This coming February 9 is approximately my one-year anniversary as co-chair of BayCHI’s monthly program and so far I’m enjoying the responsibility a great deal, even with the occasional panic that sets in when each new cycle rolls around.
As an aficionado of both music and games, I’m really looking forward to the analogies and lessons these two will share. Elaine is one of the founders of Meebo and she and I have had some really interesting conversations about the history and philosophy and pragmatics of digital product design.
Jeff is something of a famous wit, dating from his days writing the back-page humor column for Computer Gaming World (later Games for Windows Magazine), his various podcast escapades, his Greenspeak blog and of course on on the twitters. He has recently transitioned to a new role at EA, as editor-in-chief (and podcaster) for the EA.com website, and he may still be licking his wounds from his “if you’re so smart” encounter with the challenging realities and tradeoffs of interface design on a deadline.
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).
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.
Erin Malone and I introduced some of the fruit of our effort to carve out a pattern language for social user experience design. At the Information Architecture Summit in Memphis this past week we taught our pattern library workshop and then delivered this tandem presentation:
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