Monday, July 21, 2008

Picnic in the Park

Got party?

Boston Interactions Summer Pot-Luck Picnic

Please join us for an evening of summer fun, food, conversation, and networking that you won’t want to miss.
July 22, 2008 6:00 PM till Dusk
Danehy Park in Cambridge (near Alewife T)
No RSVP Required, No Charge

Sponsored by the following organizations:

• BostonCHI
• UPA Boston
• UPA NH h
• Boston IxDA
• Boston-IA
• UXNet Boston
• STC Boston

It’s a pot-luck so please bring food to share. Make it at home or pick it up on the way. There is a Whole Foods in the neighborhood. We will provide drinks, cups, paper plates, napkins, plastic forks, knives, spoons. Sorry, no alcohol is allowed in the park.

Directions to Danehy Park in Cambridge
Take Route 2 to the Concord Ave. rotary (Sozio appliances). Exit on Concord Ave. (just to the right of the generic-brand gas station).
Go 7 tiny blocks and turn left at the traffic light onto Walden Street.
Take your first left at a light onto Sherman Street. Near the next (possibly flashing) light, turn left into the Danehy Park Sherman Street lot.
If this lot is full, use the map below to find additional lots, look for legal on-street parking, or park near the movie theater in the Fresh Pond Shopping Center & walk up New Street & through the park.

Finding Us Inside the Park
Danehy Park is quite large.
If you park in the Sherman Street lot, just walk into the park along the main path & look for the bright orange tablecloths on the right.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

nanoConference event report

IxDA Boston is pleased to announce our most successful event to date. We were honored to have over 75 local designers, developers and thinkers come to see 9 talks on methodologies, techniques, findings and new technologies. For those who could not attend we will be releasing the audio & slide decks as we produce them, the first link is at the bottom of this post.

We would like to thank our event sponsors and . This was our second event at and we're very grateful for their continued support. We're very thankful for the hard work Chauncey Wilson put in to moderating the event and the materials assistance from Juhan Sonin.

That all said, every one's efforts would have been in vain if it wasn't for the fantastic content the 9 speakers produced on the night...

1) With his background in distance learning and visualization at MIT, and now an aesthetic engineer/creative director-type at R&D outfit MITRE, Juhan Sonin kicked off with his insights on how to inject design into an Open Source project and set a blistering pace getting through +30 slides in 10 minutes. As with all the talks we will be publishing the slides and audio on slideshare in the coming weeks. For now you can see Juhan's deck in his flickr account;

2) Next up was the first of our sponsors Jeremy Merle (Art Director) & David Adler (Information Architect) walked through the agile processes they have in place, what wasnt working and how they fixed it. The main take away was to plan ahead, gather feedback and foster collaboration from team members to truly get the most from the sprints.

3) Ian Muir, lead 'devigner', at gave a very witty breakdown of the Designer-Developer relationship. He had the audience laughing and nodding sagely at the same time. Essentially its about understanding the gaps in the respective roles to avoid miscommunication.

4) Kris Engdahl, Usability Consultant, Bentley Design and Usability Center & Malini Gargeshwari, Senior Interaction Designer, Oracle Corporation talked about using Reality Maps for Task Analysis. The audience was given a walk through of this non-visual storyboard and how it helps keep focus on task flows. We are probably to ask Kris & Malini to come back and give a workshop on this collaboration tool that allows for easy comparison of alternative flows or with current process/flow.

5) Michael Hawley, VP Experience Design, from our second sponsor talked about Next Generation Navigational Paradigms. A side by side comparison of familiar/traditional interactions & next-gen visual rich designs. Then he walked through a design and how they balanced the customers desires to make a bold statement with the users needs to navigate and interact with the brand. I'd also like to note that Mad*Pow were a sponsor and Interaction08 and it was great to see so many of the team come down to our event.

6) Christa Houlahan, Senior UX designer at Roundarch gave a thought provoking look in to what 'search' can do when its tightly integrated with content. Using FAST & Flex she demonstrated how with cheaper storage, faster indexing and more powerful search algorithms users are able to initiate, refine and preview results inline with content.

7) Matt McKeon: talked about Visualisation in the hands of the people based on his research at IBM. Many Eyes is a free and public website where anyone can upload their data, create a sophisticated interactive visualization in minutes, and share and discuss it with anyone else. Matt highlighted the implications for designers seeking adoption of innovative media by a wider audience. Instead of trying to create a community from scratch, it's often a better idea to empower users to re-purpose the content they create in a variety of contexts and roles.

8) Jesse Beach (IxDA Boston's CTO!) gave a 'HTML5 Heads Up'. With the projected date of release for the standard set for late 2010 and a raft of new features already under development in major browsers, the question arises "What does this update to the workhorse of the web mean for Experience Design?". He talked about the differences between HTML4.X/XHTML and HTML5 that a designer might find significant and the changes that hold the potential to improve user experience and our daily work experience.

9) Jared Spool, , delivered and impressively light yet powerful approach to comparing multiple designs and effectively evaluating the most suitable design.
You can hear Jared and see the slide deck on slideshare: we will publish the rest of the presentations as and when we upload them - watch this space.

To wrap up we had all the speakers form a panel and take questions from the audience; and it was great to see so many stay after the talks to discuss the inspirational content presented.

IxDA Boston is taking a little hiatus for July but fear not, you can get your geek snack on at the Boston Interactions Picnic In the Park. 6-8pm Danehy Park, Cambridge with members from BostonCHI, UPA Boston & NH, NEC HFES, Boston-IA, Web Innovators Group, IxDA Boston, UXnet Boston & STC Boston are invited. We're back in September with a social and informal discussion hosted by Christa Houlahan from Roundarch and have a pretty impressive schedule planned for the second half of the year.

Regards /pauric