I am delighted to announce this year's Closing Plenary speaker, Cennydd Bowles!
The closing plenary tradition started in 2005 as a way to bring the Summit to an end with an inquisitive session looking to the future of our practice and practitioners. The selection criteria for the closing plenary speaker is simple but important: an interesting voice from within our community with something meaningful to say about the direction of the practice.
I have been very impressed by Cennydd's thoughts on what we do and how it may be changing. His presentation during the 2010 IA Summit in Phoenix, The Future of Wayfinding, generated a lot of discussion and received very positive feedback from attendees. Cennydd has a lot of experience speaking and often shares his love for the craft in conferences and community events. His enthusiasm for the work he does and his desire to contribute to the broader community makes him a perfect match for the Closing Plenary. Read more about Cennydd below.
The Closing Plenary Legacy
Cennydd is preceded by a great group of people in this role. In preparation for this announcement, I asked previous Closing Plenary speakers to share some words of wisdom about what it means to be the one wrapping up the Summit and if they had any advice for Cennydd. Here's what they had to say:
"The closing keynote speaker is presented with the challenge to weave a meaningful pattern from the diverse shades, colors and threads spread throughout the preceding days while adding an original spin. Leave lots of spaces in any prepared remarks to react as you see fit on the day. But it's been 10 years, perspective is a two-way street. Big IA? Oh yes! Little IA? If you must. Remember, there's a world of ideas out there. Beyond labels, give people a vision for IA and remind us what defines any profession beyond the motive for profit. Oh, and leave plenty of time for questions. Finally, enjoy it -- it you can't, who can?"
- Andrew Dillon, 2005 Closing Plenary Speaker
"Closing the summit was an awesome and exhausting responsibility. I felt beholden to this amazing community of practitioners, and did what I could to point a way forward."
- Peter Merholz, 2006 Closing Plenary Speaker
"I'm looking forward to hearing Cennydd's perspective on any facet of what we do that interests him. If it's something he is passionate about, it will certainly translate to an excellent talk. Good luck!"
- Andrew Hinton, 2008 Closing Plenary Speaker
"In my closing plenary at the 2010 IA Summit, I implored our community to encourage new voices, engage with other disciplines, and eliminate the echo chamber. Cennydd Bowles is a champion of all three: he's outgoing, outspoken, and outstanding at delivering a clear vision for the future of our community. His voice has grown ever stronger in the past year, with the release of his book Undercover User Experience Design, his criticism on the pollution of UX, and his multitude of speaking engagements in the UK. We are privileged to have him bring his insights to the US -- our first international closing keynoter -- to recalibrate our goals and reinvigorate us on our mission to create life-enhancing experiences."
- Whitney Hess, 2010 Closing Plenary Speaker
More about Cennydd
Cennydd Bowles is a user experience designer and writer based in Brighton, UK.
A leading figure in the British user experience community, Cennydd co-founded the UX London and UXCampLondon conferences and is an active mentor of British user experience talent. He speaks at design and UX conferences across the globe, and his thoughts on design have been quoted in publications as diverse as Design Week and the Abu Dhabi National. Recently, Cennydd has turned his attention to what lies beyond the horizons of the desktop computer, and the intersection of the physical and digital worlds.
His book Undercover User Experience Design, written with colleague James Box, has been acclaimed as "a must have for your bookshelf". He writes a popular blog and contributes regularly to influential publications including A List Apart, Johnny Holland and .net magazine.
At Clearleft (Design Agency of the Year 2009), Cennydd advises clients including Samsung, The Open University, JustGiving, Gumtree and WWF International on the benefits of putting users first. He also shapes the design and strategy of Clearleft's famous Silverback usability testing suite and pioneering web fonts application, Fontdeck.
PS: If you are wondering, Cennydd is a Welsh name and it's pronounced KEN-ith.