I’m almost back home from my workshop and conference run – GOVIS, OZ-IA and this weekend PKS2006…
OZ-IA in Sydney was kinda interesting, but in my experience it didn’t match the blurb which promoted the event as a “conference/retreat where you can engage with panels, and participate in group sessions”.
Infact, the whole event was about 97%* presentations, with only about 20minutes of audience activities. Dan Saffers workshop on ‘Models of Invention‘ was about as participatatory as it got, and even then I don’t think the audience really had time to get their fingers dirty playing with his concepts.
There was an eclectic mix of presentations and quirky presenters – Mark Bernstein’s keynote opening address featured lots of representations of naked women [Quicktime 5Mb] which perhaps detracted from the message of his talk which nobody I spoke to really seemed to grasp, including him. Alexander Johannesens talk on ‘Topic Maps‘ was just as fascinating as his shaved forearms.
The demand for IA’s in Sydney is HOT.
But what really turned my head a little bit mushy was the presentation by Steve Baty on ‘Statistical Concepts and Techniques for the Practicing IA‘ – that was a great insight on how to do stats properly, including measuring usability test results and applying the findings using confidence factors and weightings across the general user population.
That’s what I came for – the head-hurting stuff. Problem was all I got was a taster… I learn by doing, not listening, so that’s why I feel I came away feeling none-the-wiser.
Others have heaped praise on the event, but I know for a fact I’m not the only sour-puss who travelled a long way at great expense and didn’t get the full monty.
But I met a bunch of interesting people and on Saturday night went out on the town with fellow Kiwis – Wayne, Bob and Justine – a couple of Aussie “sheilas” – plus Mark and Dan (who proved he’s about as bad at pool as he’s as good at interaction design). Check out Dan’s latest mode of invention, Soundflavor DJ – a desktop iTunes thingy which automatches music tracks – a bit like Pandora Internet Radio but you know, better.
Bob and I also caught up with Kelly Goto who was over for Web Directions – she’s playing hard in the mobile research space so keep an eye on her blog for news on that.
I did come away happy though – I picked up a new brown denim jacket and trousers at Paddy’s Markets for a whopping $10 – and also got a glimpse of how Adaptive Path do wireframes and taskflows for RIA’s and AJAX – which is remarkably similar to what where doing here at Provoke.
It’s all crazy mad here at present, so if you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s why.