Web directions @media

Author: Joke De Winter

Web Directions @media, London, 2010

Another month, another web conference … (but that is it for the rest of the year – I learned so much, I will now put all of it into practice).

This time it was the Web Directions @media conference held in London on the 10th and 11th of June and I have written another summary:

  • “SVG is like HTML for graphics” – Doug Schepers. Shapes are elements and can be styled with CSS.
  • Rachel Andrew talked about CSS3 and went further than the obligatory border-radius (rounded corners), text/box-shadow, rgba, opacity, transform and gradient. She explained about nth-child (to target multiple elements according to a specification), attribute selectors, multiple backgrounds and media queries.
  • Simon Willison, software architect for the Guardian, gave a presentation about crowd sourcing. It’s about collaborating with the silent audience of users to make something better than if you did it on your own.
  • Andy Clarke gave a brilliant presentation about his hardboiled web design. He advocates that you should design for the best browsers first, then think about what the users will see in lesser browsers.
  • He also mentioned that CSS3 has a text-stroke property! Just what I was looking for last week.
  • Sandi Wassmer made sure we understood that you should design with purpose and intent.
  • Hannah Donovan gave us a talk about Telling Stories Through Design. A presentation entirely made up on the back of an envelope (literally) (All very good though).
  • She also explained about guerilla user testing. Go somewhere where there are lots of people, offer them some free coffee/tea/food and sit them down with a laptop and let them use the website that needs testing. Cheap and easy – brilliant.
  • Microcopy: you don’t tend to think of it, but it’s the instructions you read when filling out a form; they are the bits of text that guide you through an interactive process like buying something online. The quality of these if often overlooked and under estimated. But no longer. Relly Annett-Baker encouraged us to give microcopy just as much attention as the rest of the content. Bad microcopy can stop users going all the way to the checkout.
  • Steve Souders confirmed that building websites with web standards is the right way to go if you want increase the page load of your website. Separating your HTML, CSS and JavaScript in separate files is a start. Placing the links to scripts at the bottom of your page is another.
  • Scott Berkun gave us a challenge to come up with a new idea that is not made up of other ideas? Answers on a postcard …
  • iPad count: 10. Still way below what I had expected.