CHIFOO 2014 Program Details
Tell Me a Story: How Storytelling Methods Help Create Better Products and Experiences
Stories have always defined our world, from the scene depicted by the first person who painted cave walls to the tall tales recounted around fires. They have continued to evolve with their purpose remaining the same: To entertain, to share common experiences, to teach, and to pass on traditions.
Today’s communication methods are radically differently from those fireside talks. Our fragmented information travels across various mass-media channels and is delivered through ever-changing technology. It has become watered down, cloned, and is churned out quickly in 140-character blurbs. We’ve lost that personal touch where we find an emotional connection that makes us care. This series of talks explores that connection and how it applies to the interactions we create and use every day.
Film history has forgotten the pioneering productions created by the Thanhouser studio that operated in New Rochelle, New York during the birth of cinema in America. From 1910 to 1917 the Thanhouser studio produced and released more than 1,000 films, of which some 220 have survived. Reconstructing the history of his grandfather’s studio and the stories behind key executives, actors, technicians, directors, and the films they made has been Ned Thanhouser’s focus for more than 25 years. He will share these stories, as well as the challenges posed by decades of changing video technology and the surprising results of making the films available for free online.
Fieldwork for Human Computer Interaction: A 4-Part Workshop on Ethnographically-Informed Fieldwork
A growing number of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researchers and practitioners use the results of fieldwork to guide the design and evaluate the user experience of interactive systems and technologies. Why? Because data about real people in real situations spurs creativity and innovation around practical challenges, resulting in more useful and usable artifacts.
Fieldwork for HCI typically consists of firsthand observations made in the naturally occurring environment of use (as opposed to studies performed in a controlled environment). Many techniques are adapted from anthropology – particularly ethnography.
As the mobile app and manufacturing industries grow in Oregon, UX designers are increasingly recruited from out-of-state. The Computer-Human Interaction Forum of Oregon - CHIFOO - recognizes a local need for more basic training in this area.
Products, services and technology have a political gauntlet to conquer before they make their first appearance in the marketplace. Often the first line of defense in a corporate environment is the internal audience and invested key stakeholders.
Developing the solution is not enough. How you communicate the idea is just as important as the solution itself. Communicating your approach at the right time with the right mediums, and using the right level of fidelity to motivate the audience into action is an art. One needs to be an effective persuader. One needs to be a provocateur.
Working the last couple years in a building full of storytellers, Jason Sack has learned how powerful narrative can be in creating great products and experiences. Selling an idea, creating a sense of drama, and maintaining engagement in an experience all stand to benefit from a better understanding of storytelling. Because UX people are uniquely positioned to work across disciplines, we can act as stewards of our stories as well as those of our users. Using examples and anecdotes, Jason will walk through a variety of ways we can bring the larger story to life while reinforcing it down to the smallest interactions.
Prior CHIFOO Meetings in 2014:
To kick off this year’s series on storytelling, we’ll try on a few constructs for size. In this discussion, we will review a variety of ways to structure narratives, from the common to the complex, paired with examples from our current digital environment. Attendees will have the opportunity to survey different forms of storytelling and determine if some may work for their organizations’ needs. Hands-on talk about how to use video capture equipment and editing for storytelling and capturing user experiences for design, usability, research, social sharing and other needs.
Stories have power to add empathy and connection to our work. They can help us learn about people, culture, and context—why, when, and how our products might be used—and share this with a design team. Stories permeate UX techniques from user stories to storyboards. They come to full power when used with personas: the persona provides a fully envisioned lead character for the story, a perspective through which interactions can be explored, and a voice for the emotional reactions to design ideas.
Comics are a collaborative storytelling effort—many talented individuals contribute to the success or failure of each comic book, much as a good design team leverages complementary talents in delivering a stunning product. When their talents are combined, the writer (information architect) and artists (visual designers) attract attention and deliver the mood and flow (interaction design) to pull the reader along a highly stylized, deliberate path. Mike will take you on an illuminating journey of discovery, highlighting his favorite design techniques in comics that facilitate not just the mechanics of reading but the pure enjoyment of these colorful stories.
The introductions of new technologies are rarely seamless and silent affairs. There are the inevitable boosters and utopian dreamers who will tell us and sell us on the notion that this new technology will change our lives, in both big and small ways: we will be cleaner, safer, happier, more efficient, more productive, and of course, more modern with all that implies. The message here is everything will be different, better. There are also the equally inevitable naysayers and dystopian dreamers who worry along equally familiar but slightly different lines: we will be less social, less secure, more isolated, and more homogenous. The message here is everything will be different, but perhaps not so much better. Of course, running in between these larger conversations are the practicalities of living with new technologies—how much does it cost? where does it live? who should look after it? what will we will do with it? and, in the end, what will we do without it?
When designing or redesigning an application, Nimble Partners focuses on three core principles: consistency, hierarchy, and personality. We can think of these principles as if they’re part of a language. Consistency and hierarchy are the grammar people learn while using an application: the basic elements that define how a language is spoken. The “words” we speak—that is, the visual design characteristics we choose to convey a message—create an application’s personality. These principles are so fundamental to creating successful interfaces that we call them “meta-principles.” While technology that affects interfaces changes, the underlying meta-principles hold true.
After nearly two years in gathering War Stories about the unusual, comic, tragic and otherwise astonishing things that happen in fieldwork, Portigal Consulting has amassed a compelling archive about the user research experience. While it’s common for the members of any group to share stories of their adventures, the user research community hasn’t supported this well. For a practice that feels misunderstood by others, there’s pressure to only share successes. Yet the confidence to share the honest and human messiness of this work can help develop the skill and even prestige of the community.
Since qualitative research, or market research, can largely be spit out by a computer, we’ll take a look at how one can move beyond big data and do what a computer cannot do—go inside the head of a person and learn about their motivations and goals. Humanity’s experience is constantly shifting and so is the motivation behind our fears and goals, and that shift changes how we experience and use things. Story allows one to put a finger on that pulse. Story gets right to the bottom of things, it uncovers how the user will actually use the product in this time/place, how they will experience it in their lives, in their own home/office etc. Story is research above market “fill in the blank” research. It exposes rituals, and when one works to streamline those rituals, innovation enters. Discovering this level of story has another great benefit: it can be used to create scene stealing pitches in front of clients. One can stand in front a user or a client and paint out the story of how this will be a great new part of their lives.
Come join us for the eighth annual CHI-Bowl and enjoy some indoor sports. Dig out your bowling shirt and come bowl a few games, or just hang out and socialize with your friends and colleagues. Families are welcome, too! And very special prizes will be awarded. You need not bowl to win!