21st May, 2010

Thoughts on FOWD 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.

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