Impelling Interaction

"You see things, and you say: `Why?&
But I dream things that never were, and I say `Why not?&"
George Bernard Shaw

For three days, March 24th to March 26th, the SIDeR conference was hosted at Umeå Institute of Design. With students from all over the world, great workshops, demo sessions, paper sessions and three excellent keynote speakers, the student conference was a success. Rector Anna Valtonen opened the conference after registration, welcomed everyone and introduced the participants to UID. Then it was time for the first keynote speaker Heather Martin, Director of Interaction Design in Smart Design&s Barcelona office. First Heather Martin told the participants at the conference about her professional life and after that she communicated the way products and services are more and more interconnected creating larger ecosystems and experiences. She emphasized how important it is, as a designer, to orchestrate an experience instead of just designing one single product. She encouraged the students to have the following aspects in mind:

1. Keep it consistent
2. Keep it simple
3. Make it relevant and meaningful
4. Exceed people&s expectations
5. Be socially responsible

Zachary Lieberman was the second keynote speaker and "not a designer by trade" he was surprised to be asked to talk at the conference. He started out in fine arts and came into technology through software programming. He is developing openFrameworks, which he describes as "C++ for non-nerds". He is currently teaching at Parsons The New School for Design in New York and additionally he is writing software for a magician in New York. Together with collaborators he is also doing performances and installations with digital art, sound and light. He lays emphasis on the fact that the projects we do don&t have to be million dollar projects - they simply have to be touching and moving. Zachary is interested in the nature of communication and believes the "open mouth phenomenon" (his partner calls it the "holy fuck moment") is a pathway to your heart. You can find some of the projects Lieberman have done, which will probably induce some open mouth phenomenon, here:

IQ Font, Rhonda, Lights on, Night Lights and The EyeWriter.

The closing keynote speaker was Erik Stolterman, Professor and Director of Human Computer Interaction Design at Indiana University and he talked about "Designerly Tools" as he calls the methods, tools, techniques and approaches supporting the design activities. The tools can be everything from a pencil to an advanced theory, and depending on the chosen tools, you influence the process, way of thinking, the quality and the result. Stolterman also talked about the complexities of design practice, and presented the MKST-model (M=Mindset, K=Knowledge set, S=Skill set, T=Toolset) and the importance of constant development and reflection, and the value in increasing your knowledge and your mindset. Erik Stolterman expressed that a good designer always is curious. If you want to read more about Erik, he has a blog you can follow.

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