The internet is a never-ending data source. Through it we are able to monitor visitor activity, study traffic patterns, and use these analytics to help guide users in the directions we want. Usability testing gives us behavioral information which can either affirm design decisions or inform necessary changes. Research and analytics go a long way in selling a creative direction to clients who are focused on engaging with their customers and in how marketing dollars will impact their bottom line. But what about a designer's instinct—that moment when a designer just knows what they're building is right? When and how do their years of professional experience, inspirational collections, and life observations become deciding factors? Learn from a panel of design veterans, with experience that ranges from client services to product development, about past experiences and their personal stance on the subject.
by Noah Scalin
Has your creative engine stalled out? Don’t worry; you’re in good company. Everyone needs a creative tune-up from time-to-time and this is where you’ll get the tools for the job. Artist/designer Noah Scalin, author of 365: A Daily Creativity Journal and Unstuck: 52 Ways To Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work, and in Your Studio, will share the story of his own yearlong Skull-A-Day project and the benefits he gained from this daily practice – including becoming a published author & sought after corporate speaker, and yes even making an appearance on The Martha Stewart show. He’ll also introduce you to several easy ways to immediately start generating more creative energy that will benefit your life and work.
Women have become the digital mainstream. In the US market, women make up just under half of the online population, but they spend 58 percent of e-commerce dollars. Women are online gamers, shoppers, bloggers, and social media consumers. And yet, we still don’t know how to design for them.
The immediate impulse when designing for women is to “shrink it and pink it,” meaning products are splashed with the color pink, and content and messaging are dumbed down. But women want what’s relevant to them. They want products and online experiences that are intuitive, not insulting to their intelligence. They want function, not frills.
This session reviews the historical and contemporary landscape of designing for women. We’ll review misguided, yet well-intentioned designs based on assumptions and stereotypes that have flopped. Likewise, we’ll review success stories of well-designed products and experiences that truly meet women’s needs. We’ll also look at when gender should factor into your design and when it shouldn’t. Ultimately, when designing for women (or men, or both), you’ll want to get it right.
by Jen Simmons
HTML5. It's more than paving the cowpaths. It's more than markup. There's a lot of stuff in the spec about databases and communication protocols and blahdiblah backend juju. Some of that stuff is pretty radical. And it will change how you design websites. Why? Because for the last twenty years, web designers have been creating inside of a certain set of constraints. We've been limited in what's possible by the technology that runs the web. We became so used to those limits, we stopped thinking about them. They became invisible. They Just Are. Of course the web works this certain way. Of course a user clicks and waits, the page loads, like this… but guess what? That's not what the web will look like in the future. The constrains have changed. Come hear a non-nerd explanation of the new possibilities created by HTML5’s APIs. Don't just wait around to see how other people implement these technologies. Learn about HTML APIs yourself, so you can design for and create the web of the future.
by David Hogue
Interfaces and devices are providing more and more power and functionality to people, and in many cases this additional power is accompanied by increasing complexity. Although people have more experience and are more sophisticated, it still takes time to learn new interfaces, information, and interactions. Although we are able to learn and use these often difficult interfaces, we increasingly seek and appreciate simplicity.
The Complexity Curve describes how a project moves from boundless opportunity and wonderful ideas to requirements checklists and constraints then finally (but only rarely) to simplicity and elegance. Where many projects call themselves complete when the necessary features have been included, few push forward and strive to deliver the pleasing and delightful experiences that arise from simplicity, focus, and purpose.
In this session, David M. Hogue, Ph.D. - VP of Experience Design, applied psychologist, and adjunct faculty member at San Francisco State University - will introduce the Complexity Curve, discuss why our innovative ideas seem to fade over the course of a project, explain why "feature complete" is not the same as "optimal experience", and offer some methods for driving projects toward simplicity and elegance.
A new movement is gaining momentum in the design world— a movement to expand the applications of high design beyond its elitist client base to solve complex social problems. This panel will engage an array of leaders in the public interest design movement who use design thinking in various ways to address global challenges and engender social innovation at different scales. John Peterson will bring his experience developing the largest interactive matchmaking database for pro bono design services between top architecture firms and deserving nonprofits to the discussion; Jess Zimbabwe’s contribution will be informed by work empowering civic leaders to use design thinking to solve public problems; John Bielenberg will bring his perspective on the influence of graphic design campaigns to bring awareness to complex social problems; while Barbara Brown Wilson will draw from her work in higher education to discuss the role of active learning and interactive online project evaluation to empower students to become social innovators. Suzi Soza, from the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service’s Dell Social Innovation Competition, will moderate the panel.
The job of a web designer these days includes designing for content that changes, is highly dynamic, and often does not yet exist. Gone are the halcyon days of static, 5 page websites that are just as rigid as a printed brochure (let's be honest, we don't miss that). This reality has created a great deal of debate within our industry and a fair amount of difficulty in our design processes.
In this session we'll cover some basic design concepts and principles that can be applied when designing for CMS-driven websites. We'll also outline some tips and tricks for your design process, and explore some of the biggest hurdles and potential pitfalls in designing for yet created and ever-changing content.
”Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch…”,lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof about finding a perfect partner. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have someone to guide you towards what is a match for you, advise you in your career life, help you weed through the losers to find the fabulous ‘one’ that will make you whistle on your way to work AND whistle on the way home?
In Hunt or Be Hunted - How to get the Design Job you Really Want, you will be privy to the insights and success stories of three of the industry’s most respected representatives in their knowledge domains. You will also hear from a leading expert in the placement of designers. Each will relate real-world experience, guiding audience members through the maze of questions a designer has in this frenetic job market.
Who are you as a designer? What do you want to do, and how do you know it's the right thing.
What's your story? How to present yourself, your portfolio, and where you want to be.
Where should you be full time or freelance? What that means to your life, your career and how you are viewed.
When is it right? To look, to change, to know if this is the one.
How do you get there? Choosing the right company, assessing/selling to what they need, closing the deal.
Don’t be left in the dark. Don’t make blind decisions. Be informed, be guided, then be sure. Listen to these respected resources to help yourself to, “…find me the perfect match.”
by Leonard Souza and Sean Coulter
Physical architecture is about how environments interact with people. Interaction design is about the mind moving through abstract spaces. Somehow the two must intersect.
This session is aimed at taking two design disciplines (physical architecture and interaction design) and finding where they relate, and how they can learn from one another. Interaction design has taken a lot from the field of architecture's creative and scientific process. For example, wireframes are very similar to blueprints (construction documents). These similarities are ever present between the two. Truly, both fields blend art and science, as well as both sides of the mind. Expect to come away with a high-level understanding of how phenomenology influences our interactions, tangible and intangible, and how cognitive science can be used to manipulate perception. This talk will be a lot of fun, so come down with an open mind and a lot of questions!
Emily Pilloton is a designer and builder, disguised as a high school teacher. In this session, she will tell the story of Studio H, a high school design/build curriculum based in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest, most sparsely populated and racially divided county in the state. In one year, her students design and construct a full-scale piece of architecture for their hometown (last year, a 2000-square foot farmers market, along with 3 public chicken coops). This session will make the case for bringing back new, design-infused models of vocational learning as a means to engage students in hand-to-mind creativity, and real-world progress in their own backyards.
In the summer of 2011, Google completely redesigned nearly all of its applications to be more focused, elastic, and effortless. For the first time in Google’s history, hundreds of millions of users could use a suite of products – from Search and Maps to Gmail, Docs, and Calendar – with a unified, modern look and feel. Join the designers who led the effort for war stories and lessons learned in bringing beauty to Google’s flagship products.
by RJ Owen
“Throw away your joysticks, kids,” began the 1989 article of “Design News” praising that year’s must-have Christmas accessory: the Power Glove. At the time it seemed as if traditional video game controllers would soon be a thing of the past.But the Power Glove was anything but a success. While it was a design and technology coup, coolness is unfortunately a poor metric for product success. What the Power Glove lacked was customer insight. During the technology and design crunch nobody stopped to ask, “How is this device for playing games? Do people want to use it?” Thus, the teams rushed blindly into building the wrong thing.Customer insight is the most critical piece of the application and software creation process. You can build something sweet, but if nobody uses it you’re left with little more than a colossal waste of time, effort and money. On the flip side, customer insight applied to the process can result in more customers, increased market share and a better ROI.
It seems like everyone is trying to build an online community these days. Unfortunately, designing a community space is much trickier to nail than your typical web app. The smallest changes can have butterfly-like effects that greatly impact, sometimes irreversibly, community behavior as the community grows. Designing for a community is like running a small island nation with every design decision a matter of public policy. You’ll often find that the needs of your community are at odds with those of individual users.
In this talk, Richard White, co-founder of UserVoice.com, and Steve Huffman, co-founder of Reddit.com and Hipmunk.com, will cover some of the key concepts behind community-driven design and how you can incorporate them into your design thinking. We’ll also cover some of common pitfalls that drive participants away from online communities or create insular bedroom communities. Most importantly we’ll share our experiences with building online communities and walk you through real data we have collected that illustrate how small design changes can have a big impact.
“Mobile first” is the mantra on the lips of most mobile evangelists. The trouble is, the advice of many experts to start fresh with a new mobile design, optimize for performance, and try to accommodate all mobile devices both common and uncommon — this ends up being quite a daunting list. And it can frighten many web designers away from trying to embrace mobile design at all.
But as with anything that is completely new, it is a lot easier to ease into it rather than jump directly into the deep end. Plus, if you’re like most web designers, you have existing web sites that could benefit from some mobile love, yet aren’t likely to be getting a completely new mobile-oriented redesign (either due to time or cost).
Mobilizing web sites encourages web designers to optimize existing web sites for mobile presentation, and to do so incrementally starting with screen layout, navigation, typography, images, forms, and content. Doing this, while aiming for the most common mobile platforms first, gets you to most mobile devices in the least amount of time. Then, taking a product-managed approach, you can continue to progressively enhance your site to improve performance and broaden device support.
Don’t set your expectations too high and think that getting into mobile web design requires perfection. Just get started! Then as you learn more and gain a better appreciation of mobile’s context and constraints, you can raise your expectations and fine-tune your focus.
Mobilizing web sites: start optimizing your corner of the web for mobile presentation today.
You design to elicit responses from people. You want them to buy, read, register, or take an action. In order to design for people you need to understand how people read, how people see, how people make decisions, what motivates people, and the psychology of social behavior. Designing without understanding about people is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This session presents the top concepts from psychology that impact design. Each concept is backed up by research and examples of how to apply to real-life design situations.
Many of us are racing to be first to market, or release something in time for a specific event. Running and gunning on the product design battlefield is a tremendous challenge because it takes time to design things that provide ~real value for people and fit into a brand’s ecosystem in a meaningful way. How can you create things that provide utility, joy, and value while you’re chasing a moving target on the battlefield of design? This talk will show you. Discover the essential art of design triage and explore techniques to provide solid user experience design (even when there’s no time), put mortally flawed projects out of their misery, and help deserving projects thrive. Design triage will help you shape things that serve people’s real needs and goals and give you tools to parachute into a fast moving situations so you can provide “nick of time” design that makes what your building truly helpful and delightful.
9th–13th March 2012