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October 10, 2008

Information overload. Aren't they always?

As Paul has summarised the night and day so eloquently I'll kick off with the speakers who grabbed my attention. One second... I'll just add the burger's at GBK were fine indeed. The reason we gorged ourselves? 241 vouchers, yum!

The three speakers that I'll briefly cover include Steven Johnson, Aleks Krotoski and Jeremy Keith. I say briefly as its probably best if I just provide you with the links to go investigate further yourself.

Steven Johnson kicked things off with a talk on Victorian London and two men who tried to save the streets from an epidemic. Another topic I found interesting was the concept of The Long Zoom, a particular way of seeing that can end up defining an Age.

Aleks Krotoski talks about stickiness and how the games industry have got it SO right. Immersing your user is a powerful thing. Why aren't websites doing the same thing? Are they missing narrative and playfulness?

Finally Jeremy Keith bends our minds at the end of the day with a talk about network theory. I didn't really get it at first, mainly due to the information overload I was feeling by this point, but the slide deck had such provocative images (for such a dry subject) I could slowly feel myself coming around. I'm not even going to try and explain network theory here which is why I've provided a link to his slide deck below.

There you have it, the few nuggets of knowledge I gleaned from these talks. The link harvesting for the three speakers is below:

Steven Johnson - The Urban Web

Download the audio to the talk.

Read his personal blog and check out his latest project outside.in.

Aleks Krotoski - Playing the Web: how gaming makes the internet (and the world) a better place)

Download the audio to the talk.

Read her personal blog and the Games section on the Guardian Technology blog.

Jeremy Keith - The System Of The World

View the slide deck.

Read his personal blog and check out his book Bulletproof Ajax if you're into enhancing your websites with a sprinkle of Ajax.

You can subscribe to the podcast of all the dConstruct talks here (Johnson, Krotoski and Porter so far).

PS: Whats with the leading on this blog? Crazy legs Liz I suspect.

October 08, 2008

Burgers, Rain and Sumo Sacs


The trip to dConstruct in (a wet and windy) Brighton with my fellow D&Uers began on the Thursday night with a feast at GBK. An excellent burger indeed. Although I’m not sure why Dom, Tufty and I felt the need to eat 5 burgers between us?

The conference was full of many familiar faces from other conferences I’ve attended. Like-minded folk from Yahoo, BBC, Google and Vodafone were all there to listen to various people discuss designing for the social web.

As is the usually the case at these events, some speakers had more interesting things to say, or rather, I was more interested in specific topics more than others.

I found Daniel Burka’s talk on Designing for Interaction was the most interesting for me (once you got over the constant name-dropping and being good friends with Kevin Rose). I liked his ideas on how to encourage users to participate and take that first step into using a site, such as reducing barriers, in particular a simple sign up process. Geni.com was the example he used, but I think this is quite common across all the popular 2.0 sites.

Although geared toward the social web, I think we could do with taking on board this point. Previous research I have done on the film channel shows how a dreadful sign in and registration process really does have a negative impact on the whole UX. By simplifying registration, giving users a taste of what’s on offer, and an incentive to fully participate, one would imagine you increase your visitors. His presentation slides were pretty good as well.

I think one thing I feel I need to do at these events is to engage and network a bit more with others. But when there is a group of you tend to stay together. Maybe next time.

Finally, I think we need to get a Sumo Sac in the See, Play, Learn area.

October 10, 2008

October 08, 2008

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