Vote for Future-Defining Sessions at SXSW 2021

Topics include social good, personalization, and remote collaboration

SXSW PanelPicker voting is open through November 20th for the 2021 virtual conference

Our annual “It’s that time of year again!” post for SXSW voting is slightly different this year. SXSW has had to adjust to pandemic circumstances along with the rest of the world, and updated its PanelPicker process to account for a (primarily) virtual 2021 conference.

Coming later in the year and in a shorter window than we’re used to, the 2021 PanelPicker is now open for community input—so get your voting fingers ready! argodesign submitted three fantastic sessions this year, each that define a better future, and we hope you’ll show your enthusiasm for them by logging on and voting.

Voting closes at 11:59 CT on November 20th.

Here’s a quick look at what argo would like to share with SXSW audiences next March.

As the world wrestles with new realities, product designers can be uncertain about our place in it. Who are we to take on such wicked problems? Turns out, we’re the very people who should. Design is an inherently optimistic profession — we take a confusing or fraught experience and breathe new life into it. When we design well, these experiences become part of people’s everyday habits, maybe even a part of their identity.

In this talk, Mehera O’Brien, Head of Creative, New York, shares how the lessons learned from two design firms’ work for a Haitian maternal health non-profit are being translated into new initiatives, including a residency program at argo studios and an initiative we call Maternal Health Futures, a participatory seminar that uses creative storytelling techniques to frame the future.

Vote for Mehera’s session here.

argodesign was just digging into the development of a visualization tool for DreamWorks when COVID-19 hit. Knowing we’d have to collaborate remotely between Austin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and Kiev, the team designed a collaboration process that could work across 11 time zones. A robust and confident combination of Jira, Figma, and Storybook made it all possible, providing an operating system for our design, a QA and documentation resource for development, and guaranteeing a single source of truth between both. We now have a tightly integrated process between these entities and the live app, setting us up with a strong foundation and framework as we begin even more projects within DreamWorks.

Join Creative Technologist Ian MacDowell and Design Lead Bessy Kim to hear more about how they kept a remote team of designers and developers in sync and a client engaged and invested, while adhering to an incredibly high degree of precision, both in the design and development, while spread out across the world.

Vote for Ian and Bessy’s session here.

The public has soured on microtargeting and social platforms, thanks to rampant misuse of personal data. We struggle with how much privacy to forgo for a more convenient lifestyle. Social media and data intelligence are not necessarily poisoned fruits; rather, modern implementations are plagued by perverse incentives and a lack of ethical guidance.

Obsessed with creating a more perfect future, designers think a lot about how to recognize and correct predatory design. Rusty Kocian, Associate Creative Director at argodesign, is optimistic that the right application of technologies and practices can leverage data to create experiences that are positive and economically viable. In this session, he’ll dissect the seven deadly sins of personalization, explore ethical alternatives, and discuss how we can course-correct to build a better world.

Vote for Rusty’s session here.

Happy voting!