WebDU 2010: the year of touch

I have been to 4 webDU conferences and this was the first year that I was not on the Daemon organising team. It felt strange to not have to do anything but enjoy myself, and that I did.

In the Day 1 keynote Mike Chambers from Adobe came out at the gates in defense of Flash (hi Mr Jobs). Acknowledging how CPU intensive flash video can be he spoke of Flash performance improvements on mobile and the desktop. He also demoed the new flash touch apis on tablets, phones and larger screens. Microsoft were there and to the delight of many brought along a Microsoft Surface. It was a blast to play with. It was interesting to hear from Shane Morris about what constraints were put into the behaviour of the Surface. In his talk Shane outlined design principles with case studies of applications designed for ANZ, Lonely Planet and Cochlear. This was my highlight of the conference. Other more technical sessions that I did not attend talked more specifically about touch technologies e.g. Dmitry Baranovskiy demonstrated the gestural capability of his Raphael javascript library.

I am pretty much a wannabe geek, i.e. not very geeky, so I left the tech streams up to the developers and spent most of my time in the UX/team stream. There was a good mix in this stream of usability, design sessions, specifically design for mobile, wireframe design, and a mix of broader project sessions. These included:

  • Robin Hilliard introducing a framework to define problems and come up with sound requirements
  • Mathew Hodgson evangelising agile. This is a hot topic, but especially relevant to a developer audience from where the concept arose. It was helpful to see this explained through a warts and all case study; and
  • Tim Buntel from Atlassian talking about managing developers.

What was great about this year’s webDU was that it was not a tutorial conference, nor were the sessions so general that you came away with nothing but a new vague idea. The sessions introduced applicable principles and approaches that rang true with real life case studies and inspirational examples.

Anyone who knows me knows I take A LOT of notes so instead of trying to summarise my favourite take outs from WebDU in one post I will try and publish a series of webDU posts over the coming days. OK. Weeks.

Until next year!

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