October 29, 2015

​Push the future

The first day started with a room filled with a typical mix of designers and programmers -let's say a Star Wars quote was never far away- waiting for 5 speaker and 4 lightning talks.

The vegetables of design

Dustin Denos, a Canadian freelance designer and former head of design at Medium had the honour to start the conference. At the last minute he decided not to talk about the Hero product Story of Medium, but you've probably read it already on Medium. He stressed the importance of a good process to come to a good end result, referring to it as “the vegetables of design": not so easy to master, but all the more important. A second insight was a call to all designers not to design so you can impress your fellow designers on Dribbble. Instead design something appropriately boring. It might be the better solution, and I totally agree!

Designing for happiness

UX researcher Pamela Pavliscak showed us a few simple steps on how to design for happiness. Make your product easy to use. Building trust. Throw in some creativity. Making a connection and give meaning. She makes it sound so easy.

Like a Pro(totyper): Lean Prototyping for UX Designers

Heather Daggett is leading a group of Prototypers building an online service called TurboTax, making it sexy again to file for your maximum tax refund. Like every good designer, they saw the value in prototyping, bringing their idea to life and communicating design intent as clearly as possible.

Am I building the right thing? Am I building it right?

Using tools the software is actually running on (Html, Angular.js and Velocity.js), they make sure they are designing interactions their developer can actually build. More on prototyping at Intuit on their blog.

Also at VanBerlo, we see the role of the designer shifting towards other fields, such as the programmer and builder, in a way that both the developers and designers can be more innovative. If you would like to know how we incorporate prototyping into our workflow, view the Atus Case.

Beyond usability: Designing with persuasive patterns

The next speaker Anders Toxboe is the founder of UI-Patterns, which holds a wonderful collection of categorised web clippings, giving insight into what works and what doesn't on the web. To explain the dynamics and psychology at play here, he compared it to the process of being seduced, falling in love and staying in love, persuasive design patterns not only remove friction, but actually give direction to the user. He admitted having tried these patterns unsuccessfully on his girlfriend, but invites you to try it yourself using his card deck.

Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts

Feeling frustrated about the disappointing experience on the web, compared to gorgeous paper magazine layouts, Jen Simmons gave us a lecture in modern web coding. Inspiring us with all the wonderful css code available to developers and more important available in modern browsers. Not sure if you can use the code already? Try CanIUse.com.

Solving UI Problems in the Information Age

To make a good visualisation it all starts with a good story. Audrey Lapierre stresses the need to work with the actual data; to get real insights and build a good story. "Telling a designer “just be creative" is like telling a taxi driver “just drive." She definitely demonstrated the craftsmanship (they make their own tools) in the examples she showed.

Multidimensional Interfaces

Pasquale D'Silva is a colourful person, designing the equally colourful app Keezy, as well as explaining how to create spatial interfaces. How the mental modal, spatiality and transitions interact, you can read on Medium, which pretty much sums up his talk, minus the beer.

The House that knows too much

Simone Rebaudengo you might know from the Addicted toasters project. Now working for IDEO in China, he questions all the assumptions we have about the future and creates minimal believable products. A good example questioning ethics is his project ethical things. In the end, the algorithm controlling your house is programmed by a human. So let's evaluate the ethical impact this has. Curious about what we, at VanBerlo think makes a product smart?

Speculative Design Visions with Interactive Installations

After the lightning talks, Paul Skinner showed us the interactive installation Museum of the Future he designed in the Dubai desert with his team from Tellart. Creating very believable artefacts of the future, he is setting a context for the Dubai government to make responsible decisions now, as well as having the future in the mind.

Museum of the Future

Magical UX: Designing for the Internet of Things

Closing and essentially summarising the 2 days, Josh Clark's appearance on stage was more of a performance than a talk. Giving reference to a lot of Harry Potter scenes, he demonstrates how technology can give us the power to turn everyday products into magical products. However, we must use our imagination to design meaningful products that blend into our lives. Relive the magical ride in his slide deck.


I can only complement the organisation for bringing together such a nice event. Interesting speakers, good lunch, good enough coffee, free beer and every talk starting on schedule, with a punctuality only known in Germany. And winning an iPad mini, made it an even happier experience. Thanks Push and well done!

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