Events: Giant Conference 2016
Oct 21, 2016
This week, I headed down (over?) to Charlotte, North Carolina for #GiantConf 2016 with Joe Bond, UX designer, and Devin Asaro, senior content strategist. Giant Conference is described as a “gathering for people who do rad work” – so this was destined to be a great place for Joe and Devin to speak. Including their talks, of course, here are my top 5 takeaways:
The Journey to a Better Bar Graph…and Beyond – Daniel Orbach
Data visualization is typically used for one of three purposes – opinion, answers, or for the masses. There is more information and data available to us than ever; so much that we have no idea what to do with it at times. Data availability has drastically increased with new technology – so why is our numeracy falling short? When deciding how to visualize data, it’s easy to ask, “Why don’t they understand what I’m trying to show them?” But what we should be asking is, “What assumptions am I making?” and “How can I break this information down in a way that truly makes sense?” After all, the journey to a better bar graph may not lead to a bar graph at all…and that’s a good reminder to have.
Change the IA, Change the Org: Diverting the Politics of Information Architecture – Devin Asaro
Content strategists, among other roles in the marketing world, are wearing more and more hats these days. But one of the trickiest and most political tasks is determining an organization’s information architecture. Why? Because everyone has their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t in the structure of a website. Then again, you should see your users as stakeholders as well – “Users are your best change agents. Do whatever you can to introduce them into your process.” Make a goal to treat your audience as co-creators, and not just test subjects. The last thing you want to do is leave them without a vote.
Antifragile Design – Kevin Clark
You are not your user, but you need to understand your user. And to do that, your team should be sharing your work early on, iterating those ideas, and working together to make things better. When reviewing a project, designers are often told not to point out an issue if we don’t have an idea to fix it. Clark encouraged the opposite – “Highlight problems. Don’t just suggest solutions.” Critique is a scary word for most – but for design to be antifragile, it needs to be reviewed and well-tested.
Brand Archetypes: A New Way to Approach Branding & Experience Design – Natalia Klishina
Successful brands have a strong sense of identity. After all, how can you get to know your audience if you don’t know yourself? Your brand archetype should encompass all of the intangible characteristics of your brand, and create a personality for your internal and external-facing assets. Who are you? Who aren’t you? It’s easy to tell your audience where you’re headed, but it’s important to communicate where you are right now. Authenticity is often more engaging than haughtiness.
The Effects of Peer-to-Peer Mentorship – Joe Bond
How many times have you been scared to ask for help? Probably way too often. Communities are tough to build, and even harder to maintain, but they are a major key in gaining and sharing knowledge. The beauty in peer-to-peer mentorship is that there’s no pressure. With “traditional” mentorship, each person has a set role. But with peer-to-peer mentorship, everyone becomes the student and the teacher at multiple points.
I loved how intimate yet casual Giant Conference is. I’ve never met so many people willing to share their knowledge and collaborate with strangers. What was your favorite thing about Giant? Holler at us! Wanna know where we’re headed next? Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Snapchat.