Today began with a light breakfast graciously provided by our hotel, the Mont Claire. I had a small pastry, a scone, ham, cheese, yoghurt with fruit and coffee. Not too shabby.
After breakfast we hopped on the bus and headed over to the IADT [Edit: IADT is a higher ed Institute of Technology in Ireland] for a day of workshops with other like-minded professionals from around the globe. The ride was fairly long and took us along the river that runs into the sea on the eastern side of Dublin. It was a great trip to the school. I enjoyed the time to reflect on the journey here and the adventure that is just beginning.
Once at the IADT, we registered, got our name tags and schwag bag and had more coffee. In room C38 we settled in for our first workshop presented by Dan Lockton. It was called Design Thinking and was focused on wrapping your brain around different ways to solve problems and think about solutions.
His perspective on the topic was good and he had some interesting insights. He also handed out a set of Design Thinking cards which are a deck of 101 patterns for influencing behavior through design. What we worked through in teams was figuring out who users were, personas, and how to create concepts for solutions to meet your actual audiences expectations. These are all things that we do at Mutually Human on a regular basis and nothing new. What made the workshop and the exercises more interesting was seeing the perspectives of the other people that were in attendance and working with them.
The second workshop was presented by John Kolko and was called Design Synthesis. The purpose was to help fill in the gap between ethnography and prototyping. John pointed out that often there is a grey area between figuring out who our users are and then starting to make things. He talked about ways to synthesize the work that you find in your research to make the prototyping phase more effective and meaningful. Synthesizing your research can also get other teams and clients on board with your ideas and understanding. This can help improve a relationship and make things run smoother.
What opening day of a conference would be complete without a party? GE was the sponsor of the opening night festivities which included 8 or so speakers, lots of people, lots of noise, and most importantly, lots of Guinness.
The speakers were all from Ireland and spoke on different areas of interaction design. The two that stuck out in my mind were one talk on getting kids to code and another theorizing that we are nearing the peak of a UX bubble. I don't have people's twitter handles handy right now but I will try to get them to post here later if I can.
During the mid section of the day after the workshops, I found some time to wander the streets of the city center of Dublin. I went to a small comic shop and met Robert Curley, the owner of Sub City Comics. He also happens to be the author of a bunch of true Irish comics. I purchased 2 issues each of The League of Volunteers and Róisín Dubh. They are fantastic and I plan to go back and tell Robert in person how much I loved them.
That is all I have for day 1. I hope to have more interesting and lengthier summaries of activities tomorrow at IXD12 Day 2 (the technical opening day of the conference).