UX Design / 2012 San Francisco

The first RE:DESIGN/UX Design conference took place at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco, California on April 30-May 1, 2012. The theme was “The Next Next: What’s Now, Next, and Beyond.” Curated by Chris Noessel from Cooper, the conference took the user experience lens and examined what comes beyond “next,” considering the longview and the impact on our work today.


Speakers and Topics
  • Chris Noessel and Stefan Klocek, Cooper: Part 1: The Interface Parenthesis & Part 2: The Next Next [More info]
  • Dan Albritton, MegaPhone Labs: Your Phone is Your Controller [More info]
  • Simona Brusa Pasqué, Deep Dive Design: The Designer Co-Founder: A Freak of Nature or the Next Logical Mutation? [More info]
  • Yu Shan Chuang, Rosetta: Lean vs. Team [More info]
  • Nate Clinton, Cooper: Obfuscation by Design [More info]
  • Mark Coleran, Platfora: Artifacts and Assumptions [More info]
  • Andrew Crow, GE: Designing for Context [More info]
  • Nadya Direkova, Google: Game Mechanics: Designing for User Engagement [More info]
  • Marc Escobosa, Arena Solutions: The Design of Marketing (or Why Marketing Shouldn’t Be a Four Letter Word)
  • Ben Fullerton, Method: Big Data [More info]
  • Marisa Gallagher, CNN Digital: UX & Brand Strategy: Final Frontier or Foolish Folly [More info]
  • Jonathan Korman, Riverbed Technology: UX Design In The Organization: Integrating Design into an Organization [More info]
  • John Montgomery, uTest: Mobile Usability: Why Great UX Matters More Than Ever
  • Sarah Murgel, Razorfish: Changing the World: A Designer’s Role in Organizational (and World) Politics [More info]
  • John Nack, Adobe Systems: The Future of Creation [More info]
  • Scott Nazarian, frog: The city and the City: a long view on experience and interaction design in smart urban environments [More info]
  • Albert Poon, Odopod: Welcome to the Post-PC Era [More info]
  • Tim Richards, BLITZ: Grandmas who love Dragonforce: The intertwined digital tribes of pop-culture democratization
  • Charlene Zvolanek, AKQA: A Digital Life: Remembering, Reminiscing and Reflecting [More info]
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Chris Noessel and Stefan Klocek

Part 1: The Interface Parenthesis
In this talk we’ll discuss the state of the art of a particular handful of technologies and trends that are happening in the industry. These technologies are farther along than most folks think, and are just waiting to get distributed and put together. When they do, it’ll spell a sea-change for how humanity interfaces technology.

Part 2: The Next Next
If the mini-singularity described in The Interface Parenthesis happens, what will technology need? What will the practice of interaction design look like? How will designers work with others? What kinds of work product will we deliver? What can we do now to get ahead of that curve? Join this conversation to discuss what the future might look like for interaction and user experience design.

Dan Albritton
Your Phone is Your Controller

This session will discuss using advanced capabilities of mobile devices as interfaces to other systems. From the Apple Remote iPhone app, to the GotoMyPC iPhone app, to the PadRacer iPhone controlled racing game, increasingly phones are being used as controllers of all types of things aside from the phone itself. Let’s discuss what’s out there in the world now, and what needs to be invented. What infrastructure problems can we as UX designers ameliorate, and what new interfaces challenges are our specific responsibility to address? Are there emerging UX standards for touch screen devices at all? What about the varying operating systems and form factors of the controllers, in addition to the variety of the devices being controlled. The “Minority Report” future controller is probably already in your pocket, we just need to determine how it works!

Simona Brusa Pasqué
The Designer Co-Founder: A Freak of Nature or the Next Logical Mutation?

A new breed of designer-entrepreneurs is emerging from successful startups. Do you have the mutant gene? What is it? Do you want it?

In the wake of Steve Jobs’s example, design is finally getting a spot in the sun as a bottom line differentiation factor. For the first time, we hear about successful start ups with designer co-founders (Pinterest, Path, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr to name a few). It looks like something in the industry has shifted, designers are the new hotness and finally have a shot at positions in which they can make high level decisions.

What has changed in Silicon Valley? Is this just another fad?
Who are these designer co-founders?
How many breeds are there? Are you made to be one?
Can you step up to the challenge? What skills do you need?
What new knowledge do you need to acquire?

Yu Shan Chuang
Lean vs. Team

A session discussing how the UX team has morphed from large teams towards leaner teams of sometimes one UX designer. How do we see this changing in the next ten years and what it means for us as UX managers and team members?

Nate Clinton
Obfuscation by Design

Good design is as much about what is kept hidden as what is revealed. Finding the right balance on that continuum can be tricky, and depends on the often competing goals of simplicity and control. In this session we will explore this question, discuss good and bad reasons to keep users in the dark, and talk about the new challenges designers face as the spotlight turns to who gets to keep secrets in our increasingly networked world.

Mark Coleran
Artifacts and Assumptions

Without really understanding and looking hard at the way we design and the things others have created before us, the decisions we make about the problems we are solving and things we design, can end up more like refined reflections of the past, than innovative steps forward.

Are there different ways we can think about our design approach and starting points, that give us a better understanding of the stacked assumptions, biases and artifacts that we are trying to use as foundations for what comes next?

Andrew Crow
Designing for Context

As designers take on new problems of convergence and ubiquity, we find ourselves facing new challenges. The products and services we create are accessed through multiple devices, different channels and an even wider audience. How do we accommodate the context of use?

Whether you design mobile apps, services or web experiences, you know that people have different needs and desires. Those issues are complicated further by a landscape of technology they encounter daily.

This table discussion will highlight these new challenges and discuss solutions based on our collective design experience. Topics include:

  • What should you be aware of when designing a product or service for use in various locations and environments?
  • How does motion and distraction affect interaction design decisions? How can your content adapt?
  • How can time affect the use of your product? Can you provide for casual use vs. urgent need?
  • In what context will your device be used – home, work, train, airplane? How does the form factor of your device steer your design efforts – screen size, capabilities? How does input methods factor in – hands, fingers, voice?
  • People bring their own context to your product. Have you considered discoverable interfaces, content written for the situation?
  • What happens in an ecosystem? How do other products affect yours?
  • How does social and cultural context play into the strategy of your design?

Nadya Direkova
Game Mechanics: Designing for User Engagement

How can you use game mechanics in your next project? Game mechanics have added awesome new tools to UX design and strategy. We’ll discuss how you can craft your user engagement strategy using patterns such as as points, progression and rewards schedules.

  • What are the most useful game mechanics?
  • How to plan your user engagement strategy by applying game mechanics and game thinking?
  • How can game thinking make your work and your life better?

Marc Escobosa
The Design of Marketing (or Why Marketing Shouldn’t Be a Four Letter Word)

Ben Fullerton
Big Data

Data may well be the new oil but, as with any natural resource, extracting real value from it is difficult.

In one form or another, data has always been an important part of interaction design. But as we look to the future of our practice, it seems as if we need to better understand the implications of data for the people we design for.

And not just data on a small, personal scale, but vast stores of data that contain information that spans many areas of business, from healthcare and financial services to retail to consumer products.

This session will be a group discussion about the implications of “big data” for interaction design. We will aim to discuss questions such as:

  • What is the real value of big data?
  • How can data become the new material for product and service innovation?
  • What is the context in which ‘big data’ can be delivered and consumed?
  • Which strategies can companies deploy to turn data into an asset rather than a liability?

Marisa Gallagher
UX & Brand Strategy: Final Frontier or Foolish Folly

UX has established it’s role in software design first, then is finding its firm footing in product and service design.
But, isn’t there more experience design can add? Shouldn’t we contribute to the company’s larger strategy, perhaps even its most thoughtfully designed construct: its brand?

  • Do we have obligation to do this, as an advocate of the user (and perceptive reconciler of business needs and technological boundaries?)
  • Where do we get hung up when we enter into this conversation?
  • What do we need to give up in order to take this on?
  • Or is there a way to seamlessly fuse our past, present, and future — all for the benefit of the user and brand?

Jonathan Korman
UX Design In The Organization

More and more companies have started adding UX designers to their product and service development organizations, but few have explored all that implies. Hiring the best designers in the world doesn’t do much good if they cannot do their best work, do not fit into the development process, or do not influence strategic product decisions. Despite the importance of this relationship between design and the organization, designers generally do a poor job of discussing the challenge, either ignoring it or exhibiting a nutzererfahrung über alles hubris. We will discuss a richer picture of design well-integrated into the organization.

Sarah Murgel
Changing the World: A Designer’s Role in Organizational (and World) Politics

There is no question that innovation and great ideas come out of the collaborative minds of great designers. How many of those ideas see the light of day? Why aren’t they always embraced by our clients? And of those that make it into the world, how often do we see experiences abandoned or serving unintentional needs?

As change agents, this conversation will discuss the role of the designer, and the design process, in areas such as organizational change management, to the broader areas of using the design process to inform policy and global change.

John Nack
The Future of Creation

Everyone’s a maker; everyone’s a sharer. Great design software costs a buck. When things are common, how do we keep them special? Let’s talk about what it all means to designers & their tools.

Scott Nazarian
The city and the City: a long view on experience and interaction design in smart urban environments

In many ways, the “smart” city is already here: public wifi, location-based services and embedded digital display systems embodying a few of the most present, if not visible, harbingers. And there are deeper evolutions afoot: energy and data infrastructures are becoming more complex and at the same time more seamlessly integrated into the material and structural disposition of the world about. What is the essential character of these systems as they grow into the future?

One of my favorite philosopher-scientists, Paul Dourish, once said that “increasingly, the very world itself has become an interface to computation… and yet, that interface is nowhere near as conversational as it might be”. While we may instrument the built world with the technologies of interaction, the really powerful design narrative here is around *lived* human experience.

If ‘cities’ are already a somewhat alienating proposition, what does their hyper-saturation with IT augur for the future generations inhabiting them? If architecture and structural engineering would take the evolution of materiality and space in hand, then it seems that interaction designers and their cohorts must take the long view on human-computer interactions with regard to the “humane” lived experience in those new environments.

Albert Poon
Welcome to the Post-PC Era

The age of desktop being the primary platform for digital experiences is over. Yes, there are hundreds of millions of traditional PCs with web browsers. They will not disappear. But even the most cursory look at sales numbers should make clear that the era of the big screen-keyboard-mouse digital experience is waning.

Charlene Zvolanek
A Digital Life: Remembering, Reminiscing and Reflecting

Heavily inspired by Richard Bank’s 2011 publication The Future of Looking Back, we will explore potential long-term sentimental uses for the ever-increasing volume of data each of us generate, and conceptualize about interfaces that could display, make sense of and encourage reflection on individual lives using that data. Can we paint holistic views of people with data (we’ve got a start on holograms), and what parts of their data should (or should not) be included? How much data is needed before their personality traits become visible?

Varying privacy rules across the globe, awareness of and access to passively collected data, and the distributed nature of data storage across competing providers all pose challenges. The atrophy of online services where we actively store data and transportability of “your” data from those services is a challenge all its own.

Faded photographs and personal artifacts of the physical world are no longer the only items bequeathed or inherited. It’s common to receive mostly uncurated digital artifacts, online accounts, and hard drives brimming with photos, video, docs, downloads, a digital music collection, cached browser histories and log files. Each will tell a story about the owner. Can systems be built to help us pre-curate our digital detritus and even provide tailored collections to others?

What meaning will your information and digital objects hold for people looking back on a lifetime of data, assuming they will be able to access it at all? What interface would you want them to use, and how curated would you want it to be? But, more importantly, who’s going to manage your Facebook account? We’ll do a group design challenge, and probably raise a lot more questions than we can answer in this session. While this is an emotionally evocative topic, this conversation will have a light and positive tone.