Skip to content

@media – day 2

Old content alert!

Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Always happy to have people read my stuff but just thought I should point out this post is years old. If it's about technical stuff there is a possibility that it is no longer relevant, if it's a bug report/fix I'm hoping that it should now have been fixed.

Of course if this is what you're looking for and it does work then great, just don't say I didn't warn you...

After the exploits of the night before and openning day of the conference I arrived at day 2 certainly in not the state I would have hoped for; lets be honest I was fucking hung-over and the walk to the venue hadn’t helped clear any cobwebs! However with a packed day ahead of me I sucked it up, got to drinking water, consumed a number of sandwiches (which I still believe are the BEST hangover cure) and made my way to my seat for the second and final day to start. I think I will remember this day for a long time to come as one of the best since moving back to London

Dan Cederhome – Bullet-proof web design

I have yet to read Dan’s book of the same name but I am guessing this was based on a chapter/excerpt from it. Having not read the book this was cool – I’ve learnt a lot of nice CSS based tricks from Dan’s website and other book before so was thinking what I would pick -up this time. Basically the points I got from this is to just be really dogged in your checking and development of sites, consider the existing content, the environment and I think most importantly (and the most difficult to check against) what happens when editing of content occurs.

Then looking at sites that he has worked on or seen around the web a few mini projects were discussed and dissected to show the principles that he had previously explained. The stuff which most hit home to me (and also throughout this whole conference) was the almost relentless attacks on ‘boxy’ design and this was no different even in this session where a number of solutions to this were shown – I am no designer but even I will be trying to put some of them into place!

Robin Christopherson – Beyond a code audit

From me, last years @media was all about Robin Christopherson. He gave the most eye-opening talk of the lot and really got me into thinking how we can try and work with him at AbilityNet. As of yet this has not happened, but I am still living the dream!

Unfortunately this year his presentation went very very wrong as the wifi connection went down and all his live HTML sites he wished to show us couldn’t be accessed – therefore making everything a wee bit of a shambles :< (we never found out who it was but the reason that was wifi had gone down was because someone was using the whole bandwidth uploading 30gd worth of files to someplace - we never found out who it was but if it was you I subject you play the error page lottery to see what I think of you!!!)

I did still manage to learn a good number of valuable points regardless of the technology problems – such as providing some kind of highlights when a link has focus from someone tabbing to it, that skip links should be made visible when they are in focus, that assistive technologies cover up a large portion of the screen when they are in use and also that Amazon are still muppets when it comes to using alt text!!

Molly – I18l: Awakening the sleeping giant

It was really inspiring to see Molly on what I would think was top top form (this was later upheld as she thinks it was possibly her BEST presentation ever!!). All I can say is that it was an honour to be there; I hold my hands up and admit that I really didn’t appreciate the passion about all things web that Molly has; I couldn’t help but realise this after hearing this talk.

As the web is probably the one true international medium (any one any where with the correct technology can access any publicly available page regardless of location I think it is something which has to be through of much more than it is now; especially in my line of work where our market is highly global and we require international students in order to develop. As was said, I18n should be through of in the initial development stages as retrofitting leads of multi headaches – and we really don’t want them. It is important to know the markets you are aiming for and develop our sites for THEM using their language, accepted colours, terms and addresses.

In short – I18n – DO IT!

Nate Koechley – Y! vs. Y1

Similar to Chris Wilson’s speech yesterday I felt that it was going to be really cool to hear the thoughts of one of the webs biggest companies talk about what they do and how they do it; turns out I was correct about this and ended up with the most notes of any of the other presentations on this!)

Yahoo are developing a lot of rich applications and to me seem to be heading right to a very AJAX rich site, homepages are tools. This got me to thinking that we should be seeing a lot of developments on the AJAX accessibility and best practises in the very near future as I am sure their developers (which Norm ensures me are the best in the world) will be working like buggery to ensure this. The new homepage and also their photo library stuff look REALLY impressive and I can’t wait for them to be launched as I think it will turn a lot of heads. This can only be considered a good think as a number of the other large companies will have to try and follow suit in order to keep up.

On a practical level we managed to gain an insight into a number of his research results from his project work:

  • CSS caching can sometimes not be as good as expected – due to this they will be embedding their styles in the head of the main homepage – raised a few eyebrows that did!
  • CSS files should be link to as close to the top of the page as possible – this is to ensure that the styling gets started ASAP when the page is loaded
  • JS should be linked to as close to the
    as possible – I didn’t know this but when a JS file loads it shuts down every other page actions until it is finished. Having it after the CSS means that the page will look as intended while the JS does its stuff and stops everything else loading up

It’s little words of wisdom like this which I really like to hear t the presentations I go to and at this one I certainly heard a few, so thank you Nate and Yahoo!

Andy Clarke – The fine art of web design

The final presentation of the conference may well have turned to be the best – for me the awed silence that had crept around the room was great. Andy was talking and just everyone was listening (opposed to blogging!)

Again while having a go at “boxy” designs and the constant acceptance for a site which looks the same in IE as does in anything else a new term was born – I think after today we will be hearing lots of lots about “Transcendent CSS” and I believe that if we can get the OK to do this from our managers and companies it’s going to hugely effect the look of our sites.

Transcendent CSS I feel may have actually been around for a long time now, back in the CSS Zen Garden the techniques that it represent are used all the time – those like attribute selectors and child selectors which we can use to include additional design elements in the good browsers while not effecting the bad ones. The use of these techniques should also help in creating designs using grid layout techniques (something which I have tried to do here – probably not successfully!?!?!)

The wind-down party

After the hot topics panel (which I forgot to make notes on!!) we headed off to the pub for yet another piss up! I have to say I was rather dubious of the rather posh hotel venue in which it was set but I don’t think it could have turned out better as it was yet another great great event. In essence it was a piss up and as we found down I got the jokes out of the bag – I think my best was my anecdotes of great porno film titles (“The Witches of East-Dick” being my particular fave)

The celeb checklist was again in full force, to it I can now add:

  • John Hicks (thanks for the drinks!)
  • Dan Webb

And like that @media had finished – I staggered home and ended up getting to bed at 5am – only to wake up at 8.30am in preparation for the Geek Dinner up and St Paul’s.

I think it will take a while for all the things I learnt to click into place; all that can be said is that it was an excellent experience and I am so happy to have been a part of it (and in my eyes I was a very good part!)

Special mentions should I think go out to my two curry friends – I hope to be keeping in touch with your guys and emails will be going out on Monday; Alan James and Richard Stephenson – you both kick big ass!

No comments yet

Comments are closed.