@Media 2008 (atMedia2008)

I’m currently attending @Media 2008 (atMedia2008) so I thought I add an very quick blog about the first day, I’ll expand on the topics later…

Designing our way through Data – Jeffrey Veen

Jeffrey talked about the his work at Google and what inspired some of his work. Very interested talk about how to visualise data, although I’ve seen big chunks of it before. I won’t talk about the content since you can view it in the above link. Great start and for a keynote it fulfils the task of being inspirational.

Rating – 0 doodles – 9/10 (point deducted for reproducing some parts)

Mental Models, sparking creative thinking through empathy –

Indi Young

Good technique to acquire what the end-user really wants (in this case from a site). I thought this was especially useful for marketing/planing teams looking to create a roadmap. A lot of ideas will be familiar to anyone who captures user stories but it looks like a good tool to aid in that process. What I liked about the process was the focus on the end user and the ability to create a graphical representation of the both the user ‘wants’ and the mechanisms that either support it or are tabled to support it. As with User Stories the idea is to capture the user needs at a (initially with User Stories) high level. So rather than, "I want to be able to drop down a set of schools in the area", you’d expect to capture, "when I’m looking at houses in an area I am concerned about the quality of schools". It prevents people leaping ahead and designing the page/application before really understand the requirements, anything that promotes that thinking can’t be wrong! Indi talked about such a house search which was a great example and also talked about the ‘in the corridor’ where you try to imagine what a person would be thinking as they walk down a corridor. E.g. they’re more likely to be thinking, "I need to get that report out be 2pm" rather than, "I need a web page that allows me to select the xyz report….". However, there were a number of other examples that were basically making the same point but were only interesting to people in that domain, I think they could have been left out and took some of the momentum away from the presentation.

I enjoyed the talk but I do think it would be better to talk about the ‘why’ before the ‘what’ as it was very difficult to appreciate the goals of it until you know the why. I certainly look out for her book.

Rating – 1 doodle – 7/10

Getting your hands dirty with HTML5 – James Graham & Lachlan Hunt

The 5 mins spent talking about HTML5 examples was interesting, why bother with the other 55? James and Lachlan are obviously clever people and are capable of presenting although I found the style a little…academic like. I’ve given this a poor rating because of the dwelling of the why rather than the now. Although I think it’s right to give a little history I found that the majority of the presentation was this rather than the details of HTML5, which given the title is disappointing.Β  On a personal note, I really hate mail-lists as I find them antiquated and dripping in ivory-tower academia so it did grate on me that they championed this method, just set a bit of scene really.

Rating – 10 doodles – 3 nodding offs = 3/10

[Edit] Oh and it looks like they’re just a snobby as me ;)….

  1. # [15:11] <annevk> http://pdkm.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!D1DDEC9FF002FB8C!872.entry didn’t like the talk at least… complaining about mailing lists and academia
  2. # [15:11] <annevk> but spaces.live.com prolly says enough
  3. # [15:12] <hsivonen> Philip`: occasionally the audience pointedly disagrees with the presenter
  4. # [15:12] <jgraham_> Yeah, I think we spent too long on design principles
  5. # [15:12] <hsivonen> Philip`: happened at XTech with Steven Pemberton’s talk
  6. # [15:13] <Philip`> hsivonen: Disagreeing with presenter doesn’t make it a bad presentation – it’s good if things are thought-provoking and get people interested and involved πŸ™‚
  7. # [15:13] <jgraham_> So even being on spaces.live.com it isn’t an entirely unfair criticism πŸ™‚
  8. # [15:13] <hsivonen> a Flickr guy made notes in the audience during the presentation and then flushed his counter-arguments at the end
  9. # [15:14] <jgraham_> (I should note for posterity that it is in no way Lachy’s fault that we sepnt too long on that section)

Underpants over my trousers – Andy Clarke

Fun and interesting talk about getting inspiration from comic layouts, a different way to describe how to move the readers eye around the page. Also talked about how comics use the size (or even lack of) a frame to describe the amount of time the reader should spend reading that section. Andy also talked about creating several templates for the "same" dynamic page to accommodate data of different sizes, nice idea. A typically entertaining talk from Andy and I find myself very envious of his position. Andy has a reputation of producing designs that work for the target rather than sweating about all the backward compatible issues (e.g. the lovely use of transparent PNGs…wonder what that looks like in IE6). I find myself sitting on the fence about that, but I can’t deny that I like his designs and like the idea of been able to choose customers based on what I want to do…must be nice. You also have to love his anti-americanizatizms <wink>, at least we have that in common!

Rating – 0 doddles – 9/10

Designing User Interfaces: Details make the difference – Dan Rubin

I would sum up this talk with, "the devil is in the detail". Dan showed the level of scrutiny need to create good looking sites. Some of the ideas I found particularly interesting were; getting dynamic data to avoid widows by adding non-breaking space, using -1 letter-spacing on big headers and for me, a non-designer, the proportional spacing rules…thank you Dan.

Rating – 0 doodles – 8/10

More to follow….
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