Initial reflections from IxD11

I’ll post a more thorough review of various talks and presos, but just wanted to quickly jot down some of the key thoughts bubbling in my mind the last few days at this wonderfully organized and richly developed event, truly a premier event for anyone involved in designing interactions for products/services.

Quick thoughts…

* Bill Verplank is a legendary force of knowledge and ideas. Yes, he comes from the Stanford systems thinking POV, highly materialist / reductivist / entitative but that doesn’t diminish the strength of his ideas and their portrayal: as conte drawings done live in front of the audience. No powerpoint! Pure storytelling.

* What’s the material of (interaction) design: behavior (and experience) IMHO. That’s what gets manipulated towards affecting people’s attitudes and actions, influencing their intentionality along different directions.

* Digging deeper… human purpose and values/principles are the fundamental material of design, per Buchanan’s keynote. They are what’s shaped via the agency of design intent and deliberation / interpretation / judgment of stakeholders (including users / designers / biz etc.)

* Your interface is your brand. Period. As artfully explained by Nick Myers of Cooper, a great guy and designer, elements of visual aesthetics and compositional structures shape the brand perception, influencing the interaction potential.

* Interaction has rhythm and can enable autotelic flow. Mastering how and when to appropriately do that is a powerful ability. Wondering how patterns and rhythms fit together? Do they?

* Beautiful information visualizations enrich the experience of data. However, the affordances for interaction are not necessarily apparent. May lead to confusion or serendipitous discovery. Tricky balance…

* Ethics and human values (of dignity) are critical to designing but only you as the designer can decide for yourself what’s right. How you collectively engage (and persuade) with teammates/clients/stakeholders is a bigger issue.

* Integrity matters. Human dignity is the endgame.

* If you’re not making, you’re not designing.

* Sketching/drawing are supreme skills of any designer.

* Those who think that there’s some “landgrab” for interaction designers to “do everything” have it wrong. It’s not about landgrab. It’s about applying “interaction” as a perspective, principle, and method towards solving increasingly complex problems from various viewpoints.

* Oh, and yes designers should assert a point of view. Design is NOT neutral at all. Every design embodies a set of values and beliefs about life, people, environment, utility, etc. framed by the attitudes of the designers and stakeholders. It’s the designer’s dire and grim responsibility to assert a positive, humane, sensible POV in shaping products.

* What’s a product? Who the hell knows ;-)




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