Webstock's main conference features 20+ kick-ass presentations spread over two days of awesomeness.
Mostly they're keynote presentations, giving everyone the opportunity to share the same experience. But occasionally we'll break into two streams, giving speakers the chance to delve deep into their specialist topics.
We hope you enjoy!
Fantastical storytelling is at its most potent when it's anchored to reality. Lauren Beukes talks about why she writes strange and twisty fiction from novels to comics to TV shows and the occasional ARG, and how storytelling that re-imagines where we are has the ability to tell us more about who we are. Short Q&A to follow.
Culture of Fear + Attention Economy = ?!?!
We live in a culture of fear. Fear feeds on attention and attention is captured by fear. Social media has complicated our relationship with attention and the rise of the attention economy highlights the challenges of dealing with this scarce resource. But what does this mean for the culture of fear? How are the technologies that we design to bring the world together being used to create new divisions? In this talk, danah will explore what happens at the intersection of the culture of fear and the attention economy.
Within Reach: Publishing for the iPad
Two years ago, the announcement and subsequent launch of the iPad catalyzed a strange mix of euphoria and panic in the boardrooms and newsrooms of the publishing industry. The hope for broadening their reach and appealing to new markets has been coupled with the challenge of shifting reader expectations and behavior as an onslaught of new products continue to redefine what's possible. With a front seat view into the strategy and design of these new products and apps, Jennifer will reveal what went right, wrong, and what might be next.
Deconstructing Delight: Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning
There’s a lot of talk going around right now about designing for delight and gameification. You know what? Giving you a badge for getting your expense report done on time probably isn’t going to make you any happier or more likely to do it on time next time. And delight is temporary -- people habituate pretty quickly.
There’s a vast difference, though, between designing an experience that doesn’t suck and one that drives engagement. We’re good at eliminating frustration. It’s easy to observe whether your customers are pissed off, and then just not do that. But that’s really not enough anymore. Users’ expectations are higher.
Some companies are doing it - they’re creating great experiences. From the outside, it looks effortless. But you know it’s not. The user part of you is like, wow, now this is really nice, I get it, in fact, I don’t want to live without it. The designer part of you is going, holy crap, how’d they do that -- it’s really hard!
In this session, we’ll look at a nifty framework for thinking about and talking about what I call three levels of happy design. The framework is based on research done over the last couple of years looking into behavioral economics, hedonics, positive psychology, the importance of adult play, emotion in design, and a whole bunch of other stuff better saved for the talk.
In Lulz We Trust
Agents of activism and naughty mischief, Anonymous has been a constant fixture in the news due to their blizzard of interventions from taking down half a dozen websites in a single day to protest web censorship to assisting the historic revolutions in the Middle East and Africa. Drawing on three years of serious ethnographic research (re: chatting online, a lot), this talk will visit few of their major operations in order to address the political significance of their tactics and most especially, the lulz.
Doing Good and Well
Business and technology drive the human race forward and have proven to be the most powerful force for getting things done.
But they also screw things up royally. Destroy the environment; turn slaves out of FoxConn employees; create wedges of enormous inequality and drive mass consumerism of stuff we don't need and never knew we wanted.
Millions across the world have no clean water, food or medicine while we obsess over what rendering our app's 'Next' button should have and what Techcrunch has to say about the latest bowel movements of Silicon Valley. I'll share some ideas as to how we can sleep better at night and change the world (while still getting that 'Next' button spot-on).
It’s not what you read, it’s what you ignore
How did we get here? As web developers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More APIs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second. Young people rule the web and are more interested in the news of the last 10 minutes than the news of the last 10 years. Does all this information take a toll on their (and your) psyche or sharpen the saw? Let's find out how to stop being thought-leaders and start being do-leaders.
Lessons from a 40 year old
Matt will cover a bunch of lessons he’s learned in the past decade of life as he embarks on turning 40. They eschew much of the Techcrunch/ReadWriteWeb/Mashable world by focusing on taking a longer term view of your work and focusing on life/work balance and having a happy life as well as a fulfilling career.
Typography through song: an historical and epistemological journey
Jessica Hische will combine virtuosic Morin Khurr (Horse Head Fiddle) and Khuumii (Harmonic Overtone Throat Singing) skills to transmit the harmony of Mongolian Shamanic culture through time and space.
Change the Game
If anyone's ever told you, "You can't do that," you're playing the game. If you've ever had a flash of insight, a sudden desire to do something, and then told yourself "That'll never work," you're playing the game. If you feel like you're being nibbled to death by ducks — slowly, painfully, irritatingly — then chances are high you're playing the game. We all play the game. It's just that most of us never realize we're playing it. But when you learn to spot the game in all its manifestations, you can change it. You can change everything.
How to get a buttcrapload of people to read what you write
Web-designer-turned-comic-artist Matthew Inman (AKA The Oatmeal), will talk about how he makes things on the web that are highly likable. His talk will include various tips, tools, and ideas for generating and promoting great content. There will also be poop jokes.
Michael B. Johnson, PhD
Making Movies is Harder than it Looks: Building Tools for Telling Stories
Making movies is a complex, collaborative, creative activity. At Pixar, they don't pretend to know exactly what they're doing, but they do have a process. They trust the process, but they constantly test and refine it, based on the stories they want to tell, the resources they have to tell them, and most importantly - the people who want to tell them.
Technology and art go hand in hand at Pixar — each challenges and reinforces the other. Technologist Michael B. Johnson, a Pixarian since he joined as an intern in 1993, has been involved in most of Pixar's feature films and short films. He will share his perspective on the Pixar film-making process; one which involves both creative story tellers that want things they don't understand how to make and flexible technologists who are more concerned with empowering their users than winning an argument with them.
Come along as Michael tells stories from inside their process; sharing the how and the why. Join him as he tries to explain how Pixar always manages to keep their eye on the big prize - a compelling story, well told.
Of Time and the Network
Our perception and measurement of time has changed as our civilisation has evolved. That change has been driven by networks, from trade routes to the internet. Now that we have the real-time web allowing instantaneous global communication, there's a danger that we may neglect our legacy for the future. While the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. But we can change that. This presentation will offer an alternative history of technology and a fresh perspective on the future that is ours to save.
Little Big Systems
It's really easy to understand the lure of small, artisanal projects that we can polish to a satin finish: they offer a sense of craftsmanship, a human scale for our work, and the chance to get something really *right*. But larger projects and bigger systems can often feel soulless and unsatisfying, even when we're excited by the causes and ideas behind them. So is there a way to work on an ambitious scale without losing the purpose and handcraftedness that makes more intimate gigs so much fun? (Hint: yes.)
Via the craft of content strategy and its intertwinglements with design and code, this talk follows the connections between making small-scale, handcrafted artifacts and designing big, juicy systems (editorial and otherwise) that encourage both liveliness and excellence.
Pressure, defense, and responses
From sending out life saving information during emergencies, or letting the millions of @ladygaga's monsters know her latest thought, at Twitter the name of the game is "now." I'll talk about how three key words -- pressure, defense, and responses -- describe the challenges involved in running the world's largest real-time service.
Lonely Pan flute
Adam Lisagor is the undisputed king of the pan flute. Famous for his triple-tongue staccato technique that allows him to play three times faster than the average pan flutist, he is known worldwide as “The Speed of Light”. He is also the only artist who can play G major diatonic instrument chromatically in all twelve keys.
Adam will perform for the first time on an electric pan flute which was built especially for him.
Jenn Lim & Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh and Jenn Lim will discuss the different ingredients used by Zappos.com to build a long-lasting enduring brand including the importance of customer service and company culture. Tony will talk about how focusing on happiness, as a business model, has created happy customers, happy employees, and happy vendors enabling the company to expand beyond selling shoes to clothing, bags, and other product categories. They will dive into his research on the science of happiness and how it has applied to business. Focusing on the importance of a higher purpose, beyond just profits, will drive business results.
Slashdot — the rise and fall
The story of the rise and fall of Slashdot, and the rise of social media and current trends. It'll be largely technical, anecdotal, and hopefully kind of funny.
The Responsive Web Designer
There’s been a lot of great discussion about responsive web design: merging media queries and flexible, grid-based layouts to create more adaptive, universal designs. But how does a responsive approach affect our design workflow? And when is responsive design right for your project? We’ll look at sites and strategies to try and answer these questions, and learn to become more responsive designers.
Acting on data
We have more data at our disposal than ever before. Learn 10 things you should do in 2012 to make the most of it.
When We Build
“We shape our tools and our tools shape us.” As more of the tools we live with every day become digital instead of physical, our opportunity — and responsibility — as designers is multiplying. We live in a world of screens, and we are the ones who decide what goes on them. We are in a unique position to have an impact — one that lasts longer than the next redesign or the latest technology. What happens when we stop thinking of ourselves not just as developers or experience designers, and take up the mantle as a new generation of product designers for a digital world?
MBU: Building the Minimum Badass User
The Lean Start-up movement gives us powerful, useful tools to discover what users want and how they want it, including the MVP or "Minimum Viable Product." But the key attributes of a desirable product don't live in the product. They live in the users. Find out how to design and build the MBU and make the competition less, you know, Viable.
The Anatomy of a Design Decision
What are the habits of highly effective design teams? The best designs come from not one, but hundreds of well-made decisions. The worst designs arise out of hundreds of poorly-made decisions. All that stands between you and a great design is the qualify of your decisions. Where do they come from?
For the last five years, we've been studying how designers make their decisions. When do they use outside information, such as research about their users? When do they go with their gut instinct? When do the designers look to past decisions and the lessons they've learned?
What we found will surprise you. In this presentation, Jared will take you on an entertaining deep dive into the gut instinct of the best designers (without looking at all the gooey parts). You'll learn five styles of decision making, from Self Design to Experience-focused Design, and which style produces quality results. Prepare to learn how to be a better designer, as Jared shares the secrets of the best and worst.
Mobile: Don't Break the Web
Your phone's browser may be more advanced than your computer's browser, but chances are that the phone itself may have similar memory and bandwidth constraints to the computer you threw out (recycled?) 5 years ago. While your desktop and mobile users may be using equally modern browsers to access the web, the devices themselves create various constraints that you need to consider. When it comes to mobile, you always need to think about battery life, latency, memory and UI responsiveness. In this session we'll discuss best practices to make sure your site's CSS, JS and HTML perform, no matter how your user is accessing your content.