I just attended Protofarm this evening and had a few comments about the
event and how to make future Farm events more effective.
Overall, there were a few good presos - I particularly enjoyed Tellme
talking about the Mobile Phone Sleeve and bringing their paper prototype to
life with a live demo, the talk about the Person prototype for GPS research,
the Axure prototype, PPT prototype, and Arduino. These were all good because
they actually showed off their working prototypes!
Sadly, lots of people did not really show prototypes in action or spent the
majority of time talking about their design process. The five minute time
slot was supposed to be focused on prototypes so I was disappointed that the
time was not used primarily for that.
Here are a few ideas for how to make things better in the future:
1) Strictly enforce the time limit. There was a five minute time limit
on presos and it was not at all enforced. Given the number of speakers, the
time enforcer needs to be a total slave driver, keeping people on track.
2) Have people arrive early to test their computer setup. There were
numerous IT issues with projecting; Yes, I know this always happens but one
solution is to require that speakers come early and test out their set up
with the projector so that they figure out what resolution/set up is going
to work in advance. Given the number of speakers, this is super important
for next time.
3) Make it clear what people should focus on in their presentation and
create a list of dos and don't in advance. I was expecting the presentation
to show off prototypes. Some people did that but a lot of people spent a lot
of time talking about their process before the prototype (i.e. ethnographic
study, requirements, blah, blah, blah). I was really interested in seeing
the prototypes and hearing how people MADE the prototype, not how they came
up with the design. Only a few presenters did that which was disappointing.
In the future, I would like to see some guidelines about what people should
present in the five minutes they are allotted to make things go smoothly.
4) Some people were presenting wireframes, not prototypes. Again, I
think this had to do with the lack of guidelines for content of presos.
Although straight non interactive wireframes would be interesting in a
WireframeFarm event, this was ProtoFarm. If you have a paper prototype, than
the thing to do is to show how you used it in an innovative manner like the
folks from Tellme did instead of just showing the wireframe on a screen.
5) Ask for more info when selecting speakers. People signed up for
Protofarm by adding a comment. To enhance the content, it would be nice to
ask people to answer a few questions about what they are presenting to make
sure that people are really presenting something that is on topic.
I'm sorry if I come off as grumpy but I just think the event had a lot of
potential and could have been a tad better if things were more concrete.