Artefact at Interaction 19

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night kept the world’s interaction design community from a week of engaging conversations, workshops and celebration at IxDA’s Interaction 19. From our speakers to our studio party, here’s a look at what Artefact got up to at this year’s conference:

Context is king

Senior Design Director Holger Kuehnle discussed the importance of context in giving meaning to data. He shared the experience of designing data visualizations for USAFacts, a nonpartisan civic initiative that reflects “our nation, in numbers.” He urged designers to encourage data literacy by creating visualizations that make data quantitative, historical, and relational.

“I found the energy and enthusiasm in the community inspiring,” Holger said. “It is great that design as a discipline is able to constructively address serious and challenging topics such as ethics and equity in a manner which focuses on our shared responsibility to use our skills and tools to come up with solutions which bring long-term benefits to society as a whole.”

Trust, transparency, and tarot cards

Executive Creative Director Sheryl Cababa took her talk on designing responsible products to Seattle’s historic Cinerama theater. In addition to the chance to win decks of The Tarot Cards of Tech and enjoying the theater’s famous chocolate-covered popcorn, the audience was treated to larger-than-life visuals of everyone’s favorite Jurassic Park character.

Photo credit: @LizMikolaj

“This year’s conference was super focused on ethics and self-reflection about our role in the damage that’s been done through technology,” Sheryl said, “But it had me wondering whether this would result in more action in the industry, or more fatigue. My favorite speaker was John Maeda. I love how he points out the buckets that designers put themselves in (maker vs. talker) and how this can often limit us. He’s always a great speaker.”

Responsibility, inclusion, and the greater good

Some of our favorite presentations this year centered around tech ethics and designing for inclusion and accessibility.

“I learned from speaker and disability advocate Liz Jackson that the word empathy was coined in 1909,” said Director of Community + Talent Dave Miller. “Although the concept has been around since Ancient Greece, it’s only been 110 years since we’ve ascribed a modern word to it!” Liz contends that designing with goodwill alone can have negative outcomes, and emphasizes an inclusive design approach of solidarity over empathy.

“A talk that particularly resonated with me was by Kristian Simsarian about AI and design,” said UX designer Kris Fung. “Kristian reminded us that designers need to use our voice to help shape the future of emerging technologies like AI. I’m excited to see thought leaders in the design space advocate for the greater good.”

“I was very proud to be an Artefactian on Friday, thanks to Sheryl Cababa’s talk,” added visual designer Hannah Hoffman. “Designing responsibly kept popping up as a theme in everyone’s talk. It’s energizing knowing that Artefact is working at the center of those conversations.”

Studio soirée

We were also thrilled to connect with creatives from across the globe at our studio party. We welcomed close to 300 designers representing companies as diverse as Microsoft, Airbnb, Home Depot, Intel and more. It was the place to be during Interaction 19 and we hope you had as much fun as we did!

All photos by Mandee Rae

Thank you, IxDA, for bringing together such a brilliant group of minds and we look forward to seeing everyone next year in Milan!