Tag Archives: kathysierra

kathy sierra keynote – the nuggets of *joy*

sxsw, saturday’s keynote by kathy sierra – check the podcast here

these are some of the highlights from her keynote on humanity in design – what resonated with me…

Question for the audience: There’s a drowning man – would you save him or photograph him and think how you would tag him in Flickr?

As designers and creators, we’re responsible for the products and services that we make. With sxsw, we don’t actually need to be here, there are livebloggers, podcasts, vlogs, flickr,twitter and everything else… yet here we are. Why? Because we are human, and we need to connect. So if we want to make better applications and technologies we better compensate and prioritize our humanity in our interactions.

Face-to-face interactions matter -whenever you reverse engineer passion, you find that ppl need to get together in person to fuel that passion, to allow it to grow.

The user expressing emotions towards computers negates the intent of the interaction. The software doesn’t respond to gesture, to tone or nuance – the things that we continually use in our interactions with each other. Yet our ability to be understood when making a confused or upset gesture is crucial in the clarity of our interactions.

We have designed all of our applications to have Asperger’s Syndrome – they don’t respond to social interactions, and there is no way for it to know or intuit that someone is confused or frustrated. And nobody’s passionate when they suck. People need to pass the Suck Threshold – the point at which they no longer suck and feel abit better about how there’s using a technology, they understand it and can do some things with it. Then they need to pass the Passion Threshold -where you begin to get really good and you start to develop a passion for what you are doing. The point at which the interaction has nothing to do with the tools and everything to do with supporting the passion. We are not passionate about the tools we use, we are passionate about what they enable us to do.

But our technologies do not support the learning process – we study gesture and voice recognition, but have no way at this point to integrate that into our apps. And FAQs and Help don’t work if you’re frustrated or confused or lost. They don’t think like a human. So… what do we do?

How about a WTF? button.

If you someone you know is confused, the first thing you do (if you care) is ask “what’s wrong?” You build a context around the problem. To mediate and resolve the emotional reaction, a set of understandable and empathetic questions are necessary -an interactive dialogue.

Critically the most important aspect is understanding the impact of our actions and the impact of the things we put out into the world – both positive and negative. We need to generate an empathetic understanding of the implications of our actions in order to act better.

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