Interaction’09 notes

2009 February 12

Interaction’09 | Vancouver
February 5-8 2009, Vancouver, Canada

Coverage of the event on the web:
Core77 & Johnny Holland Magazine

Workshop: Designing for Touch screens and Interactive Gestures
Bill DeRouchey and Dan Saffer
A 3 hour workshop to reflect on designing for touch interaction.
A quick intro on touch screens, technology, design considerations, deliverables, adaptive targets, etc.
First exercise is to design a space (6′x6′) to experience and buy music in a retail store.
Our group focuses on an avatar to bring back the “music dude who knows it all” that was very common in the pre-digital era.
We paper prototyped many touch interaction, and it’s not easy.
Second exercise invites us to elaborate on the presentation, communication and documentation of the (touch) system.
Simple workshop, maybe I was expecting too much out of it.
Check for touch and gesture resources

Keynote: Experiencing Sustainability, John Thackara
Similar insights and call to action from what I’ve seen before from M. Thackara. Nevertheless, he is capable of communicating his ideas across with great optimism. He explains the many “peaks” and how we will have to change to survive as a specie.
Hidden costs of a mobile phone: 500 kg of resources.
I read his book, In The Bubble, during my flight to Vancouver and it covers a lot of his talks. He talks about City Eco Lab at St-Étienne (I’ve seen and it is very inspiring and motivating indeed).
Go local and look/use/share what you have near you.
We don’t need to invent anything, it’s all already happening as we speak. Have to embrace it.

Panel: Jared Spool and friends
M. Spool and six colleagues (3 from industry, 3 from academia) discuss how to train the 10 000 interaction designers the market needs now.
What do you look for when you hire an interaction designer:
SAP director says he is looking for a designer who can add a business cost to a design decision/option.
Collaboration and team work capabilities is huge for hiring new people.

Keynote: Fiona Raby (RCA)
Beatles song remixed by online translators service
Robots that you don’t understand how they are working (seen at St-Étienne). They are imperfect in order for us, humans, to care for them (because they really don’t need us to function).
More students projects shown.

Keynote: Irrational Behavior, Robert Fabricant (Frog)
A very interesting talk where he elaborates that interaction design is the design of behavior (behavior is our medium).
We should not talk about the outcomes of a project, but more of its impacts.
We need to learn a lot about how to motivate people in order to change the world.
Some industries are very good at it (tobacco, entertainment, drugs, etc)
Visualizing behavior is crucial to help people understand themselves and act upon it.

Design by community, Leisa Reichelt
Task: redesign site
How do you design for FOSS and a whole community?
Designer can reach out to the community, but beware of personal and individual garbage feedback.
Bake the community into the process
Be open-source like (frequent updates, open discussion, reach outside the core community)
Transfer skills and knowledge
When in doubt, share
It’s not a democracy. Compromise is not the answer. Don’t relinquish your responsibilities as designer.

Designing Natural Interactions, Nathan Moody (Stimulant)
A very overview of NUIs, how they differ from GUIs and what is interesting about them.
Eliminate proxy controls (mouse, keyboard) to increase immersion
Direct manipulation where “content is the interface”
Predictable, guessable, physical and realistic.
GUIs are good for precise control while NUIs are good for social and collaborative situations.
One shouldn’t exclude the other, they can work together.
Deliverables for interaction design: sketches with ghost hands, previz movies, refined quicktime to pass to developers.
Work at scale (very important)
Managing user expectations: attracting interest, recognizing interactivity, granting permission
Unlearning GUIs habits
Key input challenges: Whose finger is that?, session management and usage tracking, accessibility, virtual keyboards just suck!
Microsoft Surface has an optical tracking system, can see shadow around touches and can detect owner of touches.

Building a concept car, Andrei Herasimchuk (Involution Studios)
The talk is about prototyping tools, mostly software oriented.
Interaction Design needs dream project, where you can work on project equivalent to concept cars for interaction.
He starts with a great quote from Henry Dreyfuss, about the value of building prototypes
Online tool to display the pros and cons of various software and types of prototype (unknown URL)
He demoed and presents the various iterations that lead to it.

Keynote: Carpe Diem, Dan Saffer (Kicker Studio)
Attention, awareness and interaction design 2009
Visual attention movie with moonwalking bears (while other are passing balls)
Our beliefs and our attention are the same fact
New technology makes it way almost everywhere within 2 years (Jan Chipchase)
Instead of Design Thinking, let’s think and make
Focus on the details while designing
Stop fetishizing simplicity
The future is not Google-able

Keynote: How to change complicated stuff, Marc Rettig (Fit Associates)
M. Rettig presents how design should care about more people. We have to address the problems to make a difference. It’s not only about design, technology, engineering, UCD, etc.
Ripple effect (small change, big effect)
It’s not only about shipping a new product, but making a place of it in society. Much more difficult and it needs to be sustainable.
UCD method with pre-labeled post-its given to people while visiting their home.
Changing behavior is needed, social issues, but it’s not easy
Not “more stuff”, but more “quality of life”

Enlighten trial and errors, Bjorn Hartman (Stanford)
The benefit of prototypes and prototyping.
Support fast iteration and such
How to map sensor date to event, GUI tool to capture, recognize and select sensor data (gestures)
Requirements for programmed interactions: manage parameter variations, manage code alternatives, access variations and alternatives at runtime.
Tuning dialog boxes built on the fly at runtime.
Design table, to suport designers with a mix of real and virtual tools. Nice examples, take snapshot of notebook/sketches, augment moleskin notebook pictures, etc. Big table, two projectors, two cameras. wireless mice and keyboards.

Foundations of Interaction Design, Dave Malouf (SCAD)
Dave talks about his ideas about what would be foundations for Interaction Design.
He says that ID has such a foundation and it makes it easier to discuss and critic projects
Elements of foundation for IxD: time, abstraction (command line vs NUIs), metaphor, negativity, motion
Time is crucial for IxD: duration, frequency, rhythm, delay
Movement has an aesthetic
We should learn from ID

Waiting, Joseph Dombroski
A nice talk about time and how it unfolds/interacts in interactive systems.
Ref. Paco Underhill
Perception vs Reality
Barnabus effect: First time seems longer than subsequent times
Vierordt’s law: Short times are underestimated, long times are overestimated
Illusion of progress: As we see results, pace quickens; less likely to abandon
Lower perceived times are very beneficial (see slides/photos)
Ref. Designing and Engineering time, Steve Seow

Designing for Teams, Designing for Touch, Joe Fletcher (Microsoft Surface)
Insights about designing two application for touch
Tap is not the new click!
Large variety of hardware (a problem): different capabilities N: 1 (Wacom) to 52 (Surface)
Confusion of gesture command, swipe left = going back in Firefox, direct manipulation in Coverflow

Keynote: Each One, Teach One, Kim Goodwin (Copper)
CEOs and executives “get design” nowadays
Design holds a lot of promises, but have we live up to it?
No magic bullet. It takes time and resources to do good design
We need to be multi-everything, not only from limited segments of the population
You can design by yourself (ref. signing in the shower). Collaboration and teamwork is essential.
10 000 hours to master your craft.
IxD needs more tutoring. That’s all you learn your craft
Your learn as much when teaching.

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