Sessions at Web Directions South 2011 on Thursday 13th October

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  • A 21st Century Bestiary

    by Anne Galloway

    When we think about what the Web is, and what it can be, we tend to focus on interactions between people and computers, or between people and other computationally-enabled things. But what happens when these “things” are animals?

    In this talk, Anne will discuss the role that animals have played in shaping the Web so far, how the Web is enabling new ways of interacting with animals, and what we might expect from a future of human-animal-computer interaction.

    Covering everything from online farms and product traceability to animals that tweet and epizoic media, this talk will demonstrate that the Internet isn’t just made of cats, but also cows and birds and sheep and cockroaches and…

    At 9:15am to 10:15am, Thursday 13th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

    Coverage slide deck

  • A Cup of CoffeeScript

    by Jeremy Ashkenas

    After a lost decade in the wilderness, JavaScript is starting to change and evolve. We’ll look at CoffeeScript, a little language that compiles into JavaScript, providing concise ways to to write many common JavaScript patterns. We’ll cover syntactic and semantic pain points, polyfills, sugar, and how you can start experimenting with your own flavor of JS.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 13th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Culture + Citizens + digital heritage

    by Sebastian Chan and Luke Dearnley

    In the last few years people have started talking about something called ‘digital humanities’ outside of academia. The term ‘curator’ is even being loosely talked about as a ‘future job description’ — despite its long history and roots in the museum world. And in museums, archives and libraries all over the world technologists are talking and building linked open data projects, SPARQL endpoints, huge crowdsourced digitisation and citizen science projects, not to mention mobile and social experiences, AR, QR, that fluidly move between the physical and the digital. Not only that, they’re not hiding this work behind patent lawsuits, NDAs and commercial-in-confidence backroom deals.

    What exactly is going on here and how might you, as developers and web thinkers, start to explore some of what they have to offer. And, perhaps selfishly, how can you prototype, test and solve your own technical problems using their data and use their unique physical environments as a living laboratory for your own products and projects?

    In a fireside chat, Seb and Luke from the Powerhouse Museum will talk candidly about some of the current challenges and future directions in this space — and how you might be able to help.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 13th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Designing for change and disruption

    by Simon Wright and Scott Bryant

    Change is never a smooth process. How do know when disruption is useful and how do you cope with the feedback on it? Recently news.com.au, a national news website with large numbers of daily visitors, underwent a major upgrade which tore down existing and perhaps “expected” ways of presenting news. At the heart of the redesign was a desire for change that motivated and challenged every aspect of the team’s design thinking and process. In this co-piloted session Simon and Scott will fly you over the territories of change they encountered on the project, ones common to many redesign projects. They’ll descend through the experiences that came out of the redesign: fundamentals like stakeholders, requirements and their process for user experience architect and designer working side by side. Sprinkled with some of the twitter and facebook feedback the project received, they’ll touch down on the sticky issues of dealing with feedback and how to suck it up and utilise passionate user and stakeholder feedback.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 13th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Making the Web searchable

    by Peter Mika

    The key idea of the Semantic Web is to make information on the Web easily consumable by machines. As machines start to understand web pages as sources of data that can be easily combined with other public data on the Web, the promise is that search on the Web will move well beyond the current paradigm of retrieving pages by keywords. Instead, search engines will start to answer complex queries based on the cumulative knowledge of the Web.

    In this presentation, we overview the basic set of technologies that can be used to annotate web pages so that they can be processed by data-aware search engines. In particular, we discuss the RDFa and microdata standards of the W3C designed for marking up data in HTML pages. We look at the ways in which this information is currently used by search engines, including the latest schema.org collaboration between Bing, Google, and Yahoo!, which provides a basic set of vocabulary items understood by all three major search engines on the Web.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Thursday 13th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • CSS3 - the web's Swiss Army Knife updated and improved

    by Stephanie Sullivan Rewis

    Throughout the years, the Swiss Army Knife has been the trusted companion of scouts and explorers alike, and for front-end developers, CSS has been a trusty, if sometimes frustrating, companion. And just as blades, scissors and sundry tools have been added to the Swiss Army Knife, with CSS3, we have new tools and implements of creativity, and some tried and true tools have been honed and sharpened. Of course the key to success is knowing which of the many tools to use and how to wield them in a given situation. Join Stephanie Rewis as she explores some shiny enhancements to favorite old tools like backgrounds and borders, as well as slices and dices with new tools like CSS masks and more!

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Scalable JavaScript Design Patterns

    by Addy Osmani

    Would you like to learn how to organize your JavaScript applications so they can scale? Be able to write apps that support switching out Dojo or jQuery without rewriting a line of code? Application architecture is one of those aspects to development where minor problems can lead to major issues later on if it isn’t done right.

    Developers writing client-side apps these days usually use a combination of MVC, modules, widgets, plugins and frameworks for theirs. Whilst this works great for apps that are built at a smaller-scale, what happens when your project really starts to grow?. In this talk, I’ll be presenting an effective set of design patterns for large-scale JavaScript application architecture that have previously been used at both AOL and Yahoo amongst others to develop scalable applications.

    You’ll learn how to keep your application logic truly decoupled, build modules that can exist on their own independently so they can be easily dropped into other projects and future-proof your code in case you need to switch to a different DOM library in the future.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Web or native? Smart choices for smartphone apps

    by Tim Riley and Michael Honey

    Computers are increasingly being held in the hand rather than sitting atop lap or desk. We now have to consider how our products will work underneath a finger instead of a mouse cursor. Increasingly, too, those products are being delivered as native applications, capable of fully exploiting device capabilities. That has ramifications not only for the way those projects get built, but also how we structure the businesses that support them.

    In this session, Michael Honey and Tim Riley answer the question “web or native?” from business, product design and development perspectives. They cover the current state of web technology on modern devices and compare it to what’s available through native development platforms. They’ll look at web, native and hybrid strategies successfully employed by Australian and international businesses, and share their own stories as mobile and web developers. Finally, they’ll offer practical guidance on picking a strategy for web or native development that best suits your needs — as either a developer or a client.

    Tim and Michael are two of the partners behind Icelab, an Australian design and development studio. They’ve trod both the web and native paths through their client work, such as interactive touchscreens for museum exhibits, online photo galleries and mobile tour guides, and also their own projects, like Decaf Sucks, a coffee review community available on the web (optimised for both desktops and smartphones) and as a native iPhone app.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 13th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Web standards based Augmented Reality

    by Rob Manson

    Augmented Reality lets you peel away the blinkers from your real world eyes to see the rich data and information that exists all around you. But up until now it has relied largely on proprietary tools and standards. Finally, we’re close to being able to augment our world using web technologies. Soon this will be a common part of the web browsing and mobile device experience. Now is the time to look at these future trends and the state of a specific list of API standardisation activities and the forces shaping them. We’ll also look at the current obstacles, risks and issues to explore what may prevent this landscape from evolving as it appears it will.

    This presentation aims to document the AR standardisation efforts over the last few years as well as what’s possible right now and in the near future from a distinctly web-based perspective.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Thursday 13th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Multi-device, Multi-role

    by Alex Young

    No longer is being connected limited to the constraints of the traditional desktop environment. Devices, networks and the Web are maturing and evolving at a fast rate. Our expectations about what we want, how we want it and when we want it are more complex.

    Designing experiences for web for the “desktop” environment is something many of us have been doing for a while. Toss in “mobile”, sprinkle that with some social integration, a native app or two and things suddenly start getting a bit more interesting. How do you approach designing experiences that span multiple platforms and devices, contexts and roles to meet the evolving needs of our audiences?

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

    Coverage slide deck

  • Remote debugging landscape

    by Ryan Seddon

    More and more as front-end developers we are presented with new challenges, with the explosion of the mobile web it has created a whole new territory. How do we test the vast array of devices out there? And what tools can help us make this a painless experience?

    Testing web apps on mobile devices is a new challenge not yet fully explored. Let’s brush over the beginnings of web application testing and debugging and dive into current solutions for remote debugging. In this session we’ll cover what developers and browser vendors are doing to help tackle this problem, including some of the tools available to use today, and how some of these tools work internally and what the future may hold.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • The Dao of Web Design Revisited

    by John Allsopp

    In 2000, when the web was less than half the age it is now, when the concept of web standards was still not much more than an ember carefully nurtured by a small group of practitioners who might fairly have been called fanatics (and less charitably, but just as accurately, lunatics), John Allsopp wrote “A Dao of Web Design”.

    Little did he know, and even less can he believe, that more than a decade later, an eon in internet years, it is still widely quoted by some of the web’s most well known and respected practitioners, and considered by some to be a seminal text in web design.

    So, ten years later, what does John now think about his thesis, and his suggestions for developers? In a world of highly fragmented user experiences, across all manner of screen sizes and input modes, what now seems hopelessly naïve? What if anything, stands the test of time. And what, if anything, new has John learned as he has continued to develop with web technologies over the last 10 years.

    Come and listen as John revisits a Dao of Web Design.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 13th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • The Open Web Platform in the mobile era

    by Robert O'Callahan

    Mozilla is dedicated to ensuring that competition and innovation thrive on the Internet. In the last decade we rescued the Web from a near-monopoly and restored competition to the browser market. Now the standards-based Web platform is evolving rapidly — mostly in a good direction — and is defeating some of its competitors, such as proprietary browser plugins. However, it faces fresh challenges, in particular, single-vendor platforms for mobile devices that are attracting application developers away from the Web platform. In this talk I will describe the work we’re doing to ensure that the standards-based Web wins again — developing new technologies, extending Web standards, and shipping great products on all kinds of devices. I’ll talk about the challenges we face and what people who care about competition and freedom can do to help.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Thursday 13th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Bringing History Alive: Telling stories with Linked Data and open source tools

    by Adam Bell and David Peterson

    The Australian War Memorial is connecting and enriching online archives and collections toward building a platform for telling history. Through Drupal 7 and Linked Data, the Memorial intends to develop tools that designers, researchers and historians can use to help find new ways of building historical narratives.

    During this session we will demonstrate some early prototypes and experiments, key uses of Linked Data, practical publishing tools and discuss how this work is unfolding inside one of Australia’s major collecting institutions.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Thursday 13th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • CSS3 and Backbone.js for killer mobile apps

    by Julio Cesar Ody

    Learn how to build great looking and high performance mobile web applications leveraging CSS3 animations and Backbone.js, along with some cool use cases for geolocation and localStorage.

    This session will describe in length a boilerplate you can use for developing your own apps aimed at A grade mobile devices and tablets.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Getting Real: Pros and Pitfalls of Realistic UI Design

    by Aaron Weyenberg

    A new generation of touch devices have proven to be exciting playgrounds for app designers. And with every new product we create, we have the opportunity to offer the most clear and efficient experience for our users. Recent UI trends often lean to realistic, faithful representations of analog controls and features. These designs can offer advantages, but also come with their own set of hazards.

    In this session Aaron will lead you on a tour of current trends and practices, examining the strengths and drawbacks that realism brings. We’ll talk about things like mental models, innovation and usability as they relate to lifelike UI. Finally, Aaron will share some pragmatic guidelines to keep in mind as you build the next wave of mobile and touch apps.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Thursday 13th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

    Coverage slide deck

  • Using the world as a canvas

    by Martin Tomitsch

    Now that we are comfortable developing and designing web content for desktop screens, just when we finally understood how to translate the web experience to mobile screens, there is a new challenge ahead of us. How do we develop and design web content when the physical environment becomes our canvas?

    While for a period there was (and largely still is) an emerging trend to stick a screen on everything (remember the Internet fridge), increasingly the smartphone is becoming our swiss army knife for information access. Constantly connected to the Internet, smartphones have literally made information available at our fingertips in more personalised and less obtrusive ways than embedded screens.

    With the arrival of new display technologies, like integrated personal projectors, we will be able (again) to design for a much larger content area. There is a danger though that this will be limited to marginal use cases, such as watching photos or movies, when in fact this opens up an entirely new and exciting design space. Drawing on the sensing power of smartphones, projected content could instead be designed to provide rich interaction and contextualised visualisation of information.

    The session will draw on research projects and visions of the future to sketch out the possibilities of this new design space, and how current web practices can be translated into a future where using the world as a canvas will change information visualisation and access all over again.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Thursday 13th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Sustaining Passionate Users

    by Stephen Anderson

    Yes, business applications can be made fun and gamelike. No, points, levels and badges are not the way to create sustained interest.

    While many sites have added superficial gaming elements to make interactions more engaging, the companies that “get it” have a better understanding of the psychology behind motivation. They know how to design sites that keep people coming back again and again.

    So what are the secrets? What actually motivates people online? How do you create sustained interest in your product or service? Speaker Stephen P. Anderson will share common patterns from game design, learning theories, and neuroscience to reveal what motivates—and demotivates—people over the long haul.

    At 4:05pm to 5:15pm, Thursday 13th October