2015 IA Summit Closing Keynote

Brenda Laurel goes deep on emergence as a force in information architecture from serious to playful designs. As information becomes more free-flowing and intertwingled with the made as well as the natural world, we need to cut meaningful and engaging swaths through it all. Brenda’s work in research, design, nature, and advocacy make her the very model of an information architect.

Is Design Metrically Opposed?

The world of metrics and analytics has always been at odds with how designers work. Design is a process where we finely tune our gut intuition to create a great user experience. Yet, sometimes, the measures we take indicate a different outcome. Which do we believe? Our gut or what the computers are collecting?

In this presentation, Jared will explore the world of measures, metrics, and KPIs. He’ll share the techniques behind Amazon and Netflix’s success. He’ll show how some practices, like the growth hacking approach to increasing Monthly Average Users (MAUs) have hurt the online experience of Instagram and LinkedIn. Plus, you’ll see some alternatives to satisfaction and net promoter score that give insight into the design process and can help designers better tune their gut intuition.
Session Takeaways
* What do easily-collected analytics like bounce rate and time-on-page actually tells us about our users experiences?
* How do we construct true Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can predict the future patterns of users?
* Why advanced techniques, like a money-left-on-the-table analysis and the CE11, show us how much more powerful metrics can be in design?

Stories of Discovery: A Responsive Journey

Transforming a government website with 200 content authors, tens of thousands of pages, and close to 100 different content templates into a responsive design system is tricky business. In 2013, we led a project to update and future-proof one of Canada’s fastest-growing municipalities’ main communication channel: Surrey.ca.

The responsive redesign achieved unanimous support from city staff, business stakeholders, council, and the mayor. Mobile traffic has increased by 300% since launch. The improved governance and content workflow processes have facilitated new collaborations between silo’d City departments. The Surrey Web Team described this as one of the most positive changes in recent history for the City’s external and internal communication. Most importantly, it created a sense of cohesion through a wholehearted responsive design process.

This project required a new approach. We needed the ability to connect deeply with everyone on our project team: client, vendor, and audience. We needed to get comfortable with imperfection, and fight through difficult moments as a team. We let go of our usual need to protect ourselves and maintain control, and worked together to solve our responsive design and adaptive content problems. Our collaborative creativity was a catalyst for changing the way the City communicates.

What you’ll take away from this talk:

  • Understand how a responsive design process impacts team dynamics and workflow
  • Learn how to encourage collaboration across departments and conquer organizational silos
  • Hear how a responsive discovery can change a project (and why that’s okay)
  • Get cozy with your customers, stakeholders, and content authors – we’re all allies in the fight to make the web a better place

These stories and concrete tips will help you anticipate issues, be better prepared, move faster and launch an experience where your Guests can expect magic at every tap.

Physically-activated Design and Visualization

A large proportion of people in the design, UX, and programming fields today are building products and online services for screen-based experiences. There is a lot of innovation going on in that field, but some of the most exciting developments in technology are happening outside the screen. Today, our information and interactions can be used to light up a city skyline dynamically, fly a swarm of drones, or influence the sound of a performing philharmonic.

This talk will explore the state of the art in physically interactive media experiences and architectural-scale data visualizations. Given by a long time practitioner in the field, the talk will be an inside look into the creative process, planning phases, and final execution of site-specific media interventions.

Example projects that will be shown are: real-time election remixes with live data (US & UK); the 2012 Olympics social media statistics lighting up the London Eye ferris wheel; and a dynamic chandelier in Washington DC that shows real-time global statistics about markets, conflict zones, environmental challenges, and migration.

Designing for Emerging Technologies

As we face a future where what it means to be human will be inexorably changed, we desperately need experience design to help frame our interactions with emerging technologies — from skin-top embeddable computers to bio printable organs to swarming robots to human genome hacking to content aware environments — that are already racing ahead of our ability to process and manage them on an emotional, ethical, and societal level.

This talk will be a source of inspiration to look beyond the screen to the rich world of interactions and experiences that need to be designed; and as a preliminary resource for methods, and ways to approach unique problem sets presented by these emerging technologies — genomics, robotics, biotech, and connected environments.

This talk will explore frameworks and techniques needed for this burgeoning practice area of experience design for emerging technologies. These technologies will shape the places we live and work as well as the very nature of the human condition. We need to take an active role in shaping our future.

The Architecture of Advocacy

Perhaps school taught you how to make a taxonomy or create a persona from research, but did it teach you how to ask for a raise? How to create consensus between your team, product and engineering? Or how to get the right design out in the face of the “just copy Amazon/Google/Netflix” argument?

Designers are taught the skills to make good design, but not the ones that will assure that design will go live. In this talk, I’ll cover key skills every UX practitioner should know.

The techniques I’ll each are based on a combination of Nonviolent Communication, John Kotter’s Buy In, FBI negotiation techniques, and from real life in the Silicon Valley.

Attendees will learn

  • How to build consensus
  • How to argue and listen effectively
  • How to stay zen when the situation gets hot
  • How to get buy in
  • How to ask for what you need

While designers historically have shrunk away from selling, It’s not gross or ugly to ask for what you need to get the job done right. If designers want a place at the table, they will have to ask for it.

What We Can Learn From Digital Outcasts

With one in seven people worldwide currently living with a disability, digital outcasts rely on technology for everyday services that many people take for granted. However, poorly designed products risk alienating this important (and growing) population.

Recognizing this, digital outcasts have taken it upon themselves to develop technology tools to sustain and improve their success in life. This has resulted in some of today’s most exciting innovations, evincing a “grass roots” approach to product development that can be adopted by both small project teams and large corporations.

We as a design community have much to learn from digital outcasts. In this presentation, we’ll discover how a “grass roots” approach to innovation allows disenfranchised users to transform their lives and communities. We’ll also develop strategic approaches to ensure a more inclusive future, in which ambient benefit can be achieved for people of all abilities and backgrounds.

Organizational Nerve – Designing Teams to Feel & Innovate

For an organization to maintain its creativity and innovate, it must have nerve. Teams who feel the positive and negative effects of their choices throughout the creative process iterate, learn, and improve faster. In this session, Samuel Bowles will explore how his team has applied human-centered design principles to build nerve endings into their organization. He will describe the power of incentives by sharing successes, failures, and surprises along the path to implementing them. Learn how to design nerve endings for your organization, maintain morale in the face of the “tyranny of the billable hour”, and manage the tension between transparency and efficiency.

Whether you are a business leader or a practitioner, you will leave this talk with ideas on how to encourage the evolution of a powerful (and profitable) design culture within your organization.

Brand-Driven Design (New and Improved!)

Every week a smorgasbord of startups demand attention. Innovating, imitating and pivoting with every iteration. How do we cut through the noise?

This is the story of my mission to change a B2B startup. Business software is the last frontier of experience design. Too many products, too many features. Most of it sucks. What if we didn’t compete on features, but on experience?

We’d need to change company culture. Persuade engineers to do less. Get sales to look beyond spec sheets. Get management to narrow their focus. Then address the experience itself. Find an uncontested market, find our voice and combine these to deliver a unique, memorable experience building preference and loyalty. A brand.

Let me take you through my wins and fails of building experience culture and asking the question: Can a product be designed by brand values? If you seek UX buy-in, if your product feels like everyone else’s, or if you’re just a closet Don Draper, you’ll come away with tools to make a difference.

Evening Keynote: Building the World’s Visual Language

We will go back 17,000 years ago and imagine two tribes stumbling upon the other for the first time. Without a common language the two, due to their lack of understanding, would likely fight one another before one would retreat. But in time the tribes would begin to share stories through a common language of drawing. With the use of a stick and the medium of dirt one might draw a tree, and the other an animal and through this primitive exercise the two would share an idea. It seems so simple and trivial with the complexity of our language today, but the roots of this interaction have grand potential for the people of an ever shrinking world. As cultures collide the tongues, words, and even letters of their past dissect them, but the visual language has the hope of uniting people otherwise divided. It’s this vision that drives the Noun Project, at the intersection of design, technology and communication is a language so common to use we often forget its history and importance in the modern world.