Web Directions South 2011

The Australian Web Industry Conference
October 1114 2011, Sydney

Keynotes

Each day of Web Directions begins and ends with a session that will challenge you and maybe even push you outside your comfort zone. Dr Anne Galloway takes us to the 21st century bestiary; along the way, Stephen P Anderson will have you sustaining passionate users; Mike Kuniavsky is designing the age of ubiquitous computing; and to close the show James Bridle conducts a tour of the robot-readable world.

Design [in|for|and] the age of ubiquitous computing

Photo of Mike Kuniavsky

Presenter: Mike Kuniavsky

Let’s start with the assumption that computing and networking are as cheap to incorporate into product designs as plastic and aluminum. Anything can tweet, everything knows about everything. The cloud extends from smart speed bumps to exurban data systems, passing through us in the process. We’re basically there technologically today, and over the next [pick a date range] years, we’ll be there distribution-wise.

Here’s the issue: now that we have this power what do we do with it? Yes we can now watch the latest movies on our phones while ignoring the rest of the world (if you believe telco ads) and know more about peripheral acquaintances than you ever wanted. But, really, is that it? Is it Angry Birds all the way down?

Of course not. Every technology’s most profound social and cultural changes are invisible at the outset. Cheap information processing and networking technology is a brand new phenomenon, culturally speaking, and quickly changing the world in fundamental ways. Designers align the capabilities of a technology with people’s lives, so it is designers who have the power and responsibility to think about what this means.

This talk will discuss where ubiquitous computing is today, some changes we can already see happening, and how we can begin to think about the implications of these technologies for design, for business and for the world at large.

See the slides and hear the podcast

The Robot-Readable World

Photo of James Bridle

Presenter: James Bridle

For years we’ve been promised a future of jetpacks, flying cars and living on other planets: a vision of the digital age that has endured since the 1950s. But in fact a new future has been growing beside it all along, a future of cheap satellite imagery, digital real estate, narrow AI and 5.5 billion network eyes. As we digitise all of our culture—the books that we read, the music that we listen to—and our view of the world itself, we render it robot-readable, computational, comprehensible to another nature. James will discuss the architecture of datacenters, the subjectivity of Google Street View, and the pixelation of everything, in an attempt to calibrate our new position in the world.

Check out the video, podcast and linked transcript of this session.

Sustaining Passionate Users

Keep them there, long after the thrill is gone
Photo of Stephen P Anderson

Presenter: Stephen P Anderson

Yes, business applications can be made fun and gamelike. No, points, levels and badges are not the way to create sustained interest.

While many sites have added superficial gaming elements to make interactions more engaging, the companies that “get it” have a better understanding of the psychology behind motivation. They know how to design sites that keep people coming back again and again.

So what are the secrets? What actually motivates people online? How do you create sustained interest in your product or service? Speaker Stephen P. Anderson will share common patterns from game design, learning theories, and neuroscience to reveal what motivates—and demotivates—people over the long haul.

See the slides and hear the podcast

A 21st Century Bestiary

Photo of Anne Galloway

Presenter: Anne Galloway

When we think about what the Web is, and what it can be, we tend to focus on interactions between people and computers, or between people and other computationally-enabled things. But what happens when these “things” are animals?

In this talk, Anne will discuss the role that animals have played in shaping the Web so far, how the Web is enabling new ways of interacting with animals, and what we might expect from a future of human-animal-computer interaction.

Covering everything from online farms and product traceability to animals that tweet and epizoic media, this talk will demonstrate that the Internet isn’t just made of cats, but also cows and birds and sheep and cockroaches and…

See the slides and hear the podcast