Day 14: SXSW, concluded

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

The Seven Arms of Creativity

Carole Guevin (

Tension is the enemy of creativity. When getting an assignment, absorb, don’t start thinking about how yet. Make a list of 5 points.

Creativity is not a job, it’s a mindset. It doesn’t require a perfect time and place.

After absorbing, research, until you find the tread. Carole keeps calling audience members up to look at pictures for 5 seconds, then tell the audience what they saw.

Elimination process: Do mock ups, then start tweaking. Next is delivery. Constraints are a tool for delivering creativity. They set boundaries. Put aside your own tastes.

I have a handout with all her points. Whatever I miss right now, I’ll go back and fill in later.

Q: How do you apply this to collaborative work?

The first idea is the best idea. If you don’t have anything better to suggest, than shut up. Team leader has veto power.

Q: How do you get the whole group into this “7 Arms of Creativity” mindset?

Get everybody on the same page.

Accessibility: Building Virtual Curbcuts

Randolph Bias (University of Texas), Andrew Kirkpatrick (National Center for Accessible Media), Bob Regan (Macromedia), Sharron Rush, moderator (Knowbility)

Bias: The need for usability testing. Different people perceive things in different ways. Performance during testing may not be the same as normal performance. Developers are not awarded for usability.

Kirkpatrick: Captioning. Adding captions are good for deaf people, but it does not help them if they can’t read, or the text is too small. Adding sign language can help.

Self-voicing: Applications that talk. It is necessary to offer both self-voicing and captions to support both deaf and blind.

MAGpie — Media Access Generator. Free tool for creating captions, alternate text, etc.

Regan: Text equivalents for graphics & animations. How you caption the graphic depends on how it is used. He demonstrates the accessibility panel in Flash MX. Because screen readers do not support the description field, just use the name. “Don’t look inside animation” will keep the screen reader from constantly refreshing the screen reader. You can script the accessibility options. Descriptions can be used to imply structure. Put site information in a separate button so the user doesn’t have to hear the structure on each page. Provide context for the state of each control.

Keyboard short-cuts — All embedded media will trap the tab key, so you can’t tab out. Using Flash + JavaScript, you can do it. Tab order is crucial. Keep reading space small. Use script to set tab order.