Jeffery Zeldman at DIG

Jeffery Zeldman at DIG

The DIG (Digital Interactive Gaming) conference in London Ontario added a Web Development stream this year to compliment the gaming streams. With an opening keynote by Jeffery Zeldman’ and a closing one by Derek Featherstone, there was world class content being offered in my own home town. These are my slightly edited notes which I took during the talks. There’s some great insight in here, and some really cool links for reference later.

Jeffery Zeldman – @Zeldman’s keynote was everything I had hoped for, like a little synopsis of a bunch of a Book Apart books, with great examples of real world examples. He’s an engaging speaker, and he managed to get quite a few chuckles out of the very reserved London crowd. His Q&A session had loads of great crowd questions.

It was so nice hearing that Happy Cog is doing things like I want to move towards. Things like content centric design, and user centric design (to me, the most important person I have designed for is not the loud person in the room who may be signing my cheque, but the end user who I may never meet). He also said that Happy Cog has moved to the designer/developer model.

Cool Links:
Adaptive Web Design – the book (I’m happy to say I bought this from my seat).
HTML5 Doctor – Helping you implement HTML 5 today.

Next up was “Extreme Usability” with Derek Featherstone – @feather talked to a packed Salon B. Look at the extremes, if you address the needs of accessibility, you’ll make everything better for the majority, because you addressed the extremes.

Cool Links:
Derek Featherstone’s company Simply Accessible

Ideo The Deep Dive video.
Ideo’s Human Centered Design Tool Kit.

Casey McKinnon – @caseymck – of Freshbooks, talked about Gamifying a Web App, in this case changing the way that FreshBooks converts free users to paid, by going through the phases of, learning what the problems are, designing a solution, and measuring the impact.

Learn, don’t go it alone, set goals, and define what success will look like. Get a consultant.
For Freshbooks the goals were: Increase conversion, help customers be more successful because successful users convert better.
What makes a successful user? Who converts, and why?

Design, top tips for on-boarding.

* First minute is most important.
* Slowly reveal complexity.
* Minimize choice
* Create quests
* Reward completion
* Promote customization
For the game, once you’ve logged in 5 times, or have completed it, the game goes away.

Some other notes:
Freshbooks uses MixPanel to look at their metrics.
Customization, is a large indicator of engagement.

Cool links
Gabe Zichermann (the guy who Freshbooks had consult for them on Gamification)

Ahmed AL Tammi 3 mushrooms
Not a great presentation, he talked about Amazon’s Web Services and running a business off them. It’s interesting content (and how we run at Info-Tech), but his presentation was very boring, and I left early.

This seems unfair, but he did several things that speakers should avoid.  1: Stood behind the lectern and just read. 2: Had all of his words on his slide, and read the slide.  and 3: Spent an hour self-promoting his company.

By all means use your company as a case study, or as an example, and even give yourself a shameless plug or two, but don’t shill when you’re a speaker.

Finally it was time for the closing talk, once again Derek Featherstone (@feather) came back to talk about Designing Better Websites.

The key question you should ask yourself is “How fast can I go?”
Given that you have constraints, what is the best possible website you can make?
How do we define better, given technical, resource, budget, and time constraints.

Stephen Anderson @stephenanderson
Small improvements that make a difference. If you behave a certain way, why not create an interface that conforms to that behavior?

What about mobile?

What resolutions do we design for?

* Less than 220 px
* iPad
* Full browser window
What ranges do we design for?

UX camp, how do you change a site to respond to content changes (schedule only for day of event).

Content strategy should change based on what’s going on with the content.

Does content priority change when you consider time, state of mind, or location?

What technological challenges are there?

Concern: Diminishing returns. Sure we can do this, but we should consider the effort that’s involved.

Cool Sites:
Boagworld. A case study in responsive design. Interesting story about responsive design.
A collection of sites using Media Queries.

Seize the Room