This years @media conference took place during the London Web Week on 29th and 30th of May, at the Southbank Centre in London. And it is not a coincidence this post opens our ThinkRobot blog. Inspired by the Hot Topics Panel suggestion for establishing your identity five years prior to hitting the market, we have decided it’s about time for us to do just that.
As this was a first time for me at @media all the presentations still had an aura of novelty around them, despite the fact that some of the speakers have become somewhat regulars at this event. Also, as a side note, the free bags this year have been a lot classier, however possibly at the slight cost of being less sturdy.
With two tracks to choose from, it was obviously impossible to see everything the conference had to offer, however the panels I did attend definitely left an impression in one way or another. Here are a few thoughts on some selected presentations.
Designing Our Way Through Data – the introductory speech by Jeffrey Veen has been a good start for the conference. It was very interesting to hear about the importance of finding the right balance between raw data and pure graphical presentation. Also Google Analytics examples helped to put some things in context.
Mental Models: Sparking Creativity Through Empathy – with the topic being closely related to Indi Young’s new book, it’s hard not to see this presentation as a bit of marketing. A very successful attemt at that, should I add, as I will most probably be getting the book soon. The concept itself appealed to me very much and I might find myself using it quite a lot in the near future.
Designing User Interfaces: Details Make the Difference – Dan Rubin was the first panelist to introduce many practical tips and tricks helping to enhance the UI design. Although the ideas presented weren’t revolutionary it is very often that we overlook the little things in design, that make a whole lot of difference.
Professional Front-End Engineering – Nate Koechley’s presentation although overall interesting left me with a bit of a mixed feeling. Seeing how I have done deisgner work, as well as front-end and back-end coding I am not the biggest advocate of strict labels.Despite that I really appreciated the optimization tips – some of which I have seen before, but there were a few new ones.
Global Design: Characters, Language, and More – it was a pitty this panel was not longer. Richard Ishida definitely had a lot more to say on the topic, and considering that the hour pretty much flew by, it would have been interesting to learn more.