It’s now less than 2 weeks till Webstock 08, so it doesn’t hurt to repost this item about Webstock 06. And if you should be at Webstock 08 but haven’t yet registered, you can still squeeze in. It’s going to be a blast! [Disclaimer: I’m one of the organisers.]
In May 2006 hundreds of people paid hundreds of dollars each to hear top speakers on the subject of making great websites. Now you can listen to or watch the presentations, free of charge. [First published August 2006. Some details may be a bit dated.]
You didn’t have to be a web designer to attend Webstock 2006; the conference brought together experts from around New Zealand and the world to talk about coding, marketing, writing content, connecting with your audience and other topics. These sessions were invaluable for anyone making a website, whether a huge company, small business, community group or even an individual with something to say.
Sessions available online
Most of these sessions are now available online and can be downloaded free of charge as audio or video, in various qualities and formats. Some presentations also include slides or PDFs.
Rachel McAlpine’s “From plain language to F-language: we’re ready for rules” showed us how to write to take advantage of where visitors to a website look on a page. If you want to get your message across, this is priceless information.
Russ Weakley told us how to let go and allow users to control their own experience. He spoke about the Australian Museum where visitors stubbornly refused to follow along the ‘paths’ laid out for exhibitions, and compared that with how visitors to websites could perhaps choose their own paths for viewing a website. If you’re planning a website, either from scratch or as an overhaul, this is food for thought.
Kelly Goto talked about how our real world lives interact with our online experiences. These days it’s much much much more than just websites, as cellphones, handheld devices and other innovations take a central place in our daily lives.
Utterly riveting was Darren Fittler’s demonstration of trying to find his way around a website crucial to his work as a lawyer. Since he’s blind he listens to websites. When they are carelessly and thoughtlessly designed, as was the community website he visited, it severely limits his ability to use them. With this one you really should watch the video, not just listen to the audio.
Kathy Sierra’s presentation “Now go change the world” was utterly inspiring and is simply a ‘must-view’ for everyone.
Audio, video, slides
There are a couple of dozen Webstock presentations available online, all worth viewing, or least hearing. You’ll need a broadband connection as even the small files are still quite large — audio-only for most presentations is approx 25Mb, while videos start at about 250Mb. If nothing else, at least look at the slides and handouts, most will easily download over a dial-up connection.
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, August 2006. This article may have been modified from the original.