Stepping out of the work bubble for a day of inspiration

On September 6th a bunch of Futurice designers, both from Stockholm and Helsinki went to Nordic.design, a one day design conference with great speakers, cotton candy and 500-something designers attending. The day was packed with talks, networking and sugar - they had a cotton candy machine. And popcorn. And ice cream. It-was-awesome!

When trying to summarise the take aways, I realised that the talks that resonated most with me was the ones not focusing about cool tech, slick design systems or new products. My top three talks all evolved around good communication.

1. Tobias Ahlin, Lead Experience Designer at Minecraft, did a great job pointing out the different approaches the gaming industry and traditional app designers have when it comes to creating a user experience.

“Where’d all the feelings go?” was the name of Tobias talk and shined a light upon how the clean and minimal design approach has become so dominant that many interfaces don’t create any emotional value for the user.

As a concrete example Tobias compared unboxing a deck of cards in Heartstone (which is pretty mind blowing) with downloading and opening an app in App Store (which is just that). Not saying that we as designers should stick to one of these solutions, he did a good job reminding us want design is all about - creating emotions.

2. When being introduced, Carly Ayres the Creative Director of Hawraft was described as “being the right kind of weird”. I felt that this was pretty accurate.

Hawraf is a design and branding studio born out of Google's Creative Lab. In a quirky and engaging way Carly took us thru the importance of having good conversations and how this has shaped the work of Hawraf.

It’s clear when looking at their work that a lot of thought has been put into who they’re talking to and also allowing them to talk back. Great conversations equals great design and vice versa.

Favourite slide and new personal mantra:

3. Continuing on the communication-track, I appreciated the talk of Kostya Gorskiy, product design lead at Intercom. He went through the learnings from building bots within their product.

Kostya refers to the Intercom bot as the world's first introverted bot. This came out of the insight that people don’t really want to talk to a bot and especially not a bot with a sparkling personality. What people want is a quick and easy way to solve their problem.

The key take away from this talk was - don’t build a bot just because it’s a hype (which is usually the case when it comes to hypes). Instead, build a bot when it benefits your business and creates a better experience for your users.

To sum up, the day was great, the sugar rush constant high. I met a lot of nice people and got really inspired. So, thanks for the great conference, Nordic Design!