Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks

Official SXSW synopsis on Kathy Sierra Opening Remarks
Kathy on screen Kathy made an impact at SXSW 2006 on her topic of “Creating Passionate Users” (see our review), and it showed because not only was the main hall filled, two other rooms showing a live video of her presentation were apparently full as well. She did not disappoint us. In typical fashion she started with mass audience participation, getting us to classify ourselves as either designers, coders or money people. Then we had to meet two other people not from our group. That was fun.
Her focus was essentially on empathy and common sense. Today’s applications are still unable to detect emotional nuances of users, such as confusion and frustration. FAQs tend to be written for more tech-savvy people instead of common users. She gave an example of how one of her participants tried to find out how to add up data on an Excel spreadsheet and was given totally useless help information, wherever he searched.
She made us all laugh by suggesting that a new ‘WTF’ button should be created! She also gave hard statistics showing that users who received more personal-sounding instructions e.g. using the word ‘you’, had 20-46% higher success rate in solving problems than the group which didn’t. I think this could be the Moreno and Mayer (2000) study that she referred to. Please let me know if I’m wrong on this.
You can get many of Kathy’s points (including some graphics) used in her talk, in her recent blog posts here and here.
She’s definitely one of the better speakers and kept us captivated throughout. I won’t be surprised if she’s invited back to SXSW next year.
My rating: 4/5.