WebVisions of Johanna Portland

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DESIGN FOR DASEIN: Heidegger, phenomenology, and the design of experience. Bonus points for understanding.

We made our home late last week among hundreds of conference-goers at the historic Melody Ballroom for WebVisions Portland. Now in its 15th year, the annual conference ran concurrent presentations upstairs in the grand ballroom and downstairs in the smaller theater so there was a lot to take in over the course of two days. Thankfully, our sponsor table was situated in a spot with a great view of the main stage and no one stole our stuff when we went downstairs to catch Ian Coyle’s talk about the death of design (plot twist: it’s not dead).

The sessions kicked off Thursday with The LAMP’s Emily Long, whose work with low-income communities in New York has been confronting how kids learn, create and interact with media messages. Unfortunately, her presentation suffered some technical problems during video playback but the message was good and the missing videos made an appearance shortly after via social media.

WebVisions Downstairs

DESIGN IS DEAD: Ian Coyle made us misty-eyed for the days of Eames before revealing that these are the good ol’days.

The highlights for us were Paul McAleer’s reflective “Better Living Through Design”, Ian Coyle’s aforementioned “Design Is Dead”, Thomas Wendt’s take on experience through “Design for Dasein”, Sarah Hall’s energetic “The Science of Art”, Adam Connor’s insights into the “Characteristics of Productive, Creative Organizations”, and Friday’s concluding keynote by Jesse Lozano on the “Desktop Sized Revolution” in 3D printing.

The speakers brought their own area of expertise from web design, product design to Lean UX principles and design principles like Omnichannel and design thinking,” said Beth Olarsch, a UX designer who came to the event from New York to take advantage of the networking and learning opportunities. The East Coast contingent was as strong as the local crowd, interestingly. We also met creatives from Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Japan.

Hopefully videos of all the presentations will make their way to the web soon. For now, though,  here’s another highlight: Thursday’s MacGyver-heavy keynote on how creative constraints can be beneficial by Shay Howe of Chicago’s Belly agency.

WebVisions makes its way to Barcelona next for a parallel conference featuring a keynote by Stefan Sagmeister, then on to Chicago and Berlin through the end of the year.  See the website for more.