Australia day 5: Web directions south day 2, 9th October 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009 11:31:19 PM
Kelly Goto - WorkFLOW
When she first started, I kinda though that it seemed a bit stale trawling out Kelly to talk about workflow again. I mean, her infamous book came out 8 years ago now, and she has been talking about this subject for a long time. However, the talk still seemed pretty fresh, useful and entertaining, and you really can't deny that her charisma shines through. I really enjoyed this session.
Gian Wild - WCAG 2
Having talked to Gian about her presentation the night before, I was really looking forward to getting another take on accessibility testing, legislation, etc. from another country's point of view. However I think at least a part of her talk went about things the wrong way. She covered some interesting points about WCAG 2, but I think the way she looked at the thickness of all the documents, and the complexity of finding information kind of make accessibility look a bit scarier than it is, which might scare people off a bit (I'm certainly not saying her points were wrong, but I think it could've been presented in somewhat of a more positive light). Her section at the end covering the differences between WCAG 1 and WCAG 2 was really useful and interesting.
Elliot Jay Stocks - Progressive Enhancement
I've known Elliot for a couple years now, but amazingly never had a chance to hear him speak before. I'm glad I did, because this designer's view of progressive enhancement was very useful, and was delivered very well. Elliot has a lot of charisma, and just enough bile and fire to create a bit of contension and get people thinking.
I agree with him that a lot of web design is really boring, and we should be trying to push the boundries of what we are doing. He also made the point that validation is irrelevant. Just at the point where Doug Schepers and I were about to start throwing things, he qualified his point ;-) He was really trying to say that validation is good for ensuring a valid DOM, debugging, etc., but when you are playing with experimental CSS 3 features, etc., and working with complex data-driven applications that feature a lot fo user-generated content, trying to make sites absolutely validate is not worth your while.
He also make a great point about web sites not needing to look the same across all browsers. I really appreciate this, after hearing too many designers go on about pixel-perfect designs, and their precous control. It is only natural that experiences should differ across different devices, as the context is different, and there are so many variables to consider (screen size, CPU power nd so many more). To try to enforce the same experience across different devices would be a really bad thing.
Lunchtime at Google
I had to run out of Elliot's session a few minutes early because I was meeting up with Pamela Fox to go and have lunch at the Google offices. They were very plush, as you may expect! She came to meet me and walked me over there, and we had a really good chat about developer evangelism and outreach techniques (she kind of does the same thing as I do, only for Google). The real crux of our conversation was talking about open standards education. She was really interested in getting involved with the Open Web Education Alliance efforts, as education is a real passion of hers. I was really interested in following up with her because I think Google has a lot to offer the open education movement, and her interests and background make her an ideal person to get involved.
I also had a chance to meet the Google Wave team, and chat to them about Opera support.
Christian Crumlish - Designing social interfaces
I managed to get back to the venue in time to see about half of Xian's talk. It was a really well-delivered look at patterns that work when designing web sites (with a slant towards social networks) and conversely, anti-patterns that really suck and don't work at all well. For example, breaking the purpose of e-mail by using it for notifications that don't allow you to reply is a really bad thing.
Lachlan Hardy - The open web
Lach was great - he presented a great look at the open web. including what constitutes an open standard (eg regulated by a standards body, not controlled by one company, spec is open, and anyone can contribute), some great ways in which you can use open standards, and some advice to the audience in how they can help to make the web more open. This last section included making sure all of their data is presented as HTML, not PDF or some other non-manipulable format, giving your site an API, making your URLs hackable, and using Microformats. I though it was great how he took a very dry, complicated subject with loads of politics surrounding it, and made it down to earth and accessible.
Slides please Lach!
Dan Hill - 15 years in
I've not come across Dan before, but my god he made my career sound boring ;-) He first gave us a potted history of him, from helping to create the BBC's web presence, designing dodgy band sites in the late nineties, and then more recently creating amazing digital architecture experiences with Arup. He made some really nice points about ubiquity and intelligent uses of connectivity in the urban space.
After the conference was over, I went back to collect my family from the hotel, and we headed over to the end of event party. It was in a venue that doesn't allow kids in, so I went to find some people to eat with, and we went off for a lovely seafood dinner with Leslie, Shaun, Daniel from Opera, and Doug Schepers. Incredibly nice, and we had great conversation, but the jetlag again got the better of me, and I was falling asleep by about 9.30!
I was a bit gutted about missing the after show party, but I still had a really great time! Thanks to you all for making it such a special conference.