September 2009, Santa Cruz: I was working on a database design. I hit a snag. I looked it up on the internet. One of the answers was found on a page with lots of advertisements. One of those advertisements was for ASTC 2009 in Fort Worth, TX. The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC, pronounced az*tek) was an epiphany at that moment. I booked a flight that day and have attended every year since … er, except 2010 in Hawaii.

Learning from Interactive Design Failures

November 11, 2013
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ASTC INTERACTIVES DISCUSSION PPT_Page_3-ThumbI was fortunate enough to participate in a panel session recently entitled “Learning from Interactives that Suck” at the 2013 ASTC conference in Albuquerque, NM.  I felt quite humbled to be onstage with veteran exhibit managers and designers in a frank discussion of the challenges of exhibit design.

It’s a stretch to say I design exhibits.  It’s not a stretch to say that architecture and information systems are deeply concerned with interaction issues.  Interactivity is a field of concerns almost imperceptible to everyday life.  We enter a building.  We peel an apple.  We make a phone call.  These are routine activities, whose constituent components we barely give a second look.  Until the door, the peeler or the phone fail to meet our expectations.

For the last 20 years I have been working at smoothing out these interactions in the increasingly novel everyday experiences we have. 

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