Adaptive Path’s 2011 Events: Register Now Save Big!

We now interrupt this irregularly-scheduled blog for this announcement.

Adaptive Path has a big push for our 2011 slate of events. Called “Register Now Save Big!” the point is to help folks use their 2010 training budgets for 2011 events. You can get 15% off the already discounted early registration prices for three events: MX: Managing Experience 2011, UX Intensive Amsterdam, and our flagship conference, UX Week 2011 (We still haven’t announced any speakers yet for UX Week, as it’s pretty far out, but if you’ve gone in prior years, you know what an amazing event it will be.)

So, when registering for the event, use the discount code RNSB for your additional 15% off!

Just what role do conferences play nowadays?

Having attended TED last week, where people spend $6,000 + travel/lodging seemingly in order to watch talks which will be posted online for free, I found myself again wondering just what role conferences and events play. This is not of mere academic interest — Adaptive Path earns a substantial portion of its revenue through its public events, I’ve helped organize professional industry events such as the IA Summit, the IA Institute’s IDEA, and DUX, and I speak at 4-6 events a year.

Given the ascent of the Web, one could have expected conferences to wither, as you can find online much of the information presented at conferences. Why bother traveling all over the country and spending all that money when you can pretty much keep up with any field through online means? Particularly when so many events now share their sessions freely on the Web?

Just the opposite seems to have happened. We’re lousy with conferences. In my industry alone there is UX Week and MX (put on by Adaptive Path), the IA Summit, Interaction from the IxDA, UPA’s annual event, the Design Research Conference, SxSW Interactive, IDEA, and this isn’t including the newer events from overseas such as UX London and UX-LX. In the “Big Think” space, there’s TED, and now Pop!Tech, Lift, and The e.g.. It seems that the internet has made people more aware of these opportunities for gathering, and instead of supplanting them, have made attendance even more desirable.

If it’s not about the content, then it must be about the people attending, right? In the case of TED, that is almost certainly true — many, if not most, of the folks spending $6,000 are able to write it off as a business expense.

About 5 years ago, there was a lot of discussion about unconferences, events with no set agenda beyond a high-level theme, and instead of canned presentations planned ahead of time, the schedule is determined after everyone has arrived, and people lead conversations on specific topics. While the unconference movement still exists, it has not taken over the way that many thought it would. It turns out you need more than just the right people.

While the cliche that “best content happens in the hallways” is largely true of conferences, those conversations require the canned presentations. They provide the seed for the ongoing dialogue. They’re the “social object” around which conversation and community revolve.

What the Web has done is made very clear what kinds of conversations are happening at different events, and if you want to be part of those larger discussions, you know you ought to get there.

I think a lot about how Adaptive Path’s events should evolve… UX Week is the event I’m most involved with, and I want to make sure it stays fresh, lively, and relevant. We continue to tinker with a mix of presentations, workshops, and social events, trying to strike the best balance between inspiration, information, skills-building, and networking. And I wonder what I’m missing, what other elements we should introduce (e.g., design charette’s like Design Engaged, where you get 30-40 people in a room, and have them do/make something.).

UX Week Early Bird Pricing Ends Monday, August 30!

Adaptive Path’s UX Week 2009, for which I’ve done extensive programming, is only a few weeks away. And the deadline for early bird pricing ends August 30.

Enjoy 4 days of UX goodness, combining thought-provoking presentations with hands-on activities-based workshops. It’s a mix of inspiration and information unlike you’ll find at any other event!

Use discount code FOPM and get 15% off the registration price

UX Week 2009 – Single Day Registration, Crazy Day 4

Sigh. I really need to write more on this thing, eh? The combination of Twitter, raising a child, and writing for the Harvard Business online has definitely sapped my publishing here.

But that’s not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about another thing where I’ve also been devoting my time, UX Week 2009.

We just announced single day registration, so if you can’t commit to the entire event, you can still come and enjoy part of it. Each day is a self-sufficient gem (just look at the schedule), so you’re doubtless to find some day worth attending.

We’re also trying something quite different this year. Day 4, which has no workshops, is priced at $300 less than the other days. And with speakers like Matt Webb, David Merrill, Liz Ogbu, and Robin Hunicke, we’re pushing the boundaries of design, and engaging a range of contexts from games to physical computing to social activism. We think there’s a larger conversation to be held, and so we’ve dropped the price on that day to encourage more people to come.

If you use my special discount code FOPM, you’ll receive a 15% discount on whatever you register for.

UX Week 2009 – $1,776 Independence Day pricing extended

For UX Week 2009, We’ve extended our $1,776 Independence Day pricing for another week, recognizing many people were gone over the holiday and might not have had a chance to use it. And, if you use the promotional code FOPM, you’ll get an additional 15% off, bringing the registration price to $1,510, which is nearly $1,000 off the full price of $2,495. At $1,510, that’s around $375/day, which is a remarkable price when compared to other similar events!

Main stage talks include:

  • Matias Duarte, Senior Director of Human Interface and UX at Palm
  • Sarah Jones, Tony Award winning playwright and performer
  • Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics
  • Genevieve Bell, Director, User Experience Group, Intel Digital Home Group
  • Temple Grandin, Best-selling author, Animals Make Us Human and Thinking in Pictures
  • Jesse James Garrett, Co-Founder and President of Adaptive Path
  • David Merrill, one of the creators of Siftables
  • Erin McKean, Independent lexicographer and dictionary evangelist
  • Martyn Ware, Sonic ID (and founder of the 80’s band, The Human League!)
  • Elizabeth Windram, Senior UX Designer & Bernhard Seefeld, Product Manager, Google Maps

    3 days of hands-on workshops include:

  • Good Design Faster with Rachel Glaves and Brandon Schauer of Adaptive Path
  • Noel Franus, Manager of the global identity practice for Sonic ID
  • Strategy Team of One with Henning Fischer of Adaptive Path
  • Content Strategy with Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic
  • Facilitation and Collaboration with Julia Houck-Whitaker of Adaptive Path and Sarah B. Nelson
  • Designing for Mobile with Rachel Hinman of Adaptive Path
  • Multitouch with Nathan Moody and Darren David of Stimulant
  • Michal Migurski and Tom Carden of Stamen
  • Making Things with Jared Cole of Adaptive Path
  • Tangible Thinking with Todd Wilkens of Adaptive Path

    So sign up today!

  • Behold the awesomeness that is UX Week 2009

    (and register before July 1 and get serious early-bird discounts!)

    Check out the schedule for UX Week 2009, and tell me that it’s not the best UX conference program around. From Tony-Award winning performer Sarah Jones, to austistic animal facilities design and author Temple Grandin, to director of UX on the Palm Pre Matias Duarte, we’ve got main-stage presentations that will inspire you. And then in the afternoons, workshops lead by a raft of industry leaders (including many of the brilliant folks at Adaptive Path) to give you hands-on skills that’ll level-up your game.

    I’ve put a fair amount of work into this program, and it’s exciting to see how it has come together.

    When you register, use the promotional code FOPM and get 15% off the registration price. Which is currently $2195, which is already $300 off the full price. And so 15% offa that means you pay only $1,866, which is less than $500/day, which is a damn fine price for such quality.

    Adaptive Path’s Mobile Literacy Project – Take Part!

    Adaptive Path’s latest R&D project has been released: Mobile Literacy, which addresses the design of mobile technology in emerging markets (in our case, rural India).

    There’s tons to chew on. I would start with the concepts, the MobilGlyph and Steampunk.

    If those intrigue you, then I’d move to the deep research. Our team spent 6 weeks in the Kutch district of Western India to understand the how uneducated and illiterate peoples use technology, particularly mobile phones, in their lives. A big challenge is that these phones are designed for Western (specifically, northern European) audiences, and many of their assumptions don’t hold true in this area.

    The most important thing is to rally others to take part as well. That’s why we’ve made all of our research available, and why we’re sharing the design principles that emerged from that research. We recognize that our concepts are just two of many that could address the challenges of bringing mobile technology to emerging markets. I hope we see many more!

    The best design strategy conversation I’ve ever read online

    This will seem self-serving, and I’m sure it is, but it’s also true. The best conversation I’ve read about design strategy has been posted to Adaptive Path’s blog, a discussion between Brandon and Henning from AP and David Butler, VP of Design at Coca-Cola. It’s broken up into two parts (Part 1, Part 2) and clearly gets at how design can be a force for change in business, even a ginormous multinational corporation.

    My Upcoming Virtual Seminar: 16 (Mostly) Difficult Steps to Becoming a Customer Experience-Driven Organization

    (also published on

    Last October, I taught at UIE’s UI13 Conference. All teachers are invited to give an additional 90-minute presentation. In early September, I had my first child (my son, Jules), and that experience encouraged me to focus on what was truly important. I considered what was the most important presentation I could give, what could actually make an impact on the lives of the people there, and it lead me to my talk, “16 (Mostly) Difficult Steps To Becoming A Customer-Driven Organization.” I am presenting this on February 11 (10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern, 1700 GMT) as part of our virtual seminar series.

    The talk is drawn from, well, nearly 15 years doing user experience work. It’s culled from a variety of sources, including our report “Leveraging Business Value: How ROI Changes User Experience,” our book Subject to Change, our interactions with clients and colleagues, and lots of reading.

    I’ll admit it — the presentation is a little daunting. Covering 16 steps is a lot. But I felt I needed to do that to be responsible to the subject. Changing an organization is arduous. If you follow the steps in this talk, it could take 2, 3, even 5 years. But, and I think this is the most important element to remember — it can be done. It can work. And, perhaps even more importantly — it must be done, if we want the organizations we work for to be humane and respectful.

    I hope you find the time to attend this virtual seminar, and I look forward to encouraging a dialogue on this subject. Register with the promotional code FOPM and get 15% off! (And you can use that for any of our Adaptive Path events).