With about a month to go until the Float Mobile Learning Symposium, I’m pretty psyched. I’m a hometown Chicago boy so the idea that I can commute rather than travel to hang out with you fine folks and ideate is a rare treat for me. Anytime I get to geek out with guys like Robert Gadd, Kris Rockwell and Chad Udell, it’s pretty awesome. In addition to the impressive roster of speakers (what am I doing there again?), there are all of you designers and developers in the thick of things, augmenting a very real-world context with connectivity to other people and their know-how. You’re the people I want to hang out with. I want to know what *you* are doing.
When Float invited me to speak “On Designing Experiences” I just wrapped an unconference designed to bring together two communities that were ripe for blending: the greater design community with whom I’ve fallen and the community of learning technologists I’ve been part of for years. By the time we dwell together at the Float Mobile Learning Symposium, I’ll have delivered a second unconference, focused on experience design, and helped with the rollout of a major technology in the mobile learning world.
Two of these events I bootstrapped myself, moonlighting while working full-time with some pretty heavy responsibilities on that major technology rollout as my day job. The one common thread in these projects lies in the importance of having a community. Beyond the invention or novelty of these experiences and technologies, community is even more important in the innovation — the value that is delivered by these experiences and realized to the world. The community (or communities) you’re part of grounds everything in a context that follows you wherever you are.
There are certainly things that make mobile experiences unique. The device is an abstraction from whatever you would naturally be doing — it’s the hyperlink on a page of printed text, as it were. Experience design applies to mobile as much as any other medium, and such design starts with a set of lenses aimed at the arc of what a designer wants to accomplish and a respect, or empathy, for the audience: the community who is part of the experience.
I think of community both as participants in an experience and as stakeholders in what we’re co-creating — especially when it comes to learning. When we’re at the Symposium, my experience is going to be very unique from yours. Together, we’ll be situated in a shared context, but “shared” doesn’t mean “the same.” We have slightly different roles in this context, you and I (and “you” have pretty diverse roles, too). What lens do each of us have into this experience? What tools might we use as the experience is happening that would flesh out a richer information model of what’s we’re learning, so we continuously build our know-how together?
I would LOVE to geek out with you about this stuff and I hope you’ll comment below. I’m looking forward to rocking out with you next month during Techweek at 1871. It’s just one stop on the Brown Line down from my co-working hangout, The Coop. 🙂