Earlier in March, I attended South by Southwest Interactive. While I knew I would get exposed to the latest and greatest in technology and digital creativity, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had not attended since 2008 and at that time it was growing but not compared to how huge it has gotten, hundreds of sessions, parties and meetups going on every hour bringing more people than ever. Besides getting introduced to cutting-edge gadgets, trends and technologies; my biggest takeaway from SXSWi was to experiment and share, more…a lot more.
The first keynote speaker I saw was Austin Kleon, he talked about how to unlock creativity by showing your work. He mentioned you don’t have be a genius to be a successful artist, a key is to share your process and ideas, get feedback. Be part of a network – contribute ideas and receive ideas to get the best end result. Overall, just practice your craft and share something small every day.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, Joie Ito and Tim Brown all talked about how important it is for people especially children to experiment in order to learn. Gain knowledge by doing, by experimenting, by prototyping, whether fail or success, you will learn something. SXSWi is all about innovation and through the conversions there a theme stood out – work together to find new solutions, social innovation.
Accessibility is an area I want to gain more knowledge on so I attended a workshop titled Turning a Blind Eye to Good Usability. I didn’t necessarily walk out with step by step on how to improve a website for accessibility but something better, I got insight on how important it is to improve a website to be more accessible, not only for people with disability but also for an overall better experience for everyone. Improving a website means making it more intuitive, and that is always the goal. This is where experiment comes in for me, testing by turning on screen reader on desktop or device will uncover any problem areas.
Another workshop I attended focused on agile mobile design. Greg Nudleman took the class through the process for designing mobile web/native apps. We covered everything from the importance of storyboarding and prototyping, to new android/iOS patterns and do’s and don’ts. The key is to prototype and get users to test, and the trick is to sketch every action/screen out and just have people test your hard copy prototype, change based on feedback, repeat, before even jumping into the code.
Ready to Experiment and Share!
I’ve come back from SXSWi inspired to just do it-create it and share it. Creativity and good user experience can be achieved successfully by doing this. Collaboration has been a key to our success here at Gray Digital Group. Solving problems together and ensuring everyone (clients included) are present throughout the process, sharing ideas and working together gets the job done. However, ideas can get thrown out before fruition. A new approach will be to just experiment more and most important learn from it and share. Once we incorporate this into everyday tasks, we can learn and grow together.