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Design For Use


20 x slides | 15 x seconds | 13 x explosive talks

DEFUSE is upon us! We would like to thank all of our sponsors, speakers and volunteers who have helped setup. We recommend that you come early 7pm, as the comfy seats are quickly taken!

We will be having a twitter wall, our hash tag is #defusedublin.

Ignite Dublin
Come join the Dublin IxDA community for a night of inspiration, innovation and insight as some of Ireland's leading experts in the field of Interaction Design share their stories and highlight some of the most compelling design challenges they face.

IxDA Dublin will host an evening with 13 of Ireland's Interaction Design experts who have just five minutes to present their most compelling ideas about design. Topics include the psychology of decision making, stories about German army tactics, insect behaviour and more. The evening will also include a ‘Back of a Beermat’ design competition with great prizes up for grabs. First prize is an Xbox Kinect, thanks to the sponsorship of Microsoft BizSpark, a global program designed to accelerate the success of early stage startups.

Hosted in The Sugar Club we hope to continue the creative conversation late into the evening.  Come join us!

For the 2009 site please click here.

View images from defuse 2009.


Frank Long

MC for the event

Des Traynor, Contrast

Breandán Knowlton

My dog thinks it should be blue.

Breandán Knowlton. @bfk

Aren’t clients funny? We tell our war stories in the bar, we laugh at the absurdities and the insane hyperbole, we talk about design and business as two nations divided by a common language. But beneath all of that cognitive dissonance, there are actual people with actual problems to solve. And when you’re in the pub laughing about guys who want their logo bigger, they’re in the canteen laughing about the pretentious hipster with the funny spectacles who can’t bother to dress for meetings.

In the interest of common decency and to avoid further bloodshed, we’ll chat for a few minutes about what a client actually means when they ask you to add XML to their home page. And you might be surprised to learn what they hear when you’re telling them the difference between RGB and CMYK.

Breandán is a kid from New York City who came to Dublin to find his Irish roots. Unfortunately he got a bit carried away, changed his name and started playing the spoons. He now works at a big social network called Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Aileen O’Toole

Print can survive the digital onslaught

Aileen O’Toole, Managing Director, AMAS @AMASinternet

From newspapers and magazines to corporate brochures and flyers, print is under siege from the internet. Traditional print media is in crisis. Advertisers want to do more online campaigns and fewer that involve large and expensive print runs.

But wait. Print is not yesterday’s medium. It’s today’s and will be tomorrow’s. Despite the digital noise, the printed word remains very powerful. Print is a highly effective medium in grabbing attention and communicating detail. Print and web designers have much to learn from each others’ worlds.

Aileen O’Toole is Managing Director of internet consultancy AMAS , which provides a range of strategic services to business and government clients and publishes the popular State of the Net bulletin on digital trends (in print and online formats)

She is a co-founder of The Sunday Business Post newspaper and was a leading member of the team responsible for building one of Ireland’s most successful media brands. She was a shareholder in the newspaper from its inception in 1989 until 1997, when it was sold to Trinity Mirror plc. An award-winning journalist, she was the first woman in Ireland to edit a business publication.

In 2009, Aileen established and led the Ideas Campaign , a citizens’ initiative to harness ideas for economic recovery. The campaign met with a huge reaction, both in Ireland and internationally, and used digital marketing, particularly social media, to deliver on campaign objectives.

Ciarán Norris.


Ciarán Norris. @ciaranj

UGC, USC & WTF? If video killed the radio star, has the web really killed TV? These 20 slides will look at the real impact of UGC/social media on TV, advertising, what we're all watching and who bit whose finger.

Ciarán has been working online since he got a job in a Syndey internet cafe in 1999. Upon returning to the UK he worked in digital publishing for 7 years before moving agency side in April 2007. At digital shop Altogether he led the search, affiliate & social media capabilities, winning awards for the likes of Transport for London and Brylcreem.

In mid-2009 he moved to global media agency Mindshare, initially as the global Head of Social Media, before recently moving to Dublin as Mindshare Ireland's first Head of Digital, where he's getting used to the fact that he doesn't have an unusual name anymore.

Randall Snare

Space, public transportation and the art of getting lost.

Randall Snare @Randallsnare

Assimilating into a new environment is largely about the ease with which we learn to navigate through our new space. And the quality of our engagement with that new place is all about the collection of stuff we encounter, and the sequence in which we encounter it. I’ll talk about journeys: when they work, and more interestingly, when they don’t (especially in Dublin).

Randall Snare is a Content Strategist at iQ Content, She has spoken about content strategy and design at the first annual European Content Strategy Forum in Paris, at the DotConf in Dublin and Smart Content, the content and analytics conference in New York. She has a storytelling and content strategy blog, called Mapped.

John Wood

What business can learn from the German Army about managing design.

John Wood. @cogfric

If you were looking for a modern, touchy-feely, radical idea in management that would empower design teams to think for themselves, the last place you’d look would probably be the German army. You probably imagine that German soldiers are the very model of unquestioning obedience and conformity, but you’d be wrong – wrong to a really, very astonishing degree. Back in 1806 the Prussians were soundly beaten by Napoleon at Jena and Auerstedt, which made them re-examine how command and control worked on the battlefield. Over the remainder of the 19th Century, they developed a doctrine called Auftragstaktik, which delegates large amounts of power and freedom of action down through the ranks, to such great effect that almost every modern western army has copied the concept wholesale. It’s a bit good.

Businesses who micro-manage the activities of their design teams are likely to get their asses kicked as the Prussians did in 1806, so I’ll be arguing that they really should get with the programme, lighten up, delegate some power to their teams and watch them bloom, just like the prussians learned to long ago.

John Wood, Senior Analyst, iQ Content John began his career in the software industry as a technical writer in a large Irish eLearning company. He spent his days documenting poorly designed software and wondering if there was a way to build better software, which didn’t require quite so much documentation. He moved into business analysis, to see if he could make a difference at the start of the software engineering process, but found that even very carefully crafted use cases resulted in badly designed software.
About 1999, John discovered usability and switched careers. He first worked at the National Council of the Blind of Ireland as a researcher, designing and user testing experimental assistive technologies. For the past six years, John has been a senior user experience design consultant at iQ Content, evaluating and designing user interfaces for desktop software, web sites and web applications. He is currently interested in the lessons that UxD designers can learn from agile development methods, and how to manage and mentor design teams. He also has a degree in modern history, and what his colleagues consider an unhealthy obsession with the German military machine.

Blog: http://iqcontent.com/blog
Twitter (work): @iqcontent
Twitter (personal): @cogfric

Eoghan McCabe

The formula for success.

Eoghan McCabe @eoghanmccabe

Success is universally desired, sought by everyone. It comes in many forms. But amongst the plethora of tips and tricks and shortcuts there is just one simple, universal formula for success in any field. Success requires a combination of effort, ability, time and luck. Without all of these, success is impossible.

Eoghan is the founder and Managing Director of a web software company called Contrast. They design and develop software for their clients and a couple for themselves. One of these, called Qwitter, caused a big stink, gained 300k users, broke and was featured on CNN, WSJ, Guardian, Wired, The Times... It was acquired this year. The other, Exceptional, is a little more serious. It tracks errors on our users sites and helps their developers fix them fast. It's currently installed in about 6,000 live web sites around the world and also on a satellite orbiting the world. Seriously.

Dr Pete Lunn

Decisions, decisions… and how to frame them

Dr Pete Lunn

Designers are choice architects: they create the environments within which our decisions are made. The growing fields of behavioural economics and decision science provide empirical foundations on which to build better choice architecture. The findings show that our decisions are systematically influenced by how they are framed. We change our decisions according to default options, levels of risk and uncertainty, relative comparisons, the potential for losses, cognitive costs, timing of rewards and social norms. By understanding these core principles of human decision-making, designers can create choice architecture that improves our decisions and, consequently, our wellbeing.

Dr. Pete Lunn Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) Pete Lunn is a behavioural economist, author and former journalist with BBC Newsnight. Originally trained in neuroscience, Pete requalified as an economist and his primary research interest is economic decision-making. Pete is the author of Basic Instincts: Human Nature and the New Economics, a book that introduces general readers to the increasingly influential field of behavioural economics, which is leading to profound changes in our understanding of individual decision-making and its impact on the wider the economy. Pete has also a written numerous contributions on economic behaviour for national newspapers and magazines in Ireland and the UK.

Antonella Sassu

Why can we learn from ants and bees?

Antonella Sassu @misentoscossa

Ants and bees are less intelligent than human, yet they can build complex structure like the anthill and the hive. These creatures are not aware of the entirety of their organization which is an emergent product of their interactions.
The real world is complex (and sometimes complicated!). Understand the structures and the relations of the world (in terms of whole-parts) can help us to render a good and simple design and to find the best solution for the problem we are trying to solve. We'll try to skip from a mechanistical point of view to a complex one.

Antonella is graduated in Communication Science (bachelor) and Multimedia Communication (Master degree) with a specialization in Interaction Design (Taught Master). After a very good experience in Paris at Attoma Design, where she worked on the cognitive basis of public transport in the metropolitan of Paris, one year ago she left her Sardinia for come in Ireland to learn English. She is interested in Cognitive Science and User experience and in general she is very curious about everything which involves art, colors, electronic music, urban life, architecture and public transport. Actually she is working at the Clarity Centre for Sensor Web Technologies at the University College Dublin in a project about ubiquitous and social robotics. The C

Colm Brophy

Game design lessons for interaction design.

Colm Brophy @colmbrophy

Amid the rush to use game design elements to create more compelling, immersive and addictive services, are we understanding the true benefits of playful design? We’ll explore the art of game design and learn why simply adding achievements or points may not make the difference we hope for.

Colm is a freelance User Experience Architect based in London. After finishing his degree in Mathematics and Psychology, and realising his degree made him qualified for nothing, Colm headed for London to do a Masters degree in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics at University College London. After a number of years working at a consultancy called Conchango working on some fantastic digital projects, he decided to set up his own company, Orangered, in March this year. Since then he's been working with the online fashion retailer ASOS to help them create a fashion Marketplace.

Séamus T. Byrne

What's The Story? Infusing Experiences with the Ancient Craft of Storytelling

Séamus T. Byrne @SeamusByrne

Throughout history storytelling has evolved with new technologies from cave paintings to Twitter.

Discover how to increase traffic, improve user experience, and convert customers with the craft of storytelling. Adding a good story in your website design strategy is a vital step in building lasting, trusting relationships between your customers and your business. Best practices of storytelling can be applied to online strategies, multimedia pieces, user interface design or branding campaigns. Find out how!

Séamus T. Byrne is co-founder and creative director at Graphic Mint, a design studio based in Dublin, Ireland.

He has over ten years experience designing user experiences for web and mobile applications. He was co-creator of the The Organic City, a community storytelling project. He is co-founder of IxDA Dublin and is a member of the IIA’s UX Working Group.

He shares his thoughts everyday on Twitter (@seamusbyrne), and less frequently on blogs Graphic Mind and Narration X.

Ellen Dudley

Does the internet ever make you feel like sh*t?

Ellen Dudley @meetforeal

As we spend ever more time immersing ourselves in mobile and web applications, are we spending our time in ways that are productive, or meaningful? The internet is all too good at demonstrating the most remarkable: outliers by both skill and luck; and as a result, prolonged immersion can give you an inferiority complex. Are we doomed to promote competition, jealousy, addiction, lack of creativity and depression, or can we design to inspire?

Ellen Dudley trained as a Biomedical Engineer and was eager to spend the recommended 10+ years working in a boring job in order to have enough “experience” to go it alone, until some random life happenings rudely interrupted her. Since then, she has been on a mission to live an interesting life, dabbling with writing, coding, designing, but most of all, hacking socialising. She has co-founded two technology start-ups, most recently crowdscanner.com, and has spoken at conferences from Derry to Boston, all for her love of trying (and oftentimes failing) to design social objects that trigger strangers to talk with one another.

The Notion Lads

Where Physical meets digital.

Ian Walton & Marcel Twohig @designbynotion

An industrial designer's perspective on how future product experiences will need to mesh both the tangible and the digital properties of objects to create really meaningful interactions. Drawing on art, theory, sci-fi and hacks to understand how to create value at the intersection of the physical and the digital worlds.

Ian and Marcel are the founders of Notion, a Dublin based industrial design studio. Notion translates user insight, cultural observation and brand fluency into thoughtfully crafted products and strategies.The team’s background is in Industrial Design, sharing over ten years experience designing products for global consumer brands at both in-house and consultancy level. Ian and Marcel's work has been recognised in publications, exhibitions & competitions including Time Magazine, CES Innovations, Designweek UK and the Museum of Modern Art New York.


7pm, Tue November 2nd


The Sugar Club


13 Speakers

How Long?

Each Speaker has 20 Slides, and 15 secounds a slide.
(5 Min per Speaker)


Free (Thanks to sponsors)


This event is not ticketed. First come first served. Show up early.

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