Rowena Price
Rowena Price
28th February 2017

If you’ve read Interaction 17: Bites from the Big Apple pt.1, you’ll know that some of the Clearleft team decamped to New York City in early February for Interaction 17. If you haven’t already read it, take a quick look, then read on for part 2…

A happy group of attendees.

The best bits

When we got back to Blighty, I asked the team for their Interaction 17 conference highlights. Jeremy aptly summed up the general consensus:

I enjoyed the breadth of speakers from young practitioners and students, right up to the sage wisdom of Brenda Laurel and Paul Pangaro. After three days, I think I've managed to grasp the message of Interaction 17: As designers we will change the world using some combination of chatbots, VR, and the internet of things a self-driving car. Or something.

The talks that rated most highly amongst the team even included some familiar faces from UX Londons of days past. Here are our top picks.

Liza Kindred - Mindful Technology

I'd have to say Liza Kindred's talk on 'Mindful Technology' was my standout talk. It was a great, sobering lesson on just how much we use (overuse) technology, followed by some great examples of tech available now, in the wild. The key takeaway of designing products and services for more human connections rang true, allowing us to design for more _disconnection_. Personally, I'm ready and waiting for a backlash against our device time, with more 'slow' design that lets us take off the digital shackles and enjoy the physical realm again.
She gave a great talk framed through a set of design principles and a series of fascinating examples about how we should be designing products and services that don’t just vie for our attention, but actually improve the lives of people.
james bates
An overall theme of technology intersecting with design and ‘real’ things stuck with me and I guess my standout talks were focussed on this. Liza gave some really interesting thoughts and great examples of future design for good.
Ben White

Brendan Dawes - The beautiful inconvenience of things

Brendan doing what he does best. Well delivered, personal, funny, creative and not taking himself too seriously. The perfect antidote to the heavy intellectualism of the rest of the first day.
James Bates
Good value and great work combining digital and physical - Brendan has great vision.
Ben White

Juliana Rotich - A Journey in Social Entrepreneurship

Juliana’s keynote really resonated. This and other talks prompted me to question how, as designer, I can make a social impact. And as a community, how we can unlock future value by designing great products, systems and experiences?
A fantastic example of human-centred design helping solve a known problem in a really smart way - the Kio Kit.

Jon Kolko - Sh*t Sh*w: Finding Focus in the Midst of Ambiguity

This was probably my standout talk of the whole event. On the topic of creativity, how to encourage it, how to harness it and use it to drive a vision into reality. Great content and really well delivered.
James Bates
Jon is always good value, and this one included great examples of his work.
Ben White

And finally

An honourable mention goes to the unlikely bedfellows of Thomas Wend and James Auger on Day One’s curated session.

Both were unashamedly and healthily sceptical / provocative about the future we – as designers – are contributing to. Feeds my hunches that – as an industry – we have a disturbing lack of critical thinking. For example, Twitter didn’t know they were creating the perfect vehicle for populist politics, but assuming they have, how do they respond?
James Box

Kudos to Ramy Nassar, for pulling a great talk out of the bag - ‘Why Designers and Data Scientists Should be BFFs’ whilst contending with some serious tech issues and zero slides at his disposal! No mean feat.

So thank you and congratulations, IxDA team, for pulling together a fun and thought-provoking conference. And as for your question ‘Does design matter now?’, our answer is ‘Heck Yeah!’