On Wednesday I went down to London for the Future of Web Apps conference at ExCeL, was a fairly packed couple of days, so worth listing a few* of the talks that I enjoyed most and the impressions I took away.
Heather Champ & Derek Powazek We’ve Got This Community – Now What?
Non-technical discussion about managing a community, and how to deal with potential problems that arise. Example: rather than blocking problem users, make the site incredibly slow for them, so that trolling becomes tedious rather than fun.
Robin Christopherson – The Art of Attractive Yet Useable Sites
Insightful look at the state of the law in accessibility as regards the web, and the current (woeful) condition of it in practice. Most interesting for me was the demonstration of how screen readers see major websites (thought I could have done this research for myself), and how badly built some of them are, Amazon, for example, was comically bad. The only people to receive any praise for their efforts in accessibility were Google, who are really going out of their way (e.g., gmail has hidden notes for screen reader users).
Heidi Pollock – Taking Your Application Mobile
Extremely nervous sounding talk about the web for mobile devices, recurring theme being the extreme fragmentation in the standards used by different devices, and how as a developer she never aims to achieve perfection across all platforms, or even many of them (there are over 3000 differing mobile web devices). One of the best presentations of the event IMO.
Leah Culver – Web app dos and don’ts
Bits of advice for web development from the head developer for Pownce. Talk was full of practical advice, I just still don’t really get the point of the project (someone asked what the point advantage over say, email was, and the answer was that Pownce would be more "fun", what!?)
BTW, I have invites for this, if anyone would like one please reply to this post.
John Aizen & Eran Shir (both from Dapper) – Practical Semantic Web
A fascinating look at how some of the effects of the promised Semantic Web can be achieved using the existing web content and tools such as Dapper. This intersects with both my dissertation and one of my major modules for this year, I will likely write more on this in due time.
Erika Hall – Copy is Interface
Largely common-sense (or what should be) information about use of language on the web, but demonstrated in an entertaining way, worth getting the slides for.
At the end of the first day there was a live filming of Diggnation, for which well over 1000 people were in the audience. Constantly interrupted by drunks, and Kevin/Alex bantering with each other and the crowd, this was brilliant to watch, but I have no idea how they’ll edit it for the web.
Other stuff: Adobe AIR looks incredible. They were really pushing it (as the lead sponsor), giving out free O’Reilly guides (little ones) and giving constant demos. Can see me getting very into it in the near future.
* Just look at the schedule, I’m not summarising all that!Tags: conferences, London, web
The speakers list looks amazing, most interested in seeing: Heather Champ (flickr), Matt Mullenweg (Wordpress – you’re looking at it), Derek Powazek (if only to see who’s behind JPG Magazine), John Resig (of Mozilla, jQuery fame) and Kevin Rose (who will also be doing a live Diggnation filming).Tags: conferences, London, web
Last week I was privileged to go to the ECM Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. It was comfortably the biggest, poshest party I’ve ever attended (Rob Brydonw acted as compere). I also met loads of people I’d previously spoken to only on the phone. Had been going to post photos… but I really don’t have any decent ones.Tags: Emap, London, work