My Experience of SXSW Interactive 2010

Amy Quinn / Friday, March 26, 2010
I recently attended the SXSW Interactive conference. It proved to be a great conference and I was fortunate to catch some engaging presentations while I was there. Here are my highlights from the conference:
1.      Privacy is NOT dead - My favorite presentation of the week was given at the Opening Remarks by Danah Boyd. In this talk titled “Privacy and Publicity”, she stated that people care a lot about privacy and actively manage what they make public. She urged us to actively consider the privacy of our user’s information and the consequences of making private information public. She provided examples of how handling this wrong has had a negative impact on businesses (such as recent errors made by Facebook and Google Buzz) and how it has negatively impacted users (such as exposing location information for a child who is trying to hide from her abusive parent.) If you are interested in hearing more, video has already been posted on the SXSW website of this talk at

 2.    Be creative in your design process and deliverables – In Christopher Fahey’s talk “Reinvent the Wheel: Sketching your own Design Process”, he posited that static design processes and templated deliverables should be made more flexible. He advocated more creativity in both the process and deliverables and gave some great suggestions on how to do this both areas from both his work and others.

 3.    Think about persuasion techniques in your design – Slot machine game designers use persuasion techniques to attract people to play and keep playing these games. Advertisers use psychology to persuade customers to buy products. In Andy Budd’s presentation on “Persuasive Design: Encouraging your users to do what you want them to,” he illustrated in detail how these fields guide people’s behavior. He provided some good examples of how some applications currently persuade users and shared how interaction designers could use the same techniques.

 4.    Learn from others successes and failures - Jared Spool gave a presentation on “Revealing Design Treasures from the Amazon” where he outlined four elements that help drive Amazon’s success: great content, smart innovation, minimization of tool tasks, and support of the key business model. All of the takeaways from Amazon's success were helpful insights. 

A lot more was presented at the conference that I unfortunately could not get to see. I encourage you to go out there and check out the SXSW Interactive website and use Twitter to find more about the conference (use the #SXSWi hashtag.)