Coming home from Smashing Conference 2015

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Unfortunately I only managed to attend 1 of the 2 days at Smashing Conference because I fell ill. Yes, I was that awakward and annoying person in the middle of a crowded room sniffing and spluttering everywhere, so much so that I had to excuse myself mid way through a talk and say at the back like a social reject. I thought the least I could do would not pass it on any further so I took the 5 hour trip home myself.

That being said, all was not wasted. The first day was very good. I took away a lot and it felt especially applicable given recent developments with projects at work.

The why and how of designing for people

The talk from Meagan Fisher was very interesting and it touched on some of points from my previous post about finding efficiencies where needed. She mentioned a range of different systems that would be helpful during testing, and one in particular really stood out to me. It’s an application that you can build into your system call Full Story. They sell it as a DVR for your users. See what they are actually doing with your website. For us it could be a really useful way to see if web publishers are able to find the functionality that they are looking within a CMS of some sort. Of course the main thing you miss out is the emotional, personal connection with the user. Whilst it’s incredibly important, it’s also very expensive so getting personal one-to-one feedback should be reserved for key milestones when beta testing large updates to the UI or a piece of functionality once every year or so.

Her talk also helped me ascertain some barriers between the different specialists within a team.

  • business goals (project manager – cost and time)
  • what would look best (designer)
  • what do people really want (ux research)

Find your middle and you are going to have a shit hot piece of software.

Beyond the browser

I also really enjoyed the second talk by Tom Giannatsio. He spoke about Hybrid applications, which allows you to create seemingly native applications for Windows, Mac and Linux but is all built using Web Technologies such as Javascript, HTML and CSS. He showed us some incredibly innovative concepts but for me the greatest strength is the integration with the system itself and the ability to selectively rollout an application and take back some of the control that the range of web browsers have. By confining yourself to one browser, you are reducing your compatibility testing, increasing quality and increasing features and support through saved time.

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