Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 with notes

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • Designing for Context

    by Andrew Crow, Leah Buley, Ryan Freitas, Ben Fullerton and Nate Bolt

    As designers take on new problems of convergence and ubiquity, we find ourselves facing new challenges. The products we create are accessed through multiple devices, different channels and a wide audience. How do we accommodate the context of use?

    Whether you design mobile apps, services or web experiences, you know that people have different needs and desires. Those issues are complicated further by a landscape of technology.

    This discussion will highlight these new challenges and offer solutions based on years of design experience. Topics include:

    • What should you be aware of when designing a product or service for use in various locations and environments?
    • How does motion and distraction affect interaction and content design decisions?
    • Do you provide for casual use vs. urgent need?
    • How does the form factor or input method of your device steer your design efforts?
    • What happens in an ecosystem of products?
    • How does social and cultural context play into the strategy of your design?

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Town Lake Ballroom, Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin-Town Lake

  • The Future of Lifestyle Media

    by Grace Bonney, Camille Styles, Tolly Moseley and Andrew Wagner

    Lifestyle media is big business. And in a down economy, DIY culture (sewing, canning, etc.) has seen a trendy resurgence. But the lifestyle industry is rapidly changing. How can you break in? Once in, how do you stay current? This panel will first define the nebulous term “lifestyle media,” from national design magazines with full staffs to small, personal blogs headed by creative individuals. Who is the target market for lifestyle media? What do they want / need? How can you transition from being a lone, creative blogger to a nationally known resource? Second, we’ll discuss innovation in lifestyle media. Where is the innovation? How does the rise in online lifestyle media change the traditional media landscape? What’s the future of lifestyle media? Finally, we’ll discuss the nuts & bolts of lifestyle media. How do you hone your focus? Is your expertise more style-oriented? Are you a foodie? How can you channel your interests and knowledge in the right direction? Our panelists include the founder of one of the world's most popular design blogs, and editor-in-chief of a national lifestyle print magazine. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between print and online, and how major players in lifestyle media are working together.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Capitol E-H, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage note

  • SoLoMo Redefined: Next Gen Social Local Mobile

    by Matt Galligan, Jeff Rohrs, Chris Messina and Scott Kveton

    The combination of mobile + social + local is a powerful, yet misunderstood, communication channel. When people hear about it, they often conjure up a “Minority Report” world where companies track their every move to inundate them with marketing. And so they resist. The next-generation of SoMoLo, however, will delight people by providing highly targeted, context-rich communications that keeps the control in their hands. New technologies will leverage newly accessible data gleaned from user app usage, local search results, social streams and location to speak with people on their own terms, in ways that add meaning and convenience. Panelists will share their experiences with and advice on how to leverage SoMoLo data to engage mobile users in ways that personalize content to keep consumers coming back time after time. They will review the spectrum of available channels, emerging techniques, and showcase a handful of savvy brands that are trailblazing and nailing it perfectly.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Salon FG, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Teaching Touch: Tapworthy Touchscreen Design

    by Josh Clark

    Discover the rules of thumb for finger-friendly design. Touch gestures are sweeping away buttons, menus and windows from mobile devices—and even from the next version of Windows. Find out why those familiar desktop widgets are weak replacements for manipulating content directly, and learn to craft touchscreen interfaces that effortlessly teach users new gesture vocabularies. The challenge: gestures are invisible, without the visual cues offered by buttons and menus. As your touchscreen app sheds buttons, how do people figure out how to use the damn thing? Learn to lead your audience by the hand (and fingers) with practical techniques that make invisible gestures obvious. Designer Josh Clark (author of O'Reilly books "Tapworthy" and "Best iPhone Apps") mines a variety of surprising sources for interface inspiration and design patterns. Along the way, discover the subtle power of animation, why you should be playing lots more video games, and why a toddler is your best beta tester.

    Questions answered:
    1. How should UI layouts evolve to accommodate the ergonomics of fingers and thumbs?
    2. Why are buttons a hack? Why aren't they as effective as more direct touch gestures?
    3. How can users understand how to use apps that have no labeled menus or buttons?
    4. What's the proper role of skeuomorphic design (realistic 3D metaphors) in teaching touch?
    5. How can animation provide contextual help to teach gestures effortlessly? How does game design point the way here?

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

  • A Crash Course in Becoming SuperBetter

    by Jane McGonigal

    In 2009, a mild traumatic brain injury changed the way that game designer Jane McGonigal thought about everything -- literally. She spent a year recovering -- struggling to think clearly, be physically active, and find a new sense of purpose. Her journey back to health led her to invent a new form of game design, aimed at having a measurable positive impact on players' real lives, and fused with scientific research at every level. In this talk, you'll see the first results of that process: a game called SuperBetter. You'll hear about the game's first clinical trials, and get a crash course in getting SuperBetter yourself: Find out how to turn weak social ties into allies. Learn how to experience "gain without pain" (or what scientists call "post-ecstatic growth"). Discover the secrets of "Lazy Exercise" and "Ninja Weight Loss". Find out what a two-minute "Future Boost" is, and why it's the most important thing you can do each week for your physical and mental health. From the mind of a game designer comes a radically disruptive model for integrating breakthrough science into our daily lives.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Exhibit Hall 5, Austin Convention Center

  • The Lean Startup: The Science of Entrepreneurship

    by Eric Ries

    The Lean Startup debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. This talk draws on stories and insights from the book, explaining the new science of entrepreneurship. Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counterintuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • CSS for Grown Ups: Maturing Best Practices

    by Andy Hume

    In the early days of CSS the web industry cut its teeth on blogs and small personal sites. Much of the methodology still considered best-practise today originated from the experiences of developers working alone, often on a single small style sheet, with few of the constraints that come from working with large distributed teams on large continually changing web projects.

    The mechanics of CSS are relatively simple. But creating large maintainable systems with it is still an unsolved problem. For larger sites, CSS is a difficult and complex component of the codebase to manage and maintain. It's difficult to document patterns, and it's difficult for developers unfamiliar with the code to contribute safely.

    How can we do better? What are the CSS best practises that are letting us down and that we must shake off? How can we take a more precise, structured, engineering-driven approach to writing CSS to keep it bug-free, performant, and most importantly, maintainable?

Sunday 11th March 2012

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Create More Value Than You Capture

    by Tim O'Reilly and Andrew Mcafee

    One of the great failures of any company - for that matter of a capitalist economy - is ecosystem failure. Great companies build great ecosystems, one in which value is created not just for a single company or group of industry players, but for partners who didn't even exist when the product or service was introduced. Many companies start out creating huge value. Consider Microsoft, whose vision of a computer on every desk and in every home changed the world of computing forever, and created a rich ecosystem for developers. But as Microsoft's growth stalled, they gradually consumed more and more of the opportunity for themselves, and innovators moved elsewhere, to the Internet. Internet innovators like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have also created a rich ecosystem of opportunity, but like Microsoft before them, they are leaving less and less on the table for others. This is a bad trend. Wall Street firms, which got their start trading on behalf of clients, then began trading against them, then created vast Ponzi economies to drain the value from entire segments of the economy are even more dire examples of this trend. But this crisis of capitalism goes beyond individual industry segments. For example, the race by companies to eliminate labor costs has been a short term profit win but a long term loss. Since the cycle of capitalism depends on consumers as well as producers, and consumers are less and less able to find employment, at some point, we're going to have to start thinking about how to put people to work, rather than how to put them out of work. At O'Reilly, we've always tried to live by the slogan "Create more value than you capture." It's a great way to build a sustainable business and a sustainable economy.
    Andrew McAfee, author of "Race Against the Machine," will engage with Tim about these ideas, and about how rethinking the economy becomes even more urgent in the face of the trend he explores in his book, in which jobs are being outsourced not just to low-wage countries, but increasingly to machines.

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

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • The Page Is Dead

    by Jacob Surber

    Responsive web design is changing the definition of a "page," as it aims to address the growing variety of device form factors and locations where content is consumed. Additionally, as the web evolves, rules and limitations must be better understood in order to create truly unique content. This session will focus on design philosophy and development techniques to create and adapt your content for maximum impact, regardless of where and how it is consumed. Topics will include: • Proper elements for the proper content • Design for context • Adapt your UI and adapt your content • Design with ratios vs. design with pixels • Know the limitations • Designing with limitations • Let the limitations set you free.

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

    In Town Lake Ballroom, Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin-Town Lake

  • Community & Influence: How Not to Piss People Off

    by Evan Hamilton, Maria Ogneva, Frank Eliason and Megan Berry

    Marketing is social. We're all sold. But how do you maximize your return in social without appearing like a douchebag? One the one hand, top influencers in the social space are the ones who can truly drive action back to your brand. Yet, on the other hand no one likes a brand who refuses to interact with the little guy. As social marketing becomes more serious, more serious metrics are being demanded -- learn what works and what doesn't. And what about service -- should influence affect whom you help first?

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

    In Capital Ballroom B, St David's Bethell Hall

Tuesday 13th March 2012

  • Creating Relationships That Matter

    by Mike Muhney

    Successful business depends on successful relationships. While a social media strategy may contribute to success, it is never the primary reason for success or failure. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of many-to-many all the way to one-to-one, you need more than a social network. The interactions leading up to that “magical handshake” often occur behind the scenes, not on social media platforms. Converting contacts from your social network to your personal network creates the momentum that leads to lasting value. Better still, capitalizing on the orbital, or extended, networks of those in your personal network allows you to extend your reach beyond those whom you know to those whom you need to know…and those who stand to benefit from an awareness of you and what you have to offer. Organized, disciplined contact management that helps you make the most of the details you learn about people. In any field, those little details don’t mean a lot—they mean everything! Mike Muhney will share how to find opportunities to reach out to the people in your network—and the people in their networks—in ways that offer true value to others. He’ll provide practical tips on making your personal networks, well, personal.

    At 9:30am to 9:50am, Tuesday 13th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

  • Social Media Boundaries: Personal/Personnel Policy

    by Vanessa Rhinesmith, Debra Askanase, Jess Main and Amy Sample Ward

    As our networks expand, our profiles get more public, and our work requires a human face, where do we draw the line between personal and professional identities online? How do we maintain those boundaries for our community members? How do we respond to attacks, opportunities, and over-shares online? When does over-sharing hurt the community? When should you share your own personal stories as a manager, or personally reach out to community members?

    Growing and cultivating an active community also requires that the community manager walk the fine line of personal and professional sharing. Every community manager wonders when and how to professionally cultivate leaders and members to create a thriving community while still being personal. On the reverse side, sometimes community members share too much, which can hurt the health of the community.

    This panel will address these questions and more from experience in nonprofit and public media sectors.

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

    In Salon A, AT&T Conference Center

  • What Journalism Can Learn from Science

    by Matt Thompson and Gideon Lichfield

    The scientific method revolutionized the world of truth-seeking. Yet journalism - which, like science, seeks truth - is far less rigorous. We’ll walk through why this gap has led to record levels of distrust in journalism, and why journalism that’s replicable, trackable, and reviewable can help to restore that trust.

    To be clear, journalism isn't science. It's got tight deadlines and other limits on its ability to gather evidence, no peer review, and often, very little that resembles methodology. But online tools and new reporting techniques are enabling journalists to be much more scientific in their methods.

    From the rise of database journalism, which adds empirical rigor to narrative journalism’s fog of anecdotes, to the emergence of accountability projects that permit tracking and peer review over time, we’ll outline a system of news that can help us better discern the truth amid a rising onslaught of information. We’ll focus our session on identifying solutions and painting a vivid and inspiring picture of what journalism can become.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Capitol A-D, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

  • Coding the Next Chapter of American History

    by Jennifer Pahlka

    Join Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka for a very inspirational keynote address and learn how your geek skills can transform the world for the better.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center