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For many, 2016 hasn't been the best year ever: the loss of several beloved cultural icons, currents of political decision-making that didn't feel like steps forward, pessimistic news on the climate change front ... But it's well known that cultivating a mindset of gratitude is overwhelmingly positive and healthy. And so, at the end of this seemingly endless and at least personally exhausting year (one in which I turned 50), I wanted to reflect on some really positive things that we managed to achieve at Web Directions in 2016, some of them long standing ambitions.

A brand new conference – Transform

Since the beginning, many of our audience have come from the government sector, and over the years we've run workshops, and even entire conferences focused on Government and the Web. But with the significant changes happening around the World in Government service delivery, kick-started in many ways by the UK's GDS, and more recently taken up with gusto here in Australia with the establishment of the DTO (now DTA), we decided it was time for a conference focusing on this area. So in May (timed originally to avoid the election season planned later in the year, but which ended up being held over the period of the conference) we brought together pioneers in government service deliver from the US, UK, NZ and around Australia for Transform. A great success, we're back again at the end of March, again as a single day, single track conference, plus a day of optional workshops.

Not one but two new publications – Scroll and Wrap

When you go to a conference, you're almost invariably handed a program. Well designed, printed at quite some expense, and largely useless except as a memento. So this year we decided to do something about that. For each of our major events, we produced an edition of Scroll, a beautifully designed magazine that features in depth interviews and profiles of speakers, as well as articles of relevance to our industry. You can only get a physical copy by coming to our events, but you can download all three editions from 2016 now. But that's not all. I've long wanted to ensure that attendees obtained the most possible benefit from coming to our events, benefit that lasted far longer than the experience of being there. To this end, we've for several years made videos of presentations available to attendees, but this year we started Wrap, a detailed writeup for each session from each conference, once again beautifully designed by the folks at Handle. Even if you missed the conferences, there's real value in Ricky Onsman's detailed write-up of every session from every conference this year. Grab your copies today!

Expanding Respond to two days (and two cities)

In 2013, Web Directions was two conferences: Web Directions in Sydney, and Code in Melbourne. In 2017, we'll run four major conferences, two of which (Respond and Code) will take place in three cities. The growth began in 2014, when we ran Respond as a "popup" conference–a single day in Sydney focusing on the specific challenges around front end design. This year we not only extended it to two days, it also travelled to Melbourne, where its audience was even a little bit bigger than the Sydney audience!

Expanding Code to two cities

Hand in hand with this, we took Code on the road, to Sydney as well as the city where it started in 2012, Melbourne. And as I mentioned, we'll be also heading to Brisbane with Code in 2017.

Reframing, refocusing and rebranding our major conference, Direction

Part of all this was a really significant rethink about Web Directions, the conference that started it all for us way back in 2006. For many years, this was essentially our entire business. At one point in 2012, it grew to four tracks, a genuine behemoth. But in time we came to realise that focus is the key to great events. So, by 2015 we'd pared Web Directions back to two tracks, one focused on design and big ideas, and one focused on engineering–a combination of the sort of thins we cover in Respond and Code. But programming multiple developer conferences in Australia (Code, then three months or so later, the Web Directions engineering track) was really hard. So this year our goal with all our events was to integrate and coordinate them better, to allow each event to specifically focus on an area of practice, and to allow experts in specific areas of that field to dive deeply into their area of expertise. Which left us with something of a challenge for the the rebranded Direction (I wrote about the choice of name, and how direction is quite different from directions, earlier in the year). Many events of similar nature around the world might best be characterised as a "celebration" of the Web. But celebrations of their nature look backwards, rather than forwards. And there's only so much celebrating one can do. So we definitely wanted Direction to maintain significant professional relevance. What we felt was that for really established professionals, particularly with more of a design focus, or with an overall strategic focus within a team or organisation, the people shaping the direction (geddit?) their product, or company or organisation is taking, there isn't always a lot on offer. So, we developed Direction as precisely this–a way of keeping track of developing technologies (like this year VR and AR), ideas, and practices. It's more for the sort of person who might call themselves a designer but, to be honest, design sensibility and - dare I say it - "design thinking" are central to successful products, companies, organisations, and so in a way Direction is for a much wider audience. Judging by the responses (including via anonymous survey), this rather large leap into the unknown went a long way to achieving what we'd hoped, and we're already lining up some extraordinary speakers for 2017.

Speaker development

One day, I'll try to write up our vision for what it is we actually do, or at least strive to do here at Web Directions. But in essence it is to help people within our industry develop their skills and capabilities. One area we've focused on recently is helping people develop their presentation and public speaking skills. As part of this, we've worked with local groups like Women Who Code to hold workshops specifically for women to help develop these skills.

Developing an insurance offering

As if we didn't have enough to do with all we'd bitten off, we're also developing an idea I've been working on for quite some time: great value, fully featured insurance for freelance/contract workers as well as smaller agencies offering Web design and development services in Australia. That might seem significantly different from much that we do here, but it definitely aligns with our mission to help build the industry and, most importantly, its professionals. Starting at $39 a month, paid monthly, and with no lock-in, it will be available in early 2017. If you're keen, sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know, or drop us a line with any questions.

Refining our visual identity

In mid 2015 we started on a major overhaul of our visual identity, our Web sites, and more or less all our communications. While it's yet to have hit our main web site (that's coming), the sites for each of our "products" have been significantly overhauled. This is all part of a transition for us toward a focus on professional and industry development, as our industry transitions from peripheral, an adjunct to marketing or - in some ways even worse - IT, to an integral part of the organisations we work in or with.

2017

I've already foreshadowed much of what we'll be doing in 2017, something of a consolidation year for us, after the year of hectic innovation that was 2016. We'll be:
  • * holding Transform, our government service delivery focused conference in March in Canberra
  • * holding Respond, our front end design conference in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in May
  • * holding Code, our front end development conference in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in late July and early August
  • * holding Direction, our product/experience/design and big ideas conference in November
As mentioned, we'll also be launching our Public & Product Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance offering early in the year, we'll be producing Scroll and Wrap to go with each event, and maybe we even have one or two other things up our sleeve.

Thank You

As we wrap up a huge, and at times challenging year, there's a few folks we'd really like to thank. Ricky Onsman has come to almost every conference, workshop, and event we've ever run, including traipsing all the way to Vancouver for Web Directions North. This year, he's come on board as Managing Editor for all our content, and allowed us to achieve some of these things we'd been planning for many years. Michael and Georgina Schepis at Handle Branding, whom we found almost by accident last year, and who've helped deliver amazing experiences with Scroll and Wrap, the signage at our events, and much more. If you're looking for folks to do brand design, signage, print or any sort of communications design, you really should get in touch with them. Simon Wright has been coming along to our events since the early days, and has been our Art Director for the last couple of years as we've transitioned from a couple of folks doing almost everything themselves (including at times making people coffee at our events), to the sort of company we aspire to become. A huge part of this has been to develop the visual identity of the company, something Simon has done with great aplomb. Public Speaking for Life is two fantastic people, Sarah Ewen and Tarek Said, who run workshops, training and a community meetup in Sydney around developing public speaking skills. They've helped us deliver some fantastic training for speakers, and you should really look at what they have to offer. We also want to thank our dozens of conference speakers, writers for Scroll and Wrap, our event volunteers and, above all, you - the folks who've attended our conferences, workshops and events." ["post_title"]=> string(14) "2016 in Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "2016-in-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-01-13 12:08:10" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-01-13 01:08:10" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6690" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#198 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6683) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-12-16 12:24:08" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-12-16 01:24:08" ["post_content"]=> string(57047) "There's little doubt technology has a diversity challenge. There's a lot of conversation about why that might be - although less about what we might do about it, particularly in terms of specific action. Aubrey Blanche from Atlassian spends her life thinking about this, and developing programs and practices to address it. In this highly regarded session from this year's Direction conference, Aubrey went into detail about what they have done - specific actionable practices - to help achieve some quite remarkable outcomes. Want to help increase the diversity of your organisation? Start here.   Like to watch and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once a week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.



Transcript

- - Alright so we're gonna do this without slides today, which is probably great for you because I am not a visual designer.

I am in fact an organizational designer.

So thank you for the lovely introduction, I am actually quite thrilled to be here today.

It's not often that I get to talk at, sort of, design conferences and things like that, so it's really fun to have a new type of audience.

But I am Atlassian's global head of diversity and inclusion, and what that means, my dad often says what do you do, why do you get paid? It's okay, right, like I get that question at least twice a week.

But my job is to help Atlassian more effectively attract, recruit, retain, and develop people from traditionally under-represented groups.

Or put another way, to design a company that creates equal access to opportunity for every person who walks through our doors.

And the reason that that's important is because it turns out that companies are actually quite bad at this, and the tech industry itself is actually really bad at it, and doesn't necessarily know why.

But it turns out that understanding why that happens means that we can design to overcome it.

In the same way that we're talking about what online harassment looks like, we can design organizations to mitigate the things that don't work, and to encourage the types of behaviors and decision-making that does.

So the place I like to start here, is to think about why.

So why don't we see women in technology, in the same way that we see them in a population.

They make up half of planet earth, roughly.

Probably a little bit less if you think about non-binary folks in there as well.

But it turns out there's a few hypotheses about why this is.

Things like women don't like science and math.

They're just not interested in computers.

And it turns out that those are not valuable hypotheses because the data doesn't show us that's true.

So it turns out that there are points along what I call the talent funnel, from the time that folks are tiny children, that actually cause women to opt out of working in technology.

And that there are things that we can do to overcome them.

So, alright here's my other slides.

I'm sorry, these are the wrong slides, but that's okay.

So one of the first things that I hear about the tech industry, and the sort of belief that we have about ourselves is that tech is a meritocracy, and I'm here to tell you that is not true.

It actually turns out, research shows that when we have a belief, that the systems that we engage in, that is they are meritocratic, the more that we believe that, the less likely they are to be meritocratic, and the less likely we are to believe claims of bias and discrimination.

It's something we call the paradox of meritocracy.

An amazing researcher, Castilla and Benard, published a study earlier this year, I absolutely, it's called The Paradox of Meritocracy, check it out.

But what they showed is that when companies added the ideas of meritocracy into their company mission statements, that individuals actually engaged in more biased behavior.

So the first thing we have to do is reframe meritocracy as something that exists, and embrace a growth mindset about it.

Say it is something that we can build.

It is something that we can achieve, and it is something that we can do together.

So starting all the way back, I wanna talk about why girls opt out.

And it starts in 1985.

So it turns out about that time, personal computers started being marketed to people.

And it turns out that they were mostly marketed to boys and men.

Which means that parents bought their sons computers.

That gave boys a 10 year head start.

So in the eighties, you saw in the US that more than 40% of computer science degrees were given to women.

And over the last 20 years, we've seen women's representation in engineering and STEM fields begin to come to parity with men, except for computer science.

And so, we can't assume that fundamental computer science concepts are uninteresting to women because we have historical data that they're not.

In fact, the first computer programmer was a women.

Grace Hopper invented COBOL.

Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr actually invented the technology that now powers Bluetooth and WiFi, right.

We have a hidden history of women in computing.

And it turns out that when that advertising came out, it not only gave boys a 10 year head start on learning hacking and how computers worked and things like that, but it also made girls believe that computers were not a thing for them.

Socialization is incredibly powerful.

It motivates the choices we make, even if there aren't strict rules about what we're allowed to choose, it turns out that, well, horses have to bolt to that kind of influence.

So you see that.

You see girls that are suddenly stereotyped as not.

We have stereotypes about who techies are.

We see them as this sort of lone wolf person, maybe hacking in a basement somewhere.

And there are certainly those people, and if they find that great, that's awesome, but it turns out that there are lots of other types of people in the world.

And by painting this sort of monolithic idea of who tech is, if someone doesn't identify with that type of a lifestyle, they're gonna opt out of that career.

So the advertising, the way we've done it, I don't have the slide for you today, but if you can Google it, Newsweek just did a cover last year, where they show the titans of Silicon Valley, and every single one of them was a white man.

And I love white men, they're great, my dad is one of them.

Right, lots more in my family too.

I'm actually mixed race, so I'm like, the left half of me is white.

It was a joke, right, bad jokes.

But imagine what that means.

You're implicitly telling people, and our brains are very plastic.

So we actually start to learn rules, like what types of people are allowed to do things.

And so this media and this advertising environment, and the stereotypes that we rely on, the fact that we talk about beer and pizza instead of things like comprehensive healthcare and flexible work environments.

Right? All of those things are great.

So we need to change the way that we advertise and the way that we brand, so that we paint a broad inclusive picture of who tech is, what tech is, and who it can be.

Because that's gonna help to opt in.

That's a long term play.

Next, talking about bias.

So unconscious bias is like the buzzword right now in diversity and inclusion.

Which makes me really excited because I am a perpetually recovering social scientist, so anyone that actually wants to talk about psychology is really exciting to me.

But it turns out that unconscious bias affects us in so many ways, it's crazy.

I could throw up 15 studies in a couple of minutes for you about the way that it causes us to actually evaluate the skills of women in technical roles less, compared to their male counterparts.

This is true for black individuals, for people who are Latino, disabled.

And so what happens, is that women actually face higher barriers to entry.

My personal research actually shows that when we removed names from coding screens that a company I was at previously, when the names were there, men were 1/3 more likely to get a phone screen interview when we controlled for the quality of the code.

And we controlled for it by using the same code and putting a different name on it.

Right, identical down to the character.

And when we rebuilt our internal tech systems to actually get rid of that identifying information, that gender based pattern disappeared.

Right, that's really really powerful.

And, so thinking about the ways that we conduct people processes, the way that we evaluate it, and how we design those environments to limit the application of the bias that we have as human beings is incredibly critical.

Because it turns out that if you're at a tech company, you probably know that you're in a war for talent right now.

It is really hard to find technical people.

I think someone told me yesterday that there are one million cyber security jobs in the world that there is no one to fill.

Just today.

And that's becoming even more critical.

And that's just one specialty.

So, the third thing is culture.

So there are lots and lots of research and hypotheses about why women leave.

Because it turns out that by 10 years into their career in technology, 56% of women opt out.

The comparable statistic for men is 17%.

And these women often don't leave technical roles, but they go to other industries where they can do technical jobs.

And there are hypotheses around raising children, and things like that, but it turns out that when you actually ask the women why they left, they will tell you it is a culture that they didn't feel like they could thrive in, and where they weren't going to get oppurtunities to succeed.

That's pretty great right, this is amazing survey tool we have, just ask people what their opinions are.

So it turns out that, you know, even me, I'm a 28 year old woman in tech, like I don't wanna work in a frat house.

And a lot of start ups in Silicon Valley, that's the culture that they create.

But it turns out that culture is malleable, so that's another problem that we need to address if we're trying to address that gap.

So they're kinda the broad things, that's the doom and gloom portion of the talk.

Now we're gonna talk about what Atlassian is doing about that.

So it turns out that a lot of these changes that we make are also not expensive.

So doing smart diversity and inclusion is about smart organizational design that gives your company better talent, but also it is a more efficient process for everyone.

So that's really great.

I guess before I talk about exactly why we've made all of those changes, I wanna talk about why diversity, why it's valuable.

'Cause I do a lot of this coaching.

So what we see, is that when we have diverse teams, they perform better.

So people with cognitive diversity, or difference with perspective and backgrounds, when they work together, their individual IQs actually go up.

So those diverse teams are greater than the sum of their parts.

Companies that are more diverse are significantly more likely to out-perform their more homogeneous peers.

Mackenzie estimates that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to have greater financial performance, and ethnically or culturally diverse companies are 35% more likely to be in that top quintile of financial performance.

So if you have any equity in your companies, diversity is good for your bank account.

It turns out also that diversity is the mechanism that drives a host of other things that we care about as a business.

So, people on diverse teams are happier, they're more productive, they're more innovative, they perform better on logical and creative tasks.

Companies have greater retention, individuals have greater emotional commitment to colleagues.

Right, like who's all in for that? Me, for sure.

And so when I think about it, diversity is not the end goal, it is the mechanism by which we achieve all of this greatness.

And, that's important because it's not something we inherently seek out as individuals.

We as people have something called strong like-me bias.

I usually think, you know, we like people like ourselves, like our friends.

But it turns out that being around people like ourselves all the time doesn't make us great.

So now talking a little bit about Atlassian.

So I came on board about a year and a half ago, so June 1st of last year.

And I kind of said, what is reality today? And reality was, there was an incredible group of people that are really other-oriented, really passionate, and wanted to know how to make a difference, but nothing was built yet.

And it turns out that that was great because it meant that we could build things the right way the first time.

And so we had to decided where we wanted to start because Rome was not built in a day, and you cannot completely change the composition of your workforce in a year because firing half your employees do to that seems like a really stupid business decision.

So we said let's start with our graduates in Sydney because one, it's a very controlled process, we recruit all of our graduates at the same time, they start at the same time.

So we're in this lucky phase, we're about to open our recs for the summer for grads to start in January.

Let's look at everything we're doing, what we're doing wrong, and why.

So the first part of that project was utterly terrifying.

We pulled, we had just opened our recs for our intern and grad class in January, and we had exactly zero female applicants.

It is really really hard to hire women when you don't have any applications from them.

Right, like, radical honesty here.

And so we said, okay, this is, we are literally starting at ground zero.

What are we gonna do about it? And so we said well there are lots of hypotheses about what's going on, wrong.

Why don't we have any inbound applications? What kind of sourcing are we doing? So we started at the basics.

We know that women have something that we call the confidence gap.

So that means when women and men are equally qualified, women are actually less likely to rate themselves highly.

Like women will not call themselves experts, they call themselves specialists.

Right, all the women in the room are like, yeah totally, that's me.

Me too, like I freak out about the word expert.

I'm trying to embrace it, do that behavioral modeling.

But, we said okay, maybe there's a confidence gap, maybe they just don't feel comfortable applying to Atlassian.

So we sent our recruiters out to the women in tech groups at USydney, at UNSW, and other unis where we know that they have strong computer science programs.

We hosted breakfasts, and we literally just had our recruiters talk to the women about the fact that in their experience, women tend to opt out of applying even when we think that they have strong applications that are very competitive.

That's free, it's easy.

But it turns out that women sometimes need that encouragement because throughout their lives, they've been told that they're less capable at computer science, which means they're more susceptible to when they fail once, to fall prey to that confirmation bias.

So when they put in their application, they wanna really make sure that it's gonna land, and they're going to guarantee they can be successful.

We wanted to interrupt that pattern, and say throw your hat in the ring.

A lot of you maybe have heard the statistic for job applications that men will apply when they have about 30% of the requirements, and women will apply when they have about 80% of the requirements.

Actual research that's done, and I can tell you that that is true, I have stopped doing that.

I applied for my job having two out of the nine requirements on the list, look they gave me the job.

Shocking still.

But so that's a silly problem, it's an information problem, and it's a free problem to solve.

So in addition to going out and coaching these women that we thought would be fantastic additions to Atlassian, we also said we need to re-position our employer branding.

We need to make sure that passive people, who are encountering information about Atlassian, can see themselves there, and can see a value in applying.

So we did a complete overhaul of our careers site.

We looked at the images we were using and the language, and it wasn't about, like we have snacks and pizza, and, you know, beer on Fridays and that's great, wine if you're not into beer.

And we kept that stuff, but we also brought out things like, we're a really collaborative work environment.

We talk about things like flexible work policies.

We made sure that women of all cultural backgrounds were depicted in the images that are on our website.

Because we wanted people to opt in, to feel like they were gonna be included, and like they might have a place at Atlassian when they clicked on that button.

The next thing we did was fundamentally changed our job ads.

So we know that the drop out rate for people from minority backgrounds is significant after you have more than five requirements on your jobs.

And that most companies write their job ads, is this like wish list of a unicorn person who doesn't actually exist.

Stop doing that.

It's really really bad for you.

It turns out that the more that you do that, the less quality candidates you get as passive applications.

So counter-intuitively, it works against.

So we actually instituted new rules.

We started using an amazing machine learning tool called Textio to both surface high impact, positive words, and remove gender bias from the language in our job descriptions.

It turns out that women don't tend to associate themselves with words like "rockstar", or "guru", or "ninja", and also in our experience, rockstars come in at 11 and are really terrible at building software.

So we remove stuff like that.

We don't say "killer perks", we say "collaborative work environment." Why? Because that's actually more true about what we do, how we work at Atlassian.

So, all of our grad jobs now only have three requirements, and all of them are skills-based, and not experience-based.

So rather than saying something like, "Bachelors degree in computer science," we say "experience and ability of building high quality software." Why? Because it turns out that things like what uni you went to, there's a lot of structural factors that tell you whether you're gonna get a computer science degree.

In fact, in the United States, the number one predictor of whether you attend a top 25 university is how much money your parents make.

It has nothing to do with your skills and abilities.

Obviously our education system is a little bit different over there.

But we recognize that even for people, we've seen folks from the LGBTI community who are more likely to have family issues.

They're less likely to have the formal degrees and certifications that traditional job ads have on them.

And again, we know that if they're requirements that people can't meet, that's not great.

So, why not? Think about the ability that you want the person to have, not the very narrow way that one person might acquire that skill.

I've seen the other things is experience in a start up environment.

Well it turns out there's really strong selection effects of who actually makes it into a start up in the first place.

So why don't you say instead, "ability to work in an ambiguous and collaborative "environment at high speed with changing priorities." Right? That's actually what you mean.

So just say what you mean.

Because there's a lot of people, you know, IBM has this really amazing design lab right, where it's kind of start up-y.

And so maybe someone's at IBM, which doesn't necessarily fit with people who might enjoy working in a high growth company, but it turns out that they might have the skills that are an amazing addition to your team.

So be specific and be thoughtful.

Think of the requirements on your job ads as the lowest bar to entry.

The basic things that I need you to be able to do on day one when you sit down at your desk, and everything else is coachable and learnable.

Because you will get incredibly different set of candidates.

So that was a big thing for us.

Just changing our job ads.

That sounds really basic right? So that's the top of the funnel.

And then, it went into well, we know that unconscious bias affects the way that we evaluate people.

And we know that our process may not be perfect.

So how do we remove the bias? Or how do we make our evaluation processes as objective as they possibly can be? And, so we start at the top.

What's the first impression we have of a candidate? The first thing that we do for every candidate is they receive a coding test.

And because my research shows that when humans grade those coding tests, we're subject to bias.

We just had a computer grade it.

Just spits our a raw score for us.

And we came up with a measure of what score a candidate needed in order to move forward to the phone screen portion of our interview.

It turns out that it also takes a ton of work off of our recruiters.

It means that we can access more talent more quickly, and that we can really bring, sort of those high quality folks into the funnel when we start investing those people resources in it, which is pretty great.

Then we said well what about our evaluation processes? So we did a bunch of research about what types of interviewing, and what types of structures of interviews actually results in more objectivity, and what problems we expected.

We expected minorities to experience perhaps more in interview environments than people who have majority group identities.

So we actually re-designed our entire evaluation process to use structured behavioral interviewing.

So if you've read Laszlo Bock's book, who's the former VP of People at Google, he talks about the fact that one, interviewing is hard, and people are terrible at it.

We are really really bad at evaluating whether people are good at anything.

As human beings, so we're all in this together.

But structured behavioral interviewing is, has I think it's like R equals point three four, something like that, predictive power, on whether someone is gonna be successful.

And so what structural behavior interviewing is, is that we have a structured set of questions for each role, and we make sure that each candidate is give the same set of questions.

We try to hire for different facets, so we look at things like technical ability, but also their leadership potential.

And we ejected culture fit from our vocabulary, and from our evaluation processes.

And the reason for that is, culture fit is actually just this weird intractable moras of unconscious bias.

So, that's no good for anybody.

So again, structural behavioral interviewing, and then we changed to something we call values fit.

So, talking about the bad side of culture fit, it turns out that research shows that when we have something in common with the candidate, even if it's completely orthogonal to the skills required for a role, we tend to have this halo effect of them.

Maybe they're just wearing a blue jacket that we really like.

Or research in the financial industry has shown that for people who play the same sport as their interviewer in college, they're four times more likely to be described as a culture fit.

I am totally into rowing and I watch it in the Olympics, but it does not help me create beautiful products.

So...right? Everyone's like yeah, you're saying such sensible things.

And so what we did is we said that's stupid.

At Atlassian, if you know anything about our company, or you can Google it and please do, we have a set of five company values.

And a lot of companies talk about that, but I can tell you I am still quite shocked at how much people refer to them in the middle of their days.

It's like, well I don't, I'm trying to balance this, so our company values are open company no bullshit, it's one of the reasons why I'm actually here talking to you all, is because everything we learn about our people and the way that we build teams, everyone else should know.

You should learn from our failures and our successes, so you can take them and build brilliant, beautiful things with you.

The second is build with heart and balance.

So we believe in bringing your whole self to work, and balancing those things.

That's everything from your work-life balance to the composition of our teams.

And then the third is, and pardon my language, don't fuck the customer.

So what that is, is our commitment to empathy and to putting our customer's needs first, even when it means making hard business decisions.

And it turns out that because we know diversity drives innovation, diversity has to be a part of that conversation.

The fourth one, which is my personal favorite value, is play, as a team.

So, there's a little comma after play, which we care a lot about.

But what it means is that we can have joy and happiness when we come to work.

And, but we are always a team, we are always together.

You will hear our founders, if you ever hear them, they will talk about the fact that we do not believe in the lone genius.

We believe that everything beautiful and wonderful in the world has been built by groups of people with a shared purpose.

And our last one is be the change you seek.

And that is our commitment to allowing people to build a better Atlassian.

We tell everyone every week our new starters, that Scott says, we hired Atlassian, hired you at Atlassian so that you could change Atlassian.

We don't want you to keep it the same.

And so we found that that concept of culture fit was boxing us in.

The idea that we were describing our culture as a little box that it could fit in rather than the sort of amorphous growing thing.

But we care about our values.

Our values never change.

Our culture simply reflects the different types of Atlassians that we have here.

So we developed a set of behavioral questions that we believe answer the things that we wanna know.

Is this person collaborative? Do they show an initiative to help the people around them? Do they prefer to work in a transparent, open information by default environment? And, really really simple questions.

My favorite, I like to ask people, are you kind? Right, everyone looks at me like I'm crazy, I'm like it's not a trick question.

Right, but if you've never thought about it, we probably have a problem.

Right, like if you've never though about being nice to another person, you will not do well at Atlassian.

I have to be like, look this is a co-interview.

But, it's so easy, values fit, things like one of the questions that I always use, have you ever worked on a dysfunctional team? Why was that dysfunctional? Talk to me about what you, talk to me about your role within that team, and what you did to help alleviate that dysfunction.

And then we have a rubric.

A strong answer is someone who understands their role within their team, and did what they could, within the context of their role to help.

They did something.

They don't have to do a specific thing.

But we're looking for that quality.

A poor answer is someone who says, I just put my head down.

Because, and maybe helping was, I realized there was nothing I could do, and so I looked to change.

Right, that's okay, that's an okay answer.

Because we're looking at your analysis of your ability to create change, and then you're taking initiative you wanna go somewhere that you can.

So things like that have helped us hire a completely different group of people.

And, so right, values fit.

If your company is super stuck on culture, that's totally okay, but I have two suggestions for you.

The first is, when someone says something culture fit, your first question should be what do you mean by that? Articulate what you mean.

Because sometimes that's based on bias, and sometimes there are actual data points.

It also turns out that not using the word culture fit protects you from a lot of lawsuits.

Right, that's like a side benefit.

So we look at diversity inclusion from a opportunity prospective, and the compliance will take care of itself.

Right, or the legal team deals with it.

But, right, so culture fit, don't use it, but use culture add.

So your culture question should be what does this person bring to my team that we currently don't have? That will help you select for diversity.

So, that's a pretty basic set of things that we've done, right? And the reason it's so important is because many people, when they think about doing this diversity work, they actually think about quotas.

How do we manipulate the hiring numbers? How do we get more women into the organization? If we're focused on women.

As a side note, at Atlassian, we actually believe that diversity is inter-sectional, and so our focus on women and oppurtunities for them is only one small part of our larger diversity strategy.

That's important that we never think that diversity's just about women, it's about all of us.

Turns out 1% can't be diverse.

So, yeah, it's, you can't change the hiring numbers because what you're doing is manipulating the wrong part of the system.

Right, X causes Y, and quota manipulates Y, without actually dealing with the deficiencies in X, and the problems with the mechanism by which X transforms into Y.

So what we did, is we changed X and we changed the mechanism.

And, when I tell you it works, I promise you it works.

When I came on board at Atlassian a year and a half ago, we had about 11.5% women in our technical roles, globally.

That is way below market average, but it is not crazy out of bounds with our peer companies in Silicon Valley.

So doing some benchmarking for a high growth company that was about 1000 in head count, that was actually not crazy out of the ballpark, it's objectively really terrible, but it's not out of, outside of the bound of what I would have expected when I came in.

And all of these methods, when I tell you they work, this is what I mean.

Last year's intern class was 46% women.

Our graduate class that year was 17% women, which was twice the representation of the year before.

And it was also our biggest grad class ever.

The latest intern class was 47% women, and our incoming graduate class in January 2017 is 54% women.

Yeah, I know, like what? That's what I said too actually.

Yes, applause for that right? I think that's cool.

That I could like, I can do all of those things, right? That's not rocket surgery.

I told you, I tell really bad jokes.

But, it's that organizational design.

How do we understand the way that psychology, sociology, and organizational theory come together to create the behaviors and outcomes we want? And the, I think one of the reasons we've been so successful is because something that we didn't change was that we left it up to the hiring teams to make the final decisions.

We empowered them and trusted them that they were going to make the right decisions.

And part of the way that we did that, is we also offered, for every single person that's involved in our hiring process as a first priority, and all other Atlassians as well, training in unconscious bias and how they can mitigate it, or optimize their own decision making.

So that means we're equipping people with tools, and building the kind of environments, where they can create the outcomes they want, or as I like to say, they can align their behaviors and decisions with their intentions.

So, we're doing these things at other levels of the company as well, and it's really simple, once you get it up and running, it turns out that it's actually more efficient.

When you build a set of structured interview questions, it takes less time to prep for an interview.

It's much easier to create and write up your feedback on an interview when you have a rubric.

That kind of guides you through the process.

And it turns out that when you hire for diversity, you're actually hiring a higher quality talent pool more quickly, which means your people will be spending less time interviewing and more time doing, but you're gonna get this amazing set of people.

And I focused a lot on women here, but the other thing to consider is that when you make these changes, you actually start attracting a different type of men, too.

So people who are maybe a little less into competition, more into collaboration.

And I think we're at a really interesting spot in Australia in particular because we haven't quite figure it out here yet, but the industry's a little bit younger than in Silicon Valley, and so I think the pace of change can be so much greater.

That's kind of the context that I prepared because I find that a lot of people have a lot of like burning questions about this stuff, so I like to create a lot of space for that.

And this talk is a little bit different than I planned it this morning 'cause I wanted to address the elephant not in the room today, which is what happened in the US last night.

I can tell you that I'm like almost shaking talking about it, and I spent most of my day got blown up because I'm in HR, and when that stuff happens, you spend a lot of time on the phone.

And the reason that this work is so important now, that thinking about this and using all of our analytical abilities, is because we're seeing that is companies who are gonna lead this movement for quality and for opportunity and for innovation.

And technology is the forefront at the bleeding edge of all of these things.

And we do not exist as closed systems in a vacuum, but rather the people that come to us, come to us having faced completely different oppurtunities based on structural factors beyond their control.

But we as companies can start to correct it.

We can prove the model, and we can start to change things.

Because imagine the power, the other things is we try to create a feedback loop with this, so after we hired all these brilliant amazing people, we started doing advertising featuring them.

It turns out that that attracts more people like them.

Right, and there's this great feedback loop.

So I wanna put something out to all today because as an American, and as a woman, and as a Latina person, and as an LGBTI identified individual, especially for the white men in the room, like one, like kudos to you, seriously.

Just for existing because you, of all of the people that exist, have this amazing power to do this.

So research shows us that your voices and your opinions and the things that you want happen much more quickly than those of us with one or more minority identities.

And I am a big believer in collaboration, positivity, and optimism.

And so, while recognizing that the world is really hard today, and I'm sure there are a lot of people here that are struggling with that, myself included, but talking to you all is actually me feel really great.

Take this opportunity to take these pieces of learning, and these things that you have, you're all designers, right, so this is totally in your wheelhouse.

Because you can completely change the composition of this industry.

And for Australia that is so important.

In order to continue to help us, and I say us because I've been at an Aussie company now long enough, I have a lot of love for this place, is that we can actually change it.

This is part of the key of keeping Australia relevant and competitive in the global economy.

By taking advantage of all of the talent that is already there that we just need to create oppurtunities for.

And so I really really encourage everybody, but especially the white men in the room, to recognize, embrace, and celebrate the power that you have and this amazing opportunity to change something that's awesome for you, but also awesome for everybody around you.

So that's what I wanted to close with 'cause it's been a really hard day, and I wanna be like yes we can do it, right? But I also wanna take some questions, or chat, or whatever the best format is, 'cause I know we all have a lot of, how did you do this, what did you do? I'm kind of freaking out right now.

Like that's okay.

This stuff is really hard to talk about, but the more we talk about it, the more we can make progress.

Yeah, thank you so much, yeah.

- Thank you Aubrey.

Why don't we sit down? - Sure.

- I loved all the emotion and all the sort of conviction that was in those, not only last words, but everything you said before.

- Oh absolutely.

People call me Polly-Anna.

- Just to pick up what you just said, the asynchronicity of what is happening on the global stage, and at the same time, what is happening in enlightened companies, do you have any reason why these things are so out of sync? - Yeah.

It's really really hard to change hearts and minds.

And what we know is that, for people that we're closer to that we're interacting with, it's easier for us to have empathy and understanding and communication for them.

And so the larger these systems get, the harder it is to maintain that connection, and empathy is really the thing that motivates people to help others, especially unlike themselves.

And so companies, by virtue of being these smaller systems, one are actually more interesting playgrounds for testing out a lot of this, so but we also have this really interesting opportunity, and I'm really into the idea of the potential of marketing, and PR, for this because all of the research on bias, and sort of brain plasticity, shows that the more we see counterstereotypical images, the more our expectations about what happens in the world changes.

So that means that companies, by publicly and openly investing in these things, just talking about the problem is actually part of the solution.

And so we can test and we can move faster than, the US government is, you know, presides over 350 million people.

Like that's just a lot of people to get all moving in the same direction, right? Like how many times have you been in triad in universe, trying to get everyone to agree with each other? It's really hard.

So I think that's a cool thing, is that by engaging in that, and by, you know, we have a video we call Women of Atlassian Building the Future, that just highlights a lot of the amazing work that the women at Atlassian are doing, but we think that's part of it, that the more girls and the more boys and the more people, non-binary people, see images of women doing interesting things like technology, it'll just become normal, right? It's to the point where the sort of homogeneity becomes abnormal, and we're already starting to see it, in the US in particular with Millennials, right.

There are eight year olds right now that have never seen a white person as president.

That's gonna change soon, but think about that.

- An orange president-- - Right yes, this is true.

I have had those disasters myself, a self-tanner, but yeah so I think that there's this really interesting thing where because it's a small system, we're creating that empathy and that engagement is easier, and the levers that we need to push to change things are closer, we can move faster, we can be more agile than these sort of enormous systems.

We can prove the models, and then bring them up to those higher systemic levels.

- Can I just ask, what was a big obstacle you actually faced, I mean everything sounds great in the end where you got to, but what is a problem that anyone here in the room might face if they try to take on some of your advice.

- Absolutely.

So I think the biggest, I genuinely believe that the biggest obstacle to making progress on this is this attitude or belief in meritocracy.

And that's because there's two really really important reasons.

The first is that the people that are represented are the people in power in tech right now, have a lot emotionally to lose by believing that the meritocracy does not exist.

So we need to have empathy for how hard that is.

I, just totally honestly, I watch, especially white men, but lots of other people, I think that they have often the furthest to go and the hardest job, and we need to support them in doing that, is you have to accept the things that you have achieved in your life are not solely due to your own talent.

And that is a really hard emotional journey to accept.

It does not mean that you're not brilliant and you haven't earned everything that you've gotten, but we need to understand the structural factors that allow us to achieve.

In my own life, I can tell you, I was adopted when I was three years old.

And I was adopted by the most amazing couple in the universe, in my opinion, I'm highly consciously biased about that.

And, but I'm Mexican-American, and my adoptive family is white.

And they're middle class.

And my dad's an attorney.

And he told me that I could have whatever book I wanted growing up.

He didn't put a time clause on that, so I'm still taking advantage of it.

But imagine that, I just had parents that cared about education, and had the financial means to send me to a great school.

My dad was an engineer before he as an attorney and told me that I was great at math and science, and so I should do that.

But he was fighting against the idea that everything else in the media was telling me me I shouldn't do that.

And I also really like languages so I went and got a degree in journalism in Arabic.

That's not super useful anymore, but and my Arabic is really bad now, but right, just those types of things, those oppurtunities that we had that we don't think, and I think we think in that way, in a systemic way, it makes that emotional journey easier.

- Do you have any sort of advice on how you can do one little thing today or tomorrow, I'm just reminded of my colleague, Andy Bolaine, who just before I came here, said you know, whenever I get asked to be on a panel, I ask if there's also women on the panel, otherwise I don't do it.

And if they don't want that, then I can swap out myself for a woman on the panel.

You know, that's an easy thing to do.

- Totally.

I think the biggest thing is if you're involved in the hiring process, demand, just say I will not do interviews until you give me a diverse slate of candidates for these open roles.

Because I don't believe that I can actually assess and get the best person without seeing a broad set of candidates.

A statistical trick, it turns out, that if there's only one woman in the group, the statistical chances that she's hired is like zero.

But if there are two, or two minorities or some type, so it depends on what type of diversity, you know, your organization lacks, or wants to focus on.

But once you have two the odds go up to like 40% no matter how many other people are on the slate.

So right, cool, like use math.

Math is great.

So that's a little thing.

The other thing I've been telling people, just as humans, that's really good, is we know that viewing counterstereotypical information can make us less biased.

So I actually, and I bunch of people are going go check me on this, about every two to three months I go on to my Twitter, and I make sure that I'm following roughly 50-50 gender balance of voices, and I look for culturally diverse people to follow as well.

I literally go on to Google and say, like, black women in machine learning, and like people come out of these lists, like I can find them, and through network effects you can find other people with those identities working on those really interesting topics, so it's topical to whatever you're interested in, most of my Twitter is about diversity and social justice because I need to know what's going on, and that's based on my job.

But, those are little things you can do.

And if you are a person in your workplace, all of us have privilege in some way, shape, or form.

Think about how you use that privilege for someone next to you.

Think of your self in a constant state of ally-ship.

So right, I might be a racial minority and a women in tech, but I'm also, I don't have any physical disabilities, and so that provides me with oppurtunities that maybe some of my colleagues don't, and so I can be an ally to that.

Or I can be an ally to more senior folks in the workplace because we know ageism is a thing.

And so-- - Just yesterday I was having a chat with Vince Frost from Frost Design, which is around the corner here, and they shot a film about disability and had a disabled director, and they had a teenage director for a teenage film.

You know it's like those things where you say, when we co-create, and we try to design something for family tax benefits let's say, you know, do we have a family person in the group, or do we have, you know, people who are disadvantaged? - Absolutely.

Yeah and I think that's a really really interesting, exciting space that I'm getting more interested in, is in product design around diversity and inclusion.

So that's something that we also think about at Atlassian with our diversity and inclusion strategies, it's not just about workforce, it's also about the way we do business and our DNA, and how we deal with our partners.

It's everything from our suppliers, we prioritize trying to hire suppliers who are diverse, but also even in our product design.

So things like looking at the default genders that we have as options, or what types of avatars are in the products, or to reference back to the talk before, thinking about the effect of comments and privacy policies on your products, like you have consumer facing stuff.

Because it turns out that the comments tend to drive women off the platforms, and things like that, so make more intentional design decisions because people are starting to look more and more at the business side of things when they're evaluating.

I'm gonna get in trouble for saying this, but Slack actually, no one left, we have, so.

I'm not supposed to talk about Slack.

But, they have a senior designer there, his name is Diogenes Brito, he's a black man, and just tiny little ad campaign that they did, but they made a Back to Slack button, and it was like a cloud and a hand came down and grabbed the Slack button, and it was a black hand.

And he wrote this like, you need to go read the media post, it's amazing, about it, but he talked about he basically freaked out for like an hour in his head about the design choice to like make a black hand because it was so crazy because no one shows black people in tech advertising.

And the incredible outpouring of the black community in tech at that, was just like insane, they were like, oh my God, I've never done that, and for us, we have these little people called the Meeples, like our little avatars and cartoon characters, and we do periodic design refreshes, and last year we added a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, to sort of the composite of the little meeples that we use.

And I publish blog posts a lot about what we're working on, and I made this little group and I included the hijabi meeple.

I got more engagement about Muslim women freaking out about how excited they were that we had a hijabi than any of the content that I wrote.

Like I don't even know if people read the blog post.

Hopefully, but, so I think it's like really cool as designers, you have so much power to shape those narratives, and shape those things.

So don't even think it's just about the HR people.

- Excellent.

Thank you very much.

I think we still have a few minutes, so if people feel compelled to grab a mic and ask a question, I don't know actually where the microphones are, but if somebody does have a question.

Yup, anyone? Possibly? Alright then, second row.

- [Audience Member] You've spoken openly about gender diversity and also touched a little bit LGBTI diversity, I'm wondering if you've had a look at diversity in aspects of ability, be it physical or mental and intellectual disabilities as well? - Yeah absolutely.

So to back up a little bit broader, and then I'll answer your question directly, which is, we talk about diversity as an intersection of different things, and we think part of that is it drives engagement 'cause I know, and I talk about white men a lot, but I think they're really important in this work, so I talk about them a lot, and I don't think diversity professionals do.

They often feel really alienated from it.

And so we talk about intersections as a way to bring everyone together into that.

And when we think about disability is absolutely something we think about.

Both from a workforce point of view, and from our product design.

So to tell a story that actually happened to me yesterday that felt awesome.

I, or not yesterday, Tuesday.

I land in Sydney at about 7am, and I went straight to the office and I got out of elevator, and I went to the bathroom, and I realized that inside all of the stalls were posters about how to design products for people with different types of disabilities.

So physical limitations, eye sight problems, hearing impairment, which isn't as relevant to our products.

And some others.

But, so in terms of diversity of our workforce around disability, we don't necessarily have particular recruiting targets around that population, but we partner with sourcing agencies that we know provide oppurtunities.

So we've partnered with Enabled Employment here in Sydney, and also the California Department of Rehabilitation in our SF and Bay Area offices, so we think about making sure that folks with disabilities know that we have oppurtunities for them, and we're really happy to have them there.

And then we have sets of resources.

Obviously the compliance based things, you know, the right bathrooms and all of that.

But yeah, we think about that as well.

And we talk about neuro-diversity, so it's really important, especially for us, we found folks sort of around mental health and then folks who are on the autism spectrum.

So as a lot of people know in tech, people with autism tend to do better, or there are a lot of jobs that really work for them, which is great.

And so part of that is education.

We encourage our Atlassians to write blogs about their life and their experiences because I believe in the power of storytelling to create empathy and to create those connections, and understanding about what people need.

So we've had a few of our employees, and interns even, on the spectrum, write about, you know, their oppurtunities and challenges of living, you know, with autism.

And it's really great because it helps our managers understand what they need to do to better support those folks, and for those of us that don't have it, we understand how to be better colleagues.

And then of course we have our HR team, who is always available.

You know, we make accommodations for folks that need it.

You know, little things like, right now we're sourcing vendors to make sure that we have captions on all of the videos for our staff on hands, and our Atlassian summit, which is our biggest user conference of the year, this year we actually added sign language interpreters to all of our sessions.

So we try to think about those principles, both for our workforce and the way that it impacts our ecosystem.

- Thank you very much, I hope you'll take some inspiration for that, for your companies, or if you're interested in Atlassian obviously, you can try to join them right here.

- Seriously, Atlassian dot com slash careers.

- That's exactly right.

- We're hiring.

If you're awesome, we'd love to have you.

- Thank you very much Aubrey.

- Thank you.

" ["post_title"]=> string(126) "Video of the Week: Aubrey Blanche–Scaling Walls: The Barriers to Female Representation and How Atlassian is Eliminating Them" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(92) "video-week-aubrey-blanche-scaling-walls-barriers-female-representation-atlassian-eliminating" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-12-16 12:24:08" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-12-16 01:24:08" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6683" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#199 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6678) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-11-25 14:48:46" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-25 03:48:46" ["post_content"]=> string(2773) "Direction '16 took place the day after the US election. I wasn't alone in being more than a little despondent with the result, and in particular several of our speakers were from the US and were significantly affected by the outcome. My sense is that the vast majority of our audience felt similarly. In response, I spent a few minutes talking about the philosophy behind this year's program, which I hadn't originally intended to (I typically hope that the underlying themes emerge throughout the event, rather than making them overt). My basic point was simple. We who work on the Web, and more broadly in technology, are very fortunate. We're well paid, and get the chance to pick the work we do, and who we work for. Many of our contemporaries, indeed most people in the world aren't nearly so fortunate. I see this privilege also as a responsibility. To choose what we do with this opportunity wisely. To do better.   Like to watch and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once a week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "Opening thoughts for Direction 16" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(29) "opening-thoughts-direction-16" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-11-25 14:48:46" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-25 03:48:46" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6678" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#200 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6668) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-11-22 13:43:06" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-22 02:43:06" ["post_content"]=> string(2627) "Well, Direction 16 is done and dusted, and the relative quiet here the last couple of weeks is testament to just how much effort goes into running conferences (though planning 2017 has also taken considerable time). Last year at Web Directions, Maciej Cegłowski's "The Website Obesity Crisis" caused quite a stir, and the video has been watched hundreds of thousands of times since. We were very privileged to have Maciej back for Direction 16, and his presentation did not disappoint. Addressing the challenge of AI, autonomous vehicles (of all kinds), robots and much more, he asks, "What role do we have to play in all this?" A question definitely worth asking. Please enjoy the closing keynote from Direction, and we'll be back November 9 and 10 2017 with more like this.   Like to watch and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once a week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(78) "Maciej Cegłowski video from Direction 16: Who Will Command The Robot Armies?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(61) "maciej-ceglowski-video-direction-16-will-command-robot-armies" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-11-23 15:51:14" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-23 04:51:14" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6668" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#201 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6665) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-11-07 11:53:29" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-07 00:53:29" ["post_content"]=> string(4064) "With Direction 16 starting in just couple of days, we wanted to point out a couple of the related events that always pop up around Web Directions events. We do what we can to foster, house and support local meetups, community groups and professional development opportunities for people in the web and digital industry. In this case, we'd like to draw attention to two events that might be of particular interest, not only to Direction 16 attendees but just as much to anyone in Sydney who's interested in the Web and digital.

In Conversation with Josh Clark

6pm-8pm Wednesday 9 November 2016 Camperdown NSW The Sydney Local Chapter of Interaction Design Association (IxDA) hosts one of the leading minds in Web and Interaction Design, 'Designing for Touch' author - and Direction 16 keynote speaker - Josh Clark. This interactive Q&A session chaired by Katja Forbes, local leader for IxDA Sydney, will explore hot topics related to designing for mobile. Mobile is taking the centre stage where smartphones have become the primary device for nearly all of us. A growing number of organisations now see most web visits come from mobile devices. How to make sure your mobile experience reflects that? What’s next for mobile interfaces? What does jogging and designing for mobile have in common? Find out all this and much more! The Q&A session will be proceeded by drinks and canapes hosted by Sydney University's Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. Registration is $15 and open until 5pm Wedenesday via Eventbrite.  

Sydney Web Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup - World Usability Day

7pm-9pm Thursday 10 November 10 2016 The University of Sydney, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning Wilkinson Building, Camperdown 2006 With World Usability Day and Web Directions falling on the same day, we couldn't let the chance go by to have a fun-filled event to bring the accessibility, UX and digital inclusion communities together! Join us on November 10 for a mega-meetup, where we'll have a number of presentations on digital inclusion and why it matters. You'll also have the chance to meet plenty of new faces (and hopefully see some familiar ones too!)

Speakers:

Patima Tantiprasut - Empathy, design, shoes and more Director & Studio Manager for Bam Creative in Perth, co-founder of Mixin conference and AWIA Committee member, Patima is a vibrant, engaging speaker. In this talk, she'll be exploring inclusive design, why it matters and how even the smallest details, from colours, to font treatments to even language, can make a huge difference to individuals. Adem Cifcioglu - Putting users first - The new Coles Online Web Developer, A11y Bytes organiser, co-founder Intopia consultancy and well-known speaker, Adem is one of Australia's leading digital accessibility experts. In this presentation, Adem will walk through the process of revamping the shopping giant online to make it user-centred and accessible, from design to development to user testing to production. This is a free event sponsored by Intopia. Please register via Eventbrite - spaces are limited." ["post_title"]=> string(27) "Direction 16 Related Events" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "direction-16-related-events" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-11-07 11:53:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-11-07 00:53:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6665" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#202 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6608) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-19 10:30:06" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-18 23:30:06" ["post_content"]=> string(2670) "Kai BrachOur short video this week is Kai Brach's talk from WD15. Kai went from being a web designer to publisher, editor and art director of independent print-only magazine Offscreen. He's well placed to describe how the internet has enabled a new generation of indie makers in various lines of business. And if that makes you wonder what Direction 16 has in store, step right this way. It's full of incredible insights for digital product designers, owners and managers. directionad

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(49) "Video Ristretto: Kai Brach - The New Age of Indie" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(39) "video-ristretto-kai-brach-new-age-indie" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-20 00:43:19" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-19 13:43:19" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6608" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#203 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6603) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-18 10:15:33" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-17 23:15:33" ["post_content"]=> string(8973) "As you know, we now publish a print and digital magazine to accompany our conferences, called Scroll. The Direction 16 edition of Scroll features, as did its predecessors, a series of interviews where conference speakers answer an identical set of questions. To help whet your appetite for the magazine and the conference, we're going to publish some edited excerpts from the interviews in coming weeks. First up, we asked each of our participating speakers the following question: What's one thing you thought we would have had by now? Mark Pesce (Inventor, VRML): Nanotechnology. I was around when the original principles were being dreamed up by K. Eric Drexler – he was getting his Masters at MIT when I was doing my undergraduate research. The concepts in ‘Engines of Creation’ are still some distance away, because the more we’ve learned about the nanoscale, the more we’ve learned how little we know about the nanoscale. I hope we’ll see it soon, but it looks like we’re learning more from biology than materials science – right now. Caroline Sinders (Machine Learning Designer, Buzzfeed): One thing I think is really fascinating is that for a long time technology and encryption have really helped protect the web innocence, so that we didn’t need legislation protecting the web. What I mean by that is that technology was evolving and moving so quickly that we didn’t actually need to have jurisdiction or legal rights centred around the web to define safety and an open web and secure spaces. So, one thing I would have thought we’d have by now, given in the last couple of years the ways in which the web is being regulated in different countries, is a generalised bill of rights for the web, and I’m surprised that this hasn’t come up in places like the United Nations. Pasquale D'Silva (Product Designer, Hype): Visual tools that generate useful code… There’s hundreds of these new prototyping tools on the market now, which all do more or less the same thing, yet none of them render any useful output, besides the prototype. Don’t get me wrong, the prototype is immensely useful, but why not go all the way? I spend too much time pairing with engineers to re-implement my prototypes. Jacob Bijani (Product Designer/Engineer, Tumblr): More digital forms. I'm still surprised how often I have to fill out hand-written forms, then give it to someone who just types it back into a computer. It's very counter-productive, we both have computers that are already connected to each other. Jenn Bane (Community Director, Cards agains Humanity): By now, I thought we would’ve had a more established dialogue about mental health in the workplace. I don’t know of many people who feel comfortable telling their boss, “My brain is attacking me today, I need to work from home.” Or, “I’m an introvert, I need to take a sick day to replenish and so I can be at my best.” Or, “I need to take Wednesday mornings off so I can go to therapy.” I’m incredibly fortunate that I work in a place where this dialogue is unfolding, and frankly, I just got lucky. I didn’t do anything special in my career to be granted this luxury--and it is a luxury. It shouldn’t be. I wish everyone had more of an opportunity to take care of themselves. Jonathan Shariat (Product Designer): Better design in Government and healthcare services. These are two major areas that provide critical services for people and yet are plagued with confusing designs that hurt people. Medical devices where one wrong tap can kill a patient, vital government services like providing food to those who can’t afford it but are too confusing to use. It pains me to think about the harm that is caused each day by services like these and how much potential for good is waiting to be tapped into. We need to use technology to serve our needs, not be another layer between what we need. Anna Pickard (Editorial Director, Slack): A better understanding that technology is made by humans, and needs all kinds of humans working on one end in order to be able to work for all kinds of other humans at the other. The technology is making things better, more easy to access, more easy to get around, and to make people’s experience better, but - I don’t know, it just amuses me that people think Siri comes up with things to say all by itself. Oh, also hair that can automatically change colour. And teleportation. And the ability to converse civilly on the internet. Matt Griffin (Film Maker & Designer): The one thing I thought we’d have by now on the web? Stable video conferencing with an intuitive UI. That seems to be the hardest problem in computer science, as far as I can tell. That and ubiquitous wifi are two things that seem essential to modern life, yet are still terribly lacking. Aside from those two things, I’m generally in awe of progress on the web. Sort of like with the postal service – I’m constantly amazed that any package or letter ever arrives at its destination – the web continues to amaze me with its relentless, shambling tenacity. Aubrey Blanche (Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Atlassian): Besides the flying cars from The Jetsons? I'm extremely excited about the possibilities for artificial intelligence and machine learning to disrupt bias and inequity. We're not there yet, but there are a lot of people – from technologists to journalists – highlighting the way machines can reflect or interrupt errors in human judgment. We know human judgement is prone to a wide variety of cognitive biases, from a preference for people like ourselves (in-group bias) to difficulty assessing the talent of people from minority groups (performance bias). I'm excited to see the day we use machines not just to automate tasks, but to help us be the best versions of ourselves. Andy Clarke (Designer & Art Director): Invisibility. Do you remember how, as a child, you thought that if you couldn’t see someone, that they couldn’t see you standing behind the curtains or with your bottom sticking out from under a table? In the mid-seventies, I loved the ‘Invisible Man’ TV series starring David McCallum as Dr. Daniel Westin, a scientist who invents a ‘molecular disintegrator’ that he uses to turn himself invisible. Like every boy with a watch in 1976, I wished that it would help me toggle my invisibility. I still wish that my Apple Watch would do that too. Josh Clark (IxD, Big Medium): I’m constantly delighted by what we do have. But I’d sure be happy to see someone invent a physical search engine. You know, to search for: “my keys,” “the remote control,” “my wallet.” And I’d be happy to see teleportation come along, too. I mean, I’d visit Australia all the time.   directionad

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(34) "One Question, Many Answers: Part I" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(30) "one-question-many-answers-part" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-20 02:13:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-19 15:13:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6603" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#204 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6598) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-17 10:23:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-16 23:23:47" ["post_content"]=> string(4978) "How do you keep up to date in our constantly changing industry? Here's some of the things I do, often on a daily basis, just to stay on top of what's happening, as part of the process of developing the program for our conferences like the upcoming Direction (just on a month away now, do you have your ticket yet?) * I follow well over a thousand people on twitter (and frequently retweet things I find useful). Why not follow me, and Web Directions on Twitter? * I have an RSS feed (remember them, still incredibly valuable, particularly with a service like Feedly, which I really recommend) of hundreds of sites * I clip dozens of articles to Evernote a week (I also share some of these weekly in our newsletter–do you get it? Why not sign up now?) * I watch presentations from many conferences and meetups * I read numerous books * I attend (far fewer than I'd like to) conferences and meetups which only scratches the surface. And keeping up is a huge part of my job, so that I can help others in our field keep up to date. I genuinely know both how important it is for others in our field to stay on top of changes, and how much work it is. Which is one of the principal reasons I organise our conferences, like our upcoming conference Direction. The other 1% My rule of thumb is attending a major conference of ours is an investment of around 1% of someone's time and income each year, and I really work hard (as Tim Ferriss might say) to '10x' that investment. Frankly, if what we deliver isn't worth many many times what you, or your employer invests in your attending, we honestly shouldn't be doing it. Those returns on the investment are in you
  • being able to keep ahead of the curve,
  • not wasting precious time on approaches, technologies, and strategies that might have a lot of hype, but don't really deliver.
  • uncovering "hacks", ideas, and approaches that deliver big results fast for your company, organisation or clients
and not least of all, in energising and inspiring, not just through amazing presentations, but throughout the whole event. As you probably know, we've made a few changes in how we run our events for 2016, and we're incredibly excited about the single track, "all keynote" style of the program, which so many people had been asking for. So why not take a look at the amazing array of sessions we have planned? directionad

Want more?

Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(28) "Idea of the Week: Keeping Up" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(17) "idea-week-keeping" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-17 10:23:47" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-16 23:23:47" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6598" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#205 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6587) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-14 10:03:36" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 23:03:36" ["post_content"]=> string(2381) "Pasquale D'Silva is co-presenting a fascinating talk at Directions 16 with Jacob Bijani on their indie game "OK, Dracula", but today's video takes you back to Pasquale's presentation at Web Directions South 2013 on how animation is changing design for mobile, the web, and beyond. Nothing dated about this: animation-driven interfaces have yet to realise their potential, although this talk might make you wonder why. After watching, you might feel inspired to sign up for Direction 16, where you'll find details of Pasquale and Jacob's talk along with a slew of other great presentations. Like to watch and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once a week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(62) "Video of the Week: Pasquale D'Silva - Designing With Animation" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(46) "video-week-pasquale-dsilva-designing-animation" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 11:44:15" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 00:44:15" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6587" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [9]=> object(WP_Post)#206 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6592) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 11:43:05" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 00:43:05" ["post_content"]=> string(3908) "Literally as Web Directions 2015 was taking place, a controversy blew up around the legendary SxSW conference, and two of the selected panels for the 2016 conference focusing on the issue of 'gamergate'. It certainly generated a lot of comment on places like Twitter, and so much interest that the venerable Slate magazine ran a piece called "I Was on One of Those Canceled SXSW Panels", by Caroline Sinders. While reading it, I noted in particular this observation of hers,
For our panel submission to SXSW, my co-organizers and I created an in-depth design discussion on how to stymie online harassment through design: new kinds of layout, buttons, privacy settings, different posting options. We wanted to cover a certain kind of “design thinking” methodology—design thinking is the specific rationale that goes into creating something such as, for example, a mobile application. We didn’t want to talk about Gamergate. We wanted to talk about design, and particularly design around solutions for harassment.
This idea, that the sorts of online interaction models we've been "designing" (I use the shudder quotes since we often don't design these things at all, we simply use existing "tried and true" patterns of online interaction without giving it a second thought) for years–commenting, avatars, forums, upvoting and downvoting, rating–struck me as an ideal presentation for Direction. It's driven by ideas and deep thinking. It challenges long held preconceptions about the 'right' way to do things. And whatever the role of someone watching, there'd be actionable take aways. Social interactions are the lifeblood of many many sites, and yet, present such challenges that even such institutions as NPR (the National Public Radio network in the US) are simply abandoning comments. NPR the month before comments were turned off had nearly half a millions comments at the site. And yet they were turned off. Why? In writing to explain the decision, NPR ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen observed,
The number of complaints to NPR about the current comment system has been growing—complaints that comments were censored by the outside moderators, and that commenters were behaving inappropriately and harassing other commenters.
So, having decided this would be an ideal presentation, I connected with Caroline (this in general is becoming harder than it once was, as fewer and fewer people have their own web sites, and publicly available email addresses. I've probably done everything other than use carrier pigeons to make initial contact with speakers over the years). I sent details of my thoughts around a session based on her ideas, and what we could offer to hopefully going her to Australia and speak on this topic. We emailed a number of times, and have spoken on Skype at least a couple as well, to help Caroline understand the audience, and event, and to refine the idea. You'll see the resulting presentation, Designing Civility, at Direction 16. Now, not every presentation has quite the same story, but many do. As I mentioned, we really do invest in the program, and unique content and ideas, to ensure it is a great investment for you. From AV and VR to the future of Web design, A/B testing to AI and chatbots, CX to content design, Direction will cover the what, and how, but most importantly the why of creating great digital experiences. Come and join us." ["post_title"]=> string(53) "Approaching Direction 16: The Story of a Presentation" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(52) "approaching-direction-16-the-story-of-a-presentation" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 11:43:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-13 00:43:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6592" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [10]=> object(WP_Post)#207 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6584) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-12 10:40:23" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-11 23:40:23" ["post_content"]=> string(2663) "Nathan McGinnessOur short video blast from the recent past this week comes again from WD15. Nathan McGinness knows a thing or two or two about metrics, testing and analytics, and in this talk he's the first to admit that A/B testing is hard - but that's not to say it can't be an invaluable tool. Our upcoming conference Direction is full of incredible insights for digital product designers, owners and managers just like this. So why haven't you signed up yet? directionad

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Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(74) "Video Ristretto: Nathan McGinness - The perils and pitfalls of A/B testing" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(59) "video-ristretto-nathan-mcginness-perils-pitfalls-ab-testing" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-12 10:40:17" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-11 23:40:17" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6584" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [11]=> object(WP_Post)#208 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6576) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-11 09:31:24" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-10 23:31:24" ["post_content"]=> string(9671) "It seems that almost weekly concerns about the complexity of the ecosystem around JavaScript, build tools and frameworks bubble over. Certainly, the JavaScript and Front End development world is a lot more complex than even a few years ago.   The latest round kicked off with Jose Aguinaga musing on "How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016". Depending on your feelings about the state of JavaScript in 2016, it's inflammatory, amusing, or depressing. But it certainly started some conversations. Recent Code speaker Tim Kadlec responded, or at least took this piece as a starting point for some less satirical thoughts about the place of tooling in the Front End Engineering world:
Mostly, I think the evolution is healthy. We should be iterating and improving on what we know. And each build tool does things a little differently and different people will find one or the other fits their workflow a bit better. The problem is if we blindly race after the next great thing without stopping to consider the underlying problem that actually needs solving.
Tim provides a framework for thinking about whether and how to use a particular tool. I won't quote any of it, I simply recommend you go read it. But it isn't just Tim who responded. One of the folks I admire most in our field (who's also responsible for many of the tools we use, the over reliance on which I've been critical of at times) is Addy Osmani, who observes
I encourage folks to adopt this approach to keeping up with the JavaScript ecosystem: first do it, then do it right, then do it better.
Most acerbically, long time contributor to the Web PPK of Quirksblog fame more bluntly observed about Tim's comment that "it’s not the ecosystem that’s the problem",
I disagree. I think the problem is in fact the ecosystem — by which I not only mean the combined toolsets and the expectations they set, but also the web development community as a whole.
Again, it's worth reading, because it challenges us to question a lot of assumptions about how we do things. He also references a related piece by Bastian Allgeier, who observes:
in the end it's all about what works for you. What is the best, fastest and most stable tool to transfer your ideas from your brain, via your fingers, into your keyboard and finally into your computer?
To which PPK responds:
I disagree. It’s not about what works for you. It’s about what works for your users.
With which, I most definitely agree. On this topic I honestly recommend you drop everything and go and watch Rich Hickey, the inventor of Closure, on Easy versus Simple. I based my Full Frontal presentation from 2012 on his ideas and I think there's tremendous value in considering his thesis that what is easy for us as developers often gives rise to complex code bases that are difficult to maintain, and with attendant security and performance implications.  My take on all this? I'm on the record as being pretty old fashioned about software engineering and the Web (I still, for the most part, stand by the above-mentioned presentation from Full Frontal in 2012). At our Code conference a couple of months back, I tried to tease apart some of these issues with not one but two round table discussions (one in each of Sydney and Melbourne) about how we should be architecting and engineering things for the Web. Sadly (and as the moderator I'll take responsibility for this), the conversation sort of went around and around two "strange attractors". There were those who fell into the JavaScript/React camp, and those more traditional developers who think in terms of the traditional layered (HTML/CSS/JavaScript) architecture. There are really smart people I admire who build complex applications on the Web platform and who, in all honesty, know a lot more about this in a practical sense than me, who will argue very strongly that the sorts of things they are building simply aren't feasible, or at the very least, would take a great deal more work and time to build, using the more traditional approach. And I'm in no position to disagree with them. I simply don't build things like that, and have no data points other than their - respected - position. But, what I think we often miss is that not everything on the Web is like that. Or if it is, it often shouldn't be – time and again, things that could be plain old web sites use complex JavaScript approaches for reasons I simply cannot fathom. So, where does all this leave us? I know it sounds like a cliché, and I feel I'm repeating myself until I'm blue in the face (Tim Kadlec, too, makes the observation in the article I referenced above, as does Addy Osmani), but foundations matter. Understanding core technologies like CSS (many of the criticisms of CSS are really a reflection of the misunderstanding of the technology by the critic) and even HTML (it can do a lot of heavy lifting around accessibility, and just plain old better user experiences), as well as JavaScript, and the DOM. These really are the foundations for everything that sits on top - whether it's a framework, build tool or CSS pre- or post-processor (if you don't understand CSS well enough to understand what your pre-processor is reducing, is it good engineering practice to even use it? Then again, most software engineers have long since lost the capability to understand the machine code produced by compilers. But I'm not sure the analogy holds).  My intuition is that there are likely differing kinds of architecture appropriate for different kinds of things we're building on the Web platform. As yet, our understanding of what these kinds of things are is relatively nascent – we have things we call apps, and things we call pages – and I suspect over time these high level patterns will more clearly emerge, and with them a better understanding of the appropriate architectures and tooling. What's certainly beyond doubt is that we're building very complex, sophisticated and often important things on the Web, and yet the Web as a platform, and its enabling technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the DOM, are still often perceived by those in the computing fields as they were two decades ago: as "toys"– anaemic and under-powered. Above all, I find these conversations, while sometimes tiring, also very valuable - they're evidence of our capacity to critically appraise what we do, and how we do it. What's certain is our field is not static. And while that provides challenges, it's better than the alternative.
So softness and tenderness are attributes of life, And hardness and stiffness, attributes of death.
The GNL Tao Te Ching, ©Peter A. Merel

 

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" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "We have to talk about JavaScript" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(32) "we-have-to-talk-about-javascript" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(45) " https://timkadlec.com/2016/10/chasing-tools/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-11 09:31:24" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-10 23:31:24" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6576" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [12]=> object(WP_Post)#209 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6572) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-10 09:52:57" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-09 23:52:57" ["post_content"]=> string(6099) "When you're thinking about the future of the Web, an obvious focus is young people. There's a generation growing up now that takes the Web for granted as far as being a provider of information, games, education and social interaction. But are we doing enough to teach kids how to code? Should coding be embedded into school curricula? How, exactly? As we lead up to our Direction conference, where we'll have some activities for young people around coding and related areas of interest, we asked our Managing Editor Ricky Onsman to take a look at the current state of coding education for kids.

Teaching Code to Kids

By Ricky Onsman Even though efforts to teach school students how to code date back to the 1960s, it’s only been in relatively recent years that structured coding and programming classes have started to be included in some school curricula around the world. In most places, it’s still piecemeal and driven by some dedicated individuals. Even then, resources are often limited, teachers lack training and – perhaps as a consequence – students are not always enthusiastic. No-one doubts that Information Technology and Computer Science will continue to grow as career paths, nor that this should be reflected in teaching systems, but the structures are mostly not yet in place to deliver a universally accepted educational approach that embeds IT and CS as core subjects in a curriculum. What is currently available in schools has largely been put in place by particularly driven individual educators with supportive administrations. It’s also clear that learning to code has a number of benefits for school students, regardless of their future career paths. Code is a language, or set of languages, and learning to code delivers the same kind of mind-expanding educational benefits that learning any language brings. And learning to code enhances computational thinking, logical thought, structured expression, creativity, problem solving and teamwork. Teaching kids to code may also be a way to break down the remarkably persistent public image of coders as solitary, antisocial, boring geeks who live in darkened rooms on pizza and coke. And that coding itself is boring, and difficult. A creative classroom approach can dispel these myths. There is a body of thought that fears teaching kids to code projects at a young age without sufficient theoretical underpinning will create cowboys and hackers: code jockeys who focus only on short term outcomes with no regard for standards or conventions. It’s hard to see exactly why that would be the case with coding when it’s not true of other subjects – letting kids play as they learn and enjoy the outcomes of their learning is an accepted and successful educational principle. In any case, the key almost certainly lies in the quality of the teaching, and the teachers. While all but a very few primary and secondary level teachers in most countries will require additional training to teach code – which is one thing that’s holding back coding as a subject – there are options outside of the school system that currently bring together the kind of teaching skills and coding experience required. Community-based organisations operate at all parts of the education spectrum, from large organisations like code.org in the United States, which partners with school districts to bring Computer Science teaching into the classroom, trains teachers and influences education policy, to small groups at a local level that operate outside of school hours and in vacation times, running regular classes and project-based workshops. These organisations are always looking for skilled volunteers. Whether you’re a developer or designer, programmer, engineer or information architect, one way to contribute to the future of our industry is to get directly involved with teaching kids to code. At this year’s Direction conference, we’ve arranged for one such Sydney-based group, QwertyKids, to come along and provide some creative coding fun for kids at our closing night party. This article will appear in the Scroll Magazine to accompany the Direction conference. directionad

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Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(39) "Idea of the Week: Teaching Code to Kids" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(28) "idea-week-teaching-code-kids" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-10 09:52:57" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-09 23:52:57" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6572" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [13]=> object(WP_Post)#210 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6568) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-05 06:10:17" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-04 20:10:17" ["post_content"]=> string(3028) "Alastair SimpsonOur 20 minute Video Ristretto this week again comes from WD15 and features Alastair Simpson and Nat Jones from Atlassian talking about the creative spaces they've designed that have scaled with the changing needs of their teams and what they've learned about the benefits of creating better environments through thoughtful design. It's about a lot more than foosball tables and beanbags. Yes, Atalassian is now a very large scale operation, but the value in this video can be applied to any work situation. It's the kind of thoughtful yet pragmatic topic you'll see more of at Direction 2016. Our upcoming conference Direction is full of incredible insights for digital product designers, owners and managers just like this. So why haven't you signed up yet? directionad

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Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(93) "Video Ristretto: Alastair Simpson and Nat Jones - Designing spaces for creative professionals" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(82) "video-ristretto-alastair-simpson-nat-jones-designing-spaces-creative-professionals" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-05 09:44:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-04 23:44:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6568" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } [14]=> object(WP_Post)#146 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6566) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-10-03 09:02:27" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-02 23:02:27" ["post_content"]=> string(7832) "Right from the start, one of the things we wanted to do with our Scroll Magazine was bring some attention to the great work being done by Australia's web design and development agencies. Often, these small companies bring together dynamic teams that create great results for their clients and bring the best out of their team members. As we lead up to Direction 16 next month (and you should see the Scroll Magazine to go with that!), it seems appropriate to revisit the agency we profile in the Code 16 edition of Scroll: Nook Studios.

Agencies We Like

Nook Studios

http://nookstudios.com/ @nookstudios Q Tell us a little about the history of Nook. A Nook Studios was established in 2008 by Mel Flanagan to develop and produce stories and make software tools. Our experience traverses media, arts, museums, theatre and film, interactive content development and production, communications and audience engagement strategy, experience design, and web and software design and development. We have a great team of collaborators with exceptional skills in design and development, sustainability, environmental science, cross media production and more. We apply our making, storytelling and audience engagement expertise to many kinds of products, services and projects. We specialise in interpreting and transforming complex processes into simple and useful visualisations, and we design and make our own products, services and digital storytelling tools. We focus particularly on open government and data stories, knowledge sharing and the stories behind processes, projects and products, and making useful web services addressing social and environmental issues. Q What are some projects you’re particularly proud of? A We produced a project called Common Ground, a location based web service to help people find information about coal, mineral, petroleum and gas activities across New South Wales. Common Ground was a collaboration between a small lean service design team, community, industry and the NSW Government to bring clarity, transparency and openness to the community. We’re passionate about helping governments be more open and improve communications. We developed the participatory design approach, and provided service design, creative direction, content production, stakeholder research and management, and content and communications strategy services to the project. Mel presented a case study of Common Ground at Transform, the Web Directions conference in Canberra. It was great to meet exceptional people from all over the world and to hear other ways people are using web to reshape the way government delivers services to the community. We collaborated with the Community Recycling Network and Resource Recovery Australia to produce Waste to Wages, an 11 minute pitch doco about the work of community recycling enterprises and innovators around Australia. It was made to help raise awareness of their work and encourage local council waste managers and policy makers to support their own local recycling enterprises. This kind of storytelling is important to us – showing people how environmental, social and economic benefits can intersect. We're currently developing an interactive documentary series called Sacred Scraps. It’s a series of short stories exploring the lifecycle of everyday things and the connections between resources, materials, people, places, technology, innovation and the environment. We’ll produce interactive illustrations, maps, data visualisations, mini movies, podcasts, and process pathways. The intention is the stories will live on online and in real spaces such as art installations and museums. Q What’s your ideal project? Client? A One where we learn new things. We only work on projects that are very useful and have a social purpose.  We’re particularly passionate about using digital technology, and our content and service design skills to produce open government services and social innovation. If there is an ideal project for Nook, it would be having the time to work on our own projects, like the documentary series, content design tools and open government platform we’re developing.  We’re suckers for being useful. Working with government has been a real eye opener. We’re currently working with NSW Procurement and NSW Planning, with some really great people who are trying to make change and improve things from the inside. They face big challenges that affect us all, and they need help from people like us. Q Anything else you’d like to tell us? A At Nook, we're creative producers. We’re advocates for creative workers. We have a diverse range of skills and experience. We can scope projects, develop strategies, build an awesome project team, make or reform services, wrangle and produce content, and create compelling visual communications. We research and develop ideas and we’re across design and technical production, too. We’re participatory and audience focussed. Before we take things to market, we speak to our audiences directly so we build alliances and a sense of connectedness to what we make, from the earliest stage. Nook's kind of producing is the kind where we really only work on things we love. Things that we hope other people will love and value too. We're always on the lookout for new collaborators, designers and developers and fun people to work with, so drop us a line to say hi! directionad

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Like to see and read more like this? Be the first to score invitations to our events? Then jump on our once-a-week mailing list where we round up the week's best reading and watching on all things Web. And you'll get a complimentary digital copy of our brand new magazine, Scroll.
" ["post_title"]=> string(28) "Monday Profile: Nook Studios" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(27) "monday-profile-nook-studios" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(27) " https://vimeo.com/65608517" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2016-10-03 09:02:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-10-02 23:02:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6566" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } } ["post_count"]=> int(15) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#197 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(6690) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2016-12-23 10:53:18" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2016-12-22 23:53:18" ["post_content"]=> string(10969) "Let's face it. For many, 2016 hasn't been the best year ever: the loss of several beloved cultural icons, currents of political decision-making that didn't feel like steps forward, pessimistic news on the climate change front ... But it's well known that cultivating a mindset of gratitude is overwhelmingly positive and healthy. And so, at the end of this seemingly endless and at least personally exhausting year (one in which I turned 50), I wanted to reflect on some really positive things that we managed to achieve at Web Directions in 2016, some of them long standing ambitions.

A brand new conference – Transform

Since the beginning, many of our audience have come from the government sector, and over the years we've run workshops, and even entire conferences focused on Government and the Web. But with the significant changes happening around the World in Government service delivery, kick-started in many ways by the UK's GDS, and more recently taken up with gusto here in Australia with the establishment of the DTO (now DTA), we decided it was time for a conference focusing on this area. So in May (timed originally to avoid the election season planned later in the year, but which ended up being held over the period of the conference) we brought together pioneers in government service deliver from the US, UK, NZ and around Australia for Transform. A great success, we're back again at the end of March, again as a single day, single track conference, plus a day of optional workshops.

Not one but two new publications – Scroll and Wrap

When you go to a conference, you're almost invariably handed a program. Well designed, printed at quite some expense, and largely useless except as a memento. So this year we decided to do something about that. For each of our major events, we produced an edition of Scroll, a beautifully designed magazine that features in depth interviews and profiles of speakers, as well as articles of relevance to our industry. You can only get a physical copy by coming to our events, but you can download all three editions from 2016 now. But that's not all. I've long wanted to ensure that attendees obtained the most possible benefit from coming to our events, benefit that lasted far longer than the experience of being there. To this end, we've for several years made videos of presentations available to attendees, but this year we started Wrap, a detailed writeup for each session from each conference, once again beautifully designed by the folks at Handle. Even if you missed the conferences, there's real value in Ricky Onsman's detailed write-up of every session from every conference this year. Grab your copies today!

Expanding Respond to two days (and two cities)

In 2013, Web Directions was two conferences: Web Directions in Sydney, and Code in Melbourne. In 2017, we'll run four major conferences, two of which (Respond and Code) will take place in three cities. The growth began in 2014, when we ran Respond as a "popup" conference–a single day in Sydney focusing on the specific challenges around front end design. This year we not only extended it to two days, it also travelled to Melbourne, where its audience was even a little bit bigger than the Sydney audience!

Expanding Code to two cities

Hand in hand with this, we took Code on the road, to Sydney as well as the city where it started in 2012, Melbourne. And as I mentioned, we'll be also heading to Brisbane with Code in 2017.

Reframing, refocusing and rebranding our major conference, Direction

Part of all this was a really significant rethink about Web Directions, the conference that started it all for us way back in 2006. For many years, this was essentially our entire business. At one point in 2012, it grew to four tracks, a genuine behemoth. But in time we came to realise that focus is the key to great events. So, by 2015 we'd pared Web Directions back to two tracks, one focused on design and big ideas, and one focused on engineering–a combination of the sort of thins we cover in Respond and Code. But programming multiple developer conferences in Australia (Code, then three months or so later, the Web Directions engineering track) was really hard. So this year our goal with all our events was to integrate and coordinate them better, to allow each event to specifically focus on an area of practice, and to allow experts in specific areas of that field to dive deeply into their area of expertise. Which left us with something of a challenge for the the rebranded Direction (I wrote about the choice of name, and how direction is quite different from directions, earlier in the year). Many events of similar nature around the world might best be characterised as a "celebration" of the Web. But celebrations of their nature look backwards, rather than forwards. And there's only so much celebrating one can do. So we definitely wanted Direction to maintain significant professional relevance. What we felt was that for really established professionals, particularly with more of a design focus, or with an overall strategic focus within a team or organisation, the people shaping the direction (geddit?) their product, or company or organisation is taking, there isn't always a lot on offer. So, we developed Direction as precisely this–a way of keeping track of developing technologies (like this year VR and AR), ideas, and practices. It's more for the sort of person who might call themselves a designer but, to be honest, design sensibility and - dare I say it - "design thinking" are central to successful products, companies, organisations, and so in a way Direction is for a much wider audience. Judging by the responses (including via anonymous survey), this rather large leap into the unknown went a long way to achieving what we'd hoped, and we're already lining up some extraordinary speakers for 2017.

Speaker development

One day, I'll try to write up our vision for what it is we actually do, or at least strive to do here at Web Directions. But in essence it is to help people within our industry develop their skills and capabilities. One area we've focused on recently is helping people develop their presentation and public speaking skills. As part of this, we've worked with local groups like Women Who Code to hold workshops specifically for women to help develop these skills.

Developing an insurance offering

As if we didn't have enough to do with all we'd bitten off, we're also developing an idea I've been working on for quite some time: great value, fully featured insurance for freelance/contract workers as well as smaller agencies offering Web design and development services in Australia. That might seem significantly different from much that we do here, but it definitely aligns with our mission to help build the industry and, most importantly, its professionals. Starting at $39 a month, paid monthly, and with no lock-in, it will be available in early 2017. If you're keen, sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know, or drop us a line with any questions.

Refining our visual identity

In mid 2015 we started on a major overhaul of our visual identity, our Web sites, and more or less all our communications. While it's yet to have hit our main web site (that's coming), the sites for each of our "products" have been significantly overhauled. This is all part of a transition for us toward a focus on professional and industry development, as our industry transitions from peripheral, an adjunct to marketing or - in some ways even worse - IT, to an integral part of the organisations we work in or with.

2017

I've already foreshadowed much of what we'll be doing in 2017, something of a consolidation year for us, after the year of hectic innovation that was 2016. We'll be:
  • * holding Transform, our government service delivery focused conference in March in Canberra
  • * holding Respond, our front end design conference in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in May
  • * holding Code, our front end development conference in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in late July and early August
  • * holding Direction, our product/experience/design and big ideas conference in November
As mentioned, we'll also be launching our Public & Product Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance offering early in the year, we'll be producing Scroll and Wrap to go with each event, and maybe we even have one or two other things up our sleeve.

Thank You

As we wrap up a huge, and at times challenging year, there's a few folks we'd really like to thank. Ricky Onsman has come to almost every conference, workshop, and event we've ever run, including traipsing all the way to Vancouver for Web Directions North. This year, he's come on board as Managing Editor for all our content, and allowed us to achieve some of these things we'd been planning for many years. Michael and Georgina Schepis at Handle Branding, whom we found almost by accident last year, and who've helped deliver amazing experiences with Scroll and Wrap, the signage at our events, and much more. If you're looking for folks to do brand design, signage, print or any sort of communications design, you really should get in touch with them. Simon Wright has been coming along to our events since the early days, and has been our Art Director for the last couple of years as we've transitioned from a couple of folks doing almost everything themselves (including at times making people coffee at our events), to the sort of company we aspire to become. A huge part of this has been to develop the visual identity of the company, something Simon has done with great aplomb. Public Speaking for Life is two fantastic people, Sarah Ewen and Tarek Said, who run workshops, training and a community meetup in Sydney around developing public speaking skills. They've helped us deliver some fantastic training for speakers, and you should really look at what they have to offer. We also want to thank our dozens of conference speakers, writers for Scroll and Wrap, our event volunteers and, above all, you - the folks who've attended our conferences, workshops and events." ["post_title"]=> string(14) "2016 in Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "2016-in-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-01-13 12:08:10" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-01-13 01:08:10" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=6690" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["post_category"]=> string(1) "0" } ["comment_count"]=> int(0) ["current_comment"]=> int(-1) ["found_posts"]=> string(3) "662" ["max_num_pages"]=> float(45) ["max_num_comment_pages"]=> int(0) ["is_single"]=> bool(false) ["is_preview"]=> bool(false) ["is_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_archive"]=> bool(true) ["is_date"]=> bool(false) ["is_year"]=> bool(false) ["is_month"]=> bool(false) ["is_day"]=> bool(false) ["is_time"]=> bool(false) ["is_author"]=> bool(true) ["is_category"]=> bool(false) ["is_tag"]=> bool(false) ["is_tax"]=> bool(false) ["is_search"]=> bool(false) ["is_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_comment_feed"]=> bool(false) ["is_trackback"]=> bool(false) ["is_home"]=> bool(false) ["is_404"]=> bool(false) ["is_embed"]=> bool(false) ["is_paged"]=> bool(false) ["is_admin"]=> bool(false) ["is_attachment"]=> bool(false) ["is_singular"]=> bool(false) ["is_robots"]=> bool(false) ["is_posts_page"]=> bool(false) ["is_post_type_archive"]=> bool(false) ["query_vars_hash":"WP_Query":private]=> string(32) "0c59d891ec5da5a5dd683fc5dc518e4d" ["query_vars_changed":"WP_Query":private]=> bool(false) ["thumbnails_cached"]=> bool(false) ["stopwords":"WP_Query":private]=> NULL ["compat_fields":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(15) "query_vars_hash" [1]=> string(18) "query_vars_changed" } ["compat_methods":"WP_Query":private]=> array(2) { [0]=> string(16) "init_query_flags" [1]=> string(15) "parse_tax_query" } }

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2016 in Review

Let’s face it. For many, 2016 hasn’t been the best year ever: the loss of several beloved cultural icons, currents of political decision-making that didn’t feel like steps forward, pessimistic news on the climate change front …

But it’s well known that cultivating a mindset of gratitude is overwhelmingly positive and … Read more »

Video of the Week: Aubrey Blanche–Scaling Walls: The Barriers to Female Representation and How Atlassian is Eliminating Them

There’s little doubt technology has a diversity challenge. There’s a lot of conversation about why that might be – although less about what we might do about it, particularly in terms of specific action.

Aubrey Blanche from Atlassian spends her life thinking about this, and developing programs and practices to address … Read more »

Opening thoughts for Direction 16

Direction ’16 took place the day after the US election. I wasn’t alone in being more than a little despondent with the result, and in particular several of our speakers were from the US and were significantly affected by the outcome. My sense is that the vast majority of our … Read more »

Maciej Cegłowski video from Direction 16: Who Will Command The Robot Armies?

Well, Direction 16 is done and dusted, and the relative quiet here the last couple of weeks is testament to just how much effort goes into running conferences (though planning 2017 has also taken considerable time).

Last year at Web Directions, Maciej Cegłowski’s “The Website Obesity Crisis” caused quite a stir, … Read more »

Direction 16 Related Events

With Direction 16 starting in just couple of days, we wanted to point out a couple of the related events that always pop up around Web Directions events. We do what we can to foster, house and support local meetups, community groups and professional development opportunities for people in … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Kai Brach – The New Age of Indie

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  • October 19, 2016
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Kai BrachOur short video this week is Kai Brach’s talk from WD15. Kai went from being a web designer to publisher, editor and art director of independent print-only magazine Offscreen. He’s well placed to describe how the internet has enabled a … Read more »

One Question, Many Answers: Part I

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  • October 18, 2016
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As you know, we now publish a print and digital magazine to accompany our conferences, called Scroll. The Direction 16 edition of Scroll features, as did its predecessors, a series of interviews where conference speakers answer an identical set of questions.

To help whet your appetite for the … Read more »

Idea of the Week: Keeping Up

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  • October 17, 2016
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How do you keep up to date in our constantly changing industry? Here’s some of the things I do, often on a daily basis, just to stay on top of what’s happening, as part of the process of developing the program for our conferences like the upcoming Direction (just on a … Read more »

Video of the Week: Pasquale D’Silva – Designing With Animation

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  • October 14, 2016
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Pasquale D’Silva is co-presenting a fascinating talk at Directions 16 with Jacob Bijani on their indie game “OK, Dracula”, but today’s video takes you back to Pasquale’s presentation at Web Directions South 2013 on how animation is changing design for mobile, the web, and beyond.

Nothing dated about this: animation-driven interfaces … Read more »

Approaching Direction 16: The Story of a Presentation

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  • October 13, 2016
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Literally as Web Directions 2015 was taking place, a controversy blew up around the legendary SxSW conference, and two of the selected panels for the 2016 conference focusing on the issue of ‘gamergate’.

It certainly generated a lot of comment on places like Twitter, and so much interest that the venerable Slate … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Nathan McGinness – The perils and pitfalls of A/B testing

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  • October 12, 2016
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Nathan McGinnessOur short video blast from the recent past this week comes again from WD15. Nathan McGinness knows a thing or two or two about metrics, testing and analytics, and in this talk he’s the first to admit that A/B testing … Read more »

We have to talk about JavaScript

  • In: Blog
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  • October 11, 2016
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It seems that almost weekly concerns about the complexity of the ecosystem around JavaScript, build tools and frameworks bubble over. Certainly, the JavaScript and Front End development world is a lot more complex than even a few years ago.  

The latest round kicked off with Jose Aguinaga musing on “How it feels to … Read more »

Idea of the Week: Teaching Code to Kids

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  • October 10, 2016
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When you’re thinking about the future of the Web, an obvious focus is young people. There’s a generation growing up now that takes the Web for granted as far as being a provider of information, games, education and social interaction. But are we doing enough to teach kids how to … Read more »

Video Ristretto: Alastair Simpson and Nat Jones – Designing spaces for creative professionals

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  • October 5, 2016
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Alastair SimpsonOur 20 minute Video Ristretto this week again comes from WD15 and features Alastair Simpson and Nat Jones from Atlassian talking about the creative spaces they’ve designed that have scaled with the changing needs of their teams and what they’ve … Read more »

Monday Profile: Nook Studios

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  • October 3, 2016
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Right from the start, one of the things we wanted to do with our Scroll Magazine was bring some attention to the great work being done by Australia’s web design and development agencies. Often, these small companies bring together dynamic teams that create great results for their clients and bring … Read more »