Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roundup of Talks From Interaction '09

Design conferences normally leave me clammy ... Is it just me or is this an industry of self indulgent divas who talk about the need for empathy?

Design conferences seem to have one of two themes:
1. We are the champions of the world
2. Who the @#%$ are we?

It seems that this one fell into the latter category and came up with the utterly unbillable answer, best articulated by Frog Design's R. Fabricant: we design behavior not technology.

While I agree that this is true, it's an abstract idea. Personnel Managers, the Army and Ben Bernanke also design behavior...and in much more meaningful ways.

Interaction designers design nonlinear interactive interfaces. They do. That's what they do.

The trend toward mobile and integrated hardware/software organizations might blur the line a bit. Having built buildings, manufactured physical objects and designed software, I can assure you that these are different skillsets with unique project definition, legal, production, documentation , profitability, business development and process models.

It would be interesting to ask frogdesign, Smart or IDEO about the margins on web/application development vs. industrial design. Maybe the growing margin pressure on ID and behavioral research is driving Fabricant's definition.

If we are coming up with new industry slogans, how about:
IX Designers increase operational efficiency by decreasing user errors and increasing users' ability to understand complex datasets
We make it really, really easy to buy stuff.

If we are gonna get all abstract, these seem like more appropriate themes for the time.

Sorry to be so Pithy.

Anyhow, here's some fun stuff from the conference:

The folks over at have put together an exhaustive blow by blow of the whole conference.

For the fluff friendly, Aynne Valencia has grocked it down into a picture-heavy designer friendly slideshow.

Simon King of Ideo gave a nice talk about privacy and data-driven design. I think he threw down the gauntlet for an impending national debate...web privacy 2.0

Dan Saffer busted out what one twitterer called a Danifesto.

What do you think? Flame Away!

1 comment:

  1. Well I love sketching and paper prototyping and I see those were pushed hard in the second day workshops, so that's cool.
    I think you have a point about being more specific in the definition of a interaction designer. But you can't blame conferences for wanting to be inspiring. :)