The Best Talks from Interaction17

I was unable to attend the Interaction17 conference. Like a total UX nerd, though, over the past few weeks I’ve been binge watching talks from the conference on Vimeo. Below are the talks I found the most inspiring and thought provoking. Many explore emerging technologies like AI, IoT, AR, and VR. Others look at low-tech solutions, research, and psychology. For videos with more than one talk, I’ve included the starting time for each talk.

When Your Internet Things Know How You Feel (starts at 28:42)

As humans, we are irrational and emotional. But our devices don’t understand our emotions. That’s starting to change with the introduction of emotion-sensing technology. Pamela Pavliscak explores the potential for creating emotional experiences with this emerging tech.

Democratizing Digital Services

Designing for Rural Farmers

The Rockefeller Foundation designed new grain storage bags for rural farmers in Africa. The bags better protected and preserved grain, significantly reducing loss. The only problem was farmers weren’t using them. Elena Matsui shows how her team used research to uncover why farmers were reluctant to use the bags.

Bringing the Internet to Africa’s Most Forgotten Island (starts at 21:16)

Idjwi is an island in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is so remote that it had little connection to the outside world. That was until Anneli Westerberg and Fjord brought internet access to the island. Not only that, they created digital services which empowered its community.

Home Mosquito Lab: How Mobile Technology and Citizen Science are Fighting Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya (starts at 37:38)

The aedes mosquito carries zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses in Brazil. Oda Scatolini is working on the AeTrapp Project to combat the problem. This low-tech, low-cost solution allows citizens to track the aedes mosquito population.

Trust and Responsibility in the Age of AI

Agents vs Agency: Battle for Control in the IoT (starts at 7:52)

Artificial intelligence allows IoT products to act as agents for users. Zachary Jean Paradis asks who should have control: AI or humans?

I’m Safe…Really…Trust Me: Establishing Trust with Fully Autonomous Vehicles (starts at 35:46)

Matt Yurdana and Intel are exploring methods to establish trust with autonomous vehicles. One of their discoveries is interesting in relation to the previous talk. People want to feel “in control” even though the vehicle actually has that control.

Designing to Combat Misinformation

Chelsey Delaney shows how Planned Parenthood uses psychology and design to fight misinformation. One of the biggest takeaways? Address the truth, not the myth. View the slide deck on SlideShare.

Space, the Final Frontier: Designing Interactions Beyond the Screen

John Ryan and Eric Mika create interactive museum exhibitions in physical space. Their interaction methods include biometrics, gestures, spatial tracking, and augmented reality. View the slide deck on SlideShare.

Ethics in the AI Age

Cennydd Bowles presents important ethical considerations to make when designing AI products. At the end of the talk, he also provides a list of books for further reading on ethics, design, and technology. I’m always fond of book lists, so I’ve included links to all the books for you:

Also, here are some relevant articles on ethics:

Spark Talks

Seamful Gestures

One of the challenges of using the HoloLens is the lack of physical feedback for gestures. Jiaojiao Xu demonstrates the potential for using proprioception as natural feedback.

Connected Hardware Eats Unicorns for Breakfast — Why Your UX Skillz May Not Be As Important As You Think (starts at 20:46)

Sarah Gallivan Mitchell looks at some challenges UXers face when designing IoT products. Even unicorns have to learn and adapt. View the slide deck on SlideShare.

Conversation Is More Than Interface

Paul Pangaro breaks down what makes a conversation. In doing so, he questions whether conversational UIs are actually conversational. View the slide deck on his website.

Suspending Disbelief: Building Immersive Designs of the Future (starts at 37:06)

Right now VR is like the wild west for UX. Brad Crane and Jon Mann with Artefact have created a VR prototyping tool to design in this new territory. You can learn more about Storyboard VR and download an alpha version on the Artefact website.


Itching for more? You can find the rest of the talks from Interaction17 and past conferences on the IxDA Vimeo channel.