GETTING GRAPHIC: Speaker Matthew Richmond said that he founded the full-service graphic- design studio The Chopping Block on the principle that good design spans all mediums.
assignment. Then, if they chose to participate, they could work through [a series of] worksheets with that initial assign- ment in mind, and then at the end, submit [their work].” A prize was awarded to the designer with the most successful solution. David Sherwin—principal designer at frog design, and a
conference advisory council member and speaker who spear- headed the Progressive Design Challenge—worked with fel- low speakers to determine their key takeaways, around which he created worksheets. “So, throughout the conference,” McCarren said, “the attendee could see a session and then go to that information in the Progressive Design Challenge and actually practice that particular skill,” such as experimenting with web-safe fonts, “so that they get the idea of it right then and there.” The challenge was designed so that everyone could partici- pate, regardless of experience level, software, or device—
Here are the instructions HOW Interactive Design Conference attendees were given to participate in the Progressive Interactive Challenge:
You have been hired by a leading publisher of magazines to help them create a new kind of digital magazine, blending text, video, audio, photos, and data visualization. Use your worksheets alongside certain talks to try out tools and techniques learned during speaker presentations through- out the conference. Each attendee participating will be required to submit the following: 1. Magazine name 2. Description of its editorial direction 3.Web, tablet, and mobile home-screen sketches 4. Photos from the Progressive Design Challenge showing your designs.
Entries will be judged on creativity, process thinking, and feasibility.
whether it was a laptop, an e-reader, an iPad, or just a smart- phone. Participants were provided with a worksheet (see p. 46) that they could work on as a PDF, print out, or access via a software program of their choice. “We wanted to make it as accessible to everyone as possible,” McCarren said. Working through the worksheets, she noted, involved more
steps than “a lot of people might think. Making an actual website, for example, [involves] content management—how to take a large, scaled project with a lot of different types of content and break down what the content strategy would be for a particular website or app. The worksheets helped them to do that.” The challenge was created with the idea that attendees
would “work through it along with the speakers,” McCarren said. “The speakers that we have are amazingly giving of their information, expertise, and their experience. They’re very gen- erous with their time and want to interact with the other speakers and with the attendees. And then, the attendees really felt like there was a lot of takeaway for them to be able to have as much access to the speakers as they did.” Throughout the conference, attendees were encouraged to
attend breakfast roundtables to interact with speakers and fel- low attendees, email a conference contact with any questions about the challenge, and tweet.
The Challenge With the Challenge While a jam-packed schedule didn’t allow as many people to take part in the challenge as McCarren had hoped, she was pleased with the overall level of participation. “There wasn’t a whole lot of break time built into the schedule, with the excep- tion of lunch,” she said. “We found that people were going all day and maybe didn’t have time to interact with it as much as we would like. So, that was one of the things that we learned in our first year of doing an interactive challenge like this. Some of the attendees felt too crunched on time to be able to move through the entire challenge, and they had to do it in the evening when they got back to their room. You really had to be dedicated to be able to move through all of it.”