'conferences and events' posts
Twenty Two exceptional international speakers in two days. Brain-food heaven or sheer madness?
This year we had four Optimates representing at Webstock 2013 and if you were lucky enough to be there too I’m sure you’ll agree it was a vintage year. But if you weren’t that lucky (or were and want to know what we made of it), we thought it worth sharing our take on the three most significant UX out-takes for 2013 and beyond.
1) Constraints equal innovation
Innovation is the byproduct of turning a complex problem into an easier one. For example, say you want to build your dream home. Change that to build your dream home in 34 square meters. Gary Chang was able to fit 24 different room designs into a 34 square metre apartment. This shows how adding constraints results in innovation. This can be applied not only to design but most problems you face in everyday life. It’s not so much about thinking outside the box, it’s about choosing what box to think inside.
“Design is the beauty of changing constraints into advantages” – Aza Raskin
2) You are directly responsible for what you put into the world
Self-proclaimed asshole and fiery advocate for conscious design, Mike Monteiro spoke animatedly with many expletives, reminding us to take responsibility for what we help to bring into the world, to exercise our right to say no to things that don’t meld with us as ethical, thinking beings. After all, as he so poignantly pointed out “the monsters we unleash into the world will be named after us”. Mike reminded us of the responsibility we have to ourselves, the world and our craft. If you can already feel your blood boiling with red-hot designer passion I highly recommend checking out his book ‘Design is a Job’.
“We need to fear the consequences of our work more than we love the cleverness of our work.” - Mike Monteiro
3) The internet is dead
And there are five reasons for that: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. These big five American vertically organized silos are re-making the world in their image. If you’re Nokia or HP or a Japanese electronics manufacturer, they stole all your oxygen. There will be a whole lot happening among these five vast entities in 2013. What will the world that they create look like?
Science Fiction Author turned futurist, Bruce Sterling is one of those polarising and inconsistent speakers, but when he is on form, boy does he bring the house down. Bruce presented a compelling argument to abandon our attachment to the constructs and concerns of Web 2.0 and embrace the new world of The Stack.
“The internet had users. The stack has livestock.” – Bruce Sterling
With huge thanks to Tash, Mike, Debbie and Ben for another totally wicked event.
Watch out for a selection of speaker videos at http://talks.webstock.org.nz/ in upcoming weeks!
By Leif Roy and Trent Mankelow
In April and May, we spoke at and attended two conferences on opposite sides of the globe – UX London 2012 in London and Service Design 2012 in Melbourne. Here are our highlights.
Service Design 2012
Attended by Trent Mankelow
I liked the intimate feel of this conference. With only 120-ish people it made the whole thing feel really friendly. The local case studies and content (there was nary a mention of Apple) helped to create a “we can do this” attitude. Read more »
Going to Webstock is like eating breakfast. A very large breakfast. Think crispy hash browns, creamy mushrooms, plump poached eggs, grainy toast, small but perfectly formed sausages. And slow-roasted tomatoes. And hollandaise.
Of course, the trouble with so much food is the inevitable food coma that follows. So it is with Webstock 2012. My brain is stuffed full of new ideas, and I’m going to be spending the next couple of weeks waddling around, digesting what I learnt.
There were a lot of highlights: the quality of storytelling (hardly a bulletpoint in sight), the mixture of melancholy and mirth, the down-to-earthness of everyone there. Also, Kapiti black doris plum ice cream. Read more »
In late August I attended the third annual UX Australia conference in Sydney. The conference was well organised, enjoyable, informative, and peppered with a great mix of both local and international speakers. Topics were varied and covered the full breadth of the UX discipline, from designing for mobile to UX design in surgical environments. There was definitely something of value in every session that I attended. Not one was a dud.
There were some common themes running throughout the conference: multi-channel design, designing for mobile, and the role that UX plays in transforming the culture within a business. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights. Read more »
Regular readers of our newsletter and attendees at our breakfast briefings will have noticed that we’re passionate about Service Design here at Optimal Usability and want to be the go-to guys for Service Design in New Zealand.
UX Australia’s Service Design 2011 one day conference offered us a chance to take the temperature of Service Design in Australia and see if we Kiwis measure up. In short I think we more than measure up, but nevertheless there were some interesting learnings to take home from some great presentations which I’d like to share with you. Read more »
The 25th anniversary of South by South West (SXSW) was an awe-inspiring spectacle. Officially, 19,364 people attended the interactive week, the first time the interactive portion has outsold the music. Over the 5-day conference I went to 20-odd talks and heard from speakers like Steve Krug, Jared Spool, Dan Ariely, Robert Hockman Jr, Seth Priebatsch and TOMS shoe creator Blake Mycoskie.
The main themes were centred around location awareness, twitter, gamification, social networking, metrics and beer. Underlining it all was the mega theme of user experience. Read more »
In May I was lucky enough to attend UX London. I thought I’d share some of the notes I took from four of the sessions I attended. (More speaker slides are available.)
Read more »
In June, three of us from the Optimal family attended the Usability Professionals’ Association conference in Portland, Oregon. We learnt a lot, including how “strategic dismemberment” relates to game usability. We thought we’d dedicate this newsletter to sharing a few gems from the conference. (Forgive us if we get a bit geeky with the terminology). Enjoy! Read more »
World Usability Day mobilises usability professionals in over 40 countries to raise awareness of usability through a series of public events. The theme for 2008 was transportation, with a focus on how we access and use transportation, and the role that transport systems, processes, and infrastructure play in shaping our society and culture. This year, Optimal consultants contributed to events in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney. Read more »
Last week I attended the annual Usability Professionals’ Association (UPA) conference in Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve attended a few conferences over the last few years and have noticed a few trends coming through.
Firstly, usability is in hot demand. There is no doubt about it, this field is booming. Usability makes more sense than ever, thanks to the:
• Success of consumer products and services like the iPod and Netflix
• Growth of self-service (and its ability to decrease the cost to serve each customer)
• Improved ability to track the benefits of usability thanks to more pervasive, robust measurement systems
However, we still need to do a better job of selling ourselves. We need to be known for more than just usability – we must get involved right at the beginning of the design lifecycle. Understanding users is vitally important in product development and customer experience strategy, and we need to get better at understanding how organisations work, and the flow-on effects of what we do.
As a result of usability being a hot button, skilled usability practitioners are in high demand. In a June 4 report entitled User Experience Salaries Are on the Rise, Kerry Bodine from Forrester says “While demand for UX work is up, capacity is not. Universities continue to pump out new crops of practitioners from their design and human-computer interaction programs, but this influx still can’t keep up with the US’s surging appetite for UX work. This imbalance will continue to create enormous headaches for hiring managers: For the past several years, every agency exec we’ve talked to has reported that hiring and retention is a top priority.” Read more »