UX Week 2014 Keynote Josh Clark on the Future of Digital Product Design

Josh Clark’s particular mix of practical realism and thoughtful reflection is an ideal match for UX Week. Josh is the author of the book Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, and frequently gives workshops and talks at conferences around the world. In this interview, Josh and I talk about the current trends in digital product design, and where those trends might be heading. Jesse James Garrett: Josh, tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are and how your work has evolved in recent years. Josh Clark: My career path naturally didn’t begin with internet technology or mobile or multi-device stuff. It’s funny. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and when I was her age, the stuff that we do now didn’t even exist. Which makes me wonder, when she is my age, what new things are going to exist that don’t now. But I started out as a storyteller, which is very much still what I think I do now. I began as a journalist, as a documentary producer for public television. One of the great things about that was learning how to tell a formal linear story in dramatic terms. But then the Internet burst on the scene, and all of a sudden, there was this really accessible new form of storytelling, very democratic in terms of access, where the rules hadn’t yet been decided, they were very much evolving. So I really jumped in with both feet. I do think we are storytellers; we craft and shape and mold stories and behaviors. I think that those stories have grown especially personal as our devices...

Designing E.T.’s Experience: Interview with UX Week Speaker Doug Vakoch of SETI Institute

Better experiences come about from building empathy for our users, but what happens when that user is an extraterrestrial? At UX Week this September we’ll talk to the person who can answer this question and help us consider how solving this far-out problem can help us design and communicate better with our users here on earth. Dr. Doug Vakoch is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, and he researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact. In our conversation, Doug lays out the design principles for communication with E.T., invalidates Hollywood plots, and tells us what he really hopes to communicate to extraterrestrials. — Brandon: Let’s jump right in—if an extraterrestrial civilization contacts us, do we communicate back? Doug: There are a lot of things that happen with the first time we detect a signal that looks like it might be from another civilization. The signals that we look for are very similar to the TV and radio signals that we create here on earth, so there’s a long process that could take weeks, even months, before we’re really sure that this is from another civilization. Then, if we do, it could be very hard to unpack any message that they might send to us. But all the while that we’re trying to figure out what they’re saying and whether this is, in fact, really a signal from ET, I think there will be a cacophony of replies from earth. While it’s debated in the United Nations and...

UX Week Keynote Speaker Denise Jacobs on Making Creativity Happen

Denise Jacobs calls herself a “creativity evangelist”, helping people cultivate the tools and skills necessary for leading a creative life. These skills are important for everyone, but especially for creative professionals such as designers and developers, for whom the creative challenges never really stop. In this interview, I talk with Denise about how her own life inspired her take on creativity, and what it takes to keep creativity flowing. Jesse James Garrett: Denise, you’ve taken an interesting path to get to where you are. Denise Jacobs: Yes. And it’s actually funny because I find that people are really fascinated by it. JJG: I was when I first heard about it. Tell us a little bit about it. DJ: I’ve been working in the web industry since around 1997. I started off teaching myself HTML and making websites, and then got into doing project management at Microsoft. But I really didn’t enjoy project management. But in the course of that I ended up stumbling into teaching soapmaking classes, of all things. JJG: Soapmaking? DJ: Yes, I started making soap because I was so frustrated with project management that I started doing something creative. I just felt so creatively stifled by working in spreadsheets all day and I just felt like this was not what I was supposed to be doing with my life. So I learned how to make soap and then I started making soap. And then people asked, “Do you sell this? and I said, “Sure.” JJG: I will sell it if you will buy it. DJ: But then people were asking me how to make it, and...

UX Week 2014 Twitter Contest!

Hello UX Week attendees, friends, and community! We are thrilled to announce the first ever UX Week 2014 Twitter Contest! Four UX Week attendees will be selected to have dinner on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7pm with Jesse James Garrett and UX Week keynote Josh Clark of Global Moxie! You can enter by following these 3 easy steps: 1. Register for UX Week (attendees who have already registered skip this step) 2. Follow @uxweek (unless you already do!) 3. Write a Tweet mentioning which UX Week 2014 talk and/or workshop you’re excited for and mention @uxweek or use hashtag #UXweek. Be sure to post your Tweet(s) by Friday, August 15, 2014. Contest Information: Tweet as much as you want. One entry per Tweet, so the more Tweets you post the more chances you have to win! We’ll announce the four winners on Friday, August 22, 2014. Verification of UX Week registration will be required in order to win. Adaptive Path will take care of transportation to the selected restaurant. Winners will receive additional information on logistics leading up to UX Week. #UXweek...

UX Week Keynote Speaker Amanda Dameron on Making Design More Human

If you’re a fan of Dwell magazine, you’re familiar with its unique take on modern architecture and design in the home. Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron is a passionate advocate for the philosophy of design exemplified by the homes, decor, and furnishings showcased in Dwell. In this interview, I talk with Amanda about that philosophy, the changing role of design in our culture, and her keynote at UX Week 2014 in San Francisco this September. Jesse James Garrett: One thing about Dwell that I think makes it distinctive among media entities that cover architecture and design is your emphasis on the real-world implications of design for people’s lives. Aesthetics are great, and everybody loves beautiful things, but I think that in a lot of design media, the emphasis on aesthetics becomes so overwhelming that it detaches from reality. Amanda Dameron: I think, especially in this visual culture in which we’re living, that objects and object appreciation verges into fetishism very quickly. Dwell has always thought to tell the story of the materials and the methodology that goes into a design object, going far beyond what it looks like. I think that you can’t assess the design simply by looking at an object. You really must understand the context and the techniques that go into actually creating it in the first place. Then it’s also about the experience with the object, how does it work within a life, how does it work in its relationship to the human being that’s using it. All of those things go into the way that we talk about design. JJG: Dwell is about 14 years...