Posts tagged “las vegas”

I Now Confirm Thee . . .

A little while ago, I got an interesting email message from Facebook:

To: Dan Soltzberg
Subject: Theresa Soltzberg said that you two are married…

Theresa said on Facebook that you two are married. We need you to confirm that you are, in fact, married to Theresa.

To confirm this relationship request, follow the link below:

    http://www.facebook.com/n/?home.php

Thanks,
The Facebook Team

Theresa is, in fact, my wife. After briefly considering several possibilities for practical joking, I followed the link, and was presented with this grand choice:

relationship-request.jpg

With the price of gas skyrocketing, will we see this replacing the Vegas wedding as the quick solution to getting married?

Anyway, I confirmed, and just wanted to share my nuptial joy with all of you . . .

Needs

Booking the hotel for our event at the IASummit I found this rough edge on the confirmation screen.
5ad36d41.jpg
Circled in red, about halfway down. “Need copy.” Yes, you do still need the copy there. Sad that you launched this with the memo-to-self still intact. It’s smart to use a different tool for marking up content, lest the markup gets confused with the content itself. Proofreading can catch some of those mistakes, but not all of them. And here, we the end-user get a small reminder of the hands at work behind the scenes.

Learning from Las Vegas: Insights from the Ordinary and the Extraordinary

Update: this event has been cancelled

iagloballogo.gif
The IA Summit program is up, including our workshop:

Bill DeRouchey, Dan Saffer, Steve Portigal

22/03/2007 (Thursday). Full day.

How often do several hundred user experience practitioners gather in Las Vegas, a global capital of experience design? The opportunity is priceless. Let’s get out of the hotel and go see it. Let’s go Learn from Las Vegas.

Experience design goes beyond the screen, even beyond physical products. Entire environments are architected and designed to intentionally evoke specific experiences. In Vegas, this intention is amplified; from the slot machines you first see leaving your plane to the lack of coffee makers in your hotel room. Every detail has a purpose. Very little is left to organic chance. This gives us an incredible opportunity to critically examine those design decisions as user experience practitioners rather than tourists.

In this full-day workshop, we will take what we know from the field of user experience and apply it to looking at intentionally designed spaces. We will consider everything. Just how little wayfinding is there? How few steps are required to use a slot machine, and then again, and again? How is money transacted? Why does the inside of Paris simulate outside? How often does the present experience reference a more exotic experience? How are each of our senses being stimulated, influenced, or focused?

But even more importantly, how do people behave in these environments? Can we determine the impact of these decisions on the users? Their actions? Attitudes? Or expectations?

I’m looking forward to this!

FreshMeat #1: Blue Hawaii, or Viva Las Vegas

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FreshMeat #1 from Steve Portigal

               (__)                     
               (oo) Fresh                  
                \\/  Meat

Pass it on!

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What is the connection between quality and authenticity?
And is it really a small world after all?
========================================================
Do you ever watch other people when you go on vacation?
Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard, but I find myself
constantly curious about the people I see. Did they
choose this place for the same reasons I did? If not,
what brought them here?

This seems to be a fun exercise although it’s rare to
get any answers. It does provoke self-analysis, which if
you’re me, is a good thing to do on vacation.
I found myself in Waikiki a little while ago. It’s
totally a tourist area – a few blocks with hundreds of
hotels, surf lessons, beaches, palm trees, cafes, and
restaurants. Other parts of Hawaii are considered by
some as the “real” place to go – in fact I have to fight
the need to apologize for choosing Waikiki as my
destination.

While there, I thought a lot about previous trips to Las
Vegas, which is another area that exists solely for
tourists to come and consume manufactured tourist
experiences.

Vegas is typified by the Venice casino, a recreation of
its namesake (indoors), with clouds painted on the
ceiling and gondoliers who use professional audio
equipment for their singing. To me, it’s crap. Most of
the Strip is (increasingly) this sort of crap.

In Waikiki, two guys in an SUV pull up to the beach at
6:30, then leap out clad in a brand-new bright red and
gold nylon traditional toga-like outfit (obviously, it
looks nothing like a toga, but the point is, there are
no pants to it). One takes a conch shell and stoically
blows into it three times, turning 90 degrees each time.
The other scampers around carrying a burning stick and
lights all the built-in torches along the beach.

Now, this struck me as cool. Obviously, this was
completely manufactured for tourists who want to think
they’ve had some kind of authentic Hawaiian experience.
It was goofy, but I pointed out to myself that at least
it was derived from something real. To me, this form of
revisionism seemed less dangerous, less offensive, and
less crappy than mini-versions of Paris, New York, or
Venice.

Is it simply the fact that Vegas passes itself off as
opulent indulgence (successfully, it seems) that presses
so hard on the inauthentic button for me? Or is the
context of Hawaii so powerfully wonderful that no amount
of Disneyfication can eliminate it? And why is it that
the guys dressed up like Klingons at the Star Trek
Experience were the most genuine thing in all of Las
Vegas?

Clearly further study on these locations is required. My
current hypothesis is that it is the vacationer’s intent
(gamble, relax, indulge, party, nature-immersion, etc.)
that tints the sunglasses the appropriate shade of rose.

Postscript: If you’re interested in Hawaii from a
cultural and historical point of view, check out The
American Raj
by John Gregory Dunne, in the May 7, 01 New
Yorker. He looks at the multiple ethnic groups and
cultures (the Navy being one of them) that make up
Hawaii, and does a nice comparison of Pearl Harbor (the
event), Pearl Harbor (the movie), and the sinking of the
Japanese fishing boat by the Greenville.

Postscript 2: A recent NYT travel feature “Honolulu
Proves Clichés Can Charm
” provides more description of
Waikiki.

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