UI11 is over and I headed back to Denmark to digest the insightful presentations. The conference had many highlights and it was truly inspirational to meet so many bright people.Some highlights are worth mentioning.
Meeting Luke Wroblewski made me realize there is much to being a successful designer than just graphical design. Most of his presentation was centered around understanding the business logic, processes, analysis of data. Though I’m not a graphical designer, that made me realize why I tend to be involved in business analysis when I’m on a project.
Oh, and I took this really cool photo of him presenting:
(In fact, photo is taken right after the presentation, because he was usually standing with his back to the audience while explaining the screenshots. After the session I got him to “present” to get the photo with his logo projected on his breast).
Jeff Patton’s talk on agile project teams was a powerwalk through tips, tricks and pitfalls of agile projects, compared to usual web development projects. I had a chance to meet Jeff after his 90 minute 76 (dense) slide presentation, and found out that he knows Ole (jepsen), my old Capgemini colleague. I know there is so much from his talk that I can use in my everyday work (even though very few projects I’m involved in are truly agile).
Bad usability is great education of project team: The Bad Usability Calendar is a great icebreaker at projects, and I already printed it and put it on the project room wall. A poster with bad examples are really better than good example to make people realize something is wrong. It was kind of the same when Jared Spool gave his talk. The bad examples were good an plenty.
It was the first time I saw Jared presenting live. And I must say: what a show! If you ever get a chance to see him live, I highly recommend it. He’s entertaining, lot’s of humour, very good examples — also of things that are done well.
There was one place where he talked about dropdowns that hide useful navigation. At this particular page, he talked about the alternative to pull all useful information out of dropdowns and placing it on screen:
I couldn’t say that the page would be less dense because it’s already dense. Except for this cute little baby that looks clueless. “I’ve been staring at these dropdowns for months and I still don’t get it
Actually, Jared will present at Danish conference “usability dagene” (link in Danish) next month here in Copenhagen. But as far as I know, It’s as a video presentation. Not quite the same, but hopefully still useful for those who attend.
The biggest eye-opener for me was probably Barry Schwartz who gave a brilliant talk about the paradox of choice. About how too much to choose from actually paralyzes.
Actually none of the speeches I saw were boring or irrelevant. One took a little too long to get interesting, but that was probably because I already knew the stuff.
Being a usability test victim
I met with Josephine and Barb from Techsmith and they used me for user-testing one of their upcoming products. That was actually a great experience, and found out that user testing is done almost the same in the US and here in Denmark. One little difference: Test lead was reading the introduction aloud from a paper word by word. I have never seen or used that in Denmark. Cultural difference perhaps?
Ruby on Rails awareness
UI11 was not a developers’ conference. However some of the presentations actually mentioned Ruby on Rails. Most people attending were graphical designers, interaction designers, usability specialists, user experience people, etc. I didn’t expect such awareness and attention on Ruby on Rails.
I believe I mentioned our own usage for Ruby on Rails as prototyping tool at work. Also, a person working for a Fortune 500 told me about their considerations to port intranets and websites to Ruby on Rails. Very exciting. (although I probably can’t mention who it is).
Finally it was truly inspiring to meet so many like-minded and inspiring people. Just to mention a few: Daniel Szuc, Matthew Oliphant, John Rhodes, Art Tran, Maureen, Eidar, Peter from Austria, Glenn, Elizabeth and Kyle. Also the other Danes that were there: Brian, Jane, Christina, and Rolf Molich of course.
Great photo opportunity
Here are my notes from the presentations
- UI Conf: Josh Porter on recommendation engines
- UI Conf: Jared Spool
- UI Conf: Barry Schwartz, the paradox of choice
- UI Conf: Luke Wroblewski on Visual Design in the Development Process
- UI Conf: Jeff Patton on Agile Development
- UI Conf: Gerry McGovern on Search engine optimization
- UI Conf: Jeffrey Eisenberg on Top activities of Design & Usability Teams
- UI Conf: David Malouf and Bill Scott on AJAX
- Attending UI11 Conference next week