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Interaction13 Mini Redux

Foodandrea dulkoComment

Hello again. I had a fab time in Toronto last week, but instead of doing a full recap, I decided to take some of my favorite parts and find a common overarching theme under which the all fall. I am likely making some gross generalizations and loose relations, but hopefully sharing some interesting links and learnings as well. Official theme of Interaction13 (as extracted by Andrea Dulko): It's good to try a bunch of different shit all the time.

Exhibit A: Peter Stahl's talk on portraying rhythm and flow into traditional interaction design output introduced me to the work of Daniel Levitin. Check out this dude's bio. That's right. Neuroscientist + Musician + Author. His adoption of all three areas of expertise takes support of the, "Why decide when you don't have to," philosophy off the charts. I like it.

We also learned that, in design, transitions are powerful for achieving goals such as directing attention and showing relationships between items, but these transitions are difficult convey using only words and arrows. Functional prototypes are a more desirable means to convey expected functionality (I talk a bit about this is my PechaKucha).

In some cases, even a prototype isn't enough and valuable insight can only be gained by live testing a more finished product. Paul Adams reinforced this concept in his statement that Facebook pushes code TWICE A DAY. They are constantly making changes and testing new ideas. In a situation like this, where real the data behind user's actions and connections is needed, wires and prototypes prove useless.

One of my favorite talks came from Sara Cantor Aye of Greater Good Design. They used some innovative research techniques on their public school cafeteria project including GoPro helmet cams to literally gain the kids' perspective. This seems like a pretty awesome project overall and enforced he idea that simple, cost-effective solutions are often best.

Research for the cafeteria project. Image from core77.

The try a bunch of stuff theme might best be summed up in the thinking of closing keynote presenter, John Bielenberg.

"In the creative process, designers are victims of their own synaptic connections; subconsciously we’re following predictable pathways to solve problems [whereas] what you would want at the beginning of a design challenge is as many possibilities as you could imagine. 'Thinking wrong' is really about breaking those biases and synaptic pathways to generate a lot of potential solutions before you select and execute one."

He push the crowd to be bold, get out of the office and actually make stuff. Why not build a shop where real estate is hella cheap? He is living that advice through some awesome initiatives like PieLab.

PieLab Interior. Image from FastCompany.