Day 2 for me, day 3 for the conference (I nearly called it a festival then) and I was fully switched into learning mode. After the afore mentioned ‘Full English’ breakfast (sans black pudding) I used the UX chair lift up mount future, to hit the UX slopes for some black run practice, and some off piste methodology.
Abby had a picture of black pudding on one of her slides. She speaks American English, but in proper English (her words) she’s noticed a few curious things with the language we use. Pudding for instance. It can be so many things. A time, a desert (unless it’s a fruit pie), a Yorkshire and a Black, to name but a few. To paint the word problem on a world stage, she cited ‘Flapjack’, which means three distinct things, depending on where you are.
Her talk was about making sense out of messes – with particular reference to the way we present and organise the information of the companies we work for. She gave us some great tips, like how whilst we should strive to make sense of things, we should inspire realistic, not simplistic thinking and be careful of reductionism.
Rebecca Ussai & Glen Keane
Whilst all the talks I saw at the event were world class in the field of UX and were some of the best talks I’ve seen in my professional life, this was one of the best talks I’ve seen in my entire life.
Glen spent most of his career as an animator for Disney. He create Ariel. Rebecca made a connection. There’s a Disney thing called the 12 principles of animation. Rebecca wondered – what if these could be somehow mapped onto what we do in UX? This talk showed what that looks like.
We got to see Glen sketch (via an OHP) one of his creations – the Beast from Beauty and The Beast. He used The Beast to demonstrate the concepts they were introducing.
Glen has been working with Google a lot recently on their ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) program. Together, they’ve been making incredible things of beauty and potential. Duet – an immersive virtual reality animated story being one, TiltBrush being another. A technology I spotted a few weeks ago that allows the artist to paint in a virtual 3D space. I’d so love to explore tiltbrush. Work with some artists and figure out some new stuff.
Towards the end of the talk, Glen said something that resonated with me;
I have conversations with design. I wait until it responds. The characters exist before I draw them.
I get like that sometimes when I’m working on something. I know what he means.
Pete’s enthusiasm was infectious. He bounced around the stage and delivered his talk at pace. The future of the internet. He opened with a Scott Cook quote;
“We’re still in the first minute of the first day of the internet revolution”
He hypotisised on the future of what is about to happen. We got to see a slice of a much larger talk, themed around the tangible, the invisible the emotional and the adaptive. This day, he focussed on emotional. Facial recognition technology that twists an application, depending on how it detects you’re feeling. A similar tech with skin receptors, one that can scientifically say which people are good for you, which are not so.
Xiaoice piqued my interest the most. A technology that reached 1% of china within 1 week of launch. Now 40 million people use her. Yes ‘her’. One of the most advanced artificial intelligences in the word, and she’s available to 1/3 of the planet. People are talking to her on a daily basis and because she uses real time sentiment analysis, she comes across as empathetic. She’s really listening to the individuals.
Pete noted that the most important things in comms, is listening to what isn’t said.
Following on with the future theme, Ben talked of talk. VUI. Voice User Interface. A technology that the big tech companies – google, amazon and apple are investing heavily in at the moment. He talked of what it’s good at, what it’s not so good at and where it’s going.
Jonathan created tension and mystery. Theatre, in a Doctor Who kind of way. He delivered a thought provoking talk. THIS thought provoking talk.. I won’t spoil it, just watch it…
The afternoon I spent in the company of Erika Hall (who I mentioned yesterday for winning the most geek points). She filled our heads with some real world hands on useful methods of how to ask questions and what the right questions might be. This, coupled with the newly found knowledge from the workshop the day before has given me some really fresh thought and potential new ways of going about things.
Thanks UX LONDON. I hope to see you next year.