Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Design in Ballroom BC

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • Design from the Gut: Dangerous or Differentiator?

    by Laurel Hechanova, Naz Hamid, Phil Coffman, William Couch and Jane Leibrock

    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.

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

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Designing Experiences for Women

    by Jessica Ivins and Brad Nunnally

    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.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

  • The Complexity Curve: How to Design for Simplicity

    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.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

  • Designing for Content Management Systems

    by Jared Ponchot

    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.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

  • Physical Architecture Meets Interaction Design

    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!

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • White Space: Shaping Nothing for Clean Design

    by David Kadavy

    There is little compliment for a design greater than saying that it "looks clean." But clean design is much more than just a look. To make a clean design, you have to know how to communicate clearly by using white space wisely. In this solo presentation, David Kadavy, author of the #18 Amazon best-seller "Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty," breaks down the invisible forces that shape white space and make a design look "clean." Using fascinating examples that have explained mysteries such as "Why You Hate Comic Sans," Mr. Kadavy illuminates how geometry, typography, and the grid all work together to shape white space, communicate clearly, and create clean design.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

  • A Brief History of the Complete Redesign of Google

    by Michael Leggett, Nicholas Jitkoff, Evelyn Kim, Jon Wiley and Chris Wiggins

    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.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Don’t Build a Power Glove: Talk to Your Users

    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.

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

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center