I spent part of Friday and Saturday evening at DCamp, an event devoted to connecting developers and designers for a series of ad-hoc conversations. It was the first of this new kind of un-conference that I’d attended.
My favorite session was Sarah Allen’s talk on Cinematic Web Design: the idea that interaction design can learn a lot from cinematography was backed up by a few great demos of her work on Laszlo applications and a clip from Casablanca. I’ve had trouble buying into all the Web 2.0 hype, but several notions from this talk are helping me sort the important ideas from the chaff.
I also took notes at a talk on Friday on usability in open source software: one of the key thoughts here were that one of the reasons that open source software UI design is so generally bad is partly because designers don’t really have the “currency” it takes to get to leadership roles on open-source projects. Coders can contribute patches, then become committers when their patches look good, and committers can become leaders; designers have trouble participating in this trust economy. (The schism between mantras was also pointed out: developers “scratch their own itches”, but designers avoid the thinking that they’re their own target users.)
Overall, I had a great time: I met several new people and had several good conversations.