So far the design highlight of 2013 was traveling to Toronto for Interaction13, the international interaction design conference.  I was particularly looking forward to this event because I attended last year’s conference and the experience solidified my desire to focus on interaction design.  To return a year later having found a job I love with a company that is pioneer in the field, feels both like an accomplishment for which I can be proud, and a reminder of my debt of gratitude to all of the people who I have learned from along the way.  I was also, of course, looking forward to seeing friends from around the world and hearing fellow InContext designer, David Rondeau, present on modern interaction design.

The conference included a day of workshops followed by four days of keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and panel discussions, with plenty of cocktail receptions and parties mixed in.  I had the opportunity to talk with designers working on every aspect of interaction design in just about every field imaginable.  It was particularly interesting to me to hear about the experience of designers working in-house or at huge design firms because that is so different from my work-life as part of a small consulting team.

After the workshops, participants were invited to an opening party in Toronto’s famous Sharp Centre for Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design.  The focal point of the festivities was a dozen Pecha Kucha talks, including David’s presentation on “What makes design modern?”.  In just six minutes and forty seconds he shared the key features that distinguish the current era of interaction design with examples to illustrate each. Despite a few technical difficulties with the projector (of course) and the distraction of an open bar, David held the audience’s attention both pointing out the modern aspects of familiar products and introducing new ones. The concepts that David talked about came up throughout the conference, as did many of the cool principles.  I am excited to see how the work we are doing is in-step with the emerging trends and conversations in the wider world of interaction design.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Pecha Kucha talks and for all of the positive feedback David received.  If you couldn’t make it to Toronto, David is doing a more in-depth presentation on modern interaction design at UXPA Boston, so you have another chance to learn how to make your design feel up-to-the-minute and relevant.