Leaping Into Indie UX


Show Time: 33 minutes 40 seconds

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Podcast Summary

In this episode Chris Baum speaks with Donna Spencer, Lynne Polischuik, Justin Davis and Erin Jo Richey at the 2012 IA Summit about their interactive panel discussion Taking the Plunge: Diving Into Indie UX. They share practical and personal considerations of being an indie designer, including how to to get over the fear of making the jump, where and how to find clients, managing the business side of design and what it’s like to work alone.

Quotes

“When you first start this you are really insulated…when I looked back it in the first six months to a year I didn’t make any money! When you’re in that initial phase you’re really excited… I think if you looked at it objectively you’d never do it.”

“I spent three years working my butt off to have all of the buffers in place… if there’s no work there’s no backup second income. It took a good couple of years to get enough money in the bank… where I could finally start to relax and say no to work knowing other things would come up and not kill me.”

“I got pushed out of the nest with a reasonable size contract.. and I was OK for a couple of years but I look back now on projects I took on that now I never would have taken on… taking on the wrong clients, taking on the wrong projects… I got to a point recently last Fall where I asked am I happy is this where I want to be?”

“I have been an independent for just over a year now… I had joined the agency that would come in as an analyst and then transition to an Information Architect. We decided that they didn’t want to take the agency in the direction of UX or IA and we talked about the role within the company… I didn’t want to focus on the same types of marketing … I did get laid off but I didn’t have a backup plan put in place.”

Thanks!

Thanks to “Vitamin Talent”:http://vitamintalent.com/ and Morgan Kaufmann’s “It’s Our Research”:http://www.amazon.com/Its-Our-Research-Stakeholder-Buy-/dp/0123851300/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331302670&sr=1-1 for sponsoring this podcast.

And thanks to “ASIS&T”:http://www.asis.org/ for their support of the “IA Summit”:http://iasummit.org/ and this podcast.

Driving Holism in Cross-channel Projects


Show Time: 29 minutes 29 seconds

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Podcast Summary

Today on Boxes and Arrows, Chris Baum talks with Patrick Quattlebaum, Design Director at Adaptive Path. Patrick has some interesting insights and tools that designers can use to develop experiences across channels. Quattlebaum explores the difference between atomism and holism, and how designers often struggle with making parts of an experience that really needs to be thought of as a whole. He also discusses how he navigates relationships in large organizations across teams building different parts of the experience. Finally, he talks about how he brings those teams together using the “rough cut” from film to show the whole context of the experience and find “bridges” between channels that might be missed if the parts are developed separately.

Quotes

“[As designers,] we did research and strategy, and draw great concept diagrams, and try to sell a vision. Many times it didn’t play out, or would play out, but was missing those crucial elements that really made it what it was. It’s never going to be the way you thought it would be on paper.

More lately, I’ve been thinking about atomism, about how companies break things down, and work separately and how that makes thing harder. It’s not something we need to say, ‘Well, that’s just how companies are,’ and just give up or do the best we can with what we can control with digital or the touchpoint that we own and not worry about the other things.”

“I personally can’t stop worrying about the other things and the big picture what i wanted to do is encourage people to communicate that with everybody that they work with. That’s what everyone is trying to do. It’s easy to get lost in your area of responsibility and what you can control, but that’s not going to get us where we know that customer experience and user experience needs to go.”

“What designers and IAs do is find those connections across the work stream that is going to be the experience in the design. They make sure there’s the right balance or consistency among all the diff’t touch points, without being a slave to total consistency.”

Notes

  • Follow Patrick on Twitter “@ptquattlebaum”:https://twitter.com/ptquattlebaum
  • Find “his presentation”:http://t.co/gHFKTN8a from the IA Summit on Slideshare

A Wiser Interaction


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banda_headphones_sm.gif Chris Baum speaks with Bill DeRouchey, co-chair for the 2010 Interaction Design Conference, about the upcoming conference and how the third annual conference will start to model the essence of Interaction Design.

Looking Back
Bill talks about the first two years of the conference, the lessons learned from those experiences, and why Interaction ’10 returns to Savannah.

A Brand New Program
For 2010, the program is quite different. Bill explains the new approaches, in particular “Discussions” and “Activities,” and why they are changing things up. He also covers the “Documentary” and “Art Exhibition,” two new Interactions-related events.

Submitting for Interaction 10
Interested in submitting session proposals for Interaction10? “Submissions are open”:http://interaction.ixda.org/submissions.php until September 15.

Documentary and Art submissions are open until November 1.

IxD S.W.A.T. Team
Along with Bill and Jennifer Bove, his co-chair, the conference team includes several well-known designers. Bill explains how each is bringing her/his talent to the conference preparations.

IxD in a Physical Environment
Flow of people in a hotel is relatively easy. In Savannah, however, Interaction spans several buildings. Bill describes how that will affect the design of the conference proper.

Sponsors
Interaction 10 will also introduce some new sponsorship programs. Bill explains what this means and how that helps both sponsors and conference attendees.

Test & Iterate
The conversation closes with more reflection on what the IxDA has learned from the first two years of the conference, and how 2010 will reflects what has come before.

For more information, visit “interaction.ixda.org”:http://interaction.ixda.org/.

When Life Intervenes


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2009 IA Summit logo

IA Summit 2009 Podcasts

The IA Summit was held in Memphis, TN from March 20-22. Boxes and Arrows captured many of the main conference sessions (“see schedule”:http://iasummit.org/2009/program/schedule/).

| Preview | “Keynote”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/ia-summit-09-keynote | “Day 1”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-1 | “Day 2”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-2 | “Day 3”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/ia-summit-09-day-3 | “Closing Plenary”:http://boxesandarrows.wpengine.com/view/ia-summit-09-plenary |

When Life Intervenes

Mom and babySamantha Bailey missed the 2008 IA Summit in Miami due to an illness. Still, she could look forward to 2009 as the Summit’s Chairperson. A few months later, she was excited to find out she would be having a baby, due several weeks after the Summit. With Fate relishing its spoiler role, Niles arrived six weeks early – ensuring that Samantha would miss the ’09 Summit, her Summit.

I spoke with Samantha the week before this year’s Summit about how she approached creating this year’s IA Summit program, the how the Summit community has morphed over time, and what it means to be a part of this community of practice.

This is a first in a series of IA Summit podcast posts.

Creating the Program

Samantha talks about how she started forming the 10th Summit by creating a big committee around her, then looking both backward and forward to ensure that the program reflected at the same time it set a new course. She points out that patterns are forming around the choosing of the opening keynote and closing plenary speakers.

The keynote speaker shapes the theme, how people perceive event. At the Summit, this tends to be someone that’s not an “insider.” When Peter Merholz suggested Michael Wesch, Kansas State Professor and producer of the powerful “The Machine is Us/ing Us.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE YouTube video, Samantha and her team knew it was right because their reaction was, “How did we not think of that before?”
(Download Michael Wesch’s Opening Keynote later this week.)

For the closing plenary, organizers look for an insider, someone who is a highly respected, deep thinker. Jesse James Garrett has, for several years, participated in 5-minute Madness, always offering wisdom in that narrow slice of time, making him a perfect choice to sunset the ’09 Summit.
(Download Jesse James Garrett’s Closing Plenary later this week.)

Summit History and the Communities of Practice

We talk about the 20th anniv of the World Wide Web, and how we continue to use some of the same tools for a completely different Web.Happy family

Further, Samantha goes into detail about how summit has changed in respect to different communities and their involvement in the Summit. She describes how, from 2001 to 2003, the discussion was around whether IA as a practice would survive the Tech bubble bursting. In recent years, the practice has started to broaden its horizons and interact with other practices more openly.

Boxes and Arrows welcomes Niles. Congratulations, Samantha and Karl! Thanks to Samantha for taking the time to speak with us.

These podcasts are sponsored by:

ASIS&T logo
The “American Society of Information Science & Technology”:http://asist.org/: Since 1937, ASIS&T has been THE society for information professionals leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve access to information.

IA Summit 2009 logo
The “IA Summit”:http://www.iasummit.org: the premier gathering place for information architects and other user experience professionals.

The theme of the event this year, Expanding Our Horizons, inspired peers and industry experts to come together to speak about a wide range of topics. This included information as wide ranging as practical techniques & tools to evolving practices to create better user experiences.

The design behind the design
“Boxes & Arrows”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com: Since 2001, Boxes & Arrows has been a peer-written journal promoting contributors who want to provoke thinking, push limits, and teach a few things along the way.

Contribute as an editor or author, and get your ideas out there. “boxesandarrows.com/about/participate”:http://www.boxesandarrows.com/about/participate

All It’s Cracked Up To Be

When the Web first emerged, there was a hole in the user experience world. Many people practiced interaction design, but their community was shoe-horned into those of other disciplines like IA, HCI, and Usability. At the time, most of the UX community felt like that was sufficient.

Then the Web started to change, and the conversation with it. That hole seemed all the more gaping. The “IxDA”:http://www.ixda.org/ was formed in 2003 and fit nicely into a space amongst those other communities of practice. The IxDA discussion list was (and still is) an interesting place to be; it nurtured conversations different than were happening elsewhere. They were all about interaction design, and that purity lent a focus that took the ideas of Web 2.0 and ratcheted up the thinking several notches.

As they reached a certain concentration point, it was obvious to the IxDA faithful that a conference was a logical next step. All those other major practices in the UX community of practice had their own events. The lack of an interaction design gathering during the conference gauntlet was quite obvious, but who had time to put on the show?

So they set out to design a conference that was completely about interaction design, for interaction designers, and designed by interaction designers.

I attended that first conference, “Interaction 08”:http://interaction08.ixda.org, last year in Savannah. The event was fantastic. The partnership with the “Savannah College of Art & Design”:www.scad.edu/ (SCAD) raised the bar, giving the conference unusually deep connections into the community. That’s interaction design.

The speakers were experienced and incredibly varied, covering the hallowed ground (Alan Cooper, Bill Buxton) and the vanguard (Bill DeRouchey, Matt Jones, David Armano), all the while adding with some key folks from other disciplines (Jared Spool, Malcolm McCollough, Chris Conley). See “last year’s recordings”:http://interaction08.ixda.org/videos.php. Even though they are one year old, you will find something inspiring.

Your inspiration might be:
* Bill Buxton’s admonishment to throw away five designs before keeping one
* Matt Jones telling the world how they created Dopplr, making great design sound like no big deal
* Sigi Moeslinger’s images of the NYC subway car that she designed so that kids are not able to climb the hand rails

All of the sessions were filmed and placed online within days of the conference ending. (Though, as an IA, I have to protest that the slides were often not given sufficient treatment.)

Interaction08 IRL: Wayfinding arrows from Savannah
(c) L. Halley as posted on “flickr”:http://flickr.com/photos/lanehalley/2254195910/

We constantly came across little touches that you would never expect from a conference. A great example of this was the arrows chalked on the sidewalk between the three buildings that housed the conference sessions. Color-coded by track (as shown on your badge), they were incredibly useful and, like Savannah, quite charming.

No, not everything was perfect, but that should never be the expectation. I challenge you to find a better-run example of a conference’s initial event, especially one that was planned for 250 people, but 400 showed up. And placing the conference in the small, but interesting and cozy hamlet of Savannah, GA, was a stroke of genius. Interaction 08 had an intimate air. Plenty of distractions allowed us to escape from the geek talk, but the city didn’t pull you away as do most.

Vancouver is a great town, but I hope that the IxDA will consider doing something similar to Savannah next year.

Why am I talking about this now? Well, to be honest, I feel like I haven’t done enough to let people know how great the conference was. Here we are, two weeks from to “Interaction 09”:http://interaction09.ixda.org/program.php in Vancouver, and I feel nostalgic about last year and realize that I will miss not being able to go this year.

Even if you can’t don your superhero costume and get to Interaction 09 this year (which you should do if you can), think about it next year. Interaction is fresh, vibrant, and takes a usefully different perspective on the issues we encounter every day. I know I’ve designed differently because of that experience.

Keep an eye out on Boxes and Arrows as we cover the conference in Vancouver. Whitney Hess (“twitter”:http://twitter.com/whitneyhess/ “website”:http://whitneyhess.com/blog/ )will be there to keep an eye out for the nuggets of wisdom. After the conference, she’ll provide a full report.

Viva la Interaction 09, and Happy Conference Season to all!