The Information Architecture Institute
A conference on designing
complex information spaces of all kinds.
New York City, October 4 and 5, 2007

Opening Salvo: Linda Stone’s keynote

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Looks like I’m first to post - am I guilty of attention defecit disorder? You decide :)

FIrst up was Linda Stone, offering several resonant points about our continually distracted attention spans. She didn’t use slides, by intent, making the point that audiences, such as those in SCRUM or standing meetings, benefit from slight discomfort, as it forces attention. But i wondered: do slides distract, or help tell stories? I think it all depends on how its used: the difference is in the hands of the speaker).

Highlights for me were all about awareness: She made it impossble not to notice the people in the room on laptops, the baby crying in the rafters, the odd cell phone ringtone, or the library noise in the hall. If nothing else I left her talk more aware of the things asking for my attention, and my freshly empowered ability to, at any time, refuse them if I desired.

But I wondered how to use this awareness as a designer, and a consumer. Can attention really be saved at the design level, if the product in question is a television commercial? Or anything that has the intent to earn, or (gasp) steal, attention? With these questions now in mind, I thought Stone’s keynote was a suitable warmup for the more design focused sessions to come.

-Scott Berkun

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