I’ve been a fan of Steven Johnson since I first read Interface Culture close to a decade ago; I remember it as one of the most poignant and well written discussions of software – and the relationship between digitalness and humanness – that I’d ever read.
I'm flying back from the Arizona State University's Design Research conference, Exposed '09. The conference was simple and quick, and the contents were straightforward but felt rather uninspired in delivery. I did, however, find some material from one speaker particularly thought-provoking. GK VanPatter, the oft-anonymous source behind the well known NextD, spoke about his vision of the future of Design.
Two Planes, two Trams, a presentation and a bicycle adventure later I have returned from a week in Amsterdam. After waiting 33 years to travel across the Atlantic I think this was a great opportunity for the Dutch to experience new language, culture and expand their worldview… or maybe that was the other way around? I guess what I am trying to say is I think minds were broadened on both sides. Amsterdam greatly expanded my world view offering up the mature soul of an old world city defined by canals and long in the ground rain soaked cobbles traveled by equally numerous young and energetic denizens offering up endless and open hospitality. For my part I hope I brought a fresh and more accurate definition of Cowboy Diplomacy.
I’m reflecting on the IxDA 2009 conference on the plane from Vancouver back to Austin, and as I ponder, I find myself impressed with the variety of material that was presented, thrilled with the level of discourse, and deeply irritated with the contentious nature of ‘designing for behavior”.
Let me explain.
I'm in Vancouver for the IxDA conference, and while the conference hasn't officially started yet, I'm already in the thick of interaction mayhem. I gave a talk today at Simon Fraser University, in Ron Wakkary's course; the title was "Experience Design is a Bunch of Horse-Shit", and the talk obviously generated some good discussion.
Design seems to behave in a reactionary manner; a trend towards minimalism will find a reaction in emotive expression, while a push toward digital might be met with a return to analog. This makes sense, as design – as a human phenomenon – is as dialectic as politics or economics. I’m aware of trends that are happening right now, because I’m helping push those trends with my day to day work.
Those of us who work at design consultancies often attend conferences, like the IDSA conference or the IxDA conference, in an effort to learn new methods and techniques and to catch a hint of the "buzz" - the various themes that are occurring within our field. I've spent the last two days in a conference room in Boston getting an intimate view of how these conferences come to life.
Associate Creative Director Dave Hoffer has coined a new term: Disruptive Realism. After discussing some examples in this video, he was inspired to elaborate.
Holy hoodwink Batman! Who IS behind that mask? In this clip from the classic 1966-68 series, Batman, Penguin is trying every transparent trick in the book to deceive voters, and make them see the "real" man (a terrorist!) behind the mask of the caped crusader as they debate on television. Are you having déjà vu too?
Mobile phones and cigarettes both make big spikes in mass-adoption trends in developing nations. But do the two affect each other? In a paper entitled, "So you want to quit smoking: have you tried a mobile phone?" published on The World Bank website, the author argues that cigarettes and cell phones are indeed bedfellows.