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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'September 2010'

    Innovation Stories at BIF-6

    BIF-6 Logo

    Earlier this month I attended an interesting conference called BIF-6, hosted by the Business Innovation Factory.  This was the sixth installment of this event, held in beautiful Providence, Rhode Island. The organizer, Saul Kaplan, and his team did an excellent job pulling this event together in a very appropriate matter - comfortable enough, but not overly extravagant.

    Each speaker had 15 minutes to tell a story related to innovation. Some speakers used support images, but PowerPoint slides were strictly forbidden. In general, the speakers were excellent. Some of them took certain liberties in extending personal experiences into doubtful generalizations, but most stayed within the limits of recounting their stories or connecting them with established knowledge.

    There were so many great stories, that I won’t even attempt to list them all. However, I will say that John Maeda (RISD), Peter Menzel & Faith D’Alusio (Material World, Hungry Planet), Don Tapscott (Wikinomics), Dale Dougherty (Make Magazine),Richard Satava (DARPA), Gerard Van Grinsven (Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital) and Carmen Medina (ex-deputy director of CIA) all gave outstanding talks on topics ranging from Media to Ethics to Management.

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    UX Masterclass Presents Future View of User Experience

    UX Masterclass

    Earlier this week our friends at Yu Centrik and the UXalliance hosted UX Masterclass, a one-day international conference on user experience design, here in Montreal. The two groups did a great job of presenting a more advanced take on usability topics than you typically see in a one-day event. They recruited over 25 expert speakers from across the globe and provided local UX teams with the opportunity to meet with some of the leading minds in the UX space.

    What was interesting about the conference was that it looked beyond the traditional content around user experience and provided an opportunity to dig into the processes and approaches for resigning the interactions of the future. Presentations went beyond the “expert instinct” and looked more at focusing on the client’s end-to-end user experience. This involves mapping all of the relevant touch points with a client from the first engagement to the last, not just looking at the experience within a specific application. This moves the UX effort out to the entire company, including marketing, customer support, administration, management, designers and developers. It also involves looking at user experience design that’s multiplatform, supports multiple entry points and accommodates a global audience.

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    A Step Closer to Universal RIAs

    Apple Logo

    A move by Apple this week to ease up on its restrictions for the creation of mobile applications for the Apple App Store is a step forward toward universal rich internet applications (RIAs). Back in April 2010, Apple tried to restrict how companies could code and build their applications. The company’s justification was that the restrictions were in place to protect quality and ensure security. However, it really just closed the door for many companies who were unable or unwilling to build technology using native development.

    With Apple loosening up their restrictions, businesses can now create applications with a variety of technologies and tools and port them over to an Apple-friendly format. Abode is a step ahead in this race, as they had already rolled out the Packager for iPhone with CS5 to applications to an Apple format. As of today, Flash content in a browser is still restricted.

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    The Web is Not Dead, but it is Changing

    Web Browser

    Two weeks ago I posted about the battle of the web browsers and what this meant for businesses. Even with the evolution of the browsers and the added functionalities they deliver, they are becoming irrelevant in the grand scope of the web. Years ago your experience on the web was dictated by the browser you choose. They all had different features and supported different options. Now, the web browser is virtually invisible. Users want access to the information they are seeking and they want the tool they are using to do so to just make this happen, without getting in the way.

    The cover of the September issue of Wired boldly states “The Web is Dead”. This is a strong statement and one I don’t necessarily agree with. Yes, the face of the web is different and the ways that people are seeking information are different, but the fundamental concept of the web is still alive and kicking. People are still using the web to access information, but what’s changed is how the information is delivered. The days of funneling users through a web browser to your homepage are numbered, but users are still accessing information online. They’re just coming in through different doors, like web applications (iPad applications, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, RSS feeds and more).

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    The Psychology of User Experience: Usability Week 2010

    Toronto Skyline

    Earlier this month I attended Usability Week 2010 in Toronto. This week-long event was put on by the Nielsen Norman Group and it featured a series of full-day tutorials led by usability experts on a variety of subjects, ranging from information architecture through to user testing.

    The tutorial I attended focused on the role the human mind plays in defining the principles of usability. It did a great job of presenting details about how humans process information and the impact that this has in predicting peoples’ reactions and making effective design decisions leading to intuitive interfaces.

    What was really interesting to me about this event was the diversity of the attendees. Although many attendees held user experience or usability roles, there were also a significant number of lead developers there too. This reflects a fundamental shift in the industry. Traditionally there was little common ground between UI engineering and UI design. However, recently these two groups have come together more often to deliver applications with complex user experience requirements.

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