Highlights from IxDA Interaction’09

Posted: February 13th, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I finally got back to London after a week packed with excitement, great scenery, interesting journeys and new acquaintances. Before going into details on the main reason for this trip - to attend IxDA Interaction’09 conference in Vancouver - a few words on the amazing flight journey to San Francisco (stop-over on the way to Seattle).

I left London the morning after the biggest snow storm the city had witnessed in the past 20 years. The streets were chaotic and sidewalks looked more like skating rings. The plane took off from a snow-covered Heathrow into a limpid blue sky heading for San Francisco. The weather remained crystalline throughout the entire journey, offering the most beautiful and arresting scenes. From the iceberg-covered ocean and snowy mountains of Greenland, to the frozen lakes of northern Canada, crossing the impressive rocky mountains and the flat lunar surfaces of Nevada - It was quite breathtaking.

Hosted in the beautiful city of Vancouver, IxDA Interaction’09 was a great event, joining many passionate Interaction Design professionals on the strengthening of the field. This year’s organization, led by Greg Petroff from SAP, was effective and relentless, making sure the event went as smooth as possible. It started with an engaging and thought-provoking keynote by John Thackara, and ended with a brilliant and inspiring talk by Kim Goodwin, from Cooper, wrapping up the 3-day conference in a distinctive way. In between there was a disastrous panel discussion hosted by Jared Spool, a stimulating keynote by Robert Fabricant from Frog Design, an overly excited audience attending Dan Saffer’s keynote, and some compelling lighting rooms. I particularly enjoyed Jenifer Tidwell’s presentation on Mobile Interaction Design Patterns, Nadya Direkova’s showcase of game design techniques applied to non-game products and campaigns, Kars Alfrink’s compelling presentation on Game Design, and finally colleague Miles Rochford’s talk on Contexts of Use.

My presentation went very well. The room was packed and there was a lot of positive feedback in the end. It’s always challenging (for me at least) to squeeze all your ideas in a 25-minute session, but it was well worth it. The title of the talk was Network Visualization - at the age of infinite interconnectedness, and covered 4 topics: (1) 5 Reasons for the current Outburst of Visualization, (2) Introduction to VisualComplexity.com, (3) Current Trends in the field, and finally, (4) the challenges on building a formal foundation for Network Visualization, divided in two areas - Visual Representation Methods and Interactive Exploration Techniques. The presentation (without the videos) is now available on slideshare. I have already two other talks scheduled for this year, you can keep track of them here.