Speaking and Workshop Descriptions

Designing Calm Technology

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary.

How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of get in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.


Workshop on Designing Calm Technology

Time: 1/2 day (4 hours)
Suggested Price: $99/person or $2000 as part of a conference
Class size limit: 40 participants

The difference between an annoying technology and one that is helpful is how it engages our attention. Calm Technology is a framework for designing ubiquitous devices that engage our attention in an appropriate manner. The aim of Calm Technology is to provide principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away.

This workshop will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

Structure and activities
Students will work in groups to solve a series of design challenges, including designing new products, ‘calming down’ a complex ones, communicating the principles of Calm Technology across an organization and team, and entering a product successfully into the marketplace.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices.
  • Design appropriate notification systems into both physical and software products
  • Communicate the principles of Calm Technology to your across your organization and team
  • Use methods of Calm Technology to design technology for generations, not seasons.
  • Enter your product successfully into the marketplace.

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is for anyone that actively builds or makes decisions about technology, especially user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors and developers. Attendees are encouraged to have some background in user experience design and look at http://calmtech.com/ or Designing Calm Technology before the workshop.

Bringing a laptop is not required, as work will be done on paper and in groups.

Solid to Liquid to Air: Cyborg Anthropology and the Future of the Interface

We are now entering into an era of liquid interfaces, where buttons can be downloaded at will, and software flies through the air. Phones have been untethered from their cords and are free to colonize our pockets. They cry, and we must pick them up. They get hungry, and we must plug them in. We increasingly live on interfaces, and it is their quality and design which increases our happiness and our frustration.

The best interfaces compress the time and space it takes to absorb relevant information. The worst interfaces cause us car accidents, lost revenue, and communication failure.

This speech will discuss how current and future interfaces will change the way we act, feel and communicate with one another.

Web 1.0 Conference

The Web 1.0 conference is a small unconference experience intended to help tech people how to build websites with simple HTML, CSS and JavaScript in less than a day. It is a fun and lighthearted event designed to empower people both new and used to web design and development.

Friday night events include a show and tell of favorite old websites, examples of personal websites and a few small talks from people from the local community. Attendees are encouraged to network and brainstorm with one another during this social time.

Why Web 1.0?
It’s easy to think that celebrating static websites means that we are caught up on an obsolete era of the internet, but we think that the lowly HTML website may very well be the future of the web.

Sites with complex backends can go obsolete in months. Many HTML websites still exist after 20 years! Static websites are also allow for a personal expression of self that can’t be achieved through 140 characters or a Facebook update. It’s time to rediscover and bring back the lost art of web site creation. Let’s build some weird, interesting, quirky web sites!

“Decades-old websites built in simple HTML still function perfectly, whereas sites and forums built on PHP, certain iterations of Flash, or older plug-and-play systems like WordPress have been broken as new things replace them. Social networks come and go, and with it, whatever we’ve put on them. HTML is forever.” – Vice Motherboard http://motherboard.vice.com/read/theres-an-entire-conference-dedicated-to-geocities-style-websites

Sample Schedule

Friday: 6-9pm, intro and social, followed by show and tell of favorite websites.

Saturday: 10am-6pm, short talks, website building
6pm-7pm – Website show and tell, wrap up and closing

Ideal Size: 30-40 participants.

Web 1.0 Conference Website:


Check out what we made at the first conference!