Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about User Experience in Austin Convention Center

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Saturday 12th March 2011

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • The Music of Interaction Design

    by James Box and Cennydd Bowles

    While both music and design have theoretical underpinnings, they also share a certain ineffability. A musical masterpiece and an exceptionally crafted experience demand more than the simple application of theory. They also demand virtuosity. Designers must skilfully bring together clicks and gestures — the building blocks of interaction design — to form a meaningful experience. Although it's simple to describe these components, we often resort to vague shorthands like 'look & feel' to explain what happens at the experiential layer. Similarly, composers rely on formalised technique to write music; yet ask what makes a piece remarkable and the answer will be similarly nebulous. In this session, we will examine parallels between music and interaction design, including harmony, genre, rhythm, fashion and emotion. Along the way, we will learn how that which defies easy definition can elevate digital and musical works from good to miraculous.

    1. Why do some interactions and some pieces of music—even when they seemingly 'obey' all the rules—still feel wrong?
    2. What is it about music that provokes such a profound emotional response and how can designers learn from it?
    3. Why, despite all expectations, the overflow of information can actually be a rather lovely experience.
    4. Why does innovation actually feel bad?
    5. And finally, just what is 'The Brown Noise'?

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

  • Cennydd Bowles and James Box

    by James Box and Cennydd Bowles

    Cennydd Bowles and James Box will be stopping by the SX Bookstore to greet registrants and sign copies of their book, Undercover User Experience Design

    At 10:50am to 11:05am, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom D Foyer, Austin Convention Center

  • Designing iPad Interfaces - New Navigation Schemas

    by Lynn Teo

    With every new “form factor” comes a unique set of design conventions and interaction paradigms. The emergence of tablet interfaces such as the iPad marks a new chapter in digital design. How much of web navigation or smartphone conventions persist in this new world? And what are we seeing that's new? Are there specific wayfinding and browsing mechanisms that make for a satisfying and productive iPad user experience? Based on an assessment of 50+ iPad applications that run the gamut from utility/transactional interfaces to comic readers and other publishing apps, this presentation provides a focused analysis and assessment of navigation methods in a distilled format. Navigation schemas will be explored by interaction design themes, supported by examples, and recommendations on when best to employ them.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Conserve Code: Storyboard Experiences with Customers First

    by Joseph O'Sullivan and Rachel Evans

    Changes to design, direction, UI can be costly if you are already in the development cycle. It is easier, faster, and cheaper to course correct on paper. Storyboarding your ideas allows you to rapidly think through the customer experience, pinpoint what’s really important to the customer, and scrap the ideas that won’t work.

    At Intuit, we use storyboards to rapidly test our ideas with customers multiple times before spending time developing code. This enables us to define concepts that will delight our customers, so they buy our products and tell their friends. Storyboard development and testing is a method anyone can do—it doesn’t take an artist or researcher to get great feedback from customers.

    In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to express your ideas in a story that will elicit valuable feedback from your customers. You will be able to iterate on ideas with lightning speed to uncover what works, what doesn’t, and unearth what will truly delight them (which is often not your first idea!). We will use frameworks to help you define what’s most important to your customer so you know you are focusing on the right things by the time you start to develop.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • 5 Steps to Bulletproof UX Strategy

    by Robert Hoekman

    Writers from BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Wired, and even Rolling Stone have all pronounced that design thinking - the process of developing products and services that are both feasible and meet user needs - is the key to successful innovation. And they're right. What they don't tell you is that all the design thinking in the world won't help your company unless your innovations serve a higher purpose. But the vast majority of businesses have no higher purpose. As a result, their products and features are disconnected from their goals. Their marketing is focused on value-adds rather than value propositions. Their message has no message. There's no there there.

    That's where experience strategy comes in. Experience strategy is design thinking for your whole business. It tells you which ideas will help and which won't. It tells you if that new product will lead to a unified brand or a disjointed one. It's what turns a shoe store into Zappos, a car company into MINI, and a software company into Apple.

    In this session, Robert Hoekman, Jr - author of Designing the Obvious (New Riders) and Designing the Moment (New Riders), and Web Anatomy (New Riders) - presents the essential elements of experience strategy. He reveals the five steps to developing a great UX strategy so you can stop navigating your way through the trees and instead start designing the forest.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Game On: 7 Design Patterns For User Engagement

    by Nadya Direkova

    How do you drive up user engagement? What game-like design patterns get your users to complete the sign-up, bring friends and come back? This session will expose the design patterns of engagement and incentives, including relevant metrics. Led by Nadya Direkova, Sr. Designer at Google and game designer, it will teach useful techniques that can drive up - and keep - your user base. You will leave with an arsenal of 7 design patterns to: design effective sign-up sessions and tutorials, promote virality, invite return visits, and apply game mechanics beyond points and bagdes. About the speaker: Nadya Direkova is Google’s local search designer and a game mechanics consultant - helping millions of users find knowledge and fun. She comes from the world of game design, having created fun games for Leapfrog and Backbone. She’s taught design at M.I.T. and spoken at IXDA’09 and SXSW’10.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom C, Austin Convention Center

  • Critical Thinking for UX Designers (Or Anyone, Really)

    by Russ U and Christina Wodtke

    Love creative problem solving, but need something more practical - something specific to User Experience? Russ and Stephen will share with you the exercises they use to solve the REAL problems.

    You'll flex your critical thinking muscle through a series of jumpstarter activities. Even better, attendees will be encouraged to participate, if not embarrass themselves in front of a room full of their peers as they challenge themselves to see past the first, obvious - and often incorrect - answers, and start to flip problems on their heads to see solutions from a different view.

    Session Takeaways

    • Gain a better understanding of what critical thinking is, why it is important in the world of User Experience Design
    • Identify ways to evaluate the visual and verbal messages in your work
    • Spot artificial constraints to focus on the root problem(s).
    • View problems from a different perspective and remove yourself as a consumer/user.
    • Learn how reframing problems can lead to radically different solutions.
    • Dissect problems to uncover solutions you may have previously overlooked.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Anatomy of a Design Decision

    by Jared Spool

    What separates a good design from a bad design are the decisions that the designer made. Jared will explore the five styles of design decisions, showing you when gut instinct produces the right results and when designers need to look to more user-focused research. You'll see how informed decisions play out against rule-based techniques, such as guidelines and templates. And Jared will show you the latest research showing how to hire great decision makers and find opportunities that match your style.

    Of course, Jared will use his unforgettable presentation style to deliver an extremely entertaining and informative presentation.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Interactive Patterns in the Mobile Space

    by Barbara Ballard

    This panel will discuss how companies can create best mobile mobile user interfaces, avoiding many of the pitfalls of poor design. Mobile user interfaces are not just squished down to fit the small screen, but require an understanding and application of technologies, users, and contexts of use to create the best possible interaction. Core principles for designing mobile interfaces will be discussed, as well as design patterns for use in mobile web sites and applications.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 5:15pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center

  • User Experience and Cross Platform App Development

    by Carlo Longino

    Developing across different mobile platforms has long been a pain point for mobile developers, but what about designing for the same apps and services to run across multiple types of device form factors? New form factors don't just offer bigger screens or keyboards over mobile phones; users also interact differently with them.

    The most prevalent example of this is with iPhone apps moving to the iPad: creating a app for the tablet isn't simply about adapting it to a bigger screen, but utilizing the differences in hardware to offer users a better experience. This scenario is just the tip of the iceberg, though: Android is making its way into all types of devices, like Google TV, which will allow developers to create apps for both phones and televisions. GPS maker TomTom has announced that its future devices will run a version of WebKit and support third-party apps. Nokia's Terminal Mode and Continental's AutolinQ projects look to extend the app experience into automobiles.

    This panel seeks to build a high-level understanding of what successful cross-form-factor development entails, beyond simply adapting content for different display types. Attendees will learn best practices -- and educational failures! -- from leading designers and developers, and how they can incorporate emerging form factors into their apps and services to create an enhanced user experience.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:15pm to 5:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Flexible Morality of User Engagement & User Behavior

    by Dan Ariely and Sarah Szalavitz

    This session, proposed by Dan Ariely and Sarah Szalavitz, will investigate the relationship between morality and user engagement online, as well as in real life. Prior to the presentation, we will ask friends and the SXSW community to participate in an experiment to explore how the choices we are offered by user experiences and online communities "game" the outcome--or whether we are making choices at all, if our brains can't resist seeking Mayorships on FourSquare or growing farms on Farmville. During the session, we'll first offer the survey to attendees, share our findings from the results we already have, and then explore the implications for online behavior, user experience, and morality. We'll consider how cognitively irresistible user experiences are created, as well as its on both our online and offline identities. Further, we'll explore how the predetermination of user behavior by choice optimization and social design, can encourage cheating, both by users and designers. Finally, we'll look at the impact the flexibility of our morality in our various identities and behaviors could have on the future of the choices we'll both offer and be offered.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Lean UX: Getting Out of the Deliverables Business

    by Jeff Gothelf

    Traditionally UX has been a deliverables practice. Wireframes, sitemaps, flow diagrams, content inventories, taxonomies etc defined the practice of UX Designers (IxD, UX Design, whatever, etc). While this work has helped define what an UX Designers do and the value the work brings to a business, it has also put us in the deliverables business - measured and compensated for the depth and breadth of their deliverables (instead of the quality and success of the experiences they design). Enter Lean UX. Inspired by Lean Product and Agile development theories, Lean UX is the practice of bringing the true nature of our work to light faster, with less emphasis on deliverables and greater focus on the actual experience being designed. This talk will explore how Lean UX manifests in terms of process, communication, documentation and team interaction. In addition, we'll take a look at how this philosophical shift can take root in any environment from large corporation to interactive agencies to startups.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom B, Austin Convention Center

  • Curb Your Experience: Pushing the UX to Extreme

    by Jenine Lurie

    “You have to start with the most complex, and find a simple solution. Then you have to make it work.” – IM Pei

    The critical path to excellent usability design begins with a fundamental understanding of how an application or interface is broken. In a variety of ways, UX designers take their cues from organizations like Consumer Reports which for example, use machines and robotics to repeatedly pound luggage to test for durability with the overall objective to try to make it rip, tear or break. UX engineers persistently attempt to ‘break’ the application, by often pushing it to its most extreme edges in order to find a solution for the fix. This presentation will extend beyond the physical design, Web or digital application interface and venture out into the world of human interactions and interpersonal communications, the original source where all interaction is based and inspired. The presentation will use video clips from the comedic series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David, the protagonist of the show is shown to persistently test, provoke and extreme push society and conventional behavior to humorously illustrate where human interactions are broken and ways that they can or (why bother?) be fixed.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom B, Austin Convention Center

  • Steve Krug Explains It All for You

    by Steve Krug

    Nowadays, Steve (Don’t Make Me Think) Krug is fixated on getting everyone to do their own usability testing. It’s almost sad, really. Bordering on an obsession. And it *would* be sad, except for the fact that usability testing turns out to be the best thing anyone can do to improve a Web site (or Web app, or desktop app, or iPad app—you get the idea) that they’re working on.

    Last year, he boiled down everything you need to know to do your own testing into 162 pages in his second book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy. Now, for people who haven’t got two hours to read a really short book (with lots of illustrations), he’s going to boil it down into a SxSW talk…complete with a live demonstration. You’ll leave the room ready—and eager--to start testing.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck


  • Adaptive Path: 10 Years Of Making Things Awesome-r [Cancelled?]

    by Jesse James Garrett and Laura Kirkwood-Datta

    Experience design company Adaptive Path launched at South by Southwest 2001 (on the rooftop of the old Waterloo Brewing Company!). Together, we’ve grown up, but we haven’t grown old. From the two guys who helped create a revolution (and some 4-letter neologisms along the way) -- learn how to continually revolutionize your own thinking and approach to your work.

    For 10 years now, Adaptive Path has maintained its position at the forefront of user experience. In that time, UX has emerged from the backroom to the boardroom, going from something that’s “nice to have” to an essential element of successful products and services. In this talk, founders Peter Merholz and Jesse James Garrett will chart where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how we’ll get there.

    This talk will draw from Adaptive Path's experiences working at the vanguard of social media (such as helping Blogger after it was acquired by Google), pushing the boundaries of interaction design (coining the term "Ajax"), developing new user experience methods (such as sketchboarding), defining a new field of experience strategy (we need to work on the why and what, not just the how), and helping companies of all sizes truly embrace the power of user experience to deliver superior products and services to their customers.

    If you’re familiar with Peter and Jesse, you know this session will be light on B.S., heavy on substance, and we’ll probably disagree with each other at multiple points.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage link