[This is a repost from my older, defunct blog]

This Wednesday Ed and I attended the Future of Web Design conference in Kensington, Londinium. I’d never been to anything like this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found the experience really enjoyable, it was really interesting to be with so many people interested in that kind of thing, and the talks, whilst often things I knew or common sense, still helped bring my mind back to what I should be doing, and what the web’s about.

That said, I’m a student, I’ve worked in industry not even two years. From what I’ve read on other blogs the professionals weren’t as keen on the day as I was, but I do think that had a lot to do with the level of experience – I’m sure a lot of them have been to a lot of conferences. As it was there weren’t many students there at all, just our small crowd from Pompey and maybe one or two others. Definitely a professional day. I did enjoy it and I did find it interesting. I’m glad uni suggested it, and I think the experience was well worth the (hefty) 60 pounds…
I have some not so great photos I’ll probably stick on my flickr next time I’m at home.

These are some of my notes from the day. Made as coherent as possible, I was very tired that day :S

Finding Your Creative Vein

Brendan Dawes [magneticNorth]

Brendan talked a lot about the “wrapping” of a site, the extra small touches, creating anticipation – these things that offline enhance an experience. Efficiency is perhaps not always key.

To illustrate this he showed the Diesel website his company did for a handbag competition, which included quite an extensive path before you got to the “submit yourself” section. I thought it worked really well – and according to the public response it did. It draws you in – it creates an experience – something a lot of the speakers mentioned – experience. I tend to refer to web design – or anything I do – as experience design. It doesn’t really matter what media it is, ever since I discovered one of Shedroff’s pieces on just that. Experience is the key.

One thing I loved was an interface made with Play-Doh. The amount of Play-Doh on the screen affected how quickly a movie clip would run. Quite ingenious. Play-Doh is the best. They’re the best for using it.

People like playing.

Brendan finished with a great quote:

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Poe

Designing for Web Apps

Ryan Singer [37signals]

10 Tips for Sign Up Forms

  1. Making stuff up is hard – start with the basics.
  2. Username is taken – Ajax has functionality that checks while you type – genius!
  3. What is your cousin’s sister’s dog’s name? – Only ask for enough info to get rolling. Leave large profiles etc to be filled in later if user wishes.
  4. Words are your friends – ask questions, relax, you’re talking to people.
  5. Characters it doesn’t like – eliminate error frustration.
  6. Muse me – give examples.
  7. Tell me what I’m getting.
  8. Warning OMG everything’s broken! – Think like a human when writing error messages.
  9. Welcome – first time visit, say thanks, bookmark this page etc. Continuity in experience.
  10. Just give me the keys – make it easy, keep confirmation email simple.

Keep momentum. Sign up doesn’t stop at submit.

Users don’t care about using your app, they want to “kick ass”.

I quite liked this little tip session – I know I never really think when creating forms…

I made many more notes that day, all extremely useful.