My experience at IXDA Vancouver – Day One & Two

This weekend I attended the IXDA conference here in Vancouver. You can read all about IXDA on their website. Or you can read the rest of my post to hear the shortened version. This post includes Day 1 & 2. Day 3 to come soon!

The first day, Friday was basically a half day and included sessions with John Thackara, Jared Spool ( panel session ) and Fiona Raby.

John’s session was all about the problems in the world and how as designers this was an opportunity for us. It was more of a big picture presentation than anything but a great way to open a conference. I thoroughly enjoyed the session as it was eye opening and made you think.

Jared Spool’s session was really a panel of experts in the field. The panel focused mainly on what they are looking for in Interaction designers when they hire them. It was proven informative for prospective interaction designers and entertaining for the rest of us.

Fiona’s talk focused on robots and her work with her students. I didn’t find it very interesting as it was more along the lines of product design and we all know that’s not my background.

The second day started off with Robert Fabricant, an executive creative director at frog design. He started of his talk by addressing the issue of defining : what is interaction design? This topic was brought up on Friday to no avail. No one can really decide what interaction design is or how to explain it Robert, however took a different approach and he pointed  out what it’s not.

He stated:

  • technology is not our platform – behaviors are what we work with
  • interaction design is not a technology ( it encompasses interactions off the computer)

The next session I attended was Dan Willis on Spime Management.  Dan Willis is a designer, information architect, usability expert, digital strategist, author and illustrator. Somewhat of a brand whore, he created’s first user experience group, was PBS’ first Director of User Experience and spent a decade at various print and online ventures for Tribune Co. As a part of his current gig as a consultant for Sapient, Willis led the development of a hand-held wayfinding prototype for the American Museum of Natural History. Willis has presented at several IA Institute summits and is the creator of UX Crank (, a resource for user experience professionals.

He talked about what a spime is, how we can use it today and gave a few examples. One was in Colorado ( maybe not Colorado but some place close) how  a ski resort was using spimes. What they were doing was scanning each persons’ ski pass as they got of the ski lift. Once they scanned the pass – they could make sure it was current and were given details on the person. ( Photo, etc..) so they could confirm it was their ski pass.

Shortly after that was the keynote with Dan Saffer. Dan Saffer was an experience design director for Adaptive Path until 2008. Dan has designed and built websites, applications, and devices since 1995. An international speaker and author, his acclaimed book Designing for Interaction has been called “a bookshelf must-have for anyone thinking of creating new designs” (Jared Spool, CEO of UIE) and has been translated into several languages. View Dan’s Presentation

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