SXSW 2015 Weekend

ryancousett Accessibility, EdTech, Education, Responsive Design, SXSW2015, UX

Start with the Things not the Internet

Ross Atkin



  • Dir
  • Ross Atkin Associates
  • Ross Atkin is a researcher, designer and engineer with extensive experience in both industry and academia. In industry he’s designed everything from anti-terror street furniture for the US Embassy in London to vacuum cleaners for Dyson. As a researcher his focus has been on technology and disability. Ross has been active in the Internet of Things space for the last six years and works to apply the technology to user cases that genuinely make a difference to people’s lives.

Futurist buzzword, Kickstarter phenomenon, major development priority; The Internet of Things is here. Despite the hype most of the products hitting the market (from whole city demonstrators made by technology giants to bizarrely-shaped glowing boxes put out by startups) are not connecting with their users, once their novelty has worn off.

This is not surprising. Starting with a digital service and working down to physical objects is crazy. The friction associated with manufacturing, distributing, installing and maintaining actual products is incomparable to scaling an entirely digital offering. PLUS our behavior and habits in the physical world take much longer to change than in the digital one.

Building useful digital services around existing products makes much more sense. This often involves working with deeply unfashionable manufacturing companies and cajoling them into building user-focused digital products. Come along to learn how you could and why you should.

Presentation PDF


To increase integrity it is important to be transparent and control to the end user.

  • Be transparent about people
    • Show your users the team
    • Show the contact information in an accessible place
  • Be transparent about customers
    • Show who uses your product
    • Testimonials
  • Be transparent about motives
  • Be transparent about pricing
  • Give users control of sharing
  • Give users the control to undo

Gaming in Education, Education in Gaming



  • Gary Hoover
  • Idit Harel
  • Lonny Stern
  • Robert Bell

Since most of today’s students already play video games, gaming is increasingly being used as a point of entry for learning new and complex skills. In addition to developing knowledge and skills in traditional subjects such as reading and math — as well as new skills like coding, engineering, and design — using and creating games can develop soft skills such as collaboration, creative problem-solving, experimentation, patience, persistence, discipline and learning from failure. Games increase student engagement, strengthen critical thinking, and encourage deep inquiry. Games and game design allow students to be more than just players, it allows them to apply skills, be critical evaluators of games, and creators of content. Join this panel of experts to explore how games are being played and designed for learning in traditional and nontraditional educational settings.


Gaming in education is being used more and more not just in the K-12 sector but also in industry. Leveraging gaming for training can help end users learn faster and retain more as well as make it fun as they move forward.