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Sessions at Web Directions South 2011 on Friday 14th October

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  • Deign [in|for|and] the age of ubiquitous computing

    by Mike Kuniavsky

    Let’s start with the assumption that computing and networking are as cheap to incorporate into product designs as plastic and aluminum. Anything can tweet, everything knows about everything. The cloud extends from smart speed bumps to exurban data systems, passing through us in the process. We’re basically there technologically today, and over the next [pick a date range] years, we’ll be there distribution-wise.

    Here’s the issue: now that we have this power what do we do with it? Yes we can now watch the latest movies on our phones while ignoring the rest of the world (if you believe telco ads) and know more about peripheral acquaintances than you ever wanted. But, really, is that it? Is it Angry Birds all the way down?

    Of course not. Every technology’s most profound social and cultural changes are invisible at the outset. Cheap information processing and networking technology is a brand new phenomenon, culturally speaking, and quickly changing the world in fundamental ways. Designers align the capabilities of a technology with people’s lives, so it is designers who have the power and responsibility to think about what this means.

    This talk will discuss where ubiquitous computing is today, some changes we can already see happening, and how we can begin to think about the implications of these technologies for design, for business and for the world at large.

    At 9:15am to 10:15am, Friday 14th October

  • All The Small Things

    by Relly Annett-​​Baker

    Microcopy is the ninja of online content. Fast, furious and deadly, it has the power to make or break your online business, to kill or stay your foes. It’s a sentence, a confirmation, a few words. One word, even. It isn’t big or flashy. It doesn’t leave a calling card. If it does its job your customer may never notice it was there.

    In this session, Relly will show you how you can bolster sales and reflect your company and client’s values through just a few well-chosen words. Designers? Do you get lumped with the interaction copy? Developers? Do you get left trying to make meaningful error messages? Ecommerce managers? Do you want an easy increase in sales? This session will help. It will be a lot of fun. You should definitely come.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Friday 14th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • How the web is going physical

    by Andrew Fisher

    In 2020 there will be nearly 10 times as many Internet connected devices as there are human beings on this planet. The majority of these will not have web browsers. When it comes to the “Internet of Things”, web designers and developers are uniquely placed to create, connect and produce innovative new ways for these devices to be used.

    We are used to mashing up disconnected data sets, playing with APIs and designing for constantly moving standards in order to create compelling digital user experiences. “Old school” engineers are struggling to keep pace due to long processes for product and service design but as web creators we understand the value of rapid prototyping, user feedback and quick iterations. As developers, we play daily with a bewildering array of technologies that span networks, servers and user interfaces. As designers, we understand the nature of beautiful but usable technology.

    These skills, and our innate understanding of how interconnectedness enhances and creates engaging user experiences, mean that web creators will be critical for the next generation of Internet enabled Things in our world. From a potplant that tweets when it needs water to crowd sourcing pollution data with sensors on people’s windows and visualising it on Google Maps these are the new boundaries of the web creator’s skills. Have you ever dreamt of sending your phone to the edge of space to take a picture of a country? Or how about a robot you can control via a web browser?

    By exploring examples of things in the wild right now and delving into practical guidance for for getting started, this session will demonstrate how easy it is for web designers and developers to build Internet connected and aware Things.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Friday 14th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • HTML5 PhoneGap and What's Next

    by Ben Birch

    If this year is all about the mobile space maturing, then your web skills are where it’s at and a key player is PhoneGap, which supercharges your code and gets you into the app store(s).

    We look at one small framework’s journey from birth at a 2 day hacking event to become the preeminent method for distributing packaged web apps on mobile devices. We will have a look at the all the goodies that PhoneGap provides, then peek inside and see how it integrates with the web stack. We will explore some of the pain points and work arounds. Then, we take a quick pass through the community and resources available. Finally, we finishing up with a look at where PhoneGap is going and explore the interesting places your web dev skills could take you in the next 12 months.

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Friday 14th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

    Coverage slide deck

  • HTML5 Video, Captioning, and Timed Metadata

    by Christopher Giffard

    HTML5 Video has been a hot topic for the last couple of years — but with new additions to the specification, we can now extend it beyond all recognition. In this session we’ll look at basic timed data, closed captioning and more — and as we adventure into more sophisticated uses of the technology, we’ll explore what additional value timed data can provide to your video, with attention paid to how you can implement it today.

    The key focuses of this session will be accessibility, searchable media, and enriching existing multimedia experiences with timed data, all with a liberal application of flashy eye-candy. And of course we’re using the freshly minted Timed Text Track specification, soon appearing in a browser near you!

    At 10:45am to 11:40am, Friday 14th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

    Coverage audio clip

  • HTML5 API Soup - Recipes for Maximum Taste

    by Damon Oehlman

    Most jaw-dropping apps use multiple HTML5 APIs in creative ways, rather than a single API in isolation. In this session we will explore ways you can implement and combine HTML APIs such as websockets, web workers, local storage, and geolocation to make awesome web apps. Then just for fun we’ll look at how you can dish up something really special by throwing in ingredients like canvas, video and WebGL.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Friday 14th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Interaction Design Bauhaus

    by Rahul Sen

    With the release of the Windows Phone, Windows 8, Google+ and a host of other interfaces – a call for revolution is becoming more absolute. There seems to be a clear opposition to skeumorphism in graphical user interfaces (skeumorphic UI were made popular by Apple for the past half a decade). There is a clear call for fierce reduction of chrome in favor of content.

    History seldom repeats itself, but every now and then, it rhymes. My session focuses on what I call — ‘The Interaction Design Bauhaus’. It discusses this growing minimalist, ‘form follows data’ trend in UX and compares it to historical phenomenon that occurred in the early 1900’s in the form of the industrial design Bauhaus movement. This session draws comparisons and lessons from history, and attempts to focus on the new material we deal with in Interaction Design and how we deal with old human feelings like Envy.

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Friday 14th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Web Accessibility – making progress

    by Andrew Arch

    The W3C and the international community are all making accessibility easier for everyone to understand and adopt. The Australian Government has been on its renewed path to online accessibility for some time now with the implementation of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy. This session will:

    • Provide an update on government activity and progress
    • Highlight some of the W3C/WAI deliverables and other activities that are making the task of improving the accessibility of the web easier for everyone
    • Discuss ways of making WCAG 2.0 more digestible for different audiences

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Friday 14th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • You're Already a Game Designer

    by Paris Buttfield-Addison

    Gamification’s still the hot new thing, somehow, but it’s a term that’s poorly applied and even more poorly understood.

    In this session, you’ll learn how gamification has been with us all along, how to design with your user’s emotions in mind, and how to go beyond badges, buttons and points.

    Bring your sense of fun, and be prepared to learn how your product is already a game — you just need to point it out!

    At 11:45am to 12:40pm, Friday 14th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • CSS Power Tools

    by Nicole Sullivan

    Let’s admit it, the tools for writing CSS aren’t very advanced. For the most part, the people who write tools don’t know about CSS and the people who know about CSS don’t write tools. Quite a conundrum! In this session, you’ll learn about good tools that can make development faster and maintenance easier. We’ll also talk a bit about where we can go from here. What tools do we need as sites are becoming more and more complex? We need to get beyond tools whose primary goal is to avoid hand-coding and realize that, as our techniques for writing CSS become more powerful, our tools can too! Session will include:

    • Validators
    • Preprocessors
    • Finding dead rules
    • Linting
    • CSS3 gradient tools
    • Performance measurement tools
    • Unit testing

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Friday 14th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Designing without the browser

    by Hannah Donovan

    Innovation is intensifying off the browser — the things we use everyday are increasingly controlled by touch, gesture and voice. And we, as interaction designers, are faced with a challenge that’s the opposite of our browser-​​based one-​​man-​​shop: there’s suddenly a gulf of production between our concept and the final product; the means of production is as tricky to navigate as a roster of Tolstoy characters; mistakes are expensive; and everyone speaks a different language. Sound dangerous? Sound exciting?

    Donovan argues the processes for the future lie in our more material-​​based graphic designer pasts, and our cousin disciplines of industrial design and architecture. After a decade of honing our newfangled browser-​​based skills, learn how to dust off and sharpen the tools of our roots.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Friday 14th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • How to be a Web Sorcerer

    by Dmitry Baranovskiy

    The Web is a purely magical substance that is built by us, web developers. How can it be that the web is totally technical, yet we all know some kids who we can call magicians of the Web. Some people believe that it’s all about skills, but Dmitry reckons it’s more about bravely, grit and a tiny bit of madness.

    Do you want to change the Web, not just build it? Do you want to know the secret spells? Do you want to know the source of all this unlimited power? Come and find out.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Friday 14th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • WCAG2 accessibility: the hidden nuggets

    by Gian Wild

    WCAG2 is a long series of documents. Gian Wild knows this better than most: she spent six years on the W3C WCAG Working Group writing them. It’s a lot to ask that every developer and project manager read the complete guidelines, including informative content. However there are some very useful — and sometimes hidden — techniques in WCAG2. And some are even at Level AAA. Join Gian to find out what these are.

    At 1:45pm to 2:35pm, Friday 14th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Accessibility for web teams: Recategorising WCAG 2 using a role-based approach

    by Lisa Herrod

    The application of web accessibility guidelines in a holistic manner across all roles of a web team continues to encounter resistance. This is often due to a lack of resources and knowledge, or no sense of relevancy in certain web roles. While there is solid support of the guidelines by accessibility activists and many front-end developers, a large percentage of other web practitioners in non-technical roles do not know how to integrate accessible design practices into their daily work, despite wanting to.

    By re-categorising accessibility guidelines into role-based groupings, such as visual design, content writing and information architecture, guidelines become more accessible to inexperienced web practitioners across a broad range of web roles. The application of accessibility guidelines then becomes more integrated and holistic, thereby reducing project timelines and costs while increasing the overall accessibility of a site from initial design stages.

    This method enables practitioners to apply skills specific to their role to a narrow range of accessibility guidelines particular to their area of expertise. For example, the visual designer would create a design and evaluate colour contrast before submitting the design to the development team. Likewise, an interaction designer would consult with the Javascript specialist to ensure the menu design satisfies relevant accessibility guidelines.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Friday 14th October

    In W3C South Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Lanyrd: From side project to startup

    by Natalie Downe and Simon Willison

    Natalie and Simon launched the first version of Lanyrd.com while on honeymoon in Casablanca. As the site took off, they realised their side project was destined to become something much bigger. This talk will tell the story of Lanyrd, from a two-week proof of concept to a full-fledged startup via three intensive months of Y Combinator in Silicon Valley. They’ll share the trials, tribulations and lessons they learned along the way. This is the talk they wish they’d heard before they got started!

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Friday 14th October

    In BigPicture Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Move It! CSS3 Transitions and Animations

    by Greg Rewis

    Since the early days of the web, the only reliable way to get movement on your site was through Flash, or more recently, Javascript. But now, with WebKit and Mozilla leading the way, transformations and transitions can be done with pure CSS, even on mobile devices. And for those in need of even more movement, CSS3 provides for keyframe-based animations. In this session, we’ll take a look at all of the possibilities and explore what works and where — from the simplest effects, to creative usability enhancements including the combination of CSS with mobile Javascript frameworks.

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Friday 14th October

    In Design Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Up and Running with Node.js

    by Tom Hughes-Croucher

    Learn how to build high performance Internet and web applications with Node.js. In is session Tom Hughes-Croucher will demonstrate how to quickly build a high performance chat server using Node.js. This live coding exercise will provide a real insight into what it looks like to build a project in server-side Javascript. We will also cover how to deploy Node applications in production and look at just how far Node can really scale… A million connections and beyond?

    At 2:40pm to 3:30pm, Friday 14th October

    In Development Track, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre

  • Waving at the Machines

    by James Bridle

    For years we’ve been promised a future of jetpacks, flying cars and living on other planets: a vision of the digital age that has endured since the 1950s. But in fact a new future has been growing beside it all along, a future of cheap satellite imagery, digital real estate, narrow AI and 5.5 billion network eyes. As we digitise all of our culture—the books that we read, the music that we listen to—and our view of the world itself, we render it robot-readable, computational, comprehensible to another nature. James will discuss the architecture of datacenters, the subjectivity of Google Street View, and the pixelation of everything, in an attempt to calibrate our new position in the world.

    At 4:05pm to 5:05pm, Friday 14th October