IxDA conference 2018 - building connections and dissolving boundaries

Sabrina Seidl • Senior UX/Visual Designer

How are technology and design shaping the world moving forward? And how to build connections while dissolving boundaries?

This years Interaction Design conference (IxDA*) took place in the beautiful city of Lyon, where topics such as inclusive and ethical design, privacy, conversational UI’s and system thinking were omnipresent throughout the entire conference.

Some topics refreshed my already existing knowledge, some sparked new ideas, some others again made me think about my own work as a designer, but most of all did I get lots of inspiration for creating even more meaningful services in the future. Here are some highlights of the event:

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‘Does what I’m doing make the world a better place than when I found it?’

During his opening keywords, Alan Cooper, author and co-founder of, addressed the ethical approach of designing services and how the work of us designers affects the systems we are designing for. He emphasised the importance of thinking like a good ancestor by giving meaning to the technologies we build. His talk challenged me to considered my own actions and motivated me to put even more energy into creating something that would bring more good into the world, rather than drifting down to the lane of creating something supposedly valuable, which then might turn out as evil. (Watch the keynote 29:05)

‘How to leverage technology to create a diverse future for all?’

Food for thought on how we as designers can influence the world to become a better place by contributing something meaningful. Haiyan Zhang’s keynote on ‘Innovating technology for a diverse world’ was probably one of the most inspiring and emotionally moving talks of IxDA18. She shared with us some of her projects on how we can leverage technology to improve the quality of life. Haiyan Zhang created a tool for a young designer who has to live with Parkinson disease, which allows her to draw and write again. Watching to her story was thought-provoking and made me realize how much one person's dedication for a topic can change someone else's life with such a positive effect. (Watch the keynote 05:10:22)

20180208 150443 s830x0 q80 noupscale Speaker Farai Madina (right)

‘Different cultures can create a more inclusive product, but at the same time, cultural biases also impact the way we work.’

Farai Madina focused on the topic around ‘Cultural Biases in design’ and why people from certain parts of the word are more likely to have certain biases. Being aware of those biases help one understand colleagues’ reactions when working in a multicultural company such as Futurice. It’s not only important to have a good service as an outcome in mind, but also to consider how to work with teams collaboratively where everyone might have a different background. (Watch the keynote: 6:07:46)

These are only some topics covered during the conference. For me IxDA18 was a very valuable experience, with thought-provoking topics, smart people to learn from, and it motivated me to put more effort into helping design a positive future. Now back to work with a buzzing brain full of new ideas.

*IxDA is a member-supported organisation dedicated to the discipline of interaction design.

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