Last week I attended one day of the weeklong UX Week 2008 conference put on by Adaptive Path in San Francisco. The topic for the day was “the future of Interaction Design”. Here is a summary of my highlight for the day.
Michael B Johnson of Pixar talked mostly about the process they use at the animation studio. It was a nice parallel of what happens (or could happen) when designing products. At the end, he also talked about the development of in-house tools.
This was probably my favorite talk of the day. Not because he showed lots of cartoons, although that was nice, but because he talked a lot about creative processes that Pixar uses. I’ve been thinking about processes a lot lately, like how other creative process are similar and different from design processes. Expect some blog-posts soon.
Rachel Hinman, a researcher at Adaptive Path, talked about how to create a vision and showed recent examples of a mobile vision project.
Jeffery Veen discussed telling a story through info graphics and what that might mean in an interactive world. He presented a few well known infographics and then compared those with data visualization tools that are more interactive (infointeractives anyone?)
Mike Migurski of Stamen talked about adding evidence of realism to web applications. He called this “greebles” after the term used to describe the bits model makers placed on sci fi models to make them more real.
Dennis Wixon a Research Manager at Microsoft talked about his work in the Surface group. He talked about the principles of the Natural User Interface (the NUI) that apply to the touch screen UIs his team is working on. ( I personally prefer the term Touch UI to describe this category of interfaces, since it better describes the interaction method of the approach.)
An Adaptive Path panel told the story of how they created the Aurora concept project video. You can see the video and a description of the project at their project site.
Dan Saffer from Adaptive Path talked about our move to touch UIs and some of the aspects we need to consider when designing a Touch UI. He presented a few good guiding principles if you’re new to the area of designing TUIs. (download slides)
2 gentlemen from Stimulant talked about their process of creating Touch UI installations for customers.
Mike Kuniavsky of ThingM talked about UbiComp and the aspects digital devices afford, and why he thinks UbiComp is more possible today. I particularly like Mike’s ideas around objects having digital shadows that leave a trace in the digital world. Being a wine-lover, I also like his presentation of WineM, and RFID enabled wine sorting system, by my wine collection of 4 bottles doesn’t really warrant such a device (but one must have goals!)
Aaron Powers of iRobot talked about human Robot interaction and some of the things his company considers when design the interface. Are they fully autonomous or tele-operated? What is the distance of operation? What is the input method?
Johnny Lee of Microsoft talked about the hacks he’s done with the Nintendo Wiimote and discussed some of the future projects he’s interested in. You can see a lot of his work on YouTube and download his code to try some of these hacks out yourself.
He had some interesting things to say about the accessibility of the Wiimote. The $40 device and some free code has made digital whiteboards accessible to many schools. It’ll be interesting to see what else can be done on the cheap.
Closing the day, and the conference, was Bruce Sterling. Who spends a lot of time in the Balkans, and described on aspects of what it’s like there.
Overall, I found the conference to be quite interesting and I plan to attend again if the opportunity presents itself.
UPDATE: There are slide decks for some of the sessions available for download.