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Thoughts on FOWD 2010

21st May 2010

My brain hurts, my throat is hoarse, and my unwanted collection of Media Temple-branded lanyards has grown by one, which means I must be back from another Future of Web Design conference, where I presented my personal thoughts about our future. In order to avoid doing any proper work, I hereby present the usual rough and ready overview of the event from my slightly exhausted perspective.

The best FOWD yet

As I declared on stage, I have attended or spoken at four or five FOWD conferences over the years, and I consider this year’s event to have surpassed everything that went before. Absolutely perfect venue, well-curated program of speakers (both established and new), good food, plus some excellent TLC from the Carsonified team (especially Cat). If only the audiences had been a bit more awake, open to humour, and less shy.

The social angle

I’m not going to start namedropping, but from a social perspective it must have been good as I lost my voice shortly after I lost my brain. Finally we get a conference with super-long breaks for all that networking and smoking (cough). To all attendees and speakers that I spoke with, I love you. To those that kept me drinking until 4am, shame on you.

My presentation

I always enjoy speaking, but this was especially fun. My topic (What will web design look like in two years?) was a bloody difficult subject to wrestle with, and making it a personal view of the future that I want to see helped me pull it together. It’s a shame I had a few technical snags in the first ten minutes (all that heavy breathing), but these things are sent to try us, and at least my trousers didn’t fall down.

The slides are available on Speakerdeck, and if you spoke, attended, or purchased a video pass, you should have the password and link required to watch the video of my talk.

Links to all those juicy examples

I referenced a number of examples; some from the past and many for the future. Here for your pleasure is a complete list of links.

Design Clinics

It’s worth quickly mentioning the Design Clinics too. I held my clinic on day one, and have to say that I enjoyed it immensely. I had a queue of lovely smart people waiting to get five minutes of my supposed wisdom, and it was such good fun that I think Hicks and I ran over by about thirty minutes. I believe all conferences should now have these clinics by default. They’re a great way to test yourself, see great work, learn a few things, and obviously get some one-on-one time with attendees. I pledged to keep the dialogue going with each of them, so hopefully I’ll see their projects blossom and eventually launch.

Until next year…

I’ve heard the occasional criticism about the FOWD program in the past, but that’s all behind us now, and many forget that they kept ticket prices so low by avoiding some of the more expensive details like free food and big diva speaker-types. Anyway, I enjoyed just about every second of this year’s conference (not the hangover), and pledge to see you all again at FOWD 2011. Now, I must go and lie down for a bit.

Responses

# Glen responded on 21st May 2010 with...

Feeling a bit nostalgic now mate. I think it was the ‘my brain hurts’ part.

“If only the audiences had been a bit more ... open to humour…”

Kenny Loggins gag didn’t get a laugh? Shame on them.

# Christopher Murphy responded on 21st May 2010 with...

I can’t confirm or deny it, but I think we might have been responsible for that 4.00 am drinking. We feel suitably shamed.

It was a real pleasure making your acquaintance and we’re looking forward to welcoming you in Belfast at some point soon for a ‘Standardistas Presents…’ event. We very much enjoyed your presentation and look forward to future 4.00 am fandangos.

# Simon Collison responded on 21st May 2010 with...

Glen: I hope you saw this tweet. I had a similar Tube-sickness experience, but none of you were there to laugh at me, which helped.

Christopher: Yes! You crazy Standardistas (and Remy) ruined my Thursday. However, it was worth every ounce of pain, I assure you. Very excited about forthcoming trips to Belfast, and losing my mind on liquor with you.

# Jason Stone responded on 21st May 2010 with...

I was at FOWD this year, and although I have no previous FOWD events to compare it too it was an amazing experience! Great to be able to speak to the experts in the clinics - even though I think Mike Kus was a tad upset I spoke to Elliot Jay Stocks shortly afterwards at the ‘Geeks gone wild’ eve party - if only I had known Mike was standing behind me…. lol.

Great speakers, and I have a hell of a lot crammed in my brain now screaming to get out and spill onto my monitors! Can’t wait for future events!

# Francis responded on 21st May 2010 with...

That was my second FOWD and I can say that this one was by far the best. Best venue, best speakers, best food, etc. I was also a bit surprised to see people so shy, calm and silent during the conferences. Don’t really know why but I can understand that must be not easy for the speakers, especially in front of so many people. I don’t know if it is different in other conferences.

I attended Molly’s workshop and at the beginning it was the same, but the more there was interaction and the more were relaxed…

BTW, loved your talk and your slides.

# Matt Carey responded on 21st May 2010 with...

Reading the bit in your post about how much you enjoyed the design clinic made me think one thing; you should do some teaching. You might have done some already, but if you haven’t then I think you would get a lot out of it. I know I do. I like being able to review and talk about students design work, even those that initially seem reluctant to do so!

# Adam Wintle responded on 21st May 2010 with...

Thank you for taking the time on Wednesday afternoon for a stop and chat when you were incredibly tired, it was great meeting you! :) your presentation was definitely one of the highlights for me.

# Ryan Carson responded on 21st May 2010 with...

Hey Simon - it was an honor to have you speak - thanks for coming!

# Sharat Buddhavarapu responded on 24th May 2010 with...

Sounds like FOWD 2010 was an amazing experience.

@Matt Carey: I totally agree with you. I think there’s an underlying enthusiasm to this article and all the presentation round-ups that makes me think that Simon would be a great teacher.

On that note, isn’t there a possibility of using the web for assembling a school of sorts. Along the lines of what Carsonified is doing with their Online Conferences, but more of an assignment and criticism basis. Teacher(s) and students could complete an assigned task, and share results. The teachers, and more experienced students could then lead a discussion about best practices to solving the issue presented. To me this site would be a perfect mix between Dribbble, Drawar, and a Conference type format.

I kinda missed the convo boat by about 3 days, but that’s ok!

# Matt Carey responded on 24th May 2010 with...

@sharat Something like Animation Mentor but for the web? Their distance learning school system is I’m told the place to learn animating with peer review by people from Pixar etc. I’m sure something similar could be done via the web community…

# Trent Walton responded on 25th May 2010 with...

Simon, I heard I got a mention during your talk.  Thank you… that made my day.

# Mark responded on 4th June 2010 with...

Thank you for taking the time on Wednesday afternoon for a stop and chat when you were incredibly tired, it was great meeting you! :) your presentation was definitely one of the highlights for me.
Regards Mark

# php tutorial responded on 4th June 2010 with...

Reading the bit in your post about how much you enjoyed the design clinic made me think one thing; you should do some teaching.

# Chris Armstrong responded on 9th June 2010 with...

Loved your talk, and really appreciated getting to meet you during one of the design clinics, I think it was actually my fault you were kept late… sorry (But thanks)!

Definitely agree that Design Clinics should be a standard part of any conference; from my perspective as an attendee they were the highlight of the whole conference.

# Maike responded on 12th June 2010 with...

Great thoughts! Best regards Maike

# Shane responded on 16th June 2010 with...

Nice post, the conference sounds like it was great.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

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