Web Directions South 2012

Sydney, October 16–19

Pre-conference Workshops

Get up close and personal with the experts on October 16 and 17. Josh Clark — Tapworthy mobile design and UX, Douglas Crockford — JavaScript, the good parts, Sara Wachter-Boettcher — Taking content everywhere, Mark Boulton — Elements of Visual Design

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Taking content everywhere

Photo of Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara Wachter-Boettcher is an independent content strategist, writer, and rabble-rouser based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She got this way after stints as a journalist, copywriter, and web writer, during which she became increasingly dissatisfied with the chaos typically found in web content projects. In 2008, she launched a content strategy practice at her past agency, and started working closely with IA and UX teams to build a better way forward.

Today Sara focuses on designing systems for flexible, adaptable, future-friendly content, with a heavy interest in making content mobile-ready. When she’s not consulting with clients or partnering with agencies, she’s putting the finishing touches on her first book, Content Everywhere, with Rosenfeld Media; serving as Editor in Chief of A List Apart; contributing to publications like Contents Magazine; and speaking about content strategy, user experience, and related topics at conferences worldwide. You can read her blog at sarawb.com.

Venue: The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Date: Tuesday Oct. 16 2012, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Pricing: $449 (conference attendees) $549 (standard)

Mobile is our immediate challenge, but it’s just the beginning of an even bigger content shakeup. To meet the needs of everything from smartphones and tablets to read-later services and web-enabled appliances, we need content that can go more places, more easily. Yet most content is still being created in fixed pages and documents, locked into just one format and designed for just one destination.

That won’t cut it. As devices get more diverse, powerful, and ubiquitous—and as our users continue to expect more—we need content that can keep up. But our organizations can’t afford to create more content for every new device and channel. Instead, we need content that does more: content that’s structured so it’s meaningful to both humans and machines, and stored so it can be reused and reconfigured however we want.

In this workshop, you’ll gain critical skills to make your organization’s content ready for mobile today—and for the unknowns of tomorrow.

What you’ll learn

  • Why mobile is just one part of an even bigger shift—for content and for business at large
  • What you can do today to start preparing content for more flexible destinations, from responsive websites to APIs to personalized content
  • How to start breaking content into mobile-friendly, flexible, modular chunks
  • Who you’ll need on your side to make this happen (and how to talk with them)
  • How your CMS, your workflow, and your business need to change to make all this stuff stick

How we’ll do it

We’ll mix examples and case studies from major media, government, and business with plenty of hands-on exercises to help you:

  • Analyze your content to understand its key messages and underlying elements
  • Break content down, turning pages and documents into mobile-ready modules
  • Create simple, useful content models to share with your team
  • Prioritize and plan how content appears on different devices and channels
  • Have useful discussions with everyone from top-level executives to the IT team

This workshop will be designed for all levels, and is for anyone looking to make content mobile-ready and future-friendly—including both content professionals and those from other web fields.

Mark Boulton

Elements of visual design

Photo of Mark Boulton

Mark Boulton is a graphic designer living in South Wales, UK with his wife and two daughters. He runs a small design studio, Mark Boulton Design, working with clients such as ESPN, CERN, Al Jazeera and Drupal. In the past, he worked for the BBC and Agency.com, designing experiences for all manner of clients and people across the world. He also runs a small publishing imprint, Five Simple Steps, and a tool for making grids for web; Gridset.

Venue: The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Date: Weds Oct. 17 2012, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Pricing: $449 (conference attendees) $549 (standard)

Visual design is not magic, or the result of some God-given talent. Anyone can achieve it by applying rules, techniques and practice.

Mark’s workshop will cover the basics of visual design. From collaborative idea generation and visualising ideas, to the fundamentals of typography, grid design, composition and colour theory. Good visual design is like good jazz; it’s about having the chops to improvise around the constraints. That’s what this workshop will do: it will give you the chops. All you will need to do afterwards, is practice.

During the workshop

This is a workshop. Meaning: you do work – Mark will not be standing and talking all day. Mark starts the day by introducing a project you’ll be working on throughout the day. Following presentations on typography, colour theory, layout and composition, you’ll be working – hands on – on designing a project. After a couple of hours, we move onto critique. In small groups, you’ll present your work and together together talk about how to progress them. Following lunch, you continue working punctuated by more applicable theory.

This workshop will cover

  • creating moodboards and Styletiles
  • everything you need to know about Typographic, Colour and Layout theory as applied to the web.
  • how to effectively critique design work
  • how to communicate design work to your team

Why would you do this workshop?

There are three reasons you’d do this workshop:

  • You work on the web – maybe as a developer, or an editorial
  • assistant – and sometimes you design. You’d benefit from some simple,
  • applicable theory.
  • You’re a web designer who’d like to brush up on their skills.
  • You work with designers and you want to communicate better with them.

Required equipment and knowledge

This is a practical workshop. You will need a laptop and very basic skills in a graphics package (Photoshop, Fireworks, Illustrator etc).

Douglas Crockford

Javascript: the good parts

Photo of Douglas Crockford

Douglas Crockford was born in the wilds of Minnesota, but left when he was only six months old because it was just too damn cold. He turned his back on a promising career in television when he discovered computers. He has worked in learning systems, small business systems, office automation, games, interactive music, multimedia, location-based entertainment, social systems, and programming languages. He is the inventor of Tilton, the ugliest programming language that was not specifically designed to be an ugly programming language. He is best known for having discovered that there are good parts in JavaScript. This was an important and unexpected discovery. He discovered the JSON Data Interchange Format. He is currently working on making the web a secure and reliable software delivery platform. He has his work cut out for him.

Venue: The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Date: Tuesday Oct. 16 2012, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Most programming languages contain good and bad parts, but JavaScript has more than its share of the bad, having been developed and then released in a hurry before it could be refined. Once Java applets failed, JavaScript became the language of the Web by default, making its popularity almost completely independent of its qualities as a programming language.

In this full day Master Class, JavaScript expert Douglas Crockford will scrape away the language’s bad features to reveal all the good ideas that make JavaScript an outstanding object-oriented programming language: ideas such as functions, loose typing, dynamic objects, and an expressive object literal notation. You’ll learn why this powerful feature subset is more reliable, readable, and maintainable than the language as a whole, and discover firsthand how to create extensible and efficient code with it. Based on his popular O’Reilly book, “JavaScript: The Good Parts”, this class will demonstrate how JavaScript can be a beautiful, elegant, lightweight, and highly expressive language.

What will I learn?

  • get a detailed look at JavaScript’s elegant features, including syntax, objects, functions, inheritance, arrays, regular expressions, and methods
  • discover why object-oriented programming in classical, prototypal, and functional styles is unique to JavaScript
  • really understand the Document Object Model (DOM): the web browser API so crucial to your work
  • improve the quality of your JavaScript code through performance, security, and style
  • learn how to avoid the bad parts of JavaScript, such as global variables and the eval function

Who should attend?

If you develop sites or applications for the Web, this class is a must, whether you’re managing object libraries or just trying to get Ajax to run faster. Don’t miss this opportunity to spend an entertaining and instructive day with one of the true legends of JavaScript.

Josh Clark

Tapworthy mobile design and ux

Photo of Josh Clark

Josh Clark is a designer specializing in mobile design strategy and user experience. He’s author of “Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps” (O’Reilly, 2010) and “Best iPhone Apps” (O’Reilly, 2009). Josh’s outfit Global Moxie offers consulting services, training, and product invention workshops to help creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites.

Before the internet swallowed him up, Josh was a management consultant at Monitor Group in Cambridge, Mass, and before that, a producer of national PBS programs at Boston’s WGBH. He shared his three words of Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev, strolled the ranch with Nancy Reagan, hobnobbed with Rockefellers, and wrote trivia questions for a primetime game show. In 1996, he created the uberpopular “Couch-to-5K” (C25K) running program, which has helped millions of skeptical would-be exercisers take up jogging. (His motto is the same for fitness as it is for software user experience: no pain, no pain.)

Venue: The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

Date: Wednesday Oct. 17 2012, 9.00am to 5.00pm


From first concept to polished pixel, learn to create mobile apps and websites that delight. The workshop explores the practical principles of mobile and touchscreen design, teaching you to “think mobile” by planning and creating app interfaces in tune with the psychology and ergonomics of an audience on the go. Through a day of hands-on exercises, you’ll learn to conceive and refine an app’s interface and user experience in tune with the needs of a mobile audience… and their fingers and thumbs. You’ll learn:

  • The expectations of a mobile audience
  • The ergonomic demands of designing for touch
  • Strategies for crafting your app’s visual identity
  • How to work with gestures
  • Unique considerations for designing for the iPad
  • Techniques for creating sensational app icons

This workshop isn’t (only) for geeks. The workshop’s interdisciplinary approach is appropriate for everyone involved in the design process: designers, programmers, managers, marketers, clients. The workshop takes a hands-on approach to intermediate and advanced design concepts but requires no specific technical know-how. Experienced designers and newcomers alike will uncover the shifts in mindset and technique required to craft a great mobile app.

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