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  • Caroline Sinders will consider the raft of new technologies that promise a revolutionary impact not unlike the rise of the internet and Web–which may sound like an exaggeration, but there are many who believe AI, Voice interfaces, blockchain and IoT among other still early stage innovations will see impacts far greater than even the impact that industrialisation had on the 20th Century, and computing has had to date. But, what are design principals we should keep in mind for creating with new technology? Instead of building future worlds imagined in the '60s during the Space Race, what is the future now, and how can we build it?
  • Legendary speaker (he's keynoted a number of times, always with electrifying results) Mark Pesce is developing something brand new, and top secret for Web Directions Summit. Mark's presentations can be transformative experiences.
In the engineering track
  • Peggy Rayzis will take an in-depth look at GraphQL, and help you understand how adopting it will make your organization better / faster / stronger.
  • Web Performance guru Patrick Hamann will dive deep into HTTP2's Push feature which gives us the ability to proactively send assets to a browser without waiting for them to be requested. A huge potential win for performance
  • Alex Danilo will let us know all about WebAssembly, a way of dramatically improving the performance of critical bottlenecks in code, porting legacy codebases to the Web, even extending the Web platform itself. It's one of the most exciting enhancements to the Web Platform in a long time, and now supported in all modern browsers.
But there's much more on this front
  • Rachel Andrew, one of the people at the very forefront of CSS will bring us up to speed with the current state of web layout. A revolution has arrived, are you taking advantage it?
  • And just as layout technologies have been overhauled so too has Web typography, with the now widely supports variable fonts. Bringing benefits to performance (whole font families can be a single file now!) as well as typographical design, Mandy Michael will have you racing back to work Monday November 5th pout them into action!
But we're not leaving designers out of the action. And if that seems like a lot we've barely scratched the surface of the program, 28 sessions in total, across two big tracks. With great pricing for freelancers and not for profits, as well as extra special team offers, future proof yourself and your team at Web Directions Summit." ["post_title"]=> string(47) "Future proof yourself at Web Directions Summit." ["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) "future-proof-yourself-at-web-directions-summit" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 12:24:47" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 02:24:47" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8546" ["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" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#1005 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8519) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-24 10:59:13" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-24 00:59:13" ["post_content"]=> string(6052) "Tim Wu is a Professor of Law at Columbia University. He writes for the New York Times and the New Yorker. He's the author of two very influential books on technology and its impact on society The Master Switch, and The Attention Merchants. He's not someone given to hyperbole and exaggeration. But the title of this post, "Very few things are more important now to the future of humanity than design ethics", comes from him. So stop for a second and think about the enormity of what Wu is saying. The future of humanity. Cast our minds back a quarter of a century. For some of us, this will be a memory, for others, ancient history. It's hard to believe, but at the dawn of the World Wide Web era, pre smartphones (indeed, before almost anyone had a mobile phone at all), before laptops, before computers outside the workplace were common at all, technology, computing was treated as something a little strange. The preserve of geeks and nerds. Of science and engineering, and banking. Something about which few other than these 'high priests' really knew much at all. This last quarter of a century has seen technology pervade everything. As Mark Andreesen, who was instrumental in the popularisation of the browser, first with Mosaic, then Netscape, put it "software is eating the world". Software mediates increasingly every action we take, whether with friends and family through social media, with our bank, how we get from A to B with ride sharing, what we watch on streaming services. Through machine learning, and artificial intelligence, increasingly every decision about us, medical, financial, governmental is made by algorithms and systems and data collected about us, often data we're unaware of, or barely aware of. Perhaps the most extreme example of this, but one that is really a matter only of degree is the Chinese 'social credit' system, "intended to standardise the assessment of citizens' and businesses' economic and social reputation, or 'credit'". But what's often left out of this picture is the fact that all of this is designed. All of it. Increasingly every action and interaction we take, tested, refined, with specific business or organisational outcomes in mind. Whether it's keeping your attention on a site, buying something more. We talk about User Centred Design, but how often is it really business objective centred design? And if this is problematic now, what happens when say all of us are wearing smart watch type devices, that measure our vital signs and activity every moment of out lives. There are many potentially marvellous, even lifesaving applications of these devices. But, putting this data the hands of health and life insurers could have very significant impacts not just on individual lives, but on the very nature of insurance itself. When everything is designed, every impact of a product, a service, a technology is in a way a choice. And those choices are driven by design ethics. And those ethical choices are as much the responsibility of individual designers, and engineers as they are of organisations, managers, CEOs. Arguable more so, since those of use who work on the details, not just the big picture, have more time, and more capacity to think through second order effects. The unintended consequences. Couple this with the opportunity designers and technologists have right now, being in such demand, to choose whether they work for, and what they work on. These ethical decisions are yours to make. Tim Wu has made explicit something I've felt for sometime, and as someone whom I've admired for a long time now, it's gratifying to hear it put so succinctly and powerfully. "Very few things are more important now to the future of humanity than design ethics". And if you look at the program for our upcoming Web Directions Summit, you'll see ethics, both directly and indirectly, takes a central place. We have If ethics and the impact of the design and engineering choices you make are important to you, I hope we'll see you at Web Directions Summit, in Sydney, November 1 and 2." ["post_title"]=> string(85) ""Very few things are more important now to the future of humanity than design ethics"" ["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(83) "very-few-things-are-more-important-now-to-the-future-of-humanity-than-design-ethics" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-24 10:59:13" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-24 00:59:13" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8519" ["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)#1009 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8506) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-21 14:03:35" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-21 04:03:35" ["post_content"]=> string(3561) "We've been running conferences for the Web industry for a long time now. Since 2004 to be precise. In that time we've seen what was barely a trickle of events become a river, across the whole world, often specialising into specific niches. Bringing tremendous benefits for our industry in many ways. And very often, certainly in recent years and at considerable expense, these conferences have recorded presentations, and put these videos online, most commonly YouTube. A boon for developers and designers around the world. But. And there's a big but. Conferences are hard. You'll see events, even high profile ones, come and go. Organisers burn out. Very few organisers create a sustainable financial basis for their events – most of them are built on monumental, admirable, highly stressful volunteer efforts, and the risk organisers take that they'll cover their event costs. Do videos really benefit these organisers? From our perspective, we've had hundreds of thousands of views of videos from our conferences on YouTube (which even if we'd turned on advertising would have generated very little money) and yet we'd be hard pressed to demonstrate this brings any benefit in terms of future attendance at our events. And presenting is hard. A solid presentation is dozens or hundreds of hours work, built on top of thousands of hours spent developing expertise. No one is close to adequately compensated for these efforts. Which is why even speakers in high demand almost always do the same presentation numerous times. Just as most events exist because of the significant volunteer efforts of their organisers, they also exist because speakers volunteer their time and expertise. Do videos benefit speakers? Sure there's a bit of exposure (you know what they say about exposure and putting food on the table) - you can send potential conference organisers to your presentation (though this days many conferences have anonymous calls for presentations, minimising their value from that perspective). But the benefits, in return for the enormous efforts and expertise, are nebulous at best. It is easier to argue that industry professionals benefit (as do as the people who employ them, lots of free world class education!) But this benefit may be more illusory than first appears. With little financial incentive to prepare new talks with any great frequency, how much of their expertise is left untapped? And as organisers will typically want a number of more established speakers to draw attention to their event (who are most likely to be delivering a presentation they're already presented before) the opportunities for new speakers, with new perspectives and presentations to find an audience, and then be recorded, are more limited. This has troubled me for years (in addition to organising conferences I've spoken not infrequently, and also attend conferences). Surely there must be a better way? A way in which speakers and organisers can be better compensated, with the flow-on benefits of unlocking more of the expertise of existing speakers, opening up opportunities for new speakers, and providing incentive and compensation for organisers who provide the platform for recordings to take place. A true win-win-win. Not only have I been thinking a lot about this, we've been working on what we feel is a solution here at Web Directions. Stay tuned as we'll be letting you know more about this in the very near future. We're pretty excited to show you what we've been working on." ["post_title"]=> string(49) "Conference presentation videos are broken. 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(48) "conference-presentation-videos-are-broken-part-i" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-21 16:36:54" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-21 06:36:54" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8506" ["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)#1010 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8490) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-20 10:30:18" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-20 00:30:18" ["post_content"]=> string(6149) "At our earliest events, the design aspects of our programs were very much focussed on Web design. But over the last decade or so, just as professionals have increasingly specialised, and design in the broad sense has become central to what we build, so too has the focus on design shifted at Web Directions. What was once called Web Design, became Front End Design–with its focus on CSS in particular–is now largely part of Front End development. If that is what you do, in our engineering track you'll find a good deal of focus on these aspects of designing and building for the Web. There are amazing new layout and typographical capabilities now widely supported, that we're covering there. The design track has evolved to focus on aspects of design such as interaction and UX design, design research, typography and even illustration. But as it says in our name, (the Directions bit), our aim is always to look to where we are headed next. As we've done for many years, we'll provide insights into the topics and techniques we feel should be on your radar, and starting to incorporate into your practice today. We also pay attention to the broader practice of design, and the way design integrates into business and strategy, and a topic now central to everything we do: ethics. Some of the particular highlights for this year's Summit with a design focus include Oliver Reichenstein, one of the most influential experts in the field of Information Architecture, and founder of IAWriter, the hugely popular writing app, will consider deeply the connection between design, philosophy and ethics. Yiying Lu will be familiar to many. She grew up in Shanghai, came to Australia to study design, and now works with companies from early stage startups to the scale of Disney. As our world becomes increasingly cross-cultural, Yiying will shed light on how design can help cross cultures in a digital world, a challenge particularly vital to Australia. Mara Giudice is a legend in the world of design. With high level roles in product design at Facebook and AutoDesk where she was VP of Design in her resume, and books like the the highly influential 'The Rise of the DEO', about Leaders who understand the transformative power of design and embrace its traits and tenets, Maria has been instrumental in the transition of design from marginal to central in strategic decision making. Joe Toscano: our models for interacting with machines are changing rapidly, toward a conversational, chat based approach. The past few years have been filled with chatbot experiments—some brilliant, many not—but the future has yet to be experienced. As artificial intelligence capabilities advance, conversation will become the next major interaction model, not just a messenger experience. Joe Toscano, an award winning Experience Designer at the likes of Google, and now founder of the not for profit Design Good, will explain why conversation will play such a large role in the future, define how it will happen, and suggest how you can integrate conversation into your product roadmap. Caroline Sinders: Hugely popular when she spoke at Directions 2016 on the fateful morning of Donald Trump's election, Caroline has a long career in thinking deeply about the impact of technology on the individual, society and culture. With stints in design research at IBM Watson, BuzzFeed, and the Wikimedia Foundation, Caroline will ask: Instead of building future worlds imagined in the '60s during the Space Race, what is the future now, and how can we build it? Cyd Harrell was until recently Chief of Staff at F8, an agency embedded in the US Digital Service (similar to Australia's DTA). With extensive experience in design leadership and research in the private and public sector, Cyd will consider how to use your metaphorical capacity to do great qualitative analysis. She’ll dig into how to source apt metaphors from users and from your team, how to use them as pointers into the salient parts of a mountain of qualitative data But this barely scratches the surface of what is on offer. Jennifer Hom, and illustrator and Experience Design Manager at Airbnb will showcase the development process of Airbnb's illustrative aesthetics. Tim Buesing will demonstrate how transparency creates trust and brings success to products, services and brands. Allison Ravenhall will show us what the latest Accessibility standards mean for designers. And that's not even the entire design focussed program. Take a look at the full schedule now, then register your place for this once-a-year event. There are extra special pricing for freelancers and not for profits, and great team offers as well. " ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Design at Web Directions Summit '18" ["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(34) "design-at-web-directions-summit-18" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-20 12:57:26" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-20 02:57:26" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8490" ["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)#1011 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8461) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-13 15:12:46" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-13 05:12:46" ["post_content"]=> string(5014) "From the very beginning, our events have had a strong focus on development. With our background in developing (both for the Web and of tools for other web developers) it's something we've always thought a lot about, and continue to focus on. As the event matured, and as the roles of development and design separated out, we added a second track, focussed on design, and that dual focus on engineering and design at Web Directions Summit continues today. But we quite deliberately call this our engineering track (rather than our developer, or development track), since we want to reflect the breadth of what we cover there. This track is about core technologies–CSS and JavaScript, and working with them. But it's importantly about the practices, patterns and approaches critical to building successful modern front ends.

Core technologies

Our goal when we focus on specific technologies is to help our attendees get a sense of the things we feel they should be starting to concentrate on–avoiding hype and short term trends, and honing in on things that will become fundamental to how we build for the Web. This year, there's a strong focus on: GraphQL: The longstanding RESTful approach to architecting web applications is in many places starting to give way to GraphQL. Peggy Ryazis, from Meteor, will explore some of the use-cases and success stories of top companies as they've made the move to GraphQL. She'll also offer guidance as to how to move through the phases of adoption at your company. WebAssembly: JavaScript engines in modern browsers have become increasingly powerful and for some time now, developers have been targeting a subset of the JavaScript language that brings particular performance benefits. This is now standardised as WebAssembly, and supported in all modern browsers. It's not simply for porting old codebases to the web either, but can be used in many interesting ways, as Alex Danilo from Google will cover. CSS Layout: A revolution in web layout is happening, driven by the widespread support of CSS Grid and Flexbox. We're privileged to have perhaps the world expert in these technologies, Rachel Andrew here to talk about them. Variable Fonts: Not only is layout undergoing a revolution on the Web so too is typography, with Variable fonts, a technology also now widely supported in modern browsers. With significant performance as well as design benefits, it's a technology everyone should have on their radar. Mandy Michael will be here to get you up to speed on this exciting technology. There's much more besides, including deep dives into the Virtual DOM and the CSS Box model.

Patterns and Practices

As I mentioned, we don't just highlight technologies, but also patterns and practices essential for building modern front ends, including performance, security, debugging and quality assurance techniques and more. Performance: One of the world experts on web application performance, Patrick Hamman, will look at HTTP/2 Server push, and its benefits (and potential challenges). Security: Erwin van der Koogh will look at recent additions to the browser security stack and how you can massively increase the security of your site with relatively little work. Scaling: with more than 80 apps, 150 developers in 4 different countries and more than 700k LOC. Atlassian has had to learn about scale. Nadia Makarevich will cover the strategies and tools that Atlassian has developed to create and support a high-velocity, high-quality engineering environment, challenges and obstacles that they had to overcome and hoops that they jumped through on the way. We'll also cover modern debugging and quality assurance techniques, look at the current state of the art in development including typed JavaScript, and more. It's a huge program, with value for your whole engineering team, from Junior developer to CTO. And speaking of teams, we have great offers for teams, including videos from other recent Web Directions events like Code earlier this year, plus more. " ["post_title"]=> string(40) "Engineering at Web Directions Summit '18" ["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) "engineering-at-web-directions-summit-18" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-13 15:12:46" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-13 05:12:46" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8461" ["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)#1012 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8452) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-12 15:50:53" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-12 05:50:53" ["post_content"]=> string(6332) "Twice in the last week or two I've taken part in panel discussions focussed on ethics – at Sydney Tech leaders and then at an evening organised by Fjord here in Sydney. One focussed more on ethics and technology, the other on ethics and design. Both featured lively, thoughtful conversations, and a clear underlying desire by the audience to include ethics as a key aspect of decision making and their professional practice. At both I spoke around the same idea–inspired by a presentation Stephanie Troeth gave at our Design conference earlier in the year (you can watch the presentation 'influencing Decisions with Design Research' below). Stephanie quoted a scene from one of my favourite plays, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are minor characters in Hamlet, friends of Hamlet. Claudius, Hamlet's uncle has killed Hamlet's father, the King, usurped his throne, and married the Kings wife, Hamlet's mother. Got it? Claudius co-opts Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to carry a letter to England where Hamlet is being ostracised, that will result in Hamlet's death. Hamlet outwits them, ultimately leading to their execution. What's the relevance of all this to ethics? As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern await their execution (a scene that doesn't appear in Hamlet) one turns to the other and says
There must have been a moment, at the beginning, were we could have said -- no. But somehow we missed it.
The point I made at both events is that beginnings are vital moments. This is where small decisions can have major impacts. The projects we work on, the companies or clients to work for, once these decisions are made, the impact of our choices is increasingly diminished. These are the times we can say 'no', or have outsized impacts on the direction of a project. At all of our events this year, ethics has emerged as a central consideration. It's no doubt partly as a consequence of the realisation of the impact social media platforms are having on our societies, the impact the so-called 'sharing' economy is having on the role of labour and work, and numerous other ways in which technology is impacting long standing social structures. For many years there's been the naive sense that technology is essentially a force for good, or is at least natural, rather than simply a tool we as individuals, groups, companies, societies use to achieve outcomes. The consequences of our use of technology are choices, whether we are conscious of those choices or not. Only last week, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter observed at a US Congressional hearing
We weren’t expecting any of this when we created Twitter over 12 years ago, and we acknowledge the real world negative consequences of what happened and we take the full responsibility to fix it.
But why weren't we expecting any of this then? Human nature hasn't changed in that 12 year period. It was a naivity, fuelled in no small part by privilege. Those who built twitter (and the significant majority of those who've built the social media platforms, and other high impact technologies of the last quarter of a century) are incredibly privileged, very often white, very often male, very well educated people. Their experience was rarely one of vulnerability–to the voices and actions of hate, to the negative impact on the nature of work, on our culture and society. To create a platform designed to connect millions of people and not imagine its potential misuses is wilful blindness. When we imagine and design and build tools and technologies and platforms and services it's as important, perhaps more important to ask 'how might this be misused' as it is to ask 'how might this be used'. We might think the work we do is far less significant. After all, few of us are building world changing technologies, we're only working on small seemingly insignificant features. But these considerations aren't simply relevant at the scale of whole systems–they can impact even the smallest details of the things we build. I've taken to wearing an Apple Watch the last few months. I'm particularly interested in tracking my activity, heart rate, that sort of thing. On a recent day for some reason I didn't wear my watch for some hours, and then the next day I was greeted with a message about how I'd missed my targets the day before but if I tried hard I could do that today. Seemingly innocuous. Quite positive really. Encouraging me to be more active, more healthy. But what if the reason I'd missed my targets was because I was ill? I'd Injured myself? My mental health causing me difficulties? What seems at first glance like a harmless, cute, "you go" kind of message could have very significant negative impacts. Millions of people will have seen a similar message over the last 3 or 4 years. Small details can add up to significant impacts. The days blind of optimism about technology and its impact on the world, the naive sense that, on balance, what we do is without question a force for good, these days are over. Ethics is at the heart of what comes next. At Web Directions Summit this year we'll be addressing the issue directly with a keynote by Oliver Reichenstein–Philosophy, Ethics and Design–and related presentations by Holger Bartel–The Untold Benefits of Ethical Design–and Tim Buesing– Design For Transparency. Tickets are on sale now, with significant discounts for freelancers, contractors and not for profits.

Influencing Decisions with Design Research

Stephanie Troeth Design '18 Presentation, which inspired my thoughts in this piece is here. " ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Somehow we missed it" ["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(20) "somehow-we-missed-it" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-12 15:50:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-12 05:50:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8452" ["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)#1013 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8434) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-11 12:43:23" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-11 02:43:23" ["post_content"]=> string(10119) "Every few months or so a tweet or blog post in the web development world seems to ignite a heated conversation about CSS, CSS in JS, the future of Web development, whether certain folks are out of touch, and if so how. A bit of side eye and snark. Here's something I wrote about this topic during a now long forgotten outbreak back in 2013! The most recent such 'conversation' was triggered by this tweet: and the quiz to which it refers. Tim Kadlec followed up with a detailed post, which doubles as a passionate defence of understanding the core technologies of web development, among them CSS. I agree considerably with Tim, but I also understand where others who take different perspective (mostly tweets, I've not found a detailed post countering Tim's) are coming from.

Developing for the Web is hard

Here's the thing. Developing for the Web places a significant burden on developers knowledge, and I think I have a reasonable perspective on this having for many yeas been a developer for the Mac OS and Windows. When developing for most platforms (like Mac OS, or iOS) developers have
  • A single platform to target: The OS. Developers for the Web have in theory a single platform to develop for, but in practice it's at least several, all of which have their differences. That alone makes for a significant challenge. But wait, there's more!
  • While Operating systems are upgraded rarely, with a long lead-time ahead of those changes, the Web platform is in a continuous state of both theoretical (the standards) and practical (the browsers implementation of them) and experimental change. Tracking these changes, and their support have always been hard work, and only becoming harder over time.
  • When developing traditional software, developers typically had a single language (C, C++, Turbo Pascal!, Objective-C, C#, Visual Basic (don't @ me!) to be concerned with. With the Web Platform, we have HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SVG, and their curious complex interactions. As well as their backwards compatibilities, going back nearly quarter of a century (or more).
And this doesn't even begin to address the networked architecture of Web applications (even with Service Worker, manifests and PWAs, we don't by any means have the sort of luxury that installed apps do in terms of performance, bundling, packaging). Or that while traditionally most platforms had a quite standardised look and feel, and standard, OS supplied widgets, this is far less true of the Web. Many have spoken about the challenge of becoming a Web developer today, and I'll be honest, I'm not sure whether I'd be up to it (particularly at these of 51). And then lets consider what we are building and are expected to build now, compared with what the Web looked like even 10 years ago, let alone over 20 when CSS first started to have some sort of impact. So I have considerable sympathy for those who express frustration with complexities, who look to build layers of abstraction (React, Vue, and so on) to hide these complexities, and help developer productivity. There are many very smart, increasingly far more experienced developers than me whom I admire greatly who articulate this point of view, most of whom are far from new to developing for the Web. People like Mark Dalgleish, and Glen Maddern (who are among the most frequent speakers at our events).

Dialog not debate?

I feel there's an important dialog missing here, one I've been trying to foster at various of our conferences going back some years (I've brought together a number of these presentations below if you want to watch them). One the one hand (and this will somewhat simplify each 'side', for the sake of brevity, not disrespect to either), we have those, and I'd on balance probably include myself in this camp, who'd argue that the core technologies of the Web are precisely that–foundational, and a deep understanding of them conceptually (not necessarily an encyclopaedic knowledge of every syntactic aspect) is fundamental working knowledge for professional Web developers. The other side would argue that just as this was true of assembly language 40 years ago, and the abstractions we've built above the lower level tools in the intervening years mean assembly is no longer a core technology, the growing complexity of what we build for the Web and the associated frameworks and abstractions (Vue, Angular, React) means a deep understanding of technologies like CSS, HTML and JavaScript, and specifically problematic aspects like CSS's global scope, specificity rules and the cascade are no longer core knowledge (or shouldn't be and need to be abstracted away). What I do feel is lacking from this conversation is something I've been trying to get at in a number of the presentations and discussions we commissioned for our conferences over the last 2-3 years. Just as jQuery introduced concepts and language and platform features (classlist, querySelector, to name a couple) by highlighting the shortcomings of the DOM from a web app perspective, and compile-to-jaavscript languages like coffeescript (arrow functions) on JavaScript, what is it that CSS (in particular, it seems CSS is the recurring 'culprit' here) lacks, that CSS-in-JS, and other approaches are looking to work around? And how might CSS evolve to incorporate these?

Harnessing The Web's Iterative Innovation

Because the cycle of innovation we've seen over decades now when it comes to its technologies has been innovation on top of the core languages and platform features like the DOM (some times this innovation takes place in the browser, sometimes in frameworks and libraries, sometimes in conventions, patterns and practices). These innovations prove the use case and value of their approach, and the ones that bring the greatest benefit are reabsorbed into the underlying languages and technologies. No one doubts for a moment that ES today has improved dramatically due to this approach. And at a much greater rate than it did before the days of jQuery and coffee script et al. But all this takes dialog, each 'side' articulating their position, listening to the other, in a spirit of trying to understand, not simply attempting, rhetorically or otherwise to win. What's the goal here? To be right? Two win the argument, or to help the Web become the best platform it can be?

Related Presentations

It's precisely this challenge I've been trying to tease out for some time with various presentations by invited experts at our conferences these last few years. In particular at Code 2017, we had Mark Dalgleish, and Glen Maddern and Mandy Michael

Glen Maddern–The Road to Styled Components: CSS in Component-based Systems

Glen Maddern, who along with Max Stoiber (see the tweet that started all this off above from Max), took the best of CSS and the web to build a new way to style component-based systems. In this talk, Glen shared what they thought about and why they arrived where they did: styled-components

Mark Dalgleish–A Unified Styling Language

In the past few years, we’ve witnessed a massive increase in the amount of CSS experimentation, with ideas like CSS Modules and — most controversially — the rise of CSS-in-JS. But does mixing our styles and logic run counter to the original ideas of CSS? Does it break progressive enhancement? In this talk, we’ll take an empathetic look at these new approaches, how they relate to the history of CSS, and why they might possibly hold the key to the future of CSS — all from the point of view of someone who has been writing CSS since 1999.

Mandy Michael–Traditional CSS at Scale(?)

Mandy Michael loves CSS. She believes there’s power in its simplicity and flexibility. When the team at Seven West Media Perth redeveloped The West Australian’s digital platform in a tight 4-month deadline, they embraced the CSS they know and love with a component driven approach, utilising ITCSS, BEM and SCSS with strict linting and code review. But while she’s a long-time lover of traditional approaches to CSS, the lessons Mandy learned have led her to the ultimate question: is there a better way?

RoundTable

We then brought Mandy, Glen and Mark together for a further discussion of the issues their presentations had raised. " ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Iterating on the Web" ["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(20) "iterating-on-the-web" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-11 12:43:23" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-11 02:43:23" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8434" ["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)#1014 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8429) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-10 12:50:50" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-10 02:50:50" ["post_content"]=> string(2218) "After a fantastic inaugural event in 2017, our AI conference returns for 2018. This year, to make it easier to attend, it takes place the day before our Summit, so if you're travelling from outside Sydney you can get even more return on your effort by adding the additional day. And there's fantastic pricing when you combine both AI and Summit. The full program is online now, and last year's event sold out.

What is AI about?

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have long been the preserve of specialists. But a revolution has been taking place in the world of AI, with "AI as a service" APIs from major cloud vendors and startups bringing natural language processing, speech to text, text to speech, and many more traditionally challenging applications of machine learning into the realm of the everyday. The challenges now facing the adoption off these technologies is increasingly not a technical one. They are design challenges, and challenges for product owners and managers, and business decision makers. So AI is designed to help those working on digital products and services understand the opportunities these technologies present today, and the challenges–technical, design, and business–you might face in adopting them.

Who is AI for?

AI is for anyone involved in designing and delivering digital products and services – designers, developers, product owners and managers, business decision makers.

What will AI cover?

Working with AI technologies presents a new range of design, business and technical challenges. AI focusses on all of these areas. Our goal, at this still-early stage of these technologies' adoption, is to bring together all who are part of that adoption to create a shared understanding of what needs to be done to get the most from what we genuinely feel are transformative technologies. See the full lineup of speakers, and complete program. " ["post_title"]=> string(34) "Web Directions AI returns for 2018" ["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(34) "web-directions-ai-returns-for-2018" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-10 12:50:50" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-10 02:50:50" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8429" ["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)#1015 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8413) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-07 10:10:32" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-07 00:10:32" ["post_content"]=> string(3022) "We're in full swing gearing up for our annual Summit, our big two track conference, taking place November 1 and 2 in Sydney. This year we're excited to be returning to our home for many years, the Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Bringing as good a lineup as we've ever had. The full program is online now, and we'll be focusing on some of the speakers, topics and themes in the coming weeks. For frontend developers and engineers we'll be covering GraphQL, Performance, JavaScript in-depth, CSS layout, variable fonts, and much more. In the Design track we'll address conversational interfaces, designing across cultures, UX research, design systems, content strategy, ethics in design and a whole lot more. All topped and tailed with engaging, challenging keynotes from the likes of Oliver Reichenstein and Maria Giudice. If you've been to our Summit before, you'll know it's amazing speakers and ideas in a fantastic setting, fully catered, great coffee and more. If you've not been and you work in web, technology and design, this is the event on the Australia calendar for our industry, as it has been for many years. Places are going quickly, and early bird pricing ends September 14th, so don't miss out.

But that's not all

This year, Web Directions Summit is preceded by two, one day, focussed conferences, Culture and AI.

Culture

Culture addresses the challenges in building great teams, and organisational cultures. From hiring to onboarding to developing teams, there's insights from real world experts. Whether you're a manager of design or engineering teams, or work in people, talent, or HR, Culture will help you do this better.

AI

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are no longer the preserve of large companies with huge budgets. "AI as a service" like Watson, and similar services from AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and other providers bring natural language processing, image recognition, speech to text, text to speech, and other AI capabilities into the hands of small teams and startups. Our AI conference looks at the business, design and technology challenges, as well as the opportunities presented by these technologies, with case studies and insights from people using them right now. What seems a bit like science fiction today will be bread and butter for digital products and services before too long. Get up to speed with these opportunities at AI. " ["post_title"]=> string(42) "Web Directions Summit '18 Program launched" ["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(41) "web-directions-summit-18-program-launched" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-07 10:10:32" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-07 00:10:32" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8413" ["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)#1016 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8392) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-24 11:13:05" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-24 01:13:05" ["post_content"]=> string(3430) "You spend years developing you capabilities as a developer program and architect, and so one day, you're asked to do something entirely unrelated–manage people. To interview and hire, mentor and lead. To influence decision makers in your organisation. And yet few companies and organisations help people prepare for and grow within these roles. So, last year we launched a new conference, Code Leaders, focussing on the challenges that more senior engineering professionals in our industry face. The focus in 2017 was around two thirds engineering, and one third leadership and management, but after feedback from attendees (which was overwhelmingly positive), we've changed up that focus to be more on the latter, and less on the former. The day begins with a session on the current front end landscape, with presentations by Sara Soueidan on the current state of CSS and SVG, and Marcos Caceres on the Web Platform–browser APIs and more. Our second session focusses on hiring and building world class teams, with Ryan Biggs looking at the challenge of hiring juniors, Stefano Fratini outlining how they've built a world class engineering team at SiteMinder. We wrap the hiring session with Emma Jones focussing on unconscious bias, and techniques for overcoming its influence on team building. After a fantastic lunch, we'll return to focus on leadership and management techniques, including insights into leadership from data with Jo Cranford, a deep dive into the 'Team of Teams' model as developed by US General Stanley McChrystal with Kevin Yank, and rounded out by a frequently requested session on managing remote teams (and managing remotely) by former DTO CTO Lindsay Holmwood. The final session of the day focusses on you–developing your capacities and capabilities, the ethics of what you work on and who you work for–your "why" in Simon Sinek's terms. Karolina Szczur will consider more ethical tech innovation, Jeremy Nagel argues that being a missionary, rather than a mercenary might be in your best interest (as well as the right thing to do), and the day finishes with the inspirational Isabel Nyo who'll help you Survive & Thrive as an Engineering Leader. Throughout the day participants are seated at round tables with 7 others, and a facilitator to help make sure great conversations and connections take place. It's as much about sharing experiences ideas and connections as it is about the (amazing) content. If you lead and manage teams, or aspire to doing so, Code Leaders is for you, and we'd love to see you there!" ["post_title"]=> string(33) "The Code Leaders program is live!" ["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) "the-code-leaders-program-is-live" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-24 11:13:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-24 01:13:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8392" ["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)#1017 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8377) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-23 12:21:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-23 02:21:47" ["post_content"]=> string(3054) "Programs for conferences take a long time to come together. Sometimes we've been working with someone to have them come to speak for years, waiting for the stars tho align. Other times a quick email and reply and we've lined up a speaker in a matter of hours, or even (very rarely) minutes! Then there's the call for presentations aspect - we always want these to go as far and wide as possible, and find new speakers, with fresh ideas. Sadly many have to miss out, often not because they wouldn't be great presentations, but simply because they don't quite fit the program this time around. But once all that effort is done, all those hours of research, emailing, Skype calls, programs are usually announced in one go. Today we are really excited to announce the program for Code '18, taking place in Melbourne August 1 and 2. Sara Soueidan, Mark Zeman, Hui Jin Chen, Maximiliano Firtman In the coming weeks we'll dive more deeply into the program, and its various themes and areas of focus, like performance, architecture, CSS, JavaScript, and emerging technology and practices. But for now, we just want to highlight a few of the speakers, several speaking for the first time in Australia All alongside sessions on a broad range of topics of relevance to front end developers from Junior to Senior. Code '18 is already 66% sold, and will sell out a long way in advance, so if you are keen, don't wait and register today! " ["post_title"]=> string(31) "Announcing the Code '18 program" ["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) "announcing-the-code-18-program" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-23 12:21:47" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-23 02:21:47" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8377" ["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)#1018 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8368) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-05-15 11:40:28" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-15 01:40:28" ["post_content"]=> string(1058) "The Code '18 Call for Presentations has been closed, and the speakers for Code '18 have been chosen. It's going to be an amazing lineup. After selling out very early last year, our pre-release tickets to past attendees are closed, with over half the tickets for the conference gone and Gold tickets sold out. We'll announce the program Monday May 21, but ahead of that we have a fun competition, with the prize of a Gold ticket, travel from anywhere in Australia or New Zealand and Accommodation in Melbourne up for grabs. All you have to do is guess these four keynote speakers Guess these four keynote speakers to win a ticket and travel to Code '18 If you are blind or a person with vision impairment, we have a text based quiz you can take in its place. Entries close Friday May 18 at 5pm AEST. Good Luck! " ["post_title"]=> string(45) "Can you name these Code '18 keynote speakers?" ["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(43) "can-you-name-these-code-18-keynote-speakers" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-05-15 11:40:28" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-05-15 01:40:28" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8368" ["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)#1019 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8337) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-20 09:15:02" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-19 23:15:02" ["post_content"]=> string(7470) "The closing slide from Andy Polaine's presentation. Last week we held our newest conference Design, in Melbourne a city we love visiting and holding conferences in. For a first time event, the engagement, the energy, dare I say it "the vibe" were amazing, the quality of the presentations, from experienced international speakers, through to first time local speakers was as good as it gets. Actually, there wasn't just one but two brand new conferences, as we also ran our symposium-style Design Leaders, modelled after our successful Code Leaders conference, and focussed on the challenges facing more senior design professionals, managers and leaders. We wrote in recent weeks about a number of the themes that had emerged in the content, specifically, the way in which AI and design intersect, and the opportunities and challenges this poses, on inclusive design, and on scaling design. But whether you made it along or not, there's a huge amount of value from the event to be had, though speakers notes, slides, and perhaps most of all, Ben Buchanan's now legendary "Big Stonkin' Post". Ben has been doing these incredibly rich detailed writeups of our conferences since 2007. I have literally never seen more detailed notes on a presentation anywhere than these. Once again the captured the ideas from every single session at Design. Without exaggeration, It's almost better than being there.

Speakers notes and slides

Many of our speakers have already shared their slides and resources via twitter but we through we would bring them all together in one place in this email.

Sara Wachter Boettcher

Sara opened Design, addressing the challenge of toxic technology and the ethical responsibilities of the Design profession. Many of her ideas are captured in her recent book, Technically Wrong Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech the last couple of dozen copies of which in Australia we managed to get hold of we sold out of, but you can find other ways to purchase the book via the link above.

Diana MacDonald

Diana addressed the age old question, "should designers learn to code" in an interesting light, "how much code should designers learn?". She's provided the slides, notes and a really comprehensive list of resources from the talk Should I Really Bother Learning to Code?

Remya Ramesh

Remya's slides from the talk The Art of Mindfulness in Product Design. A really valuable introduction to the ideas of mindfulness, and the value they can have in your day to day life, personal and professional.

Cory-Ann Joseph

Cory-Ann's incredibly comprehensive speaker notes from the talk Why Poker Playing AI Should have Designers Looking for a New Job.

Darla Sharp

Darla's reading and watching list from the talk Designing for Voice: Alexa, Google Assistant and Beyond. A lot here, of real value.

Hilary Cinis

Hilary's notes from Crafting Ethical AI products and Services - a UX Guide. Hilary has been refining her ideas on this topic for months and this is the latest iteration.

Nathan Kinch

Nathan addressed the key challenges for any business or organisation which collects data from their users, that is all of them, and how we manage user data is at the heart of the most important value, trust. Nathan has outlined some of the principles he outlined in his talk It's time to design for trust, in the article Data Trust, by Design:Principles, Patterns and best Practices (part 1); and (part 2) Upfront Terms and Conditions. Plus, thanks to Nathan download a free copy of Designing for Trust: the Data Transparency Playbook.

Sally Bagshaw

At Design, content, words, and writing came up time and again as critical to good user experience. Sally is a content strategist with unparalleled experience, and delved more deeply into the relationship between content strategy and UX, in her presentation, Beyond Words: Using Content Strategy for Better UX.

Lucie Paterson

Lucie spoke about the way in which design has been changing the nature of ACMI, making it a more user focussed museum, and has posted her slides from the talk Evolving an Organisation's Culture through Design.

Chris Stonestreet

Chris addressed the challenge of outsourcing design, and there are slides from the talk Outsourcing Design, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Andy Polaine

Andy's closing keynote brought together so many of the themes of the conference, and he's posted the slides from the talk Design for the Long Term.

Don't want to miss the next one?

If all this sounds like something that you're interested in, Design '19 will return May 2019 to Melbourne. But you don't have to wait that long! Our end of year Summit features both a design and engineering track, and we've already lined up an extraordinary array of speakers you won't want to miss out on. To make sure you don't miss out on these, and to get the best possible value, just jump on our mailing list, for a weekly update on ideas, articles and more, alongside special offers and news about our events." ["post_title"]=> string(20) "Design '18: The Wrap" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(228) "For a first time event, the engagement, the energy, dare I say it "the vibe" were amazing, the quality of the presentations, from experienced international speakers, through to first time local speakers was as good as it gets. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "design-18-the-wrap" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-20 10:05:36" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-20 00:05:36" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8337" ["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)#1020 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8311) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-04-04 13:00:27" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-04 03:00:27" ["post_content"]=> string(3011) "

Over the last few weeks we've been putting the spotlight on various areas of focus at our Design conference in Melbourne (it's on next week, but there are still places left, so if you work in Design, don't miss this!)

Design at Scale

We've looked at the intersection of AI and Design, and inclusive design, both strong areas of focus in John Maeda's just released 2018 Design in Tech Report. Another of the key sections of this year's report is Scaling Design, where Maeda observes "Design capabilities don't scale like Moore's Law".

While we were programming the Design conference for months before this report was released only a couple of weeks back, the key points in this section of the report address so much of what we'll be covering at Design it's actually rather uncanny.

In recent years, as we've observed elsewhere, Design has gone from a nice to have, and been seen as largely cosmetic or aesthetic, to being recognised for its strategic and competitive value. As such the size and scale of design teams has grown significantly. But with that growth has come significant challenges–for individual designers, for teams, for entire organisations.

Increasing thought is being given to design systems, to the nature of design organisations, to the roles within the design profession. These are all areas we'll cover in detail at Design:

There's much more besides this, on design systems and AI, design organisation to research, context strategy and emerging ideas. If you work in digital Design in Australia, it's one to not miss!

" ["post_title"]=> string(47) "Design '18 Spotlight Series: #3 Design at Scale" ["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(44) "design-18-spotlight-series-3-design-at-scale" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-04-04 13:00:27" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-04-04 03:00:27" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8311" ["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)#1356 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8298) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-03-29 12:58:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-03-29 01:58:55" ["post_content"]=> string(4273) "we're counting down to Design '18, our upcoming conference on April 11 and 12 on all things digital product and service design with an overview of the current trends in design and how we're covering them at the conference. In this second spotlight we're focussing on inclusive design. John Maeda's 'Design in Tech' report has become on of the industry's most read and influential annual publications. In last year's report, Maeda's key observation was
Adopting an inclusive design approach expands a tech product’s total addressable market. Inclusion is good business. And new proof points are emerging. More will start to emerge as inclusive design takes hold.
This year's report has an entire section dedicated to the issue and practice and
  • Changing perception around the idea of "helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves" into "learning how ignorant we are as privileged people" is a useful daily exercise.
  • Using that energy to design and make better products is a certain kind of passion and practice that we'll see more often in technology companies. Because inclusive design is becoming commonsense.
  • Choose action over wondering about what you can do about the world you see and don't agree with. It's easy today due to all the technologies we have available to us.
Our focus on inclusion at Design '18 begins with the opening keynote Sara Wachter Boettcher (who's new book 'Technically Wrong' Maeda cites as a key work in their emerging conversation) simply called 'Designing Inclusive Products'.
In this talk, we’ll take a hard look at how our industry’s culture—its lack of diversity, its “fail fast” ethos, its obsession with engagement, and its chronic underinvestment in understanding the humans it’s designing for—creates products that perpetuate bias, manipulate and harm users, undermine democracy, and ultimately wreak havoc. Then, we’ll talk about what we can do about it: how we can uncover assumptions in our work, vet product decisions against a broader range of people and situations, have difficult conversations with our teams and companies, and pursue a more ethical and inclusive way forward for our industry.
We mentioned Hilary Cinis from Data61 and her presentation 'Crafting Ethical AI Products and Services–a UX Guide' on the context of AI at Design '18, but this is equally relevant in the context of inclusion.
This talk is aimed at designers and product managers and proposes an ethical framework in discovery and solutions. We look at where UX can fit in via the application of existing methods, the relationships between people including how to anticipate the power relationships and finally proposed approaches to solution design to foster trust, control and reduce the mystery of machine learning systems. A robust list of references further reading will also be provided.
The third of many presentation we could highlight in this area at Design '18 is one I'm really looking forward to, from Sara VanSlyke & Trace Byrd at Atlassian, illustrators who've thought deeply about representations of people in icons, and other graphics, and how these can be made more inclusive and representative. I loved their Medium post so much I track them down and it turns out they were going to be in Australia the week of Design '18 and they'll be coming to present on this for us! There's much more besides this, on design systems and AI, design organisation to research, context strategy and emerging ideas. If you work in digital Design in Australia, it's one to not miss!" ["post_title"]=> string(54) "Design '18 Spotlight #2: Spotlight on inclusive design" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(333) "we're counting down to Design '18, our upcoming conference on April 11 and 12 on all things digital product and service design with an overview of the current trends in design and how we're covering them at the conference. In this second spotlight we're focussing on inclusive design. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(51) "design-18-spotlight-2-spotlight-on-inclusive-design" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-03-29 13:33:09" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-03-29 02:33:09" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8298" ["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)#1007 (25) { ["ID"]=> int(8546) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "3" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 12:24:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 02:24:47" ["post_content"]=> string(5108) " If you've been in the industry any length of time, you'll know how essential it is to keep your knowledge up to date, and how much work that can be. One of our key goals with our events is to help attendees do just that, and as always this year's Summit features keynotes, design and engineering track sessions that focus on this near term. After all, when we named Web Directions, we chose the word "Directions" for a very specific reason - our goal has always been to think about what comes next. Not in some hand-wavey, 10 years down the track way. But emerging trends, ideas and technologies we believe our audience should be investing in now, or at least investigating as part of developing medium term strategy and solutions. In our keynotes,
  • Caroline Sinders will consider the raft of new technologies that promise a revolutionary impact not unlike the rise of the internet and Web–which may sound like an exaggeration, but there are many who believe AI, Voice interfaces, blockchain and IoT among other still early stage innovations will see impacts far greater than even the impact that industrialisation had on the 20th Century, and computing has had to date. But, what are design principals we should keep in mind for creating with new technology? Instead of building future worlds imagined in the '60s during the Space Race, what is the future now, and how can we build it?
  • Legendary speaker (he's keynoted a number of times, always with electrifying results) Mark Pesce is developing something brand new, and top secret for Web Directions Summit. Mark's presentations can be transformative experiences.
In the engineering track
  • Peggy Rayzis will take an in-depth look at GraphQL, and help you understand how adopting it will make your organization better / faster / stronger.
  • Web Performance guru Patrick Hamann will dive deep into HTTP2's Push feature which gives us the ability to proactively send assets to a browser without waiting for them to be requested. A huge potential win for performance
  • Alex Danilo will let us know all about WebAssembly, a way of dramatically improving the performance of critical bottlenecks in code, porting legacy codebases to the Web, even extending the Web platform itself. It's one of the most exciting enhancements to the Web Platform in a long time, and now supported in all modern browsers.
But there's much more on this front
  • Rachel Andrew, one of the people at the very forefront of CSS will bring us up to speed with the current state of web layout. A revolution has arrived, are you taking advantage it?
  • And just as layout technologies have been overhauled so too has Web typography, with the now widely supports variable fonts. Bringing benefits to performance (whole font families can be a single file now!) as well as typographical design, Mandy Michael will have you racing back to work Monday November 5th pout them into action!
But we're not leaving designers out of the action. And if that seems like a lot we've barely scratched the surface of the program, 28 sessions in total, across two big tracks. With great pricing for freelancers and not for profits, as well as extra special team offers, future proof yourself and your team at Web Directions Summit." ["post_title"]=> string(47) "Future proof yourself at Web Directions Summit." ["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) "future-proof-yourself-at-web-directions-summit" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 12:24:47" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2018-09-26 02:24:47" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "https://www.webdirections.org/?p=8546" ["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" } ["comment_count"]=> int(0) ["current_comment"]=> int(-1) ["found_posts"]=> string(3) "909" ["max_num_pages"]=> float(61) ["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(false) ["is_category"]=> bool(true) ["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) "cd15f7c06249973e2ffe0fd408452899" ["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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Future proof yourself at Web Directions Summit.

ul {list-style-type: disc; margin-left: 1em}

If you’ve been in the industry any length of time, you’ll know how essential it is to keep your knowledge up to date, and how much work that can be. One of our key goals with our events is to help attendees do just that, and … Read more »

“Very few things are more important now to the future of humanity than design ethics”

Tim Wu is a Professor of Law at Columbia University. He writes for the New York Times and the New Yorker. He’s the author of two very influential books on technology and its impact on society The Master Switch, and The Attention Merchants.

He’s not someone given to … Read more »

Conference presentation videos are broken. Part I

We’ve been running conferences for the Web industry for a long time now. Since 2004 to be precise.

In that time we’ve seen what was barely a trickle of events become a river, across the whole world, often specialising into specific niches. Bringing tremendous benefits for our industry in many ways.

And … Read more »

Design at Web Directions Summit ’18

At our earliest events, the design aspects of our programs were very much focussed on Web design.

But over the last decade or so, just as professionals have increasingly specialised, and design in the broad sense has become central to what we build, so too has the focus on design shifted … Read more »

Engineering at Web Directions Summit ’18

From the very beginning, our events have had a strong focus on development. With our background in developing (both for the Web and of tools for other web developers) it’s something we’ve always thought a lot about, and continue to focus on.

As the event matured, and as the roles of … Read more »

Somehow we missed it

Twice in the last week or two I’ve taken part in panel discussions focussed on ethics – at Sydney Tech leaders and then at an evening organised by Fjord here in Sydney. One focussed more on ethics and technology, the other on ethics and design.

Both featured lively, thoughtful conversations, and … Read more »

Iterating on the Web

Every few months or so a tweet or blog post in the web development world seems to ignite a heated conversation about CSS, CSS in JS, the future of Web development, whether certain folks are out of touch, and if so how. A bit of side eye and snark. … Read more »

Web Directions AI returns for 2018

After a fantastic inaugural event in 2017, our AI conference returns for 2018.

This year, to make it easier to attend, it takes place the day before our Summit, so if you’re travelling from outside Sydney you can get even more return on your effort by adding the additional day. … Read more »

Web Directions Summit ’18 Program launched

We’re in full swing gearing up for our annual Summit, our big two track conference, taking place November 1 and 2 in Sydney.

This year we’re excited to be returning to our home for many years, the Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney. Bringing as good a lineup as … Read more »

The Code Leaders program is live!

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  • May 24, 2018
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You spend years developing you capabilities as a developer program and architect, and so one day, you’re asked to do something entirely unrelated–manage people. To interview and hire, mentor and lead. To influence decision makers in your organisation.

And yet few companies and organisations help people prepare for and grow within these … Read more »

Announcing the Code ’18 program

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  • May 23, 2018
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Programs for conferences take a long time to come together. Sometimes we’ve been working with someone to have them come to speak for years, waiting for the stars tho align. Other times a quick email and reply and we’ve lined up a speaker in a matter of hours, or even … Read more »

Can you name these Code ’18 keynote speakers?

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  • May 15, 2018
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The Code ’18 Call for Presentations has been closed, and the speakers for Code ’18 have been chosen. It’s going to be an amazing lineup.

After selling out very early last year, our pre-release tickets to past attendees are closed, with over half the tickets for the conference gone and … Read more »

Design ’18: The Wrap

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  • April 20, 2018
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For a first time event, the engagement, the energy, dare I say it “the vibe” were amazing, the quality of the presentations, from experienced international speakers, through to first time local speakers was as good as it gets.

Design ’18 Spotlight Series: #3 Design at Scale

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  • April 4, 2018
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Over the last few weeks we’ve been putting the spotlight on various areas of focus at our Design conference in Melbourne (it’s on next week, but there are still places left, so if you work in Design, don’t miss this!)

Design at Scale

We’ve looked at the intersection of AI … Read more »

Design ’18 Spotlight #2: Spotlight on inclusive design

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  • March 29, 2018
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we’re counting down to Design ’18, our upcoming conference on April 11 and 12 on all things digital product and service design with an overview of the current trends in design and how we’re covering them at the conference. In this second spotlight we’re focussing on inclusive design.