do companies, organizations or even individuals spend time on social media which could be much better spent on other activities? Yes!
But how do you outsource your "voice"? Will it damage your brand or credibility? Can you control your message? What will your customers say? Can it be done at all? Yes!
You need to change your mind set about how social media is done, leave the Silicon Valley way of thinking behind and start thinking like a professional.
This panel will give you an insight into how to be a pro at social media outsourcing while staying in charge. We will discuss the do's and don'ts and how to make sure your voice is authentic. You will learn about the importance of systems and documentation, hear about tools to manage your activities with partners and which aspects of your online presence you should never give away.
Also we will share best practices and real life examples, as well as take a look at working internationally. No matter if you want to outsource your social media activity, or you are an agency or virtual assistant who works with clients, you will leave the panel with a better understanding of how to utilize partners and worker bees without breaking the bank or selling your soul.
Now, social is personal. From finance site Mint.com's anti-immigration blog post gaffe to YourTango CEO Andrea Miller's "How to Date an Indian (Advice for the Non-Indian)," social media fuses personal with public in a way never seen before.
Whether sharing taste in hiphop, dating preferences, provocative political ideas, or insider information about a soon-to-be-launched business, social media strategically develops personal and professional reputations. Stories can build audiences, grow support for campaigns and change mainstream ideas about social issues. They can also alienate various communities, compromise business information confidentiality or damage brands.
If social media has shown us anything, it's that stories still matter. This panel will be a concrete conversation on how successful online personalities have managed their personal and professional lives using social media: telling authentic stories about our experiences, and using those stories to build powerful, engaged communities.
by Frank Barry
Come spend an hour listening to leading social media technology providers like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare discuss social media's impact on the world. You'll also hear from non-profit organizers as they interact, discuss and challenge us to think differently about how technology enables impact.
NBC.com creates unique content and interactive experiences that enhance/support NBC's on-air television programming. From Chuck's Mission: Chuck Me Out to The Office's Subtle Sexuality webisodes, the staff at NBC.com builds relationships with the shows to create compelling content and communities for users to engage with beyond the standard 30-60 minute time-slot on-air.
At kids soccer games around the country, hyperconnected Dads tweet about trivia to pass the time. Meanwhile, as you walk into a supposedly social event, people all around you pull out their devices to "check in" on Foursquare or Gowalla. Through the night, people continue sharing their real feelings and thoughts not with the person in front of them but to their audience of "followers" on Twitter, making a real life social event feel decidedly ANTI-social. Sound familiar? As technology allows us to share every moment instantaneously online, are we missing out on what is right in front us? And if so, is the only solution to turn our gadgets off, or is there some imaginary line of balance that we can strike? This session will explore those questions, and the anti-social path that our always-connectedness may be leading us towards. Most importantly, we’ll try to uncover how you might fight back and reclaim your humanity from the social media bubble around you.
2011 will mark the 10th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001.
Since that day, the world has changed in significant ways socially, politically and technologically. Consider recent natural and man-made disasters - earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Iceland's volcanic ash cloud - as well as politically divisive events in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt.
Facts, opinions and speculation for each new event spread faster than the last, through online social networks. More and more people are getting news of current events from sources like Twitter, and network and cable news outlets are sourcing material from tweets and Facebook updates.
This panel will explore the emerging and historic role of social networks in disseminating news and information during disasters and other significant events. It will also attempt to assess how differently historical events such as 9/11 would have been reported if Twitter and Facebook had been introduced to the world ten years earlier.
With smartphones and handheld video cameras in the hands of thousands of people on the scene, would conspiracy theories and unanswered questions still swirl around Ground Zero? Would the events have changed at all, or their aftermath be different? In the context of these and other questions, we will speculate on how future disasters will be reported.
The Web has changed your life, your death and what you leave behind. Your heirlooms like photos, videos and letters are now stored in digital form and - in many cases - on servers that you don't own like those of Flickr, YouTube and Gmail. What should happen to your "legacy" data? With over 285,000 Facebook users set to die this year, you really should think about it.
The Internet generation is coming of age and this issue is only growing. We have to respond with new legal frameworks and standards to support this change. The good news is that entrepreneurs, attorneys, archivists and scholars are already working on solutions. Join us to learn what happens to your digital life after you die and what's being done to give you a say in it.
In the past, food critics paid for their meals and were reimbursed by the newspaper/magazine. And most mainstream media food critics would go to exceptional ends to keep their identity secret. Their critique of the food would be unmarred by any special treatment from the restaurant chef or staff. End of story. But today everyone's a food critic, and with the rise in social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and more, their reviews can be broadcast far and wide. Food critic anonymity has gone out the window with one Google search.
Recently, Time.com food critic, Josh Ozersky was dressed down by the Village Voice* NYT for not revealing in a column in which he extolled the benefits of having fancy chefs catering your wedding that the caterers at his wedding were doing so for free. The recent FTC rulings mandate that bloggers disclose when they're reviewing something they're not paid for, but those rules don't extend to bloggers operating under the leaky umbrella of a corporate parent.
In the proposed panel, Jane Goldman, editor in chief of CHOW.com, one of the most popular food websites, will bring some of the most influential people in the food industry and discuss this growingly important issue in food journalism. This panel will call out the spectrum of professionalism in online and offline food journalism and the issue around transparency reverberates through all aspects of online journalism and blogging.
by Chris Petrovic, Rob Dyer, Steve Carlin and Chris Morris
As we’ve seen with the music industry, more and more entertainment services are transitioning from physical goods to digital distribution. This panel will focus on the video game sector and how the growing acceptance of digital distribution is impacting both traditional video game publishers and retailers.
Art, education, economics, propaganda. Games are arriving at the forefront of media to become an important way to engage entire generations of people. What's different from before? Five billion people are replacing the most common communication device, the simple cell phone, with a full-fledged gaming system in their pocket. There are multiple ways to publish and distribute games over the Internet and to the masses. For many, game creation is becoming a regular activity, as tools become both easier to use and more powerful for people without programming knowledge. This panel will cover unique perspectives on how games are becoming more meaningful forms of expression and a significant tool for communicating ideas.
Make the coffee, check the RSS, groom the avatar, freshen the blog, make nice with the Twitter, now it's time to ... do the same thing again. Meanwhile your job/project/spouse/story sits there, staring at you with big cow eyes and wonders if you will ever leave the grid and do something real, something productive, something that will yield cash money and not just more followers on Twitter. Most of us work alone in a room, armed with a desktop that is more powerful -- and distracting -- than entire offices a decade ago, and yet the actual throughput of an average day can be negligible. Let's talk to some people who have actually done things -- written books, built businesses, created technology -- about their process. Do they have a clear, bright line between consuming media and producing it? Is it best to have multiple streams on one screen or toggle between to stay on task? Do they have a day part when they are off the grid? And why do great ideas come in the shower? Let's figure out whether the Web is the greatest productivity tool ever invented or a destroyer of initiative and long thoughts.
"Japan" "Mobile" "Social Media" - what do you see when you have these words together? Cyber utopia? Shrinking Galapagos? Ninjas with high-tech swords? It's about time we know what the real scenes are in Japan. With the leaders of the mobile social media in Japan, we will discuss what the Japanese mobile social media world looks like, where they are headed, and how the "outer world" will affect / or be affected. Needless to give examples like the explosive rise of Twitter in Japan, the question is not whether the country is the "land of the rising sun" in mobile social media or not - it's how high has the sun risen, and why.
Digital influence is going hyper-local, especially in the mom market. There are a myriad of online communities geared specifically towards mothers. Within that demographic, the structure silos even further into green mom influencers, fashion oriented influencers, literary, music moms, etc. What we learned in presenting last year's SXSW Core Conversation about marketing to tastemaker moms: Marketers want to know how to tap into the power of these online enclaves, without violating ethical word of mouth marketing standards or the mores of communities. But beyond working with these online influencers in the digital sphere, there's an opportunity for brands to identify thought leaders and extend partnerships into local markets. One successful example of this concept in the past year include Chevrolet's "Girl's Night Out" in Houston program, which brought together carefully selected local women bloggers for a series of events in Chevy vehicles, which the women then digitally documented. There were no strings or conditions, and the authenticity of the content is engaging. It was a win for the brand and the bloggers. More automakers, restaurants, and clothing brands are utilizing this concept of partnering with online influencers to create local events- which then circle back around end extend the power of engagement digitally. How can your brand leverage it?
Reputation is a key dimension of online identity, but to date there hasn't been a great way to carry online reputation from site to site. This panel will explore best practice examples from different fields related to portable and contextual reputation systems.
The growth of open source crisis mapping tools and social media networks have given rise to community driven disaster preparation and response. These systems harness the power of mass collaboration to provide real time, predictive and expansive information from a human data stream far more quickly than emergency agencies. To date, we have seen such networks come to life after the Mexico Gulf oil spill, the earthquakes in Haiti, China and Chile and during the Australian bushfires. How effective have peer to peer alerts been in assisting or preventing suffering and damage? What have been the pitfalls and challenges of such systems? This panel will discuss how government agencies are responding to crowd-sourced crisis information; raise issues about the legal implications of user-contributed data; reveal how well the broader community has been involved with web2.0 tools for the rapid transfer of life saving insight; and cover latest developments in validation and filtering systems.
When Showtime’s smash TV hit DEXTER made its 5th season premiere on September 26, 2010, the date also marked the finale of a nine-week ARG (alternate reality game) that whipped fans into a frenzy just before the season’s launch. The game development team (which called the ARG an "actual reality game" because it so infiltrated their real lives) built the world of the Infinity Killer, a serial murderer obsessed with fate and social control, and the Serial Huntress, an ex-FBI agent who caught serial killers through crowdsourcing. This SXSW Interactive presentation brings together the Dexter ARG team – Showtime and Modernista!, with Promax/BDA President Jonathan Block-Verk moderating, to take attendees through the thought process, story development arc, execution challenges -- and exciting possibilities -- of the ARG format.
In a customer support world, changing the mind set from successful support calls to measuring “time to happy” can be an empowering and innovative proposition. Proactive support solutions often times go unnoticed as potential issues are fixed long before customers are aware of the issue. An effortless support experience ensures that customers are free to reach their full potential without the hassle of continually picking up the phone.
Is your legal team hindering your social media success? Is someone redlining every blog post, tweet, and comment you compose, costing you valuable time, sterilizing your messages, and taking the “social” out of “social media?” In a court of law, is there really a difference between the words “I’m sorry” and “I regret?” Join a panel of career apologists and apologetic lawyers to understand what the legal risks of saying “I’m sorry” really are, how companies like Southwest Airlines get away with it every day, and how to craft an air-tight apology.
Will supercomputing intelligences outsmart human-level intelligence? Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" is the world's most known advocacy of a technology breakthrough that will change the face of humanity and the entire world. Kurzweil claims that the accelerating, exponential growth of technology will result in such a Singularity. But not all technological luminaries agree with Kurzweil. In fact, some suggest nanotechnology as superseding artificial intelligence. Others argue for humanity's future as being located in biosynthetics and virtuality. Outside the technological sphere, a new culture of DIY citizen scientists could either speed up or halt the Singularity. With a finger on the pulse, ethicists and policy-makers are arguing for a new strategy for assessing our possible futures. This panel dissects the very core of the Singularity, if and when it will occur, and what we can expect to happen.
The United States consumes more energy than it produces and is the second biggest emitter of CO2 in the world (behind China). If the United States truly chooses to become a greener country, then major improvements in our infrastructure (buildings and transportation) will have to be made. The green movement in the United States has yet to reach a tipping point. Companies either do not know how to lower their energy consumption and carbon footprint, or they are not implementing the projects fast enough. Fortunately, there are signs that we are now more green than ever. This panel will highlight three companies that you probably haven't heard of that are implementing green strategies. You don't want to miss learning about how these innovative companies got started and what they're doing to make our country a greener place to live.
Today, show creators, actors and networks all have something new to consider when they move to launch a new program – new media/technology. From Facebook, to Twitter to mobile and games, new media has completely changed the way TV is consumed. Fans are no longer satisfied with on-air programming. They think about their favorite characters beyond the program, they’re interested in the people behind the scenes and they want to share their passion for their favorite shows with others.
USA Network and Oxygen Network are two of the leading cable networks that truly understand what fans are looking for– the networks are cutting edge in how they approach technology to extend the reach and life of programming. This panel will bring together several of USA and Oxygen Network’s executive producers, digital executives, show creators and actors to discuss how new media is integrated throughout all aspects of a shows creation. Some will discuss how immersive gaming experiences tied to the show actually drove inquiries on cars for one of the US’s biggest automakers to more cars then they had to sell, another will address how being involved in live webcasts, podcasts and behind the scene tours with citizen journalists and bloggers have made them come from behind the scenes to the forefront, and finally, one actor will discuss how new media has changed the meaning of celebrity.
A lot of buzz has been circulating around the value of Facebook fans. Different dollar values have been assigned, based on different research methods. Rather than debate which approach is more accurate, this panel will dig down to the root of this issue - why are brands so eager to assign a monetary value to fans? Will this become a measurement standard for marketers? What factors are really the most important in determining the value that businesses get from being on Facebook?
This panel examines the recent developments around net neutrality, one of the more misunderstood principles among the crowd of odd phrasings generated within contemporary telecommunications practice and policy. The panel will (1) present the concrete info about net neutrality – what it is and isn’t, and the circumstances that generated the concept to begin with; (2) summarize FCC Commissioner Genachowski’s position, and speculate on why the FCC took the route it did in the wake of the Comcast court decision in 2010 (which blew apart the Commission’s de facto assertion of authority over how industries could manage Internet networks); (3) assess the pros and cons of the FCC approach and also comment on the misinformation that has circulated. The panel will help you figure out whether and why you should care about this policy.
11th–15th March 2011