pan.el (noun): a group of persons gathered to conduct a public discussion

A Discussion on Multimodal Interactions

At this year’s D3 conference, participants selected one of three afternoon tracks, designed to deepen the conversation around natural user interface. There were two panel discussions, in addition to a workshop on prototyping natural interactions.

One panel was called “Designing for Natural Interaction: Multi-modal Interfaces”. It was moderated by Susan Hosking of Macadamian, and included multi-modal experts such as Karen Kaushansky of Jawbone, Nathan Moody of Stimulant, Geoffrey Parker of Macadamian and Kicker’s own, Jody Medich. This panel focused on the new paradigms for physical computing and how emerging technologies, such as audio, voice, touch, haptics, and gesture can augment user experience so that it feels more natural.

Before the conference, we asked our panelists what pearl of wisdom they had to share with designers and technologists. Here are some of the responses we received.

Susan Hosking: I can’t stress enough the value of cross-functional teams. I feel like we talk about it, but it is often not practiced. I imagine a world where UXers, visual designers, engineers, etc. all worked together from the beginning of a project, instead of each coming in half way through. A world where we are all on the same page. Where we can build anything. Together. Cross-functional teams are definitely a challenge due to the timeline and budget, but in the long run they can be much more efficient.

Karen Kaushandky: Be a good listener – it helps build relationships and ensures you’ve identified the right problem to solve.  This includes listening to users, business owners, clients, and your design or technology counterpart. And if you’re thinking about designing with audio, then it’s helpful to also listen to your devices to be aware of existing audio experiences.

Nathan Moody: Don’t let the depth of a specialty be a barrier to designing holistically; everything you produce will ultimately be circulated beyond your control, so design with this in mind; and everything interesting happens in the margins. Products don’t always solve a known problem.

Geoffrey Parker: My one piece of advice (not surprisingly) would be to focus on what’s practical. Almost everything is possible with the right budget and enough time, but not everything is practical. So, focus is the key.


A Discussion on Branding

The other panel was called “Creating Brand Experiences Across Platforms”. This discussion was based on the premise that brand identity and recognition is about the interaction we have with a particular brand, and is made up of multiple experiences over time. It sought to explore how we can created branded experiences across multiple platforms. Moderated by GE’s Design and Experience Group’s Andrew Crow, it included experts Tom Dair of Smart Design, John Feland of Argus Insights, Tara Greer of R/GA, Nate Hackstock of MATTER, and Greg Petroff of  GE’s Design and Experience Group.

Before the conference, we asked our panelists what pearl of wisdom they had to share with designers and technologists. Here are some of the responses we received.

John Feland: Remember that you design for more than just yourself. Caution, learning curve ahead: Learning curves are always steeper to users than they are to the designers. Focus on the experience. Make the value tangible to those who won’t notice otherwise.

Nathan Hackstock: Remember, there will be a person at the other end of your creation. Keep it human.

Greg Petroff: Be together on edge of becomingness. Work on problems that are near term future with the most contemporary science and design. Look at the emotional and spiritual side of problems.