365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

IA Summit Day 2

Another good day here in Denver.

My favorite thing about conferences is the people that you meet. Everyone comes from different places and companies and projects. But since we’re all at the same conference we already have something in common. Generally I find that the real learning happens when you talk to your peers in those informal moments. But at the IA Summit, I am learning things all over the place.

Sessions today were just as good as yesterday. I think because I didn’t have to focus on my own presentation, and our talk wasn’t as fresh in the minds of the users I could think a bit less about what we do now and focus more on what we could start to do in the future. My two favorite breakout sessions of the day were without a doubt the beginning one and the final one (before the closing plenary).

The day started with a session about “The Art of Critique”. For me critique is something that I highly value. Yet I find that a lot of the people don’t seem to get the same positive take aways from it. No matter what I do there will always be room for improvement. Critique is always about making things better and it’s never about us as individuals. The session this morning focused on techniques for setting up a welcoming environment for critique. Some of the main points were things like – don’t ASK to critique something, wait to be invited. That the person being critiqued is the one that gets to decide which elements of the feedback will be acted upon. And, that the best critique sessions are focused on understanding of the GOALS of the design being critiqued. I’d love to see more of this kind of formal critique happening for the work I do… maybe something I can explore for my next series of projects.

The final break out session was called “The Journey to Yes” and I have to say the speaker was probably the most inspirational guy I’ve heard in a long time. His main point was to constantly look at yourself and know that what you do ALWAYS has a direct impact on how others react and behave. It was a good reminder that 90% of communication between human beings is non verbal and that face to face will always be better than flat electronic methods. For me I’ve had some struggles with a couple of people recently and I have been trying really hard to change the way I behave. This session gave me so much great information that I can apply in so many situations. I was completely blown away – even though none of it was new information. It was just so concisely laid out that it was like a bit of a head slapping moment.

The rest of the day was mixed with other great sessions. Some about what Service Design is and how it applies to places like REI, public transit in Sweden and even in dealing with “death”. Other sessions were about the value of design briefs and thinking time in successful design projects.

I’ve gotten a great deal of value out of this conference so far and I am very very glad I came. It’s one that I’d probably advocate coming to year after year. Just to get the pulse on where our industry is going. Tonight’s entertainment is a myriad of choices: trivia night followed by game night, dinner with some new ux friends, or beer and bar food and NCAA basketball. I may actually shoot for a combination of options.

Day 3 (the final day) tomorrow… more to come.

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April 2, 2011 - Posted by | Design, User Experience | , , , , ,

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