SXSW Day Two – Learning (Web Design) From Las Vegas

Dan Saffer (Adaptive Path, No Ideas But in Things) presented Sunday afternoon under the title “Learning Interaction Design From Las Vegas.”

The slides are available from his blog.

As a big fan of Venturi, Brown, and Izenour’s Learning from Las Vegas, I was worried at first that the presentation would be either:

  • Just a cute title with no substance, by (worst case) someone who’d never even read the original but a blurb on what it was about, or
  • Just a simple summary of Venturi et al with the notion that “we can learn from this as well”

Neither of these worries was well founded. Saffer clearly is familiar with Venturi’s work (and the historical / social / cultural context in which it appeared, which helps underline its meaning), and he did walk through examples of how to apply Venturi et al’s “lessons” but did so in a way that avoided oversimplifying interaction design or architecture.

Although the slides don’t really replicate the experience (a podcast should be forthcoming from SXSW) they’re still worth browsing through.

The session made me want to go reread Pierre Bourdieu on Distinction – and the connections between aesthetic taste and class.

Will “web 2.0” and the architectures of participation lead to changes in what we consider “appropriate” design for web applications, as they are democratized?