ISTA 2016 Recap, Sofia Bulgaria

Kevin Richardson, Ph.D. / Thursday, December 1, 2016

On 16-17 November, the annual ISTA conference was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition to being south of Romania and north of Greece, famous in Eastern Europe for its Rakia, Bulgaria is also home to one of the largest Infragistics offices (interesting party facts).


ISTA, Innovations in Software Technologies and Automation, is an annual, international conference devoted to the latest trends in software development, test automation, and innovation. During what has become one of the largest conferences of its kind in Europe, two members of the Infragistics UX team were among those invited to speak.

 Senior UX Architect Stefan Ivanov 

Senior UX Architect, Stefan Ivanov, spoke about gamification and the founding principles that allow us to achieve success by adopting such a process. Stefan then led the attendees through an end-to-end example of “gamifying” a familiar process at work.

Director of UX Kevin RIchardson

Director of User Experience Kevin Richardson gave a keynote address and spoke about the the evolution of technology, from stone arrow heads to our current digital devices. This evolution, he suggests, has resulted in a world in which people are now the limiting factor in person-machine interactions. As a result of this “gap”, the majority of the population no longer understands how technology works, and instead struggles to simply figure out how to use it.

Kevin, as seen from far away

What’s needed, Kevin suggests, is a process by which technology is adapted to people, capitalizing on their evolutionary strong points and enabling them to accomplish their goals with only minimal consideration for the technology that makes those goals possible. This requires much more than asking people what they want. It requires more than an understanding of the human cognitive and perceptual systems. To successfully and consistently bridge this technological divide, he says, requires a systematic process of innovation that keeps pace with technological evolution and enables us to become technology partners rather than technology users.