Tag Archives: fowdlondon08

Boag takes an already great conference FOrWarD

Paul Boag in character

Chairing a tech conference and maintaining the eccentric air your audience of artsy-techie designers expects would seem to be mutually exclusive goals. Not for Paul Boag, the brilliant designer and podcaster, whose on-stage persona hovers somewhere between Gilbert Gottfried and Steve Coogan in Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible. But hold it all together he did, through tech glitches, speaker overruns and who knows what else.

My favorite Boag moment followed the blatently useless Photoshop face-off. “I thought this might be an exercise where we actually learned something … But NO!!!” I nearly fell out of my chair. Thanks to Paul, Jo Andrews and all the Carsonified folks for a conference that was at least 98 percent useful.

I hoped to shake Ryan Carson’s hand and say hello in person, but he had the best excuse in the world for staying home. The first weeks after my daughter was born were the most special of my life. Sleep eventually comes again, but those early moments with big blue eyes staring up at you at three in the morning are so, so fleeting.

My one <rant> vaguely related to the conference would be all the whining in social media about the product demo’s. FOWD is open to folks besides web design geniuses and I personally did learn a couple of things from the demonstrations. And if the demo’s can keep the conference price down so that folks trying to establish a name for themselves can afford to attend, show some grace and just tune out for the half hour, especially if you’re a presenter!

You can make up the time by opting out of the design challenge next conference.

This is the last post on FOWD. Loved it. Loving London. Thanks to Adii, who gave me the pass to be there.

More posts coming on my adventures wandering the city.

FOWD: An unconventional way to present a concept

I’ve never consciously thought during a presentation “I want to speak like that person.” But such was the case with Litmus‘ Paul Farnell’s presentation on unconventional ways to promote your site.

What was more unconventional was his “every guy” conversational style of presenting. He didn’t need to be abrasive or over-the-top to engage the audience. Just a straightforward, evenly paced, well-articulated and even humble presentation of a concept. What a concept!

Don’t get me wrong–the content was great as well. Everything from the use of satellite sites to building communities by building a culture of trust was highly relevant and insightful.

I will definitely use the info. But this guy is my presentation hero.

Yet another reason to buy the Conference-in-a-Box: to study what made him so effective. Trading my southern U.S. dialect for his British accent? That’s going to be the hard part. 🙂

FOWD: Bad, Burka, Bad!

Image representing Pownce as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

So Louisianian‘s live in trailers and marry their cousins, eh?

Well, maybe we do. But my brother-in-law and I are coming to Pownce your San Francisco @$$ anyway. 😉

http://vimeo.com/932296

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FOWD: Holy Cheesophile! A presentation that’s practical

Hicks Cheesophile

For a while now, I’ve been trying to adopt the Beyond Bullet Points presentation style outlined in Cliff Atkinson’s book of the same name. Some folks call it the Web 2.0 style as well. It focuses on gaining audience buy-in by connecting them to the material through high-impact visuals. It’s essentially linear storytelling. In fact, Atkinson tells the presenter to outline the presentation in “Acts”–just like plays or television shows.

I don’t know if John Hicks of Hicksdesign knows of this concept, but he carried it out wonderfully. He took the audience through the process of redesigning a website–starting with the problems with the original, all the way through the redesign. Humorous and thoughtful, it was enough to keep me awake for the hour after my grease-laden lunch. Considering I had a severe case of jetlag as well, that’s saying something!

The best thing about Hicks’ style is that he talked about the underlying “whys” of the redesign put the super-geeky css talk in context and HELPED A NEWBIE “GET IT.” He could conduct a seminar series or write a university curriculum this way. What a service to help the web designers of the world use both sides of their brains!

I’m buying the Conference in a Box just for this presentation!

FOWD: Print is the New Web

Image via CrunchBase

As a public relations practitioner who does a good bit of design for both print and web, this topic intrigued me. Elliot Jay Stocks is one of the social media/web design deities of Carsonified (for the moment anyway) so this session was a must-see for me. He began by stating he came up with the provocative title and then shoehorned a presentation into it. Fair enough; it turned out well nonetheless.

He began by showing examples of print, such as book covers, and described how to find in them inspiration for web design. He then progressed to other print media and used a process of overlays to demonstrate how print design elements can be effectively ported into web design. It’s made me look at the process in a new way. I’ve already started scanning bookstores (since I’m in them all the time anyway) and magazine racks for great design ideas.

I twittered during this session about whether there is a conference out there that addresses a holistic view of print and web, allowing designers to consider both out the outset of a project.

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FOWD: User experience v. brand experience

pearce and clarke

Steve Pearce of Poke and Andy Clarke of Stuff and Nonsense had presentations that basically boil down to the fact that you have to remember your audience and make sure your site is not only beautiful, but functional as well. Pearce’s presentation replete with handdrawn cartoons with a torn-paper background was a brilliant demonstration of the user experience iceberg concept. Though I remember being entertained by Andy’s talk, I think his persona overwhelmed the subject matter, because I honestly can’t remember any of the points he made. I do remember that he has the longest e-mail address in the universe. Which is more important, I guess, because at least I can contact him to find out what his points were, if I’m interested.

FOWD: Finding inspiration from design

Paul McNeil

Patrick McNeil kicked off FOWD this morning with design examples from his aggregation site Design Meltdown. His ideas for “living” inspiration–know your sources, practice, and have your inspiration detector “always on”–were commonsensical kind of things that make a difference. But it was his examples of these traits that were particularly helpful.

For example, “just practice” inspires no one. However, a practice regimen, like the “one design a day” concept really changed my point of view. Structured practice is the key. Even if it’s just-get-it-out-of-the-way crap practice.

His notations about trends in web design were interesting. Brown is a big color now (new WordPress admin, and even the FOWD site itself). Oversize banners, formerly a no-no, are on the rise. I think Matt Mullenweg beat that trend by a few years at least, though he said at WordCamp Dallas he planned to reduce it somewhat. And no more eye burning colors like hot pink. McNeil says colors are starting to get softer as Web 2.0 settles into its groove.

Perhaps the trend I found most interesting, and one that made a lot of sense to me, is the horizontal scrolling site. Monitors are cinema-shaped now, instead of roughly square. And lots of people are using multiple monitors. So it makes sense that a site would have more horizontal space. Karlik Design is a beautiful illustration of the concept.