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IXD23 is over. Here's what we take home

After sponsoring and participating in IXD23, one of the most relevant Interaction Design conferences worldwide, we take home many insights on interpreting modernity's challenges and future trajectories for our Swiss presence.

Elena Zordan
General Manager Switzerland

10.03.2023 - 4 mins read

Participating in IXD23 means exposure to global experience design: the conference has always been committed to improving the human condition by advancing the discipline, and so do we. This is why we support it and join its wanderings worldwide whenever it gets close, like this year at our home in Switzerland.

The extraordinary value of such occasions is in people and their ideas: many keynote speakers and a passionate design community. The ideas were many, and the intertwined debates among us who followed the conference were equally lively.

Three inspirations for conscious designers

Lead designer Stefano Greco reported timely and informed coverage of the speeches to benefit the studio and our readers. We have selected some of the most relevant points from our perspective:

Natural interaction and a new design agenda

Steve Ossevoort's talk about natural interaction was very inspiring. In his words, "people are naturally equipped to function in an environment far from perfect". This provocation has led to the design of various objects that use data and information to interact with those who use them.

How do designers understand the surrounding environment to design increasingly natural and inclusive interfaces? This question is on the same wavelength as the speech by Marihum Pernia, which proposes a reflection on the designer's role. "The word design is still the same. The act of design has been disrupted."

What are the ethical and technological impacts of the designer's work who has a collaborative role inside and outside society? He must act as an ambassador, orchestrator of interconnected systems, promoter of strategic innovations and department manager of complex and stand-alone departments.

Transforming society by changing our working tools

Jack Holmes' talk made us reflect on our work as designers thanks to a trivial but crucial consideration: whoever designs the tools with which people work does not do the job for which that tool must be used.

In our design practice, we are fortunate to use tools made by designers. But when we make software for another profession and design an interface for a service, we must always consider the frustration the end user might experience using a tool created by someone who doesn't do their job.

Design can have a tangible impact on the design of tools and the transformation of how we work. User research and measuring results are, therefore, crucial to the success of our work.

Spatial Interaction - (re)defining the relationship between humans and computers in physical spaces

An attractive, concrete and in-depth lecture illustrating Google's work in spatial design by Hideaki Matsui, who questions the opportunity to reinterpret how technology should accommodate human beings' needs.

Also, as in Corral's talk on people's interactions in a virtual space, 'gestures' were the protagonists. The "Zone based interaction" is based on points: the user's facial proximity, gestures and the direction of the user's gaze. These variables affect how the user interacts with the interface.

Among the examples, Matsui shows how the Google Assistant's weather interface changes in size and information density depending on the user's distance from it. An exciting point of view that also offers ideas related to accessibility.

The index is clear. Now we need to apply the principles

A conference like IXD23 is to inspire, offer ideas that stimulate discussion, and define a common line of thought that designers can relate to. The emerging themes (AI, Natural Interaction, Spatial Design, and Ethics) are evident and are treated at a high, somewhat abstract level.

We have perceived so much ideal involvement, sometimes even political, in positioning design as an entity that shapes consumption, people's opinions, society and through these, the trajectories of change of the entire human race and - lately - not only.

However, there is also a perceived gap between the ideal dimension and its practical translation: like reading a detailed index of a beautiful book, which requires everyone's commitment, including ours, to write its pages and arrive at conclusions.

Ethics, sustainability, beyond humans, and artificial intelligence are the topics we have to deal with, but they must be translated into daily work and design choices with our customers.

Sustainably designed by Sketchin, built by Materie Unite

Materials: 95% recycled cardboard fully recyclable | 3% aluminium | 1% Greencast (100% recycled acrylic) | Linoleum floor 100% natural | LED lights

Design over time

We participated in IXD23 with our design method, narrated through a stand created for the occasion. Inside, we met new and old friends and shared projects and ideas, focusing on design and business challenges within the time horizon in which they are most relevant, bearing in mind that a proactive approach to the future has more opportunities for success.

The future has no value per se, but it becomes relevant when we use it to orient the present and identify ways to change for the better. Two conditions must simultaneously be in place to get the most value from experience design: robust trends and market volatility. Through Design Futures and with our clients, we interpret social and industry signals to identify and address upcoming challenges.

New opportunities for the Swiss market

Sketchin believes that exceptional collaboration between design professionals and studios can foster valuable explorations and advance design practice to new horizons. IXD23 is an ideal place for this, and we are delighted to have participated.

IXD23 marks our presence in the Zurich area and beyond. In the upcoming months will be around to discuss ideas and meet people at the many forthcoming events.

Contact us to discover how to design experiences beyond people's expectations.