SXSW: You Don't Need to be Here


Ushering her audience out, Kathy Sierra questioned why interactive attendees would bother to show in person in the age of live blogging and streaming content. With an opening line of "you don't need to be here", admittedly a few poured out of the conference room doors. However, Sierra stated, that there are still elements that exist as the missing link between computer interaction and human expression. Responsiveness to software was compared to the likes of Asperger's syndrome, unintentionally rude and often narrowly focused.

Comparing portraits of human expressions, Sierra explained that basic human-computer interaction is not taking place. One such example is that software doesn't have "WTF" buttons for user experience. Attempting to tone her language down for the innocent of ears, she stated that FAQs and Help don't cater to the common user experience, an often lack interactive dialog.

While Sierra made an argument for creating software for the human expression in order to help close the gap between reactive human interaction and computers, a significant point seemed to be missing from her bullet points. Given that there will always be some sense of a gap between interacting with a person and interacting with a machine, why place the pressure on computers for being able to react to confused human faces as opposed to making people interact with people more effectively? Why not make the user experience with people a more enriching one? While it's a given that software should always be moving forward in user experience, customer service often is a pain point across all companies. Sierra stated that conversational language keeps a user's attention, as such, user experience should maintain an integration between people and machines in order to create a truly interactive and expressive environment.

by Ariel Waldman    Mar-12-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Trends and Culture   

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No doubt about it, when challenging an audience, particularly at the beginning of a conference session, one must remember to smile broadly and LOL! This is absolutely essential to keep your audience's attention and ultimately, lock their brain to your every word in a heartbeat+one or two blinks.

Standing up, if you are seated, and moving both shoulders and head from side to side and various hand/arm movements, such as a wide spread open palm (hug) toward the audience or a pointing or wagging your finger is also an important attention grabber that must be employed whenever you choose to challenge your audience. As the point/wag is employed, the moderator must watch carefully for anyone grimacing or who is otherwise displaying discomfort. The LOL sequence is as contagious as a sneeze or cough and a vast majority will join in the Laugh Out Loud experience.

After you have received the requisite feedback that you have captured your audience proceed without further challenges to build consensus by initiating a series of simple, fast, precise questions that require either a "YES!" or a nod.

Nothing will please you more than to see a sea of up/down nodding heads within a New York minute.

There are easier ways to capture your audience...

but, few are as rewarding. ;)), :P

Posted by: arthur on March 13, 2007 10:01 AM