The best part is when the host says he considers the Yahoo! Developer Network to be “the unsung hero of the Internet.”
Erin and I presented a condensed run through the highlights from our social design patterns project and then debuted the beta of our Social Mania card game that aims to teach and facilitate discussions about these interrelated principles, patterns, and practices. Much chaos and hilarity ensued and we learned a lot about how to explain and teach the game and perhaps how best to play it as well.
Last week I was in Chicago for PLoP (Pattern Languages of Programs) 2009, co-located with the Agile conference. PLoP is a unique conference, in some ways more like a funky academic confab than a typical tech industry conference. Most of the time is spent in workshops, revising papers about patterns and reviewing small pattern collections. The rest of the time is spent debating fascinating philosophical questions and playing excellent ice-break games.
This year (my second PLoP) I presented an update on the social design patterns project geared towards people more familiar with the computer programming (aka “Gang of Four” or “Hillside”) design patterns, and then we workshopped chapter 3 of the book (the engagement design patterns).
Erin and I want to get a bunch of people together at South by Southwest in Austin next March to play SocialMania, the card game we’ve just started beta testing. If that sounds fun, go (sign up and) vote one snaps up for SocialMania: Designing Social Interfaces – The Game.
Also, Dave Gray, myself, and a some other fantastic people are prepared to talk about the rise of the unbook (not the opposite of a book but an unfinished book, a deliberately never-finished book – Designing Social Interfaces is, to some extent, and unbook). I’ve been involved in publishing and technology since the late ’80s and have some thoughts to share from that perspective. Dave Gray and Jay Cross have really worked on this unbook idea in public, as it should be done, and Dave’s Marks and Meaning (current version is 0.5, I believe) is already a wonder.
One more plug: another collaboration with Dave Gray and a different lineup of heavies, including my colleague LukeW from Yahoo! as well as Aza Raskin from Mozilla and peeps from Microsoft and the Goog. The theme is Browsing the Future: Visualizing the Everywhere Internet and I believe Dave will be rapidly sketching the conversation in real time. The comments on that particular proposal and very encouraging.
Vote early and often, or rather just in the nick of time and just this once. Thanks.
What is the IDEA Conference?
The IDEA Conference looks at the intersection of physical and information space and wonders how you design experiences for that. Erin and I have been granted a double session so that we can combine a straightforward presentation of the ideas in Designing Social Interfaces with an interactive quasi-workshop activity involving play-testing a prototype card game we’re designing to teach and provide playful contexts for exploring the dynamics of the social experience design pattern language we’re developing.
Beyond our own time slot, I’m very excited to see the other speakers at IDEA, which has earned a justified reputation as a murderer’s row of keynotes in past years. Bringing men and women from across a range of disciplines (architecture, game design, journalism, academia, information design, and so on) makes IDEA extremely “nutritional” for the mind and the creative spirit.
But it’s not all blue sky and horizons. We’re sharing practical advice, based on hard-won experiences. I happen to know that my colleague, Luke Wroblewski wants to share some things learned at Yahoo! from years of experimenting with various social (friendship, connection, and contact) models.
I’m also pretty excited about taking Nathan Curtis’s Modular User Experience Design & Deliverables workshop, which will directly help me in my work as a curator of patterns and design components.
From the people already showing interest in coming to IDEA I’m pretty sure the “real world” social networking will be a highlight as well. Good, smart people working on similar problems, meeting informally over dinner or drinks (or karaoke) – that’s the secret of a great conference.