SXSW In Review

sxswLike other fellow Ketchum colleagues, this was my first time attending SXSW. Knowing the history of this conference, I came with the expectation and hope to find out what the next big “it” thing would be. Instead, there has been a focus on why certain ideas have flourished. Read on for some key points of advice from this year’s SXSW:

1. Design Your Environment

BJ Fogg, an Experimental Psychologist, created this model: B=mat. Behavior = Motiviation.  Ability. Trigger. Fogg pointed out that, as a culture, we are constantly overreaching. He suggests setting realistic goals because no behavior will happen without a trigger. This is why the web is littered with like and tweet buttons because they are proven to be effective triggers.

2. Good typography matters

Richard Rutter, a UX Designer and web typography evangelist ran a compelling session how font matters. While many do not think it affects them, the right font has the power to increase readability, particularly when transferring between desktop and mobile.

3. Do Not Create A Voice

Harvey Levin, creator of TMZ, has spent the last few years transitioning TMZ from a website to a web series to a broadcasted show. Levin has found the unique way to blend the various assets to create a unified experience which he believes is achieved by not creating a voice. By creating a voice, Levin believes it produces white noise and feels rather restrictive. He suggests, alternatively, by creating a personality, you are able to play off of the different elements, thereby creating dynamic opportunities.

4. Social Is a Utility

The Ad Council and It Gets Better session, provided a powerful example of how to stop cyber bullying by posting a 30 second YouTube video which was leveraged to save lives. Additionally, platforms such as foursquare are not only a social platform but also a database. Dennis Crowley, Creator and CEO of Foursquare, pointed out that this is why Foursquare is at the top of the game when it comes to location apps. Their focus has been to have the freshest database, which is the key to their success and longevity. Dennis Crowley ended his session with a great quote: “SXSW is a time where we can live in the future together for a few days before heading back to the present.” After having experienced SXSW first hand, I am not sure I ever want to go back to the present.

If you’re thinking of coming to SXSW 2014 for the first time, check out this video by Chris Yates of Huddle Productions, What NOT to do at SXSW: