Yesterday, I attended the Future of Web Design conference here in London. Organised by Carsonified (formerly Carson Systems), it was the usual blend of speakers; from one-man-band designer/developers to agency creatives and in-house staff. And no, no one said what the future would be!
The presentations ranged in interest (for me) but on the whole they were very good. There were some great snippets of wit and wisdom to take away, reuse, repurpose and deploy in my own presentations.
Prize for best visual presentation goes to Steve Pearce of Poke – a place I’ve always secretly wanted to work. I loved his approach to crafting his presentation. Basically, he drew (or had drawn) a bunch of characters and icons on bits of paper and post-it notes, stuck them to the wall, photographed them and inserted them into Keynote. The presentation then just looked like a pan around the wall which told a lovely narrative with wit. As someone who hates PowerPoint with a passion and all the associated bulleted lists, this was a breath of fresh air for me.
Andy Budd‘s talk on designing the user experience curve gave some great examples of real-world examples of great customer service and linked them well to fit in an online environment.
Elliot Jay Stocks exclaimed that Print is the new web! As a print designer in a previous life I really clicked with this. With the help of some Khoi Vinh quotes he made some good points about the need for more narrative in web design, pointing out Shaun Inman’s site where the older blog posts fade over time so that their importance is diminished.
One of the most entertaining talks of the day was Jon Hicks‘s talk about transitioning from design into development. Made what could be a very dry subject both funny and informative. A rare thing indeed. Who’d have thought that cheese could be so interesting?
Lastly, Daniel Burka of Digg and Pownce gave some great insight into evolving the user experience. He made reference to Stewart Brand’s book ‘How Building Learn‘, in particular his reference to hi- and low-road architecture. Hi-road involving lots of planning and design, long evolution and the end result feels like a monument. Low-road is more about being modular, rapid, light-weight, dare I say it Agile. I’m definitely more of a low-road guy. Thankfully, that was his advocation for approaching web design and build. Again, some great tips to take away and reuse.
There were some talks that weren’t so relevant or interesting. Having practiced this stuff for nearly a decade, there are some things that I’m pretty well versed in. Not that I’m saying I have no more to learn. I’m sure I do. In many areas. But I just felt that some of it was a little ‘Getting started in web design’. But I suppose it’s quite difficult to pitch these things right, there was a wide cross-section of people there and this may have given sections of the audience some great ammunition to use in fighting their own battles.
All in all, a very good conference. My second time of attending, I’m sure to book up again next year. Perhaps by then we’ll know what the future is!