IXD10: OMGWTF?! or…I need to process a lot.

Ok. I got back from Savannah Sunday night and have been reeling since then. Obviously, I have to work, too. This is a stopgap post! I need to put more into this.

Saturday night, out to dinner before the big Microsoft party, my mind was a blurry haze of ideas.

Jon Kolko’s image of a lot of DATA turning into (less) INFORMATION through synthesis was definitely where I was. I wasn’t yet at the INFORMATION to KNOWLEDGE moment. And far away from WISDOM.

But the next morning (after a night dancing at the Rockabilly mecca Jinx!) I went to Cindy Chastains’s talk on Storytelling and it ALL clicked for me.

Mike Kruzeniski’s talk on Polemics was really inspirational. he talked about framing dimensions of a project’s experience as mission critical, not through dry P0, P1, P2 priority language, but by characterizing aspects of the system as the SOUL of the system, not to be touched or ruffled. Other features were the heart and the body. The body could be trimmed by engineering, the heart could be altered…but the Soul was inviolate. And this language was adopted by engineering and helped keep the essential intent of the project intact.

Liz Danzico’s talk on Improv touched on FRAMES…in which a set of rules (like a chosen musical scale) allows for play and improvisational interaction. (See my favorite book, Finite and Infinite Games and Steve Portigal’s talk last year here and here (that’s me in the front row!) for more improv goodness).

Mike, Liz and Cindy were all saying the same thing…we can frame debates and guide inquiry through language and creative collaboration. Creating a frame is like setting the ground rules for the game.

Mike said “we aren’t going to talk your language any more. It doesn’t serve us. The game has a soul now, and we want you to respect it!”

Cindy had so much great material in her talk about how to use storytelling techniques to build interfaces that respond to people’s natural ways of hearing, but also how to “chunk” up a complex interaction into recognizable parts to be better analyzed.

Language is really our most powerful tool.


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