Events & Revelations

This past week has been quite the experience for me. I’ve been sorting out a few things that I’ll be doing this summer, primarily visiting people, but I’ve been dealing with clients, and both attending events as well as signing up for a few more that I’d like to attend over the coming months. Which is really what is responsible for this post today.

BarCamp Belfast — A Mini-review

Barcamp Belfast was the most recent event that I attended, after an infuriating night of sleep deprivation. The people who organised it also provided coffee to attendees and I’d like to thank them for it. I think I might have died/passed out otherwise, which would have caused me to miss some fantastic presentations and, in one case, a pretty cool story about just how powerful social media can be.

Some of the presentations that were given reaffirmed what I held to be true but I thought that, since the event as a whole has had me reassess some aspects of what it is that I do, and why it is that I’m doing it, that I would provide a little bit of information about each presentation that I attended. I feel that I should apologise in advance to some of the presenters that I attended, as I honestly can’t remember the names of everyone I listened to, nor the necessarily correct titles for the Presentations.

Advanced SEO for Developers by Barry Adams

Barry’s talk, on the topic of Search Optimisation for Developers, didn’t really tell me anything more about the topic than I already knew. Having helped launch a few sites I’ve done a fair amount of research into dealing with SEO, making use of various best practices to help ensure that nothing negative is happening. The topics he covered included:

  1. URLs
  2. Code
  3. HTTP Status Codes
  4. Content Management Systems

Whilst the subject matter is pretty well known to me, I understand full well how important proper SEO can be for a website and that not everybody attending would be aware of what you should and shouldn’t do. It was also nice to be reassured that the things I’m doing are correct, and aren’t just me claiming I’m doing it right.

Start With Who by the Web Standardistas

Web Standardistas

Up next was the highly dangerous talk on User Experience, given by the Web Standardistas, which was as informative as it was dangerous, with sweets flying around like bullets. They covered, and shared, a great many of their top secret information on what it is that provides a great User Experience. I don’t know why they’d so something like this with so many students there, and expect it to remain a secret though.

Their presentation covered all sorts of important aspects of User Experience, including things like Sprinkles, Space Dust and the 4 Ws. Oh, and how to not get killed by flying chocolate.

Impact of Social Media by unknown

This session wasn’t so much a presentation as it was of a story. It was the story of an American band that came to perform over here in Northern Ireland, shortly before the horrendous explosion of Iceland in 2010. After having things fall through on their trip, such as accommodation things were looking pretty bleak.

The story covered how, from a single message on twitter, the band got on the news both here, courtesy of the BBC and UTV as well as a live broadcast with CNN London, and got to perform some very special gigs as well. It was quite amazing and reminds me of a more impressive version of how Conan O’Brien sold out his cross-America Comedy Show with a single tweet.

Find your Creative Bandwidth by unknown

This presentation, given by another person whose name I cannot remember, covered how he came to the decision about what kind of work he should do, in such a way as to use it to help those attending help define, or perhaps refine, what they thought themselves. It is primarily this talk that is responsible for this post, as it is what got me really thinking about what I was doing, what I wanted to do and why.

CRAP Web Design by Lee Munroe

Whilst Lee Munroe wasn’t the last person giving a presentation his was the last one that I stayed around for as, by this point, I was really feeling the side effects of no sleep. His talk was about CRAP Web Design, a process that can be used to help produce better work. His focused on __C__hecklists, __R__euse of Code and ensuring you have the __P__erfect Client. Unfortunately I didn’t catch what the A of it was meant to stand for, though I was conscious for the whole presentation and found it quite interesting. The only question I had left after his talk was “What if I don’t like beer?”.

Getting the Brain Gears Working

As I mentioned above, the presentation on Finding your Creative Bandwidth really struck a chord with me. It, alongside a few other presentations, got me thinking about several things, and asking many questions. I’m going to go over them briefly below. I should warn you, some of the questions have some pretty strong language.

What fucks me right off? — Straight to the point. This is the question that sparked the following questions. I find that poorly coded sites really irk me. During the talk on finding out what your creative personality is it was the presenter’s opinion that things that anger us do so because we can visualise something better. With regards to this, I really feel that I must agree.

Why do I do what I do? — I like to code, to see a design grow from nothing. I also enjoy the process. I can, and do, produce well coded sites and want to create them not just for myself, but for others. After all, what is the point in having a skill if you don’t use it?

What makes me different? — I’m constantly seeking to improve myself. I push myself to always improve upon my work, my code and especially, of late, my design. I rarely settle for what I have when it comes to my capability to produce code or design. My best site is always my next one.

What is my selling point? — I feel that my selling point isn’t that I’ll necessarily produce a site that is a thing of beauty, though I am working on my design skills, but I will produce a site that works.

What do I want to achieve? — I want to help ensure that the web is a beautiful, not just visually but in terms of code too.

What am I changing? — On the whole, I’m not changing anything that I have done. I’ve always worked to produce high quality, clean code. And I’m going to keep doing so.

How am I changing? — Whilst I’m not changing anything that I am doing in terms of code, I do plan to change how I approach things to do with code. I intend to help more, and provide more information online with the ultimate goal of helping those who see my work to improve the quality of their code.

When is this happening? — It already is. I’ve been working on, and posting, a series of articles on the topic of HTML5 implementation in the here and now. As I write this, Part 1 has already been posted over on the BGC Network, with follow-up articles being worked on to follow up from it.

I think that’s everything that I had wanted to talk about. BarCamp Belfast was a fantastic event, regardless of how tired I was and proved to be highly informative, hopefully for others but definitely for myself.

Image Credits