Sunday, May 30, 2010

Big Design Conference 2010 Recap

Okay, at the start of the Big Design Conference, Susan Weinschenk (@thebrainlady), mentioned that we’ll hear different perspectives throughout the conference on UX and ideas in general. Well, I thought I would share my experience from a developer’s perspective. This is all from memory because I wrote very few notes, so hopefully I remembered the right things…although I know I didn’t on some of them. Plus I found out in the keynote on day one that my memory is not great. I couldn’t even remember CIAI BMF BIIP ODHP…of course I do now because she showed us this: CIA IBM FBI IPOD HP, which makes it a little easier.

Day 1:

  • Keynote by Susan Weinschenk, @thebrainlady
    What I took away…
    • Brain has three parts – new, mid, and old
      • new = language processing, speech, thinking thoughts, planning, etc
      • mid = emotions
      • old = danger, sex, and food
    • Our 5 senses take in about 11 million pieces of information every second and ONLY 40 of those are processing consciously.
    • Use - $39/person
    • We were asked to draw which way we would turn two knobs to get warm water. The results were all over the place on how people would turn the knobs. The idea behind the activity was to show that people have different models in their heads of how things should/do work. In this instance, I was curious as to how many people know the saying, “lefty loosy, righty tighty”. My guess is that the majority of people that said turn both to the left have heard that saying.
    • We were also asked to divide a circle into quadrants and label them A, B, C, D. I started in the top left and did A, B and then on the next “line”, C, D. After seeing the results of how people arranged the letters, it seemed to me that culture mattered more on how one would arrange them. My guess is that you’d arrange them in the manner you learned to read. I read from left to right and line by line, therefore, my result was A, B new line C, D.
    • I can’t draw a coffee cup with a saucer…At least not nearly as good as Dave, the marker artist sitting next to me.
  • The Age of the Brandividual: How to Build your Company and Personal Brand Leveraging Social Media by Mike D. Merrill, @mikedmerrill
    Download Slide Deck
    What I took away…
    • Update your LinkedIn account because it’s a great tool to manage connections.
    • Go ahead and reserve the username you want to use for your online activities on all the different sites, even if you don’t intend to use them. Especially places like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
    • email accounts means you’re over 40. Either buy yourself a domain or go with
    • Blog.
  • The How to Conduct Global UX Benchmarking by Alfonso de la Nuez
    What I took away…
    • I ended up leaving this one early because I thought it was going to be “More Than a Blue Button” by Ryan Merket. I did however spend the first 10 minutes trying to figure out if Alfonso had a ponytail because it looked like he did. I didn’t actually see that he does not have a ponytail until a later that day.
    • I didn’t make it to the Ryan’s session, I just walked around and waited for lunch.
    • My apologies Alfonso for leaving early.
  • Agile or Irrelevant? by Tom McCracken
    What I took away…
    • Tom likes talking about this stuff.
    • Tom likes Drupal.
    • NASA kinda formed the way we do projects today (waterfall).
    • Tom provided some visuals on waterfall vs agile methods, which were interesting.
    • Tom also mentioned the
  • 10 Commandments of Social Interaction Design by Chris Pitre & Laura Verble
    What I took away…
    • Chris likes Beyonce and he’s going to buy a TV from VIZIO because they showed him a picture of one with Beyonce on it. (this was an example they provided)
    • Vagisil has a “Share with others” feature. (I hope this doesn’t become part of my Google search results)
    • Respect privacy.
  • Extreme Douchebaggery, formerly known as Extreme Social Marketing by Giovanni Gallucci, @gallucci
    What I took away…
    • It’s all about the money. Hence the douchebaggery :)
    • Use YouTube for marketing.
    • Fake Genuine.
    • Funny guy and to the point.

Day 2:

  • Keynote by Chris Bernard (only heard from lobby, sadly)
    • Heard some Ferris Bueller’s Day Off coming from the room and I wish I would’ve seen it.
  • When Data Gets Up Close & Personal by Stephen Anderson, @stephenanderson
    What I took away…
    • All about the Feedback Loop
    • Creator of the Mental Cards, which were handed out at the conference to help make it more social and connected. Of course, being shy it did not help me. Although I did trade with whoever asked me, but I didn’t approach anyone. I need to get over that probably especially if I want to try to start speaking at some of these events…
    • This was one of my favorite sessions. He made me think a lot about how my end-users are going to interact with my applications and how I can make it fun and enjoyable for them.
    • He provided a ton of examples and I’m hoping he releases his slide deck soon.
    • He mentioned, which I just signed up for and really like. In particular he mentioned the “Your Carbon” section, which shows you your carbon footprint in a kg CO2 number. He goes into detail on how they could improve that number. he suggests…
      • Make it visual…maybe tree icons
      • Make it relatable…show how I compare on average
      • Show me how I can improve…take a train, etc
      • Show me how I can help…link to places that plant trees
    • He also gave a small exercise to write down a project that we’re currently working on and list some of the business goals. Then he went into a section on his problem of not responding to email quick enough and some of the things that an email system could do to help him stay motivated. The idea was for us to think about our project while he was showing how he thought through his…I enjoyed the exercise
  • Designing with Lenses: Lessons from Other Design Crafts by Bill Scott, @billwscott
    What I took away…
    • This guy seemed really smart. Worked for Yahoo! & Netflix on the UX teams I believe.
    • His presentation was how to use “lenses” to design. He gave an example of simple/complex…as in playing Tic Tac Toe is too simple, but chess has simple rules, but is a very complex game.
    • I don’t really know how to explain this stuff…he basically went through some practices that were used to develop a board game called Pandemic. The game looked fun and the examples were great.
    • He also talked about working on certain UIs with Yahoo! & Netflix. Some worked really well, others not so much. I’m hoping he publishes his slide deck as well because I think that would help explain some of this stuff.
    • My favorite part of his presentation was probably the example of detecting what changed on an image after a page refresh and then seeing the difference without the page refresh. I think only 5 people saw the change with the page refresh and everyone saw it without the page refresh. Extremely enlightening when it comes to UX. He also gave a URL for samples of this, but since I didn’t write anything down, I don’t have it. Like I said before, hopefully he publishes the slide deck.
  • Effective Dashboard Design: Why Your Baby is Ugly by Aaron Hursman, @hursman
    Download Slide Deck
    What I took away…
    • Aaron’s presentation was basically a bunch of examples of what not to do and what to do when it comes to building a dashboard.
    • Luckily, he published his slide deck. I wouldn’t want to have to re-create all those samples.
  • Can Helen Keller Learn in the 21st Century by Sharron Rush
    What I took away…
    • There is a definite need for knowbility in K12 environment
    • Knowbility offers several training events throughout the year
      • John Slatin AccessU
      • AccessU West
      • ATSTAR (Assistive Technology Strategies, Tools, Accommodations, & Resources)
    • Knowbility is also involved with the community via the Accessibility Internet Rally (AIR), which raise public awareness about barrier-free technology.
    • iPhone is a universally designed product.
    • Advocate universal design over accessible design
    • 1 in 10 men are color blind
  • Behind the Kimono: A Peak Behind the Design Process by Russ Unger, @russu
    Download Slide Deck
    What I took away…
    • Russ was angry.
    • Russ wrote a book. A book that I tried to buy today at BN and they did not have it in stock. I’ll have to buy it on Amazon later.
    • Russ and a few of his friends are helping a non-profit called lend4health.
    • Russ likes wireframes.
    • Russ is extremely entertaining.
    • Russ is showing his work and not hiding it. He asked the question, why don’t we share our work. I immediately thought, “it’s scary”. He actually wasn’t talking about developers, but more the wireframes, but it still applies. Fear is what kept me from blogging and sharing for so long. You never know how someone is going to take what you post or if you’re practicing what you’re preaching or if you’re going to live up to whatever standards you or someone else has set for you…it’s tough, but well worth it. I’m really thankful for all the bloggers in our communities and all the commenters I get on this site.
    • Apparently I like just saying Russ…whatever.
  • Keynote by Jared Spool
    • Fun presentation.
    • Showed the different types of design styles.
      • Unintended Design
      • Self Design
      • Genius Design
      • Activity-Focused Design
      • Experience-Focused Design
    • All good designers know which design style they’re using.
    • Use a design style through the completion of a project, don’t mix and match.
    • Some different design decision samples:
    • The girl under tree rule for universities…he listed at least 10 universities with girls under or around trees on their homepage.
    • He gave examples of different types of design styles.
      • Self Design – 37 Signals
      • Activity-Focused Design – Six Flags
      • Experience-Focused Design – Disney World
      • Unintended Design – American Airlines error page
      • Genius Design – New City something or another maybe? Can’t Remember.

Books Bought Due to Conference:

Books I Intend to Buy Due to Conference:

Other things learned

  • SMU has an awesome quad.
  • There are a ton of community driven people in the UX area too.
  • Section 508 compliant isn’t enough to make your site a universal design.
  • BigD Conference gives out some awesome notebooks.
  • My wife can navigate and find her way around Dallas. I was impressed.
  • Don’t Tweet so much that your phone dies and you miss your wife’s text messages stating that she’s outside waiting and has been for the past 30 minutes.
  • Check out #bigd10

I think that’s it. I really enjoyed this conference and thought I’d share my experience. I’ll definitely be headed back next year! If you attended the conference and have posted your experience, please let me know and I’ll link to you.

Thanks for reading!

kick it on

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