Looking forward to Interaction 10

Interaction 10 logoThe buzz is building for the February 2010 Interaction10 Conference in Savannah, with good reason. There’s an outstanding line-up of speakers and an impressive community of attendees. (Including many people I haven’t met in real life, but talk to quite a bit on the twitters.) I was amazed at the inclusiveness of the 2009 IASummit, and was a little concerned IxD10 wouldn’t live up to welcomeness I found in Memphis. Those fears have disappeared. I’ll report back, but it’s looking like there will be no lack of making new friends.

Designing for Interaction book titleAs a lone UX’er (for the most part) in my job, I relish the chance to learn from fellow user experience folks face-to-face. I’ll kick that off with Dan Saffer’s Brainstorming and Design Principles. There are quite a few brainstorming techniques in Saffer’s book Designing for Interaction that I have not tried, and would love to see a good brainstorm leader put into action. For instance, there’s the ‘Force Fit,’ where you “distill a problem to two words in opposition, then put those words together into a phrase.” The idea is to then think about what exists in the world that embodies the phrase and apply it to the project for inspiration. I also could use some guidance when it comes to organizing concept drawings: when to try for a 2×2, grid alternatives, etc.

I hope the morning session doesn’t wear me out before The Right Way to Wireframe, with Will Evans, Fred Beecher, Todd Zaki Warfel, and Russ Unger. I’m primarily a paper-to-html girl, with more and more 8Shapes Unify these days, though I’ve spent too little time with Axure and OmniGraffle. This session will get participants working in teams with different tools to address a local business problem. We’ll see how the tools affect ideation, and have a few hours of designing together. Sweet. I expect to laugh most of the way through and hope the party continues afterward.

There will be a UX Book Club session discussing Saffer’s book as well as Jon Kolko’s Thoughts on Interaction Design. (I have the book but need to hurry up and read it!) I coordinate UX Book Club Brattleboro, here in southern Vermont, but we’ve had low turnout. I hope to get some ideas about drumming up interest. Kolko’s giving a keynote on interaction design’s role in shaping culture, and his take on “three fundamental problems: a lack of quality, a lack of competent leadership, and a misappropriation of our skills.”

Some of the sessions I’m most looking forward to include: Liz Danzico (Frames: Notes on Improvisation and Design), Chris Fahey (The Human Interface (or: Why Products are People, Too)), and Livia Labate (talking about measuring UX success, something I’m particularly focused on these days). I’m hoping there’s a Deus Ex Machina moment and Fahey & Labate’s sessions get moved to separate time slots. Cindy Chastain gets raves for her storytelling and experience themes workshops, and I missed her speak at the 2009 IASummit. Though if you’re attending, I highly recommend Peter Morville’s Future of Search. I was fortunate to attend his terrific UIE Virtual Seminar last week. Morville got us thinking about how we facilitate fluid movement between searching and browsing, and how we implement search to help people find what they’re looking for & discover what they didn’t know existed. He encouraged that: “Good search requires a telescope to look ahead, a microscope for obsessive attention to detail, and a kaleidoscope to blend patterns.”

There’s a session, Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities (Kel Smith) that intrigues me, and I’ll be participating in Dan Willis and Donna Spencer’s Visual Thinker’s Pictionary. Will you be there? What are you looking forward to?

I’m staying through Monday, with full expectations of a superbowl party. Don’t let me down, people.

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