Overall, I enjoyed the IA Summit. I did here some grumbling about Vegas from some of the conference attendees. I'd be the first to admit that it's a bit excessive, but isn't that the point. This is the second time I've been to Vegas and I enjoyed it. I had some good food, walked around a bit and watched all of the people. I tried to be diligent and practice some ethnography skills, but I was just taking it all in and spent my time just experiencing the place, though I did take some photos from my phone, some of which can be seen in the flickr stream on the left.
The highlights for me were definitely the dinners. I enjoyed the IXDA dinner on friday, UXNET dinner on saturday, and dinner with some vanguard peeps on sunday (great mexican and mariachi). The Adaptive Path party was fun, especially all of the extra drink tickets that somehow managed to come my way. So for me it was all about the people. Whether I knew them from their work, their blog, their posts on the IXD list, or the first time meeting them, it was good to talk shop.
I enjoyed most of the sessions I went to, though the overall experience paled in comparison to that I had at the Idea Conference. I think this had to do with my overall interest in design and design thinking -- big ideas -- rather than straight practice; I did find Luke W's (Best practices for form design) and Dan Brown's (Communicating design: an astonishingly close look at what makes IA documentation work) presentations useful as reminders of what to and not to do, both of which were very practice focused. In my mind the Idea Conference wasn't about practice per se and a lot of the sessions at the IA Summit were, which is understandable. The Idea Conference was about pushing boundaries and looking at old design problems in new and different ways. Some post-mortem comments I read about the summit expressed some concerns about the lack of representative work, possibly due to NDA and other corporate restrictions. For me, a lot of what I heard was not necessarily new, but was more reinforcing. Also, I'm becoming more and more interested in product development beyond the web. The future lies in enabling IA for the masses and I'm not just talking about tagging. We have seen glances (mashups, tagging, contribution) of enablement in this thing we call Web 2.0. I think enablement will transcend to become the mantra of Web 3.0.
I did find these presentations inspiring:
- Interaction Design Style -- great overview of a design sense and the reflection of one's style. I thought it was absolutely appropriate to focus on fashion, which is why I find myself always compelled to watch Project Runway -- to see the individuals styles, constructive criticism, etc...
- Adaptive Interfaces -- relatively obvious, but a big idea that needed to be brought to light; I wish I could work on projects that had the resources to implement an adaptive interface.
- Backcasting: or how I learned to stop predicting and help my clients -- the most applicable presentation and technique I gained from the conference; I can start using this immeadiately in my work.
- Utilizing ritual in the design of information spaces for the cognitively impaired -- a compelling thought; I'm going to write about this for a paper I'm doing in my cog psych class.
The one thing that the IA Summit go me thinking about, especially after talking about my presentation with other conference attendees, is the Langauge of Behavior. In Interaction Design we talk a lot about conversation, enabling communication between a human and technology, whether it be a gadget, application, website and so forth. This communication ultimately enables back and forth behavior, a conversation; behavior that exists over time. I wonder what the language of this behavior is. Does it has to do with affordance in some way? A door knob, to use the classic Norman example, communicates to a person press or turn just like a button says click or press, inorder to complete an action. There is an underlying meaning to that action open a door or dial a phone. Maybe these are just patterns of behavior, but if we're designing conversations what's the langauge?