DIBI Conference, Gateshead, UK, Wednesday 28th April 2010

The dawn of another Great conference! On Tuesday 27th April 2010 I piled into a car with Dan Donald, Jake Smith, and Erin Ryan and set off to Gateshead to attend the first DIBI conference, a new conference for designers and developers put on by Codeworks and other local people.


<p>After a fun journey up, we arrived at the house of Phil Sherry and Li, had a few beers and a really nice home-made curry, and then set off to the opening party. After quite a lot of beer, we found our way home and went to bed. It was nice to meet up with so many of the Newcastle posse, like Paul Timney and Oli Wood.</p>

The talks I went to on the day of the conference were:

  • Elliot Kember — Pimp your app with jQuery: I was a bit disappointed with this one. It aimed to be a kind of jQuery 101 talk, but felt a bit unrehearsed, and didn't include much in the way of applied examples, limiting the ability of the audience to apply the code he was showing. It was more like a laundry list of functions.
  • Sarah Parmenter — Principles of iPhone UI design: I was also a bit disappointed with this talk. It was pretty basic design stuff, and largely quoted from the Apple design principles/guidelines.
  • Tim Van Damme — 2020: A design Odyssey: Tim is a charismatic, funny guy, and a great designer. He showed off some of his cool recent design work, and gave some sterling advice on designing for up to date browsers/rendering engines, and not being held back by worrying about specific design for the old browsers. His mobile browser statistics were a bit skewed, but I'll let him off ;-)
  • Simon Collison — Design to communicate: I am a big fan of Colly's — really nice guy, great designer, and great communicator/educator. His talk was about evolving traditional visual design principles and applying similar thinking to web design, to improve design work. It was really good.
  • Dan Rubin — Blending usability testing with interface design, prototyping and rapid interaction: Another great talk, here Dan shared some of his recent user testing work, looking at rapid prototyping and making design changes during the testing phase. Really insightful.
  • Andy Clarke — Hardboiled web design: I had seen this talk before, but it was fun to watch again. And Andy had fixed some of the bits that I pulled him up on last time ;-) His talk was all about designing using the latest CSS3 and HTML5 stuff to produce really cool experiences, and then using things like Modernizr to apply alternative styling for older browsers, to give different, but still decent user experiences for those users. A good new way to think about graceful degradation. Andy gave Opera a lot of nice mentions - he probably did more Opera evangelism at the event than I did ;-)

After the talks, a rather interesting band played, called Sancho Plan, mixing ambient electronica and industrial drum beats with interactive imagery displayed on a big screen behind them that reacted to the music. A really interesting way to end up the conference.

Then came the after party — all the beer you can drink for free, and a delivery of 120 pizzas to feed the conference goers. What more can I say? Overall I thought the conference was really good, especially for a first time event. Nice one guys.