Prepare to be Delight-ed | Connective DX’s annual conference brings digital experience design shock and awe to Portland

Whether or not the weather holds - digital experiences of all kinds will be descending on Portland next week for Delight, Connective DX's annual conference on creating excellent digital experience.
Whether or not the weather holds – digital experiences of all kinds will be descending on Portland next week for Delight , Connective DX’s annual gathering.

Whatever it is you do, chances are there’s a digital component to it. And increasingly, that digital touch point or interface IS the product – because its quality becomes a proxy for whether the user will go further and actually order/use/view the underlying thing or service. If the digital experience isn’t there, attention spans are short.

As devices proliferate, free time goes to zero, and new content piles up, do you have what it takes to create simple, intuitive digital experiences that cut through the static to delight and activate your audience?

To help you make sense of just what’s at stake and how state of the art digital is done these days, come join Portland’s own Connective DX for its annual three day Delight conference at the Portland Art Museum October 5-7. There’s a deep bench of thought and design leaders lined up.

Plus there’s an ice cream cart.

#DelightConf

Next week: Delight is coming to town.
Next week: Delight is coming to town.

The show before (and after) the show is also excellent | Playwrights Horizons is a digital superstar

If you’ve been to a show at New York’s legendary new play super highway Playwrights Horizons, then you probably know just how important this place is to the American theatre.

Over and over and over again (and then again just because they can), PH delivers the goods that global theatregoers hunger after. Like right now – you’d be insane to miss the NYC premiere of the latest anti-complacency grenade from Brooklynite Bruce Norris, #TheQualms.

How do the folks at PH do it? Well, we’d tell you – but then we’d have to kill you. And killing people is wrong. PLUS – trade secrets like that are closely guarded. Suffice it to say, they just do it. And you better get down to PH ASAP if it’s been a while. Because you may have forgotten how good a night in the theatre can be. It is life itself.

But just as important as the quality of what you’ll see on stage at PH is the beauty, finesse, and yes drama of their digital presence – the show before the show. And after. When it comes to digital engagement with the audience, the quality of which is what determines whether an actual physical audience will show up to the show, the lil’ old theatre that could down on W. 42nd is an extraordinary, visionary leader. Which is just what you’d expect based on the shows they put on.

Prepare for the extraordinary - both on stage and in the digital realms.  A touch of the artist is everywhere at Playwrights Horizons.
Prepare for the extraordinary – both on stage and in the digital realms. A touch of the artist is everywhere at Playwrights Horizons.

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Did He Like It? | The iPhone app shows how easy it can be to get the info you want

You are already, surely, a devout reader of Ken Davenport’s blog The Producer’s Perspective.

If not, go sign up. We’ll wait. Waiting…

There.

And what about Did He Like It?, the ingenious way to track all New York Times reviews (and also other outlets) in one place – also by Davenport.

No? Go sign up. We’ll wait again. Tra la la…

Now. There is also an iPhone app for Did He Like It? Have you downloaded it yet? No?

Then go here pronto.

So. Now that you have it – glory in its functionality. In one simple app, you can find any show and see what the all mighty NYT thought of it.

Pretty cool. The app shows just how easy getting the info you want should be – or already is.

Putting on the new product hat… Imagine a single app with all reviews for shows anywhere in the world. You simply search by city, show, playwright, etc. You can set up alerts so that you get reviews for any company, theatre, playwright, actor etc. you care about. Now that would be powerful.

Surely Davenport must be working on it…

Right there on your phone - the Ben Brantley action  hero.
Right there on your phone – the Ben Brantley action hero.

The last millimeter – Without a good UI, even the best data fails to connect

With a web app, it’s all about the last millimeter – the UI (user interface) someone sees on the screen, and the resulting UX (user experience) they have.

You may collect the world’s greatest data under the hood, but without the right skin to house it, present it, and filter it, the user is lost.

How will someone experience your web page, list or data set? Can they get the info they need? Is it enjoyable to use? In addition to just delivering the goods, are you also creating an experience, such that the user will want to return? Is it elegant?

All too often the last millimeter is forgotten, and nowhere is this more true than with event listing sites. Most of the time, users are faced with an unbeautiful grid view of info with commands to select something here, then click something here to get… something else over here?

Even with all the actual data in the system that the user wants (“What’s on tonight?”), without a good presentation and UX, the info may just as well not be there at all.

Unusable data. With apologies to Eddie Tufte.
Unusable data. With apologies to Eddie Tufte.

A good last millimeter lights up your data set. It is the difference between having access to Google maps – or only the data that sits behind Google maps. Imagine a grid list of numbers and coordinates – all the data used to drive the map – but without that brilliant UI. Wouldn’t be worth much.

A great example of an attractive and usable UI is Travel Portland’s events page.

You can easily change the date or genre you want to explore, and the results are gentle on the eyes and well summarized. There is a human – as opposed to a computer or machine – touch.

It should be this easy.
It should be this easy.

They say a voyage of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

But when it comes to a good app and usable data, everything comes down to the last millimeter.