UX Australia ’09 report: Day 2

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Canberra was again host to power hungry … laptops with day two of UXAustralia. The final day of the conference proved as thought provoking and varied as the first, with topics ranging from UX strategy (twice!) to multi-platform and multi-touch.

The Power Hungry, UX style. Photo from Daniel Szuc

Aynne Valencia and Guilermo Torres – “In Context – Designing for Multi-targeted experiences”

One fascinating presentation was Aynne Valencia and Guilermo Torres’s “In Context – Designing for Multi-targeted experiences”. They analysed a number of multi-platform campaigns and suggested a number of terms including:

  • “hub model” (one main site with various syndications, for example their Olympics Visa Go World campaign or more generally the Obama campaign)
  • “cloned model” (all is the same everywhere, as with Twitter)
  • “distributed model” (more difficult to maintain but not as necessary to be consistent, an example being their Lost Ring project)

And from this proposed the idea of hyper-wireframes to define common elements across platforms, and standards with a taxonomy of workflows>patterns>components to drill down to elements that can differ across platforms. For more on the project, look at http://www.multitargetedexperience.com

Guido Parlato – “Itsme: Beyond the Desktop Metaphor”

Arguably the most ambitious presentation of the conference was the “Itsme project” by Guido Parlato. The Itsme platform aims to do nothing less than revolutionise the form of and implementation metaphor of the computer OS. The system Parlato proposed uses spatial and time-based metaphors (time, venue, story) to organise information. The system is still in early prototyping stage, but apparently has had a lot of success in early testing.

Lisa Herrod – “Flying High – User Experiences on the Qantas A380”

If Parlato’s talk was ambitious, Lisa Herrod’s on “UX on the Qantas A380” was brutally honest about some of the difficulties UX practitioners can encounter. A project was begun in 2005, Herrod among other things evaluated the A380 first class suite control unit without ever seeing the aircraft or being able to contact users (Qantas has a no contact policy for first class passengers). The inflight entertainment system (IFE) also shows its age of design pre-multitouch (see video below).

Will Evans – “Social interaction design of social media with RIA case studies” (aka Social Interaction Design)

Other speakers presented frameworks. Will Evans, suggested in his talk on “Social Interaction Design” (based off his work with gather.com and his mistakes before that with kayak.com) that there were 12 principles to designing social interaction design, including:

  • Provide an articulated context (Facebook is the opposite, context has collapsed)
  • Design of a rich profile; groups Security (filter appropriately)
  • Labels matter (e.g. The concept of “friending” pulls a lot from the word)
  • Surface conversations and nailing deep linking
  • Presence (something Twitter is bad at – hence why people tweet “good morning or good night”
  • Allowing symbolic exchanges
  • Community monitoring – on gather.com, there are 5 different options of flagging inappropriate.

(As an aside, he also mentioned that he believed that everyhing he know about social experience design he’d learned from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons!)

Shane Morris – “Designing for Multitouch, and multiple touchpoints”

Finally, the award for dedication to brand in the face of danger had to go to Microsoft evangelist Shane “Google it on Bing” Morris. That aside, his closing presentation “Designing for Multitouch, and multiple touchpoints” a case study of the Lonely planet concept retail installation with Microsoft Surface, was an interesting look into the potential of UX with Surface. (For more on the presentation, look at his MIX presentation slidedeck below, or check out his blog.)

All of the presentations deserve a mention (see the programme for the full list or the tweets from the day).

Discussions are now underway for Melbourne UX Australia 2010 – watch this space.

Top image by stage 88

Vicky Teinaki

An England-based Kiwi, Vicky is doing a PhD at Northumbria University into how designers can better talk about touch and products. When not researching or keeping Johnny Holland running, she does the odd bit of web development, pretends her TV licence money goes only to Steven Moffatt shows, and tweets prolifically about all of the above as @vickytnz.

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