South By Southwest (SXSW) – Day 3

Keeping the ball rolling… Some thoughts from the day. It was another great day. The best part of this conference is hearing about new ideas and working to translate the idea into the library web environment.

Why We Should Ignore Users

Moderator: Robert Hoekman Jr Interaction Designer | Consultant, http://www.rhjr.net
Robert Hoekman Jr Interaction Designer | Consultant, http://www.rhjr.net
Sarah Bloomer Principal, Sarah Bloomer & Co
Mark Schraad Sr User Interaction Designer, AOL
Christina Wodtke CEO, Cucina Media

I love the title; I just couldn’t resist. What are the merits of user research? Great question and it was a room full of interaction designers, information architects. There’s a whole world out there whose job it is to research and create from the user perspective. Robert Hoekman Jr was the dissenter on the panel. The other panelists were really interested in canonizing user feedback as the only way to create. Hoekman pointed to the inconsistencies in user feedback and spoke about designing around tasks and activities. Build the tool and see what works for users. Might try and bring some of that sentiment back to academe…

Non-Developers to Open Source Acolytes: Tell Me Why I Care
Moderator: Elisa Camahort Pres of Events & Mktg, BlogHer
Elisa Camahort Pres of Events & Mktg, BlogHer
Dawn Foster Dir of Community & Partner Programs, Compiere
Annalee Newitz Freelance Writer
Erica Rios Internet Project Mgr, Anita Borg Institute For Women and Technology

Interesting panel trying to bridge the gap between open source zealots and the designers they develop for. A solid, balanced conversation about what makes open source compelling for both parties. Nice give and take with the audience. Best quote “Open Source is not free as in beer; it’s free as in freedom to build what you need.” There’s a hidden cost to this stuff, but you need to balance it with the advantages of the open programming development model.

How to Convince Your Company to Embrace Mashup Culture

Moderator: Kevin Lawver , AOL
Kevin Lawver AOL
Steven Chipman Pr Software Engineer, AOL
Gregory Cypes Sr Software Engineer, AOL Instant Messanger
Alla Gringaus Time Inc Interactive
Arun Ranganathan AOL

I was expecting a little more from this group. More of a dog and pony show about some pretty cool AOL projects. OpenID, a new way of confiriming identity on the internet based on a user’s personal url, received some airtime. Promising, but seems like it’s a bit out of reach for those people that don’t live and breath the web. There was also some encouragement to work on interesting projects outside of your work duties. Ficlets.com, an online storytelling service, was used as an example.

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