My personal review of Webstock 2010 – (part II: conference proper Thursday)

by kai on 22/02/2010

This second part of my Webstock 2010 review briefly covers the conference sessions on Thursday and some other bits and pieces around it. Webstock 2010 was again held in Wellington’s Town Hall – the historic and classic style of the building really lends itself to an event like Webstock and if it was mine I wouldn’t move it anywhere else either. Most of the conference is run as a single stream of sessions, three of the slots break out into three separate streams.

So – we ticked off the venue, food was fine and vegetarian and other special dietary requirements were tucked away from the main food stations. The latter is particular important from my point of view as I strongly disklike it when carnivores do not “book” veggie food at events in advance and all of a sudden on the day prefer the (often limited) vegetarian option. Also – not to forget the tremendous amounts of Kapiti ice cream throughout the day (yay!) and free proper coffee provide by People’s coffee!

Some impressions from Thursday’s sessions:

Scott ThomasWeb design that grabs people

Scott talked about his role in the web team of the Obama campaign and explained how design decisions and experiments drove online collaboration and engaged a community of volunteers and supporters around Obama. Very interesting and a lot of insights into the structure of the Obama campaign web team.

Brian FlingBrian does the Andrew Sisters

Brian’s message seem to have been hidden or invisible for parts of the audience. To be fair, his style of presentation was quite unusual and comprised a lot of talking about what he’s not going to talk about and I can understand why some people had some issues with that. I found his presentation quite entertaining to be honest – also his thoughts on monetizing mobile content appealed to me.

Lisa HerrodDesigning for Diversity – Inclusive Design & the User Experience

Lisa is well known in AU/NZ for good thoughts and a deep knowledge of accessibility and user experience. In her talk she raised the question why a lot of user experience consultants still ignore diversity and what needs to happen to change that. Not directly related to what I’m doing most of the time, but still very interesting knowledge to have.

John ResigHow jQuery Makes Hard Things Simple

Very good presentation (as somewhat expected after the brilliant workshop on Tuesday afternoon), partly based on some elements I already knew but John also covered a few things I hadn’t known before this talk.

Chris ShiflettSecurity-Centered Design: Exploring the Impact of Human Behavior

Amazing talk, seriously amazing. Chris presented a lot of examples and observations how design drives human behaviour – both web- and RL-based, from Twitter and Facebook hacks to people’s behaviour on Japanese subway trains.

Shelley BernsteinFostering Personal Connection to Place

Shelley talked about how the Brooklyn Museum in New York fosters community and interacts with its visitors. Her presentation was another awesome peek into leveraging design, communities, experimenting and other typical “social network” features in an offline scenario.

Jeff AtwoodStack Overflow: Building Social Software for the Anti-Social

Jeff’s presentation was very good! Lot’s of “lessons-learned-from-building-stack-overflow”-type of content discussed in his session. The session title actually really held what it had promised – how to build a social site for us nerdy developers – well done! (Both as well as the talk 🙂 )

Regine deBattyPlease, don’t let it be interactive

Maybe it was because I was getting tired towards the end of the day, but I couldn’t really connect to Regine and her presentation.

RivesThe Word Wild Web

Yeah, well. Rives. Apparently he’s somewhat famous (I had never heard of him before Webstock) as an online poet. I think his presentation (well, rather “gig”) had some interesting and actually really funny elements, I personally didn’t really get some other bits and pieces of his on-stage show.

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