Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Psychology and Design

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Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Mind Reading: Seeing Needs Users Don’t Articulate

    by Leslie Feinzaig

    When your product is facing serious competition, knowing what unmet need still exists is crucial to planning your next move. But in surveys you find that everyone is reasonably satisfied with all of the key features in your competitor’s products and they do not perceive that their experience could be better than it currently is. So how do you identify opportunities that seem not to exist? In this session, using Bing’s insight development practices as a case study, we will discuss techniques for gaining deep understanding of and empathy with customer’s pain to spur product innovations. We will share insights that we’ve identified that point to broad cultural shifts in how people think about knowledge that impact what is perceived as trustworthy and what is complete information required to make important decisions. We will share both how we were able to identify these needs and specifically what these needs are in an effort to encourage thinking about how to better meet them. This session is sponsored by Bing.

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

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

    Coverage slide deck

  • 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

Tuesday 13th March 2012

  • 100 Things Designers Need to Know About People

    by Susan Weinschenk

    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.

    At 4:00pm to 4:20pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip