Big Apple Redux Recap

Yesterday IxDA NYC presented the 2011 Big Apple Redux at AOL. After months of hard work we were able to present a workshop and several talks from the past year’s conference circuit and an all around good time for about a hundred people from in and around New York (and from as far away as Great Britain.)

The day started off with Jimmy Chandler‘s workshop “What UX Designers Can Learn by Going Out to Eat”. We shared and explored problems, solutions, likes and dislikes from both the dining and designing world while Jimmy involved the participants in drawing parallels between what makes for great experiences in both.

After lunch we kicked off the afternoon with Kaleem Khan‘s controversial talk “Design for Evil: Ethical Design” which I was able to realize might not deserve the negative reaction so many happy iPhone owners have had. Granted, it’s tough to talk about ethics without offending someone and Kaleem isn’t necessarily trying not to offend anyone but after a second viewing of the talk and a couple of drinks and some conversations with Kaleem I do think his motivation to get designers thinking  about their own personal ethics comes from a good place.

Our next talk was Dave Cronin‘s ” Healthcare Interfaces: How Interaction Design Can Help Fix Medicine“. Dave joined us via skype from the West Coast. It was an interesting irony to be hearing about how many improvements can be made in the healthcare world by applying todays design thinking and technology after struggling through setting up something as simple as a video conference at a state-of-the-art facility at one of the world’s premier internet companies. Dave highlighted this irony and reminded us that most hospitals and doctors offices are woefully behind the times. It is surely a huge challenge but it’s also one that many designers are very excited about tackling.

Next up was Megan Grocki who explained how “Marketing is not a 4 Letter Word.” With all the talk recently about unicorns (UX designers with visual design or coding chops) I deemed Megan an even rarer Pegasus Unicorn with chops in  UX and marketing at Mad*Pow. While giving us some more insight into how marketers think and what they do, Megan also reminded us that we are all marketers sometimes and that what they do is not always evil or douchey. In fact, the better we do our job as designers, the easier their job is and the more good our work can do.

Callie Neylan presented “Beautiful Interactions: Codifying Aesthetics in Interaction Design” where she explained a system for measuring and comparing the relative beauty of the cities in which she has lived and then applied it to some examples of interaction and service design. Callie presented another lens through which we can view our work in attempt to make more beautiful experiences.

Finally, IxDA NYC’s own Lis Hubert gave an impassioned talk about “Agile’s Secret Step: Discovery“. Lis walked us through her experiences with integrating UX into the agile process and proposed a method by which strategy and planning work in parallel with development and delivery. Lis’ passion for solving difficult problems (and for beer) gave the entire audience some food for thought (or drink for thought, in this case) and spurred quite a bit of discussion to close out the day’s talks.

Following the presentations the group was treated to a cocktail hour by Tandem Seven where we were all able to decompress, share our thoughts and questions with each other and the presenters and get to know our colleagues a bit better. The party continued (as it often does) with an IxDA-sponsored afterparty at B Bar down the block.

After countless hours of planning, preparation, discussion, and anticipation the day went off as well as anyone could have hoped. I’d like to thank everyone involved:

All of the  IxDA Leaders and volunteers who made this happen

Our sponsors Tandem Seven, Microsoft, and Wiley Publishing

Our host, the AOL Consumer Experience Team, especially Gabi Moore

All of our presenters and every member of the interaction and experience design tribe for another memorable day, some new friends, and a bit more knowledge and insight that will make me a better designer.

Kudos all around!

Healthcare interfaces: How Interaction Design can Help Fix Medicine


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