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Interaction 11: Day Two

From an inspiring keynote, studio visits to Boulder’s largest design firms, to activities and networking parties, second-year student Derek Chan recaps an exciting day two of Interaction 11.

Day 2 of Interaction 11 started with Janna Hicks DeVylder talking about the IxDA and welcoming its new Board of Directors. Faculty member Jennifer Bove followed up by introducing the organization’s new Interaction Awards, an annual celebration of great interaction design work in our community that culminates with an awards show starting at next year’s Interaction 12 in Dublin, Irelend. With the housekeeping out of the way, the audience was then introduced to Carnegie Mellon University’s Richard Buchanan.

The day’s keynote started with an outline of Richard’s goals for his presentation. It started to sound like many other similar talks from previous conferences—an opinion of the interaction design industry’s current state of affairs. He told the audience that he wanted to talk about who we are, where we are, and where we’re going as an industry. Quite honestly, we’ve heard enough of those types of talks, I thought. But as it turns out, Richard’s slide-less presentation and invigorating delivery made this keynote presentation one of the most inspirational I’ve ever heard.

Richard referenced several important models throughout his talk, from the “Triangle of Doom” that describes the importance of striking a balance between usefulness, usability, and desirability, to his Four Orders of Design. He challenged the conference’s first keynote speaker, Bill Verplank, in that we shouldn’t be focusing on materials of design necessarily, but rather the people we were designing for. Memorable quotes that really inspired hope in the audience were also littered throughout the presentation. He called interaction designers “pioneers of cultural exploration,” and posited that “supporting human dignity is the principle of not only interaction design, but all design.” He ended by going back to the discussion of materials, stating that the purposes and desires of the people we serve, are in fact the materials of interaction design.

Interaction Design students having drinks at the Hot Studio party. Over 10 students in the program are attending the conference this year.
Interaction Design students having drinks at the Hot Studio party. Over 10 students in the program are attending the conference this year.

Interaction Design students having drinks at the Hot Studio party. Over 10 students in the program are attending the conference this year.

Shortly after the studio tour ended, the Coroflot Connects Networking Party began, and we all high-tailed it over to the Boulderado Hotel to meet with potential employers and other conference participants over drinks and snacks. The night continued on with several parties happening all over downtown Boulder, ending with the Hot Studio party at the St. Julien’s Hotel.

The day was refreshing because of the new format of short talks and lots of exploration, networking, and drinking. I applaud the conference organizers for designing the schedule such that attendees could relax a little bit and not get all caught up in trying to learn and be inspired. There’s much of that to be done, but a little bit of fun never hurts!

–Derek Chan, Class of 2011

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