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Learning (Interaction Design) from Las Vegas

When it was announced last year that the 2007 IA Summit was going to be in Las Vegas, Bill DeRouchey had the great idea that, since we seldom get a couple hundred user experience designers in Sin City, we should do something based on the city itself. This is when I came on board. Sitting on my wish list was a book I'd been meaning to read for a while: Learning from Las Vegas. When I was in Portland last summer, I found it at Powells and devoured it in a few hours.

As I read, one thing became clear to me: how architects thought of Las Vegas in the 1960s is how interaction designers think of MySpace now. The "ugly" architecture of Vegas is like the "ugly" functionality of MySpace. And yet, there is a lot of stuff to be learned from Las Vegas (and thus from MySpace): designing for the shape of action, making use of the ordinary, what role taste has in design, and the role of class in design.

Over the last few weeks, I've put together a short presentation on this topic that I'm going to give first at SXSW Interactive on Sunday, March 11 at 3:30. Then, with Bill and Steve Portigal, we'll be leading a full-day workshop Learning from Las Vegas: Insights from the Ordinary and the Extraordinary at the IA Summit on Thursday, March 22. I'll be presenting again (Why to Observe), then Bill and Steve talk about What to Observe and How to Observe It (respectively). We'll spend a good part of the day doing observations at three different (and stylistically varied) casinos, then come back together at the end of the day to create our insights from the ordinary and the extraordinary.

I hope you'll come out for one or both!

Update: Despite there being a lot of enthusiasm about the one-day workshop, there weren't enough actual attendees for it, so the Summit Committee has decided to cancel it. Which is a shame, because it means I'm not headed to Vega$ now and I had been looking forward to this day for nearly a year. Oh well.

Originally posted at Sunday, February 18, 2007 | Comments (1) | Trackback (0)

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