The very first ever HOW Interactive Design conference got off to a great start this morning!

You may ask, Ben Lueders– what made it so great?”

Well the answer is really two-fold: free design stuff and complimentary Starbucks coffee. (But it was really the hot tea, lemon and honey that I gravitated towards- to soothe this rookie podcaster’s very sore throat.)

I immediately recognized the very intelligent and likeable David Sherwin (Frog Design) sitting at a table in the lobby on his MacBook pro. It was great to get to know him a little bit- and he’s excited to be interviewed on the podcast later today. David is one of the main speakers at the HOW IDC, and is leading the “PROGRESSIVE DESIGN CHALLENGE”- a participatory design activity to engage the largely print-minded conference-goers to think more “interactively”- while simply using the pen and paper they already know and love.


David Sherwin gave an intelligent and likeable (and well designed) presentation for the “PROGRESSIVE DESIGN CHALLENGE”. (He was wearing a hat that could be described as both intelligent and likable.)

15 year digital interactive designer Jose Cabellar shocked the audience by confessing that he’s never actually coded a website. He emphasized that so much of of interactive design takes place on white boards, conversations, storytelling, and in your moleskine. Here’s a memorable slide from Jose’s presentation:

Information architect Karen McGrane explained to us emphatically (in a lightly profanity-laced presentation) that CONTENT is of utmost importance. Designers tend to focus so much on exterior aesthetics that often the actual content of our projects is absolutely forgotten. She captured this faulty idea very vividly in her opening illustration. Would you give a loved one a beautifully wrapped package…with nothing inside? Is content really of secondary importance? No it is not.

Alright- break’s over! Looks like David Sherwin’s giving a presentation on Information Architecture. (Dang- he sounds so intelligent… yet very likeable…)