reconstruct d-construct

Luckily the speakers at September's d-construct 2011 were somewhat clearer than the Brighton sea-view.  You can now watch all the speaker videos for yourself but here are a few of our highlights

The legendary Don Norman kicked-off the day by asking us to think about the system and not just the isolated object if we wanted to create products that integrate into people's lives. He reminded us that it's not just about creating an experience but adding the emotional aspect that elevates experiences into memories. Memories, he suggested, are actually more important than reality - a type of augmented reality (augmented by our own brains). Memories.....perhaps the original user-appropriated-product?

Systems and memories cropped up again in the presentation by design ethnographer Kelly Goto. Kelly proposed that connected experiences create meaning and thus it is the spaces between things which are important. Context is key, so it's necessary to create a positive mood prior to the experience with the object or artefact. Thus making experiences tie in with rituals can avoid our devolution into digital Nethanderals humped over a screen! Kelly also mentioned the principle of Kansei and it was a shame she did not have longer to talk about this. 

Delightful design and joyful experience as precursors to memory and recollection was also central to Frank Chimero's 'Oh God its all full of stars' piece about how we find, store and review our digital information sources. We certainly liked the idea of an architecture for serendipity. 

Matthew Sheret had an unapologetic Dr, Who themed presentation accompanied by his self hacked sonic screwdriver/laser pointer; but one that broached the idea of wearables through reference to his antique pocket watch and the introduction of standard time. Again the point that objects are powerful physical embodiments and reminders of underlying connected systems or memories was made. Weft-lab will now be asking you to empty your pockets in our user groups!

The metaphor of visible/invisible had briefly raised its head earlier in the day but Kevin Slavin's Reality is Plenty' tackled it head on. Kevin's position was that AR should not be about making the invisible visible, but much more about interpreting the visible. AR should enable us to see the real world but in a different way, akin to impressionist or abstract paintings. The concept of the uncanny valley, where close imitations of reality create greater user discomfort than poor imitations or abstract representations had some analogue resonance for us. New products that imitate the form factors of existing products yet are different often cause the user the most frustration as they have pre-existing expectations.

For the record the sun did eventually did come out and chip suppers were duly consumed while staring at the sea...

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