dConstruct - Morning Session

The sessions at today's dConstruct conference have been fairly decent on the whole. Not too many moments of real insight, but entertaining and sensible throughout. Pretty much everyone has mentioned Apple and / or the iPod, which is becoming a bit predictable if you ask me.

Jared Spool kicked off with a general session on Experience Design, mostly citing case studies where good design has led to market success (Apple, Palm, Netflix). He also described the vast array of skills an Experience Designer ought to be accomplished in. Deep breath: Copy writing, Information Architecture, Usability Practices, Visual Design, Interaction Design Editing, Technology, Business Knowledge, ROI, Domain Knowledge, Social Networks, Ethnography, Marketing, Use Cases and Analytics. It's no wonder that truly great web or product experiences are few and far between.

Peter Merholz gave an interesting talk on the need for Experience Vision, the statement of intent given by a leader to guide his enterprise in the right direction. There was one tangential story he reeled out which I found interesting, which illustrates how people treat computers like people; a study in Stanford involved people running a test on a computer, and then evaluating the experience on a computer afterwards. Those who gave feedback using the same machine that the test was run on were more polite than the others, not wishing to offend the computer!

Leisa Reichardt
gave a curious talk about project management. Essentially, her point was that most Agile methodologies lack sufficient direction when it comes to traditional User Centred Design processes. Can't argue with that. Not convinced that her analogy with a washing machine lent her arguments any greater weight.

That's all for the morning session....more later.


UPDATED: with a few links.