— 22 March 2005 —

SXSW – Matthew’s Day 3(ish)

How to Set Your Pants on Fire

The panel was moderated by Nick Finck and had Jeff Veen and Kit Seeborg.

Jeff said that they are building their company’s services based on what their clients will allow them to fix. Which I think is a good idea. Your company may be good at web design and building sites, but working with a company on their site takes so much more than just web design. Having the ability to fix the other problems in your clients company that often manifest themselves in the web site will make you much more successful.

They talked about working with both quantitative and qualitative methods. While quantitative methods are something you should be able to do, the general consensus is that qualitative methods are better in many cases. Faster to work with, similar results, quick hits. I agree with this. My take is that many people are trained solely on quantitative methods and don’t understand that those methods are best used to discover the “what deviated” and not so much for understanding what direction to take in the first place. When you are exploring the front end, finding deviations (defects) doesn’t make as much sense, especially for the cost of investigating when quantitative and qualitative methods are usually applied.

Veen talked about emersion. Not so much UCD but SCD (Self Centered Design). Goes back to the DIY panel, and part of the building blog brand panel. Build for yourself (initially) and how you think it should be done. Which goes along with how I think about it, but you also need to validate that you made good decisions, so make sure to actually test your decisions (qualitatively or quantitatively) because you can never represent all the users that come to your site. In fact, while you can advocate for users or fill their shoes temporarily, never try to represent the user.

One great suggestion from Kit: Follow the money. Where does your direct contact within a company get the money to pay you. Follow that path up and try to figure out the true stake holders of the project.

Al Franken

Al Franken was interviewed on stage and a bunch of people got to watch. I would say he spoke, but he wasn’t giving a speech. They were filming an interview to be broadcast on Texas Public Television in April. It might get picked up in other areas, or some how find its way on the web in edited video format, or potentially a crappy audio version that may or may not exist. He was funny of course, but a lot of what he talked about I’ve heard him say before. It was sort of a stump interview. No ding on him, because I know that part of getting a message out is repeating it over and over and over again. Glad I went, didn’t get anything out of it.

The Evening

Mike hit you up with the Design Eye panel. So I will just say, good job Dirk.

After that, we went to the Blogger party. It was at a dive bar. Dive dive. Kinda like Ugly Ugly, not TV Ugly. I didn’t stay long and Mike and Paul left a little after me. I went back to the hotel, got bored again, got in the car and headed to the Creative Commons party which was about 20 blocks away from the convention center at the Enspire offices. Didn’t see anyone I knew so I got some good Indian food down the block and called it a night. Mike and Paul went to the Gawker party. Apparently I missed out as the Gawker party was said to have been good.

General consensus around our office (yes I should use quote marks around that) is that we need to throw a Business Logs party next year. If we do, then I promise to dance. That should be enough incentive for Paul to watch me make a fool of myself. Think Elaine, but with more facial hair.

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