Day 2: Interaction15

Recaps, updates and information from the annual IxDA conference in San Francisco. 

Keynote: Tim Brown in conversation with Allan Chochinov

“Design is about people being intentional about what they do in the world.”

Pictures and recap by Christina Beard and Emily Schwartzman

Here are some of the themes they talked about:

Advice for Designers  

  • Designers need to be sensible, cautious, and look ahead as much as possible. Designers also need to work with nice people. 
  • Our responsibility then is to search out places where we think we can make the most impact.
  • Search out places where you think you can make a difference or are interested in making a difference.
  • If you’re not feeling fulfilled with the problems you’re tackling – you’re probably not solving the right problems for yourself.

The Consultancy’s Place in the World

  • There is still more demand for design than external companies can handle.
  • The questions we answer are changing to new kinds of questions.
  • The potential need is enormous; there will always be more to do.


We need to move away from the word user-centric. We have an ongoing debate in  about being human-centered vs planet-centered. There’s a subtle difference between acting on behalf of everything or acting on behalf of humanity.

Jumping to the End

by Matt Jones

“It’s not just about seamless systems—make beautiful seams.”

Pictures and recap by Emily Schwartzman

All design is fiction (at some level) until it is made. When designing for a new future or world, diving into the details and tiny moments of that world make it much more believable. For design this translates to the “signature moments” of an experience with a product. We have to consider how those signature moments play out through a product’s entire life cycle.

Once the design fiction is established the technology and some proof of concept can support that vision. The proof of concept should focus on the signature moments. One tool Matt suggested was using quick video sketches to communicate how the vision plays out over time and at various moments in a person’s experience with a product. These videos can be also used as blueprints for the team that will ultimately build the product. 

Make Culture, Not War

by Teresa Brazen 

“Create a culture of creating culture” 

Pictures by Emily Schwartzman, recap by Julie Celia

We are culture-creating machines. But how intentional are we being about the culture we make? 

In her talk, Teresa gave us some great insight and ideas for shifting the culture of our organizations. 

How work culture affects you: 

  • 70% of Americans feel disengaged with their work. 
  • This lack of engagement leads to $550 Billion lost a year. 

What is a healthy culture?

  • Security, honesty are must-haves
  • Vision, autonomy, inspiration and chemistry are factors of flourishing culture. 

How can you make it better? 

  • Treat culture like a design challenge. 
  • Experiment. 
  • Seek allies.
  • Share your wins.
  • Define your vision.
  • Don’t let it hold you hostage.

Talk to Me 

by Method

Shape the dialog with every experience a person has within the experience.

Recap by Christina Beard

As human beings, we define intelligence by the ability to communicate with things. How can screen-learning inform object-learnings? How can we apply our methodologies to designing objects?

The vocabulary for objects is different that the vocabulary for screens. Screens can use language and systems while objects use color, vibration, smell, patterns of light and sound.

For this workshop, Method created ‘the box’. A quick prototype that uses color, light, and sound as communication tools 

Small teams were assigned household items to explore how ‘the box’ communicated the each brand’s expression through light and sound. We went through rapid iteration to learn the tool and explore different ways to communicate emotion.

Next we crafted a story around our product and put together a pitch to explain what it does and how it would make someone feel. Each team presented and the Method team voted on the winner. The workshop wrapped up with a feedback session where everyone gave feedback on ‘the ‘box’ and how they can iterate it for future iterations.

Keynote: Design and Tomorrow

by Gentry Underwood 

“Is the machine going to crush humanity or serve humanity?” 

Sketchnote by Chris Noessel

Student Design Challenge 

Day 3 is the final stretch for the students before the final presentations at 9:00 am on Wednesday. During the first half of the day, the finalist were out at conference and in the city, taking their concepts out into the world. 

In the second half of the day, the student started jamming on how to present all that they have learned and created over the competition within their 3 minutes
on stage at the YBCA tomorrow morning.

You can see how Day 3 went down here on Storify. 

The Editors

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