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Fun Times at Web Directions North 07

Well, it was so much fun at WDN07 that it's taken me this many days to recover! No seriously, being my first conference, I was struck by how friendly everyone was, not to mention their passion for the industry. Web standards, fine art design, and clever coding to name only a few of the excellent sessions available.

As anticipated, the workshop with Kelly Goto was enlightening to say the least. It was a fine combination of lecture and hands-on practice. It was a great opportunity to meet some other conference attendees, and we work-shopped a mobile banking application. I'd actually like to build the thing... oh who has the time?!?

I look forward to sharing many of the tools we used with my team, particularly the time management aspects of agile development processes. I was pleased to note that the usability testing model is almost identical to the model we use here at Habanero. Kelly also gave an intriguing keynote speech on Designing for Lifestyle. Her concepts about human to machine communications and machine to human feedback really got me thinking about creating unique web experiences by harnessing the machine's intelligence to augment our lives. Sky thinking!

The next two days were filled with sessions from some of the brightest minds in the business. Cameron Moll introduced me to the concept of chiasmus or introverted parallelism used in formulating prose. The note here is to look everywhere for new ways to organize content because you just might find something unique and special. Tantek Celik spoke about microformats, reusable class tags that are streamlining our Web experience. If you look around our site, you may find a few!

I think my best surprise of the conference was the session with Andy Clarke and Aaron Gustafson. Smart! Andy spoke at length about taking inspiration from the real world and translating it into new and beautiful design, all of course through semantic markup and clever CSS. Aaron gave a nice review of some of the upcoming highlights of CSS3, such as the ability to imbed Flash through CSS tags. Very cool!

There were a few other concepts that I haven't quite grasped, but I have bought Andy's book, Transcending CSS, to help wrap my mind around them. I highly recommend listening to any and all of the podcasts from the conference, as there were so many nuggets of wisdom and experience!

The capper was skiing in Whistler on Friday. It was a real pleasure to tour Whistler newbies around the mountain; they had travelled from all over North America, and I got to show them some of my favourite runs. I sometimes forget how lucky we are to have such beauty in our backyard, and it was fun to share the wonderment. Looking forward to the next conference!