atmedia 2010 Day 1

Well I hope John and Maxine are putting their feet up and having a deserved beverage of choice right now, because as the Web Directions dynamic duo they oversaw a great conference. Thank you! This was my fifth @media so I got to meet the usual suspects plus I got to make the long overdue acquaintance of Maria T and Antonia Hyde. I’ve promised myself not to name drop because my partner in crime Dr_Monkeyface will probably never finish that logo he’s doing for me if I do…

On with the show. First up, Brendan Eich. Clever chap, very clever chap. He invented JavaScript. Luckily for the rest of us there’s jQuery *grin*. I’m sure for all the developers in the room it was a fascinating keynote but even with a rudimentary programming background this went over my head and I quickly switched off, despite the buzz of fresh coffee. I know, I’m sorry. “Army of Darkness” was neat though. It must have been worse for the visual or content designers in the crowd who don’t do any code? I think I put something similar in the feedback form – perhaps a more generalist keynote about why we all find ourselves in the industry and sat in a hall together would have set the stage better? I dunno.

For most of the rest of the conference I followed the designer track so next up was Christian Crumlish talking about Designing for Play. I thoroughly enjoyed this talk and being a long-time gamer too I recognised the psychology at work once pointed out. Why the hell not make an enterprise app fun (or at least pleasurable) to use? God knows the British workplace needs it. Too many apps being designed by programmers, that’s the problem. Me and ol’ monkeyface must have been slow off the mark getting to the book stall afterwards because I didn’t spot your book, Christian. Amazon FTW I suppose. But buy it I will. Thank you.

Next up was Rachel Andrew talking about Core CSS3. I’m pretty au fait with this so I was a little mind-in-neutral here, not to say it was a bad presentation or anything. Some demos would have been nice though and on a related note for all future speakers – please, please, please wherever possible have stuff saved to localhost – conference wifi is a PITA.

After lunch it was Simon Willison‘s turn with Building Crowdsourcing Applications. If I’d have realised you’d tied the knot just the other weekend, I’d have given Nat my Pizza Express vouchers from last year ;) – belated congrats. I’m so dumb at times. This was a really great talk and provided an idea or two to solve an idea I’m working on at the moment. Simon discussed the Guardian’s crowdsourcing efforts to unravel the British MP’s expenses scandal as well as the fun Wildlife Near You website.

Staying with the design track, the last presentation of the day was Mark Boulton‘s Designing Grid Systems. I like grids and so will Dr_Monkeyface! You hear me? I feel slightly admonished for sticking with the 960 system (minus all those funky classes) but as I pointed out to my esteemed colleague it makes for a great set of training wheels for the new team to get the basics down. Too many people get on their high horse about these things – some people have only just learnt grid systems exist! And this will persist such is the way of new people coming into the profession. Armed with Calculator.exe I have applied the big take away for me personally and come up with an alternative grid using odd numbered columns. Combining this with the other take away of the conference in the shape of CSS media queries I look forward to devising alternate grids for the iPhone and iPad for the same content. Great talk as ever Mark, thanks!

To finish the first day Jeremy Keith hosted that great institution of @media – the Hot Topics panel. The question “What is design?” was sure to ignite some passionate discussion and didn’t disappoint. Jeremy done a great job and everyone else really got into it too. Which was nice.

Day 2 tomorrow. I need to rest – third post in a year (and indeed two days). Feel free to post a real comment, I tire of spammers. I still don’t have my Nigerian inheritance.

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3 Responses to atmedia 2010 Day 1

  1. Jonas says:

    Nice little write up Karl, I like the bits you wrote about Mark Boulton even though I don’t share your view. I have to go back to my scribblings and see what the hell I was thinking :-)

  2. Bah. Name dropper. I’m still working on day two but its good to see your take on it.

  3. Jonas says:

    Hahaha… I’ve been as likely to move my fingers across the keyboard as a Frenchman living next door to a brothel. But my take on day two will come… Eventually.

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