Webstock 2011 schedule

Monday 14th February 2011

  • Fixing other people's broken CSS — with OOCSS

    by Nicole Sullivan

    We've all inherited code from somebody else and wished we hadn't. Sometimes we only have ourselves to blame for the unmaintainable tangle. We were too busy chasing the next cool feature to think about how our site would scale or how fast it would load. In this workshop, Nicole Sullivan will show you how she untangled facebook's CSS. What's more, you will analyze a site of your choice and leave the workshop armed with practical changes that will make your code lean, efficient, and flexible.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th February

  • How To Make Information Beautiful

    by David McCandless

    The use of infographics, data visualisations and information design is a rising trend across many disciplines: science, design, journalism and web.

    In an age of high-speed living and info overload, visualized information has incredible potential to help us quickly understand, navigate and find meaning in complex world. They can also look really cool!

    David McCandless has created over 500 information designs and data visualisations for clients around the world.

    In this workshop, he'll share skills and techniques on how to merge design, information, text and story. Show how to work and play with data to get creative and unexpected results. Explore what makes a successful information visualisation. Explain how to develop the journalistic nous to zero in on interesting data and subjects. He'll also explore some of the common pitfalls, traps and FAILS that dog this young design form. And also be hat swapping and offering himself both as a creative director for any information design work and a journalistic editor for any ideas and concepts that you might want to bring or develop in the workshop.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th February

  • The Practice of Content Strategy

    by Kristina Halvorson

    What's "content strategy"? Go ahead. Pick a definition. This practice (in one form or another) has been around for more than a decade, but somehow we haven't quite agreed on what it is, how it should work, and why it really matters.

    One thing everyone does agree on: Dealing with web content is hard. It's complicated, expensive, time-consuming, and often overwhelming. There's new content. Legacy content. User-generated content. Print to web. Text to video. Static to dynamic. The list goes on and on.

    But who's responsible for wrangling all this content into submission? Agencies want the client to do it, but the client doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to plan for and execute user-centered content. The client wants the agency to do it, but the agency doesn't have the subject matter expertise—let alone the internal resources—required create content that's always accurate, relevant, and consistent over time.

    Good news: The practice of content strategy gives us tools and processes that can help bring order to your content chaos. But before we can sell our organizations on investing time and money in content strategy, we need to help stakeholders understand exactly how content can make or break user experience, and what the costs are when we wait until the 11th hour to deal with it.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th February

Tuesday 15th February 2011

  • In-depth with HTML5: getting started with 4 key technologies

    by Mark Pilgrim

    Learn the basics of four important HTML5 technologies: canvas, video, local storage, and offline web applications.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday 15th February

  • Usability Bootcamp: The Essentials of Usability Testing

    by Christine Perfetti

    Every week, we get questions from clients asking, How do we really know what our users want? How do we ensure our design will work for users? How can we be confident that our design changes are actually improving our product? To answer these questions, Christine Perfetti, has put together a one-day Usability Bootcamp, to provide you with the skills to evaluate and improve your designs

    In the one-day workshop, Christine will share proven techniques for understanding your users, gathering user feedback, and evaluating your designs. She'll teach you all of the steps to conduct your own usability tests, including how to plan the tests, recruit users, facilitate the sessions, analyze the data, and communicate the results.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday 15th February

  • Web Typography and You

    by Jason Santa Maria

    Type is both a verbal and visual medium; what you say is just as important as how you say it, and where those two things meet is the start of a conversation with our audiences.

    This workshop will look at typographic design in detail, from basic typographic principles to developing an eye for choosing typefaces and how best to convey your messages visually. Strong emphasis will be placed on craft and detail. Afterwards, you'll be able to display an understanding of typographic design and the ability to focus on crafting compelling messages.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday 15th February

  • What’s (Maybe, Kinda, Sorta) Next for You? Steps Toward Futureproofing Your Passion

    by Merlin Mann

    Everybody who cares about what they do wants to get better at it, right? But, how do you know if you’re getting better at the right things?

    And, perhaps as importantly, if you crave the independence and agency of working on your own stuff for real money, what sort of modest, baby steps might help you start walking in the best direction for now?

    In this half-day workshop, we’ll unpack some of the real (and perceived) barriers to both gaining expertise and achieving independence (and, yeah—you better believe they’re related).

    Through a lively mix of seminar, discussion, and focused exercises, we’ll work to discover (and potentially start moving) any block to discovering the thing for which we’re most willing to work our asses off.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Tuesday 15th February

  • How to Lead

    by Michael Lopp

    Do you want to manage or lead? What's the difference and why do you care?

    In this workshop, we'll first explore the reasons why managers are hated so that we can understand how not to repeat those mistakes. We'll tease apart the ideas around leadership and figure out how to apply them to our careers regardless of whether we're currently a manager of people.

    At 1:30pm to 5:00pm, Tuesday 15th February

Wednesday 16th February 2011

  • Tapworthy Mobile Design and User Experience

    by Josh Clark

    From first concept to polished pixel, learn to create a mobile app that delights. This workshop teaches you to "think mobile" by planning and creating app interfaces in tune with the psychology, culture, ergonomics, and context of an audience on the go. You'll learn to conceive and refine an app's interface and user experience in tune with the needs of a mobile audience—and their fingers and thumbs. The workshop explores the practical principles of mobile and touchscreen design using examples from all major mobile platforms.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday 16th February

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  • The Long Tent in the Performance Pole

    by Steve Souders

    Speed matters. As designers and developers it's a point of personal pride to create a fast web site, to take that extra step to ensure users aren't left twiddling their thumbs and rolling their eyes waiting for our sites to load. But there's more to it than the pride we take in our craft. Google, AOL, Bing, Shopzilla,Yahoo! and others have shown that faster web sites attract more users, engage them longer, and generate more revenue while running on less hardware consuming less power and using less bandwidth. A better experience, more users, increased revenue, and reduced costs. What's not to love?!

    So how do we get us some of this fast web stuff? Metaphorical spoonerisms notwithstanding, it starts by finding out what's taking the most time. Sounds simple but tools that give us visibility into the browser are fairly new, they vary by browser and OS, and many produce results that suffer from the observer effect or are plain wrong. In addition to the tools, you need to be able to spot the critical path items that are hurting the user experience.

    Join Steve Souders, creator of YSlow and author of High Performance Web Sites and Even Faster Web Sites, as he peels the performance onion on some popular web sites using the latest tools.

    And don't forget about mobile. Steve will show tools that let you test the most popular mobile devices without leaving your chair, and some new tools that give visibility into what the heck is going on in mobile browsers.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th February

  • Writing with Pictures: The Power of Visual Communication

    by Scott McCloud

    Nothing communicates faster and more memorably than images. Learn from a comics master how images can transmit ideas, stories, and information with force and precision. Cartoonist Scott McCloud (Google's choice to explain the inner workings of their Chrome browser through comics!) will get you drawing and THINKING about how we learn and are persuaded through pictures just as successfully as through words, and how techniques from the graphic arts world can be applied in web design and usability.

    At 9:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday 16th February

  • Killing your Sailboats: Managing Innovation by Saying True Things

    by Merlin Mann

    There’s a shameful open secret inside many companies that nobody likes talking about. It’s the “third rail” of office culture and it unnecessarily electrocutes the spirit of great teams every day:

    Truth be told? Managers often say untrue things.

    We’re not talking about lies or deceptions in the usual sense; we’re talking about the much more nuanced problem of saying one thing, then doing (or rewarding) something entirely different.

    It’s the culture that demands nothing but unadulterated success, while claiming to foster innovation.
    It’s the manager who’s a broken record about the need to “define your job,” while demanding you check email all day and tell him when you’re going to lunch.
    It’s the C-Level who bellows about employees’ poor productivity and lack of focus as he updates Facebook from his CrackBerry.
    In this half-day workshop, we’ll talk about the institutional gulf between what we say is important and what we do to prove, fund, and defend it.

    If you’d like your organization to foster an environment in which no one ever needs permission to be awesome–and if you have the stomach for the unconventional cure–you may find this interactive workshop to be far more useful than simply mounting another motivational poster of a sailboat.

    At 1:30pm to 5:00pm, Wednesday 16th February

Thursday 17th February 2011

  • Digital Campfires

    by Frank Chimero

    At 9:00am to 9:40am, Thursday 17th February

  • That's all well and good, but how does it help me?

    by Michael Koziarski

    Webstock's a fantastic opportunity to meet world leading experts, and learn from their experiences. But it can often be tricky to reconcile the inspiring tales of world-beating startups and technology companies with the day to day grind of corporate or government IT projects. Instead of projects which arrive on the market and define entire new industries, most of us are working on projects that are months overdue and way over budget.

    What lessons should we take away from the successes we see, and what mistakes can we avoid by studying project failures.

    At 9:50am to 10:30am, Thursday 17th February

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  • Adventurous Usability Techniques: Novel Approaches for the Seasoned Pro

    by Christine Perfetti

    Usability research is pretty straight forward. Find some users, put them in front of a design, have them execute a task or two, take some notes, write a report, and call it a night, right? Not quite. There are many advanced techniques which, when implemented effectively, can drastically improve the success of your research.

    Do you want to measure the effectiveness of your content pages? How do you ensure your links are meaningful to users? Do users see the value of your products and services? When trying to answer these kinds of questions, some techniques work better than others. In this presentation, Christine Perfetti will show you some unique methods you've probably never heard of — techniques only practiced by the most adventurous design teams. Among the techniques you'll learn about:

    5-Second Tests: A popular low-tech technique to collect quick feedback on whether a screen or page's purpose is clear to users. You may have heard of this technique, but 90% of design teams are using it wrong
    Inherent Value Tests: A two-phase test that explores the value that loyal customers find in a product or service
    Category Agreement Analysis: An alternative to traditional card sorting
    Catalog-based Testing: The perfect technique for organizations migrating offline content to the web

    At 11:00am to 11:40am, Thursday 17th February

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  • The Future of the Web: where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

    by Mark Pilgrim

    A light-hearted romp through the trials and tribulations of web developers everywhere, interspersed with some serious advice about what's next on the web in 2011 and beyond.

    At 12:25pm to 1:00pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • Portrait of an Artist as an Independent Musician

    by Jason Webley

    How an accordion player from Seattle uses the web to shape a magical and successful career independent of records labels, publicists, booking agents and managers; and how he struggles to maintain independence from the internet tools he uses.

    At 1:20pm to 2:00pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • On Web Typography

    by Jason Santa Maria

    Achieving a thorough grasp of typography can take a lifetime, but moving beyond the basics is within your reach right now. In this talk, we’ll learn how to look at typefaces with a discerning eye, different approaches to typographic planning, how typography impacts the act of reading, and how to choose and combine appropriate typefaces from an aesthetic and technical point of view. Through an understanding of our design tools and how they relate to the web as a medium, we can empower ourselves to use type in meaningful and powerful ways.

    At 2:05pm to 2:45pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • Web Performance Optimisation: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

    by Steve Souders

    The last few years have seen a bevy of case studies from Google, Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft, Mozilla, Shopzilla, Netflix, and others testifying that making web sites faster drives traffic to the site, improves the user experience, increases revenue, and reduces operating costs. The VC community has caught on and are backing a number of web performance startups. All of this has culminated in the emergence of a new industry: Web Performance Optimization (WPO). Join Steve Souders as he recounts the evolution of WPO and lays out the biggest challenge for creating faster web sites: JavaScript.

    At 2:05pm to 2:45pm, Thursday 17th February

  • Content/Communication

    by Kristina Halvorson

    The way we talk about our content has significant impact on the way we treat it within our organizations… and, therefore, the quality of the content we produce. How can we make the shift from treating content as a commodity to valuing it as a business asset? With a little storytelling and the help of a few powerful metaphors, you can begin to turn the tides.

    At 2:50pm to 3:30pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • The Gap Theory of UI Design

    by John Gruber

    “Consistency” is widely held as a precept of good UI design. But what traditionalists often mean when they speak of UI consistency is really about uniformity. But UI design today — whether it be for desktop, mobile, or web apps — is often about expressing individuality, and thus in opposition to uniformity. Today, UIs are aspects of branding; we create distinctive personalities for software. Let's figure out which aspects of consistency remain essential, useful, and relevant today.

    At 4:00pm to 4:40pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • Delivering Delight

    by Doug Bowman

    The power of delight is underutilized in web design. We’re not delighting users enough. Yes, we need to align with business strategy. Yes, we need help users to accomplish tasks and goals. Yes, we need to create usable, accessible interfaces. But that’s just a baseline. To surpass this, we must remember that users are human. They have emotions, insecurities, passions, and desires. The service industry recognizes this, and has, for decades. We too, should be spending more of our time building moments of joy and satisfaction into our design and our products. Doug will focus your attention on a true differentiator in modern product design: delivering experiences that delight.

    At 4:45pm to 5:45pm, Thursday 17th February

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  • Amanda Palmer talks new music paradigm, blogging, Twitter and life

    by Amanda Palmer

    Amanda “Fucking” Palmer, solo songwriter/performer and half of the punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls, has been called “The Queen Of Social Media” by the Huffington Post. Beyond running her blog and keeping a very close relationship with her audience online since 2000, she's recently gone independent after a heated battle to be released from a major label.

    For the last few years, she has been traveling the world with no management, relying on internet tools (she has over 450,000 followers on twitter), a close-knit team of paid online office staff she calls “team chaos”, and the goodwill and creativity of her fanbase (and often, the kindness of strangers) to make things possible. She is a huge crusader for a new model of patronage-based music distribution in the form of suggested online donations and patron-based campaigns (like kickstarter and pledgefund).

    Amanda Palmer will explore the means by which Twitter and other current media/social networks have revolutionized her independent music business and personal experiences on and off the road. Brief Q & A to follow. Nothing off limits.

    At 5:30pm to 6:15pm, Thursday 17th February

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Friday 18th February 2011

  • Do your own thing (Contrary to popular beliefs)

    by Marco Arment

    Many common patterns, rules, and trends in web and app development aren't universally applicable, or come with downsides that few people ever mention. I'll talk about several trends that I've resisted for Tumblr and Instapaper, the often-great alternatives that are available, and how to make appropriate choices for your work.

    At 9:35am to 10:15am, Friday 18th February

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  • Information is Beautiful

    by David McCandless

    In an age of high-speed living and info overload, visualized information has incredible potential to help us quickly understand, navigate and find meaning in complex world.

    The use of infographics, data visualisations and information design is a rising trend across many disciplines: science, design, journalism and web. At the same time, daily exposure to the web is creating a incredibly design-literate population. Could this be a new language?

    David will share his passion for exciting potential of this merging of design, information, text and story. And unveil some of the interesting, unexpected and sometimes magical things that happen when you visualise data, knowledge and ideas. And, admitting that his book is as full of mistakes as it is successes, he'll also explore some of the common pitfalls, traps and FAILS that dog this young design form. Using examples from his book and blog, he'll share thoughts on what makes a successful information visualisation and journalistic tips, especially for designers, on how to zero in on interesting data and subjects - and how designing information expose your own biases and change your views about the world. Oh yeah!

    At 10:20am to 11:00am, Friday 18th February

  • Buttons Are a Hack: The New Rules of Designing for Touch

    by Josh Clark

    Fingers and thumbs turn design conventions on their head. Touchscreen interfaces create ergonomic, contextual, and even emotional demands that are unfamiliar to desktop designers. Find out why our beloved desktop windows, buttons, and widgets are weak replacements for manipulating content directly, and learn practical principles for designing mobile interfaces that are both more fun and more intuitive. Along the way, discover why buttons are a hack, how to develop your gesture vocabulary, and why toys and toddlers provide eye-opening lessons in this new style of design.

    At 11:30am to 12:10pm, Friday 18th February

  • A Geek Sifts Through the Bullshit

    by Jason Cohen

    As a geek who has started three successful companies, I’ve had to move from “coder” to everything else — salesman, designer, marketer, accountant, and changer of the pellets in the urinals. In the process, I’ve found that some widely accepted advice lead to failure while trusting my inexperienced gut lead to success. Through stories I’ll show you five ways to deal with the cacophony of advice on the web, from friends, and from customers, so you know whether specific advice is right for your situation, and then workshop those lessons against the 37signals philosophy.

    At 12:15pm to 12:55pm, Friday 18th February

  • The Pirate Bay of Penzance

    by Peter Sunde

    At 1:55pm to 2:35pm, Friday 18th February

  • An Engineering Mindset

    by Michael Lopp

    The inmates are truly running the asylum. In recent years, a unique type of start-up has emerged. These companies have designed, built, and shipped products that share a unique characteristic — they're created and run by the people who built the product — the engineers.

    An engineering mindset defines both the early products as well as the cultures of these companies. In this talk, I'll explain what the hell an engineering mindset is, how it's evolved since the implosion of the Dot-com Bubble, and how it's increasingly contributing to the success of companies. Lastly, I'll discuss why conditions are ripe for this perspective to take hold and change both the way products and companies are built.

    At 2:40pm to 3:20pm, Friday 18th February

  • Everything the Network Touches

    by Tom Coates

    The work we’re collectively doing—opening up gradually all of human information and media, making it recombinable, helping people create and share their work—is a huge unspoken, sexy, world-redefining mission.

    It’s a mission that many of us have become blasé about, almost unaware of. It’s a project so large that it’s hard to get a grasp on. And the next few years are going to get even more interesting as the network pervades physical objects and environments, sensing and manifesting information in the real world.

    It's time to recognise the scale of the project we have in front of us, the breadth of the material we have to work with, and the possibilities of design within it. All of human knowledge, creativity—even the planet itself—is our canvas.

    At 3:50pm to 4:30pm, Friday 18th February

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