FOWD 2008 London – (the conference)

FOWD 2008 got off to a promising start when I met Jeremy Keithgetting off the Tube, we chatted as we waited in the monster queue outside Kensington Town Hall about a wide range of topics from DOM Scripting and Microformats to our new Macs.

I had intended to “live blog” throughout the day , but in the end I didn’t Jeremy has a pretty good summary of the days event on his blog. On the whole the sessions were very good – there were a couple of low points, namely the sponsors “little chats”.

Far and away the worst was buy some guy from an agency who had used Silverlight to develop a new “car configurator” for Aston Martin; He long overstayed his welcome on stage and by the end of it everyone was properly confused as to the point of the whole thing. When the Adobe rep got up in the afternoon to do his Flash / Flex presentation and produced not one but two car configurators we all had a good laugh.

Paul Boag did a great job of putting together and chairing the day, his “talky bits” could have been fleshed out a bit, I think Paul is a very good speaker on Web Dev and I’m currently missing his podcast which apparently will be back on May 6th. Not a moment too soon if you ask me. At one point Paul apologised to the lady that had been complaining on twitter after he’d got everyone to move up because there was now a “man mountain” blocking their view; the funny thing is that “lady” was me!

So Looking back at Thursday’s Events – here’s my recollection of the basic premise of each presentation:

  • Patrick McNeil (Design Meltdown) Finding Inspiration For Design

    Interesting chat from the guy behind Design Meltdown a site I hadn’t eared of before, apparently he’s reviewed >25,000 sites and categorised them. He advocates borrowing inspiration from various different sites to create new ones

  • Andy Clarke (Stuff & Nonsense) & Steve Pearce (Poke) User Experience v Brand Experience

    Having seen Andy (Mallarkey) Clarke speak several times, as well as reading his book & winning an iPod Shuffle from him I wasn’t dissapointed. Steve was a good speaker too What was billed as a fight ended (and started to be honest) with consensus: User Experience v Brand Experience are two sides of the same coin

  • Andy Budd (Clearleft) Designing the User Experience Curve

    I hadn’t heard Andy talk before, his session is one that really stood out for me uding real world examples of good user experience and applying them to the web, I look forward to seeing the slides so I can refresh my memory.

  • Larissa Meek (AgencyNet) Getting your designs approved: 12 Simple Rules

    I really wanted to enjoy this one, but design sign off isn’t something I have to worry about in my current roll. We probably didn’t need the recap at the end.

  • Live Photoshop Battle

    Pretty entertaining way to kick off again after lunch, Andy Clarke chatted to Jon Hicks (Hicksdesign) Elliot Jay Stocks (Carsonified) Jina Bolton (Jinabolton.com) & Hannah Donovan (Last.fm) while the madness happened on the big screen. Here’s the end result on Flickr

  • Elliot Jay Stocks (Carsonified) Print is the new web

    A good session on drawing inspiration from print medium from the (now ex) Carsonite.

  • Jon Hicks (Hicksdesign) From Design to Deployment

    What an excellent way to wrap up the day –Jon Hicks of Firefox logo rendering and perhaps more importantly Rissington Podcast fame talked through the whole process of launching a site “in a day” using the excellent Cheesophile.com as an example. I’m hoping Jon will get chance to turn Cheesophile into a real site – I think I could do with expanding my cheese horizons!

  • Paul Farnell (Litmus) Unconventional ways to promote your site

    This was an enjoyable session, but I think I was expecting a bit more radical. I’d hoped he might have touched on things like Facebook apps, he mentioned providing javascript widgets to access data on your site which I guess is a similar idea albeit on a smaller scale.

  • Daniel Burka (Digg & Pownce) Evolving the User Experience

    Daniel talked about some of the changes made in various iterations of the design of the digg site, fairly entertaining – but I’m not surprised he didn’t manage the billed 40 minutes

On Friday I attended a couple of the FOWD workshops, it’s late now so I’ll post about them another time.

Overall, I enjoyed FOWD 2008. It wasn’t the best conference I’d been to but then conference organisers have an incredibly difficult job; they’ll never please everyone with every session. I don’t think I’m going to make it to @media this year, but I really hope to be at d.construct in Brighton this September