This is an archived version of the 2011 edition of UXLx. The current event website is at
11 to 13 May 2011
Lisbon, Portugal
Christopher Fahey
Christopher Fahey is a founding partner and user experience director at Behavior Design, an award-winning New York interaction design consultancy focused on building compelling and elegant user experiences. At Behavior, Chris has led the IA and UXD strategies for clients and projects in many industries and across diverse platforms. In his 15 years as a professional interaction designer and manager, Chris's projects have covered everything from business-critical web applications to sci-fi adventure games and artificial intelligence chatbots.

Chris is an active speaker on user experience design, speaking at events including An Event Apart, IxDA Interaction '10, the IA Summit, Euro IA, SXSW, The Society for Technical Communications Summit, and the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Expo. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Interaction Design, and has also taught at FIT, Brooklyn College, and the City College of New York. His interactive artwork has been featured in the Whitney and the New Museum. Chris also blogs about design, technology, cultural ideas at his personal site,

Christopher Fahey


Squandering the Cognitive Surplus

Clay Shirky coined the phrase "cognitive surplus" to describe humanity's untapped mental energy, energy being put to spectacular and beneficial use in collaborate efforts like Wikipedia. User experience designers are rapidly learning how to tap into this surplus through social and psychological insights into human behavior, inviting users to channel their intellectual energies into technologically-mediated interactions that people find emotionally rewarding and deeply compelling.

But where is the line between compelling interaction and compulsive behavior? With so much enthusiasm about "gamification", game mechanics, and behavior change, and with millions of people tagging other people's content and checking in every time they move around, designers of interactive systems should be asking themselves: what kinds of compelling and powerful interactive experiences actually enrich our lives... and what experiences simply drain our time and energy while providing nothing of value in return? How can we be sure we are using these psychologically engaging new interaction design patterns to make people's lives better?

We'll look at some real-world "anti-patterns" of interaction design, where human behavior is, to put it bluntly, being exploited. But we'll also look at how well-intentioned interactions might inadvertently dehumanize users by failing to address their deeper personal needs. Finally, we'll try to define some guiding principles around how to create engrossing, even addictive products and experiences that nonetheless empower and enrich the people who use them.

Friday, 13 May @ 15:30-16:10
40 minutes
Auditorium I

Our Sponsors and Supporters

Main Sponsors:
Novabase - Like Life - Online Hotel Reservations
Platinum Sponsors:
Microsoft Userzoom - Zooming in on the User Experience 23 Video

Gold Sponsors:
UX Pin - Paper Prototyping Redesigned Log - Open Source Consulting Tobii Technology Cacooo - Create Diagrams Online with Real Time Colaboration Anacom - Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações
Gold Partners:
ActiveMedia - ScreenEMotion Corefactor Sensebloom

Silver Sponsors:
Moo O'Reilly Rosenfeld Media Pearson Publishing Morgan Kaufmann - Elsevier Five Simple Steps Goplan Survs - Asking for you
HotGloo - The Online Wireframe App Loop11 - Online, Unmoderated User Testing invoic€xpress TrymyUI - Get the Users View OpenHallway - Simple Usability Testing Try - Consultoria e Pesquisas
Silver Partners:
Waterdog Mobile

Supporters: Axure - See it happen Balsamiq Studios Optimal Workshop - Make it Easy TAP Portugal Tryp Oriente AHP - Applications and Hosting Provider Raio Filmes
Media Sponsors: Johnny Holland