Conference program

The conference took place at the Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco on Friday, 12 October 2012.


Faruk Ateş

The Beauty of Constraints

— Faruk Ateş (four53)

Making any product is an exciting as well as challenging endeavor, especially in technology and software. As humans we are prone to let our creativity run free — but freedom is not always the best solution to solving problems. Sometimes we need constraints more than anything else to truly ignite our creativity.

In his session, Faruk will talk about the values and lessons learned from imposing (sometimes arbitrary) constraints on projects, applied against UI, software, and API design.

Faruk Ateş is a founder of four53, the San Francisco-based startup behind Presentate, a new and better way to create, present and share your story. Prior to starting four53, Faruk was the Product Designer at Apture, and a UI Engineer at Apple. He is the creator of Modernizr, an award-winning JavaScript library for the next generation of websites and web applications.

Andrew Heaton

What's Wrong with Elitist UX?

— Andrew Heaton (Brilliant Chemistry)

Experience design has gone soft. It's our own fault. We worry about users and best practices and working collaboratively. We design for safety, when we should aim for adventure. We believed those who told us users are idiots, and the work shows.

In this session, Andrew discusses the value of designing for a smarter user, and answers the question: What's Wrong with Elitist UX?

As Chief Chemist, Design of Brilliant Chemistry, Andrew brings over 20 years of creative experience to the Experience Design discipline. His leadership in user experience, usability and visual understanding is evident across the years of award-winning work done for a diverse client base.

Andrew is author of Purposely Irregular: Zen, Punk Rock and Ruthlessness in Experience Design.

Coffee break

Arjan Haring

Persuasion Profiling: Changing the Game

— Arjan Haring (Science Rockstars)

Today's web users are accustomed to personalised shopping recommendations, customized news and tailored content. But taste profiling is just the beginning. If you want to find out how your customers tick you need to know about persuasion profiles. By using persuasion profiles you can learn how your individual customers respond to persuasion and select the optimal persuasion strategy.

In this session Arjan will introduce persuasion profiling and show you how you can increase conversion rates by getting into the heads of your customers.

Ben Sykes got stuck at Los Angelos Airport and was unable to speak at the Design by Fire 2012. We are very glad that Arjan Haring agreed to step in.

Arjan Haring is co-founder of Science Rockstars and one of the creators of PersuasionAPI.

His main interest is the practice and theory of behavior change. This brings him in fields such as social psychology, user experience design and even machine learning. His passion in bridging together different scientific fields led him to co-create PersuasionAPI, the world's first recommender system that optimizes sales pitches and paves the way to a better marketing.

Dan Saffer

Microinteractions: Designing with Details

— Dan Saffer (SMART Design)

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” — Charles Eames

The difference between a good product and a great one are its details: the microinteractions that make up the small moments inside and around features. How do you turn on mute on your phone? How do you know you have a new email message? How can you change a setting? All these little moments — which are typically not on any feature list and often ignored — can change a product from one that is tolerated to one that's beloved. This talk provides a new way of thinking about designing digital products: as a series of microinteractions that are essential to bringing personality and delight to applications and devices. We'll discuss the secret history of microinteractions, then delve into the structure of microinteractions: Triggers, Rules, Feedback, and Loops.

Dan Saffer is is Director of Interaction Design at SMART Design in San Francisco. Since 1995, he has designed devices, software, websites, and services. Millions of people every day use the products he has designed. He speaks at conferences and teaches workshops on interaction design all over the world. He is the proud owner of a Masters of Design in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and my design innovations have received several patents.


Janice Fraser

The Rise of Lean Startup

— Janice Fraser (LUXr)

Business managers have begun to consider that perhaps their teams could be more innovative and less wasteful. This presents a fantastic opportunity for designers.

But what does Lean Startup mean? And will it play well with User Experience? A crash course on Lean Startup, Customer Development, and how these trends are resolving some of the most difficult problems UX professionals face.

Janice Fraser is the founder of LUXr, a design program for Lean Startups. She's an entrepreneur, designer, and advisor to early stage companies. Janice has raised capital, founded both successful and failed startups, and consulted to both large enterprises and aspiring entrepreneurs. Along the way Janice has learned a lot about what makes some teams thrive and others fail. Prior to starting LUXr, Janice was a founding partner of Adaptive Path and served as the company's first CEO.

Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers

The Future is Real

— Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers

The future is real,
when we see users as people,
when designers are real,
when brands are authentic,
when our work is informed by idealism,
and we take it personally.

The future is what we want it to be, let's make it real.
Mike & Maaike share their experiences and excitement for what's to come…

Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers are founders of the progressive industrial design studio Mike & Maaike. They were recently named in Fast Company's 2012 list of 100 most creative people in business. Maaike is Dutch, Mike, Californian. Their distinct backgrounds and unique design approach inform a diverse body of work marked by experimentation, substance and conceptual narratives. Mike and Maaike have recently joined forces with Google where they are designing technology products.

Coffee break

Meekal Bajaj

Serving Ads without Stepping on Your Users

— Meekal Bajaj (Twitter)

Ads and content are often antagonists in a product's design. Both compete for attention and scarce real estate. Steady decline in ad engagement however, has lead to ads becoming more prominent than content itself. Ads have now become the necessary evil that lets content be free.

Great products align monetization with experience. At Twitter we believe that ads need to rise in quality to the level of the content. By building in the right incentives for advertisers and paying attention to how users respond, we can change what ads mean to you. In this session, Meekal will investigate a future where you look forward to ads just as much as content because they have earned the right to your attention.

Meekal is a Product Designer at Twitter where he crafts monetization experiences and the analytics tools to evaluate them. Through design, data and visualizations he is designing a future where ads and content work together to create the best product experience. In prior lives he has been an Imagineer at Disney, a Fellow at Harvard and an Interaction Designer at Yahoo.

Brendan Dawes

Hello World!

— Brendan Dawes

The Internet of Things is finally about to happen; with companies such as Electric Imp creating an easy to use infrastructure for connecting everything to the Internet we now have to ask ourselves what are the conversations we're going to be having with these connected things?

In this session, Brendan talks about his experiments so far with the Internet of Things, why he doesn't get excited about talking to his dishwasher, but is excited about the future of meaningful conversations with the things that surround us.

Brendan Dawes is a UK based digital artist, designer, author and maker.

Ever since his first experiences with the humble ZX81, Brendan has continued to explore the interplay of people, code, design and art through his work.

For eleven years he was the Creative Director of magneticNorth. He co-founded Beep Industries in 2011, creating physical products including MoviePeg and Popa.

Drinks (kindly sponsored by the Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco )