A Digital Life: Remembering, Reminiscing and Reflecting

A session at RE:DESIGN/UX Design

Monday 30th April, 2012

3:30pm to 4:25pm (PST)

Heavily inspired by Richard Bank’s 2011 publication The Future of Looking Back, we will explore potential long-term sentimental uses for the ever-increasing volume of data each of us generate, and conceptualize about interfaces that could display, make sense of and encourage reflection on individual lives using that data. Can we paint holistic views of people with data (we’ve got a start on holograms), and what parts of their data should (or should not) be included? How much data is needed before their personality traits become visible?

Varying privacy rules across the globe, awareness of and access to passively collected data, and the distributed nature of data storage across competing providers all pose challenges. The atrophy of online services where we actively store data and transportability of “your” data from those services is a challenge all its own.

Faded photographs and personal artifacts of the physical world are no longer the only items bequeathed or inherited. It’s common to receive mostly uncurated digital artifacts, online accounts, and hard drives brimming with photos, video, docs, downloads, a digital music collection, cached browser histories and log files. Each will tell a story about the owner. Can systems be built to help us pre-curate our digital detritus and even provide tailored collections to others?

What meaning will your information and digital objects hold for people looking back on a lifetime of data, assuming they will be able to access it at all? What interface would you want them to use, and how curated would you want it to be? But, more importantly, who’s going to manage your Facebook account? We’ll do a group design challenge, and probably raise a lot more questions than we can answer in this session. While this is an emotionally evocative topic, this conversation will have a light and positive tone.

About the speaker

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Char Zvolanek

Senior User Experience Designer, AKQA

Over the last 12 years Charlene has focused on the design, development and promotion of content-rich experiences and shaping strategic visions for clients including Microsoft, Intel, the State Library and Archives of Texas, Red Bull and Target. Along with all the expected UX deliverables she also produces strategic, social and content strategy. In her current Sr. UX Designer role she helps AKQA’s clients keep humans at the heart of their products.

An overactive sense of empathy and a passion for web accessibility naturally led her to user-centered design. She is enjoying watching UX evolve as insights gleaned during the creation of the work itself shape each practitioner’s craft, sometimes blossoming into new schools of thought.

She is most intrigued by engaging experiences that are created at the intersection of science, psychology and art. In the last couple of years she has blogged for Intel at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco and Beijing, and spoken at SXSW on surgery simulation.

A native Austinite, she migrated to the Bay Area in 2007 as a founding member of the McCann SF User Experience Team, breaking a promise to herself to never work in advertising. (It must be okay – she’s still doing it.) In her spare time she provides sweat equity to a startup or two, flirts with big data vis and is learning ruby on rails.

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Time 3:30pm4:25pm PST

Date Mon 30th April 2012

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