Thursday 30 October 2014

The Web Is... Day One

Another excellent conference from Craig Lockwood — and this is only the first day.

I’m always impressed by the groundedness and open-hearted feeling I get when I attend Craig’s conferences. He curates the speakers not just for their intellectual knowledge and not just for inspiration, but also for their ability to connect to and understand the world and the people in it.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

The Web is… Knowledge

Christopher Murphy @fehler, Teaches MFA at Belfast School of Art

  • recommended reading
  • interaction design course (part of Master in Fine Arts)
    • get started with a github profile
  • teaching to see:
    • bauhaus model & visual grammar
    • point > line > plane
  • charlie munger
    • warren buffet’s business partner at Berkshire Hathaway
    • latticework of mental models
    • learning new models in related fields
    • all useful fields to understand interaction design…
  • lollapalooza effect
    • power of ideas together is greater than each by themselves
    • e.g. put a designer & developer together and get more than you would get by themselves
  • nuance and human interaction easier to learn from humans
  • master and apprentice
    • not just a one way relationship
    • master learns to see the world in a new way with fresh eyes
  • apprentice moves on then becomes a journeyman
    • going to different masters
    • gradually starting to teach others
  • ken robinson: have to move to an organic process of education
  • teach a whole mind:
    • need self-belief, manners, confidence, politeness
    • as well as skills in business, design, technology, etc
  • universities move at a glacial pace
    • takes 5 years to change a curriculum…
  • short form courses
    • patterns: josh long
    • general assembly
  • those who can, do; those who care teach

The Web is… Constant

How do we design for constant change… and not go mad

Nathan Ford @nathan_ford, Monotype,

  • web design not yet nailed down as a discipline
  • creating repeated success in a volatile environment
  • previously worked as Creative Director at Mark Boulton Design
    • these ideas come from that time
  • team
    • bring the client into the team
    • or bring your team into the client
    • embedding
    • learn empathy…
  • look for a champion on the client side
    • someone who trudges through all the muck
    • make sure they can involve all the stakeholders
    • get the problem stakeholders involved as early as possible
  • no big reveal — eliminate surprises & blame
  • wicked problems
    • term from sociology: massive problems that are hard to define and difficult to resolve
    • web sites are a simpler thing, but their implications often make them behave like a wicked problem
  • measure goals by improvement, not completion
  • when you don’t know, try a lot of things
    • don’t be afraid to throw stuff away
    • failure is ok, but you must keep learning
  • ensure the client writes the user stories
    • can help with a workshop to elucidate
  • work in iterations
    • each iteration should include research, design & building
    • then evaluate and repeat
    • don’t forget to evaluate…
  • always have an available prototype
    • brings the pain of the project earlier
    • lets them show the working consensus to others
  • start with real content
    • if you don’t have any, make it up (NOT lauren ipsum…)
    • motivates client to actually make their own
  • build out grids from content
    • grids within grids
    • content-based items
    • no high-level overarching
  • choose the right css units
    • percent for scaling
    • vw & vh for headlines & page framing — relative to the viewport
    • pixels for media queries — one to one, easier to understand
    • ems and exes for typography
      • exes work better with newer web fonts
      • work on x-height
  • let things get big: but limit on content items
  • example: typekit blog — building out a design based on the Chapparal typeface
  • also leads to simpler testing
    • but still need to test on devices
    • especially type sizes — can be surprising on actual hardware…

The Web is… Everywhere

What we can learn from console browsers

Anna Debenham @anna_debenham,

  • new style of inputs: gestures & voice
  • think about small screen and a very big screen
  • everywhere you can stick a screen, eventually there will be a browser
  • “don’t fall prey to convenience of device silos” cameron moll
  • console browser users are (currently) likely to be younger and lower income
  • consoles and web TVs have low memory
  • performance is crucial
  • the xbox browser can pretend to be a windows mobile device
    • probably added to allow simpler interfaces
  • large screen doesn’t always mean more pixels…
  • handheld consoles often have very wide screens
    • often misidentified to show full fat design
    • should probably have a simpler design
  • the PS Vita includes Amazon’s Kindle Fire Silk UA in its agent string…
  • dual screens often have odd behaviour
    • Nintendo 3DS has two screens with different widths…
  • Wii U aiming to be a full entertainment system
    • four different ways to zoom
    • really important for viewing web on TV when text is often too small
    • supports various presentation modes
      • turning mirroring on and off
      • draw curtains, prepare then reveal
      • play video on main screen, while continue to browse
    • can use multiple wiimotes as pointers
  • similar for xbox one
    • using xbox smartglass app
    • supports split screen: game/tv + browser
    • voice and gesture works really well
  • vimeo couch mode:
    • user choice for big screen support
  • microsoft’s design for xbox and windows phone is truly scalable
  • x-webkit-speech — for speech synthesis
    • currently Google Chome only…
  • microsoft has a design guide for kinect
    • really good read to understand gesture design
  • 30% of people this year used a smart TV to browse the web

The Web Is… Playful

See Lee-Delisle @seb_ly

    • used microphones to detect nerf bullets hitting a screen
  • smashingconf opening animation
    • laser light show mapped onto a dome & pipe organ…
    • definitely worth watching the video
  • lunar trails
    • records its trails into
    • then built a physical arcade machine
    • full screen browser, controlled by an arduino pretending to be a keyboard
    • all linked up to a giant wall-hanging plotter
    • based on polar plotter, but using DC servos rather than stepper motors
  • playfulness on the web has died a little bit
    • the little flash games got taken over by the marketing agencies
    • became viral campaigns that nobody wanted
  • internet of things — nobody knows what it’s for yet
    • much more space for being playful :-)

The Web Is… In The Hands of the 97ers

Emma Mulqueeny, Founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State @hubmum

  • people born in 1997 and later, grew up with social media
  • those born at the beginning have no leadership
  • Ivan Illich: deschooling society
    • “educational webs … transform each moment … into learning, sharing & caring”
  • the 97ers are already doing peer-to-peer learning
  • the discussion about teaching how to code is almost irrelevant
    • the teachers won’t be teaching how to learn line by line
    • role of all-knowing teacher will become irrelevant
    • much about flipping the classroom and enabling the teacher as guide
  • refugees united: dealing with families split up as they crossed the Somali > Kenya border
    • refugees would have similar names, might lie as they’re scared etc
    • YRSer Kevin figured out that storytelling was important
    • designed service to speak a local story into the phone
    • then find stories that roughly match
    • reunited families went from 3% to over 79%
  • identity is crucial to 97ers
    • their stories (not their names) are their identifier
    • tagged photos
    • peer verification
  • try not to police community as that affects identity
  • have a very early understanding of how to influence community
    • they get immediate feedback from youtube/facebook/etc
    • have figured out how to tweak and skew their message until it works
    • can be quite an arrogant generation — they know how to get those likes…
  • going into the world
    • the most unsafe thing they could do would be to work for a big organisation
    • self-employment is much more attractive — feels safer
    • not about making lots of money — more about long-term employment
  • the Wi-Fi is the bedrock of their needs
    • it’s the gateway to their community and therefore their support network
  • they can’t engage with politics until 18 — it’s too late…
    • they engage with policies rather than parties

The Web Is… All Consuming

Keir Whitaker @keirwhitaker, Shopify

Best to watch this when the video comes out — I couldn’t do it justice with notes.

  • daily todo: 1 big thing, 3 medium things, some small things

Phil Hawksworth, R/GA @philhawksworth

  • Paul Downey’s 2008 “uberdoodle”: The URL is the Thing
  • Ted Nelson: coined the terms hypertext, hypermedia & transclusion (and teledildonics…)
  • you can link to anything from anywhere — the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts
  • :// => “double-meh”
  • Paul Downey: The Web is Agreement
  • browsers are very liberal in what they accept
  • browsers starting to obscure URLs
    • mobile Safari already hides everything but the host
    • Chrome Canary doing similar thing
    • Jake Archibald: the URL is the share button of the web
  • taco bell #onlyintheapp — no longer have any content on their website
    • and only with access to lots of permissions on your phone
  • google experimented with different shades of blue for links (#41shades)
    • apparently the change made about $200m difference
    • but they lost a designer who said he couldn’t argue for all his design decisions
  • this is for everyone (with javascript enabled) — Dan Williams
  • more than 60% of population of India & China is still offline
    • we will need to support them…

Unfinished Business Geek Mental Help @ The Web Is

An enormously important discussion, started by Andy Clarke a few days ago.

The discussion was recorded as an episode of Unfinished Business and included Chris Murphy, Cole Henley, Relly Annett-Baker and @pumpkinsouper.

There are many more articles to be read at — go and read, even if you think you don’t need to.

I think the most crucial advice I heard, was “keep talking” — this discussion is not over…

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