2011HOWInteractive Design Conference Nov. 2–4, Parc 55Wyndham, San Francisco ATTENDED BY 650 GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
There’s probably no sector of the economy that has been as profoundly affected by e-readers, mobile devices, iPads, and the web as print publications. As readers move to these inter- active mediums to access content—and as digital technolo- gies change and proliferate—print graphic designers must acquire new skills in order to ply their craft beyond paper. It’s
a designer’s “No. 1 concern,” said Bridgid McCarren, senior art designer forHOWmagazine: “I need to learn interactive design to keep my job and secure my future in the industry, but I have no idea where to begin.” The inaugural 2011HOWInteractive Design Conference
gave thema place to start. The sold-out conference attracted 650 graphic designers who are transitioning into user-experi- ence, web, mobile, and app design—“anyone who [needs to] reinvent content in a medium that allows the user to interact with it in a new way,” said McCarren, who served as the con- ference programchair.
While she was designing the conference’s
format, McCarren thought back to her own experience as a conference attendee. “My head would be just swimming with all these new ideas,” she said, and by the time she got back to her desk, it would be “really hard for me to find a way to implement them into my workflow.” While that’s a challenge most other confer-
ences share, it was made more pressing by the nature of this particular event. After all, shouldn’t theHOWInteractive Design Con- ference—intended to get attendees more comfortable with designing ways to engage readers in interactive mediums—be interac- tive itself? McCarren wanted conference par- ticipants to have a roadmap of sorts to take back home once the event was over. That required more than passively listening to pre- senters. The programwould need to include
BETTER BY DESIGN: The HOW Interactive Design Conference offered 45-minute sessions throughout the day. At one-hour review/recap programs in the late afternoon, that day’s speakers wrapped up what was covered during the sessions and answered participants’ questions.
hands-on activities so participants could “begin using some of the skills that they were learning right there at the event,” McCarren said.”
Progressive Design Challenge With that in mind, the conference kicked off with a Progres- sive Design Challenge, which charged participants with creat- ing “an interactive magazine about something that they’re passionate about,” McCarren said. “That was the initial