BUX Crashes the Internet Summit 2012 Pre-Conference

6 am is an ungodly time even after the time change.

Sure, it’s fine if you’re getting up because you’re a morning person or because you’re well rested or because you’re in a coffee commercial or have kids, but the day after watching election results well into the night is not the time to wake up that early.

So, of course, I had to wake up that early. Why? Because Jenna and I needed to make the trek to Raleigh from Wilmington to attend the Internet Summit, where I was also a speaker.

The Internet Summit is divided into to parts – a smaller workgroup pre-conference and a larger “hey, we got guys from Google and Twitter to come speak!” sessions. You know what I’m talking about… the big names.

I’m part of the smaller morning pre-conference.

The way the Summit is structured this morning is that there are 3-4 concurrent speakers in different rooms and each room has a specific theme.

The room I’m sitting in is all about UX.

The first speaker, Mick Winters, spoke on “User Experience Testing: A/B Testing, Heatmaps, & More”. Unfortunately it started at 8am and was finished by the time we got to Raleigh. I was bummed I missed it because it sounded good!

The second speaker, Saya “Sally” Behnam, Creative Director, Design 4UX gave a talk titled “8 Principles for Better UI/UX Design in Mobile and Tablets”. The principles she talked about are:

  1. Design for the mobile mindset
  2. Gathering data and understanding your audience
  3. When and why you’d use responsive design, and mobile design vs. app design
  4. Study navigation patterns
  5. Design for different orientation
  6. Gesture design
  7. Use of icons
  8. User interaction, microcopy, and input design

She spoke behind the podium, her head barely peeking above her laptop reading in Ariana Huffington’s accent. The room seemed disinterested.

After a short break, the next speakers – Kit Unger and Alok Jain from 3 Pillar Global gave a talk titled “How Customer Think (in the Experience Economy)”.

I liked these guys. They had lots of fun anecdotes about Apple. They seemed to really understand the importance of including the user in developing a digital presence. They used a quote that’s very similar to one I used in mine (although mine had dirty language in it).

Theirs: “If you aren’t listening, you’re guessing.”

Mine: “If you work for a company that wants UX but you never get to talk to a customer, you’re making shit up.”

They also talked about Lovemarks and how emotional design impacts user design.

They were also the only speakers I saw that had us do an exercise. In our exercise, we had to design a touchscreen interface for the DC metro. Afterwards, we were shown a video of a user going through the DC Metro ticketing process. This allowed us to see if our designs satisfied her problems. Honestly, it felt a little backward to me — we should have seen the video and then been asked to create a touchscreen interface based on it and a few business criteria, but their point stands: including the user’s perspective is crucial.

For my speech, which was the last of the pre-conference right before the initial Keynote, I talked about Current Trends and Tools in UX. Newman and I have been kicking the idea around for the past few podcasts and I have to say, I think it went over really well.

Here’s my PowerPoint, if you’d like to take a look:


I asked Jenna to chime in with her thoughts on my speech because being up there, it’s hard to get a read…

Jenna’s Thoughts

I had a lot of fun “geekin’ out” today at the 2012 Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC. It was refreshing to be reminded there is a whole community of web professionals (not just me and Ben :P) that get excited about helping businesses succeed online. Speaking of excited… Ben was sooo excited to be a featured speaker and to talk about one of his favorite topics, the User Experience (UX), what it is and the ways we consider UX in every level of a product development process.

Even though I had listened to Ben’s speech two times already and was relatively familiar with the content, I wanted to listen with fresh ears and try to learn about some more of the tools (the sweet nectar of UX) available to achieve a better user experience.  The best part is, I did! It’s rare that a day goes by that Ben isn’t giving me a “speech” about something, but this was different. Like sitting in a class that I wanted to be in, and it felt like the whole room felt that way. Finally, a speaker with some “life” in their speech.

I was engaged. Everyone I looked at around the room was engaged.  Ben wasn’t hiding behind the podium, clicking through slides. He moved around the stage, asked the audience questions and presented useful content in a clear and meaningful way.

Afterwards, I watched him talk with folks, they were very complimentary — with one guy saying that it was on par with a Seth Godin level speech.

We walked around and talked with various vendors for the next few hours. We hung out with the folks from Emma, the commercial email service provider. we talked to Brett at Adobe about those new Adobe commercials and what their product does (hint: attribution). We said hello to John from wilmingtondowntown.com and Fran from the Small Business Technology Development Center at UNCW. We learned about iGoDigital from Rachel Johnson and ExactTarget from Jake Rouse who both seemed to be getting along, which is good because iGoDigital was bought by ExactTarget about a month ago.

We wrapped up by talked to Lindsay Rice at the eye tracking firm Tobii and Christie Soper from Signnovate.

I’m hoping we’ll have some or all of these folks on the podcast in the future.

A special thanks to Joanna Wolfe at the Internet Summit for arranging everything and Allan Branch from Less Everything for the speaker recommendation.

We’re glad to see everybody so fired up about improving their businesses digitally and look forward to talking to everybody some more in the future!

2 comments on “BUX Crashes the Internet Summit 2012 Pre-Conference

  1. Best presentation of the summit, IMO. The “big names” didn’t have anything much to say (except “hey, did you know that social media is, like, big?). You actually had a nice balance of how-to and opinion. And that matter-of-fact southern delivery style. I was pleased to find out that you have a podcast, but dang it if I couldn’t find a link to the audio! Guess that’s how podcasts work? Just ask iTunes for it?

    • Page! Thanks for the compliment on the talk. It feels good to know that you got some value out of it. It was a fun one to put together.

      And dang it, it’s the simple things that escape us…

      I totally need a podcast subscription button on the site. There isn’t one presently.

      But I can hook you up with the iTunes link until I can update the site… Subscribe to the podcast!


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