Main conference presentation

Keynote: Journey to the Center of Design

Jared Spool

Saturday April 12 2008, 8:30 - 10:00AM

User-centered design was born in the 1980s, amidst a world filled with frustration with blinking VCR clocks and computer command lines. Up until this time, developers focused on making the devices work, giving little heed to how they'd be used. Terms like "user friendly" and "easy to use," buzzwords for the UCD movement, soon became as common as "new and improved" on laundry soap.

Fast forward 25 years and it now seems the foundations of user- centered design are now disintegrating. Notable community members are suggesting UCD practice is burdensome and returns little value. There's a growing sentiment that spending limited resources on user research takes away from essential design activities. Previously fundamental techniques, such as usability testing and persona development, are now regularly under attack. And let's not forget that today's shining stars, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the iPod, came to their success without UCD practices.

Is it time for user-centered design to evolve into something else? Or is there something else happening in our world of experience design that makes UCD obsolete? Should something else occupy the center of design?

These are just the questions that this year's keynote presenter, Jared Spool, likes to answer. Especially after a few drinks. And while a Saturday morning keynote may seem early for the kind of heavy drinking these particular questions demand, Jared will have just arrived from Italy, a nation with a long tradition of philosophical intoxication. This will set the perfect stage for an entertaining and insightful presentation to open our conference.

We guarantee a journey that shouldn't be missed.

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