I used to be a massive fan of paper. Until I had to fit everything into 30kg of luggage and move 11,000 miles around the world, and end up hot desking a lot since. Since then I’ve been far more picky about what I collect when it comes to paper –  am I prepared to deal with the stress of travelling with it? What happens if I lose it?

With this in mind, I was a little skeptical of Brian Suda’s love of paper. His (I hope somewhat tongue-in-cheek) checklist of how paper was better than digital was certainly skewed towards favouring paper. Still, I came around to some of his points, thanks to some key points of focus.

One was to do with with concept of mapping. This can mean location maps, but by this I actually mean the process of choosing what you’re portraying and what you’re ignoring. (Richard Ingram spoke about this topic at UX Scotland 2014). Suda’s lovely example was that of creating a business card sized calendar with the specific purpose of being a lookup what day of the week a particular date falls on.

I actually used this after the conference at a bus stop while investigating weekend train travel (damn you thetrainline for not showing a calendar picker!).

I was also initially sceptical of his example of getting to design an airline boarding pass for real rather than as an unsolicited submission: I’m a thorough Apple Wallet convert for its sheer practicality (compared to a horror last year of three sets of boarding passes to get from Newcastle to Auckland), even if I have to keep an eye on battery. However, I was sold on his concept of creating print-as-you-go mini-guides before the event with customised information such as particular google map directions and other widgets.

Brian Suda showing the NUX pocketmod he made!

Brian Suda showing the NUX pocketmod he made!

This can easily be done with the tool Pocketmod.

Still, I wonder if my concern about the idea of converting analogue to paper, as cool as it sounds, is still with some grounding (for now at least). It was telling that his commercial examples kept getting prepended with the statement “this is no longer running”. Little Printer. The daily paper. At least Hello Lamppost is still going. That said, this could well be a matter of time and finding a niche.

Still, the best joke of the event is from twitter:

Vicky Teinaki is a user experience designer at Newcastle upon Tyne agency Orange Bus. She is also working on a PhD at Northumbria University about better ways of communicating design methods within the design industry.