Wrapping Up SXSW 2015

ryancousett Conferences, Development, SXSW2015, UX

Why Is Spec Creative so Wrong, But Feels so Right?

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  • Michael Griffith
  • Dir of User Experience
  • Bottle Rocket Apps
  • Michael Griffith’s philosophy is simple, “All I want to do is work with cool people and build cool stuff.” Griffith has been designing new media for over 20 years and his understanding of information architecture, usability, accessibility and compliance sets him apart from traditional creative directors. He translates, shapes and grows brands in the digital space and helps clients understand how a digital brand strategy can extend their brand experience. According to Griffith, “Brands live in the minds of the beholder and are shaped through interaction.”

Somewhere along the line, doing speculative creative work for clients became the norm. In a perfect world we would just say no. We are all in agreement with this and yet we can’t stop. After several initiatives to make us all stop, maybe we should change the conversation. Is it possible to find a happy medium where we don’t devalue our work (and live with the guilt)? This session will discuss alternatives, client education, establishing limits and explore a space to the benefit of both agency and client.

5 Whys?

  • Think about your favorite client, why do they work with you?
  • Why do clients think you are a bunch of smart people?
  • Why are you successful in creating common vision?
  • How could you demonstrate that in your next client pursuit?

Do Research

  • heuristic evaluations
  • competitive and industry
  • analysis
  • trends
  • user interviews
  • ethnographic research


  • Spend a brainstorm day with a client rather than 2 weeks doing spec creative
  • Doing spec work is working for free, it sets wrong expectations, has no discovery, is expensive & betrays your paying clients.
  • Great way to help you understand how to respond to RFPs. Use the “Five Why’s” starting with: Why do your clients love you?

Dramatic Readings by Programmers of Bug Reports

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Christopher Schmitt

  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Heat Vision
  • Christopher Schmitt is the founder of Heatvision.com, Inc, an Austin-based new media publishing and design firm, and co-founder of Environments for Humans, a leader in web and mobile conferences. An award-winning designer who has been working in the media for twenty years, Christopher interned for both David Siegel and Lynda Weinman as an undergraduate at Florida State University. He has a Masters in Communication for Interactive and new Communication Technologies and is the author of six boos including the CSS Cookbook, which was named Best Web Design Book of 2006.

Sam Richard

  • UI Architect Watson
  • IBM Corporation
  • Sam Richard, better known as Snugug throughout the Internet, is a developer with design tendencies and a love of building open source tools to help with both. He is the author of North, a co-founder of SassConf, and an accomplished bacon connoisseur.

There is that disparity from a bug or error in a piece of a software to what’s really important in the big scheme of things: as time goes on, the importance of life grows while a bug report diminishes.

However, when they are submitted, that bug report is the world’s most important problem for that one person.

And, thankfully, that moment is captured in an issue queue thread for all time like a bug in amber.

It’s brought back to life by the programmers that may or may not have squashed the bug with dramatic flair.

For Relaxation

Clips from Dramatic Readings by Programmers of Bug Reports

New Users Matter Too! Designing Better Onboarding


Krystal Higgins

  • Sr UX Designer
  • Google
  • I’m a user experience designer and creator of firsttimeux.tumblr.com, a site that catalogs first time user experiences from all sorts of products. I’ve had the pleasure of building experiences for mobile, wearables and business platforms at companies like Google, eBay, NVIDIA and Kyocera. I’m extremely passionate about storytelling and I love to apply my history with narrative animation to work on product interactions across multiple touchpoints. This passion for storytelling is what drove me to research, design and write about good first time user experiences, because a good first impression paves the way for a long term customer story.

First impressions count. A good first time experience for a new user establishes a foundation for future engagement, while a bad one can mean product abandonment. This window of opportunity is especially critical on mobile, wearables and other connected devices, where people need to learn quickly as they traverse the Internet of Things. But despite the importance of this moment in time, many teams aren’t building, or prioritizing, the right onboarding experiences.

What kind of first impression is your product giving?

This talk is for anyone who designs apps and wants to create an experience that better engages new users. You’ll get an overview of best practices as they relate to learning and engagement, including patterns and anti-patterns with examples distilled from my curation of first time user experiences. I’ll also suggest next steps you can take, regardless of whether you’re starting on a fresh new product or revising an existing one.

Tips to have engaging onboarding

  • Guided learning
  • Guided interaction
  • Playthrough
  • user guided tutorial
  • inline cues
  • avoid the obvious
  • avoid modals
  • avoid repeating
  • allow escape


  • UX Worksheet
  • Let new users get in the water immediately, but don’t throw them in the deep end.
  • Free sample gets people in, but actually measure on retention. It’s not about just getting them in the door
  • Use implicit entry points and context to add personal focus to onboard new users like try explicit quizzes or choices
  • People don’t read manuals, give them a simple guided experiential interaction to get them started.
  • Educate using playthroughs, inline cues, “just-in-time” guidance

Cultural Connections: TV, Digital and the New Mainstream



  • Lauren Giraldo
  • Leon Krauze
  • Ray Olmeda
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Sherman Wright

Digital is portrayed as the big disruptor in media consumption; traditional networks are tremendously cautious when launching digital strategies over fears of audience cannibalization. Latinos, elusive viewers for many networks, overindex in online video viewing, watching over 11 hours of content each month in 2014 (up from 8 hours in 2013). Online video can build cultural connections that transcend media platforms enabling personal relationships between brands, content creators and audiences. A digital first strategy provides an opportunity to engage Latino users and convert them into loyal TV viewers through authentic and compelling content.

The Productive Workplace: UX, Technology and You



  • David Rose
  • Jasper Westaway
  • Randy Howder
  • Sarah Deane

Are you constantly devising work-arounds so you and your team can get work done in your workplace? Would you be more productive, collaborative, satisfied if you could choose from a variety of places and spaces in the office to hunker down and get to work based on your task at hand? Yes, you would! Recent research shows that employee choice in the workplace is the single factor that vastly improves employee productivity and satisfaction. But what is a choice-based workplace and how can employees and organizations create one? Our expert panel including a leading UX designer, a workplace architect, and a noted technologist debate the realities of the choice-based workplace – from how to (and how not to) define and design an experience of choice in the workplace, to the technology available today and on the horizon to support it, and indeed, when choice is too much of a good thing at the office.


  • ’Choice in workspace drives satisfaction
  • Collocated workers are able to intensively and aggressively question a project’s assumptions.
  • The most effective collaboration takes place in a closed space w/ whiteboards & technology. Question open space.
  • Offices that won design awards still only used 30% of the time – there’s an understanding gap in how to enable work
  • Employees aren’t tethered to a desk anymore. Office spaces must be designed so that they WANT to come into the office
  • Is it a post-office world? Engage employees in the experience at work, so it’s worth coming in for.