Delight 2016 highlight audience throwing paper balls

Delightful highlights from 2016

Before 2016 wraps up we wanted to take a moment to highlight the most popular posts from from the past 12 months. Our top 10 posts cover a mix of topics ranging from excellent user experiences at Walt Disney World to Delight Conference highlights and speaker spotlights. We hope you like our look back.

1. Creating content with compassion at Facebook

Most of us have a pretty routine relationship with Facebook. You wake up, check your News Feed, catch up on posts by friends that make you smile. But sometimes the experience is more intense. At Delight 2016 Jasmine Probst talked about designing for difficult experiences and showing compassion in these sensitive situations.

2. Society of Grownups helps millennials take the fear out of finances

Launched with support from MassMutual in 2014, Boston’s Society of Grownups provides a stress-free environment for young adults to get help with financial planning. Through one-on-one advice, classes, supper clubs, and online tools and resources, the organization helps its millennial clients learn about topics ranging from investments and debt to buying a home—or even a good bottle of wine.

*Editor’s note: In October 2016, Society of Grownups announced they were reorganizing and refocusing their strategy. As a result, they’ve closed their space in Brookline, MA and migrated to an all-digital brand. See details: Society of Grownups Goes All Digital, All the Time

3. Design for Real Life: ‘There’s no checklist for the human experience’

No one sets out to plunge a digital dagger into someone’s emotional well-being—or even to ruin their day with a crappy experience. But as Sara Wachter-Boettcher and her co-author Eric Meyer discovered, it happens every day, in spite of our best intentions. Design for Real Life is a small book with big implications for the way we approach experience design. Sara was one of our keynote speakers at Delight 2016 where she talked about some of the challenges she addresses in the book.

4. Track me if you can—the data behind my first Boston Marathon

Running is often viewed as a sport that has a low barrier to entry and, until recently, has been pretty low tech. Anyone can throw on a pair of sneakers and run around the block a few times to give running a try. Today, however, running—and the technology that goes with it—has entered the 21st century.

5. Disney MagicBands create real life magic every day

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: magic is real. I know it might be hard to believe, but Walt Disney World Resorts and Theme Parks created what can only be described as a magical experience with their aptly named “MagicBands.”

6. Don’t stop to shop: the promises and pitfalls of grocery technology

Depending on your point of view, grocery shopping can either be a pleasure or a pain, but love it or hate it, it’s something almost all of us have to deal with on a regular basis. And as grocery stores introduce new technology to make shopping more efficient and convenient, nearly everyone experiences the impact—for better or worse.

7. Enchanted objects: embedding ordinary things with extraordinary power

In the last 50 years weve seen technological advances that were once the stuff of fantasy and science fiction—from Dick Tracy-style watches to driver-less cars. Chances are youve got a smartphone within easy reach, and it does far more than any Star Trek crew member ever dreamed of.

8. Designing for play involves more than just fun & games

When we think about play, we often imagine a child’s world of toys and games, but who says play has to be confined to our childhoods? Michelle Lee leads the Design for Play Team at IDEO Toy Lab, an integrated team of researchers, designers and developers bringing engaging, interactive and playful experiences to market. Their work includes building beloved children’s apps such as Balloonimals and Monster Moves, as well as partnering with respected brands like Sesame Workshop, Fisher-Price and Leapfrog to co-create favorite apps such as the top-ranking Elmo Calls.

9. Kimpton delight starts with culture

Lots of organizations profess a commitment to customer experience, but few brands go to such fanatical lengths as Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants to surprise and delight guests. Even four-legged, furry guests are treated like VIPs! Maggie Lang, Kimpton’s Senior Director of Consumer Marketing and Engagement, says delight is part of something much larger than a campaign, or even a strategy.

10. We’re going on a field trip!

The breakout is a mainstay of most conferences. But, inspired by the suggestion of past Delight Conference attendees, we’re embedding these interactive sessions in the community this year. That means you’ll have the chance to get out and go behind the scenes at some of Portland’s coolest work environments and learn first-hand from leaders at each organization.

What would you like us to explore on in 2017? We’re looking for topics in/around the areas of user experience and design. Please let us know what you want to see in the comments below.