Web Essentials Day One Highlights

Web Essentials 05 day 1 is over. Plenty of info floating around in my head tonight, somewhat hindered by the few beers I enjoyed at the close of the conference! So you’ll have to forgive any typos or grammatical errors in this post for the time being!

Three speakers really stood out today – Jeffrey Veen, Kelly Goto and Douglas Bowman.

Jeffrey Veen

If you ever get the chance to hear this gentleman speak – then don’t miss it. He’s engaging, entertaining and passionate about his stuff. Particularly mountain biking. But that’s another story.

Could have listened to him all day, as he spoke about getting your stuff together in such a way that it fits your users’ goals. And that’s really the crux of it – your users have goals, and you have stuff (content, products, whatever). Sometimes what you have to put on the website doesn’t always fit neatly with what your users want or need. But what do they want or need? And what words do they use when referring to your stuff? And do they think in terms that make sense to you?

Too many questions? Yeah, there are.

Kelly Goto

I’ve just bought Kelly’s book, so I’ll go over that at a later date, but today a couple of point stood out from her presentation.

We’ve all had trouble getting content from clients. Kelly’s suggestion is to make 2 appointments – one at the start of the week and one at the end. Meeting 1: Sit down with all the stakeholders and decision makers and don’t quit until you get your wireframe done. If it takes half a day, then so be it. Then leave it a few days allowing your client to think it over, and meet again toward the end of the week to finalise it. Sounds simple! (Will have to give it a try!)

Secondly, Kelly suggested iterating your website after it’s launch. Huh? Well, it’s a good suggestion to stop scope creep, for a start. Let me explain.

Say you’re redeveloping an old website. The old one is version 1.0 – and you’re working toward your redesign – version 2.0. Along the way you’ll prototype and iterate from 1.1 through till your redesign is ready to go live at version 2.0. But then the client says, “How about we include this feature?”

“That’s fine,” you can say, “Well schedule that for release 2.5, due next Winter.” Your initial redesign stays on track, and you know you have that work coming up later and can plan accordingly.

Douglas Bowman

Not the usual CSS type presentation this time. Quite a thought-provoking part for last thing in the day, actually!

Doug briefly walked through where the web was 10 years ago, and how much it’s changed to get where we are now – in order to challenge us: Where would it be in 10 years? What role would we be playing? If we knew what the industry would be like in 10 years, would we design or program differently now? What will be the next big thing that revolutionises the way we do things? If anything was possible, what would you do?

A refreshing and unexpected look at things – “zooming out” and taking a look at the horizon. Fantastic.

That’s it for now – got an early start tomorrow – a brekky date with Tantek Çelik.

Oh yeah – here’s the Technorati tag:

A big few days… WE05 plus a Grand Final!

Well, jumping on the plane tomorrow morning to head down to Sydney for Web Essentials 05. Can’t believe how quickly it’s come around!

In my infinite wisdom I’m flying home on Saturday… and the North Queensland Cowboys are playing in their maiden grand final on Sunday! Didn’t organise that very well, did I?

At least I have my Cowboys jersey to wear to the conference on Friday! 😉

Oh yeah, you can also read some other blogs about .

Making the most of your images

If any of you are interested in marketing and you’re not getting the Sherpa Weekly, go kick youself in the head, and then come back to your computer and sign yourself up.

This week Anne makes a couple of interesting observations about using images on your website.

  1. If you have a photo or image on your page, people will usually notice it. Many will also try and click on it. If your image is not clickable, what opportunities are you missing?
  2. People will usually read text directly under an image. The lesson? Use captions! We’re very well trained to look for these in print media – and this is one convention that makes sense in the online world as well.

One example I read somewhere (might have been another Marketing Sherpa article) was that you should use a link on product photos to take you to a page with not just a larger photo but also an “Add to Basket” button as well. The visitor has expressed interest in the product – why make extra work for them if they want to buy?

As for the captions, we’ve seen research that shows how little of the page content actually gets noticed – putting critical info in captions might be a good idea. Certainly can’t hurt!