May 25th, 2012 by Gage Pacifera
Last week I attended the WebVisions conference. This was the fourth one I have gone to.. I guess I’m becoming a regular attendee. I love being surrounded by a bunch of people excited about the web and hearing about the tools and trends that are shaping the internet landscape today. I always come out feeling reinvigorated and ready to learn a few new things that seem useful. I’ll try to sum up some of the key things I got out the workshops and other conference-related activities.
HTML5 mobile apps rule
I went to a few talks on building web applications, and all of the presenters I saw were proponents of using HTML5 to build mobile applications. HTML5 is usable across all major mobile devices and developing on that common platform means that you don’t have to build a bunch of different versions of the app in the various device-specific codebases. To deploy app packages to the various app stores and to gain access to device-specific features, developers can integrate their HTML5 code with a development framework like PhoneGap.
I heard from a few different presenters that mobile version of a web site is now the most important version. When designing sites, designers should consider mobile first and desktop second. I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, but I agree that within the near future we will be. People use their mobile devices everywhere, pretty much all the time: in the checkout line, on the couch, on the bus. People rely on those devices and will work harder than you would expect to complete tasks on their device if it means that they don’t have to walk all the way to their computer (even it’s just across the room). Also, there is a growing number of people who do not own a desktop computer but who do own a web-capable mobile device.
Tools I want to check out
I thought that this looked really awesome! It’s a mobile UI framework that adapts to the device being used so that your web application looks and functions like a native app.
I have no idea why it has taken this long for someone to create a timeline-based GUI for making HTML5 animations. If I had a speculatory budget and a team of developers at my disposal, I would have created this software like two years ago, beat Adobe to the punch and made like a zillion dollars. But anyway, I’m glad Adobe finally figured out that this product needs to exist and I’m going to start experimenting with it as soon as possible. The demo looked great.. seems like it has many of the features of that Flash has and the UI looked good.
I ❤ video installations
I took a tour of several prominent local studios: tenfour, Fashionbuddha, ISITE Design, Ziba and Second Story. Apparently if you want to be a successful local agency these days, your workspace needs things like impromptu creative spaces, whiteboards everywhere, open layouts, natural light, high ceilings, salvaged architectural components, community-sharable conference rooms and a kegerator or a fridge with a decent selection local brews. I can’t say I’m opposed to any of that.. it was definitely really cool to see how these successful agencies have set up their physical work environment.
And you thought musical karaoke was bad?
One of the social events being pushed at the conference was presentation karaoke. It seems like it should be fun, but it was horrible. I could not drink enough $2 bottles of Rogue beer at the after-party to make this experience tolerable.
I had a good time, the insightful sessions I attended outweighed the bad ones and it was definitely worth the entry fee. Thanks to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors! Unless I decide to do SXSW instead next spring, I’ll be back again for more next time around.