CanUX 2008 Day 2

canux Just got back from day two of CanUX 2008. The schedule was packed, but it seemed to go quite quickly which means I wasn’t bored or overwhelmed. There was a nice balance of content and activities, and again, great food!

In the first session, Luke Wroblewski from Yahoo talked about web form design and why web forms suck. He spent some time talking about forms in general at the beginning, but devoted most of his talk to redesigning a Boingo form. He listed his ten best practices, and had clear and thorough reasons for each. I thought it was a good way to illustrate the concepts. Luke finished by advocating gradual engagement, and challenged everyone to consider whether or not a form is actually needed. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of his book.

The second session was on UX Swimlanes, presented by nForm’s own Yvonne Shek. A UX swimlane is a document that provides a bird’s eye view of where you are in a project, by communicating a story or scenario. The document consists of vertically stacked lanes for different audiences, all illustrating the same concept. The executives have a lane with a comic strip, the UX/creative types have a lane with a workflow diagram, etc. It’s a neat concept, and I wish we had more time to explore it. You can find some comic panels to use here, and a Visio template for swimlanes here.

After lunch we had a long session on creativity, facilitated by the Banff Centre. We broke into three groups: one worked on collages, one explored drumming, and the group I joined focused on improv. Everyone seemed to enjoy the session! I found the activities we took part in were more applicable to leadership than to creativity, but I still had a great time. My favorite activity in the improv group was the last one. Working with a partner, you start off by saying “I have this great idea for a party…” and they follow with “yes, but…” and you keep going until the facilitator stops time. Then you switch, and do “yes, and…” instead. It’s incredible how wild the latter ideas became! Great tool for brainstorming.

The final session of the day was A Better Method for Designing with Developers. Jerome Ryckborst shared with us his experiences using the “Five-Sketches-Or-Else” method of getting developers and potentially other team members involved in design. It’s a really intriguing concept that I’m keen to try out. You can find most of Jerome’s presentation here.

After dinner was a “Show & Tell” reception where anyone could get out their laptop and show others what they are working on. It was neat to see some of the projects that attendees are focused on. Tomorrow is the final day of the conference, and the schedule is packed once again! You can read about day 1 here. I’ve been uploading photos here and I posted a few additional thoughts here.