Reflections on WebVisions 2013

May 30th, 2013 by Gage Pacifera

How many WebVisions conferences have I attended now? Four? Five? I can’t even remember, but it seems like a lot. Every year this conference continues to impress me and this year was no exception. My head is so full of ideas and new tools that it feels like it may very well explode. Here are some of my takeaways.

If Content is King, Context is Queen

This was a theme that ran throughout several of the sessions I went to. The content sites provide should be as relevant as possible to users, taking into account time, location, device and any personal preferences the site may know about. For example, imagine a user is looking at a conference site after just arriving at the airport. That site should make it easy for that user to find directions from the airport to the venue, and driving directions from other parts of town can be hidden an extra click or two away. Since the conference hasn’t started yet, it would make sense to have general information about the conference on the home page, but once it starts, the user should see a schedule of events on the home page as that’s most likely what they are interested in. If the user is on a mobile device, the schedule details should be simplified for easy viewing and minimal scrolling. It’s all about providing the user the best experience possible whenever and wherever they are at.

The Video Takeover

Leslie Bradshaw distiguishes two internets: the text-based internet and the video-based internet. The video-based internet is claiming a growing percentage of overall web usage and will continue to do so for a while. Streaming video services are a big part of this, but normal web sites are contributing, too. It’s getting easier and easier to create and post video (the rise of Vine is a prime example) and it’s a medium that grabs attention in ways that text-based content simply cannot. Advertising campaigns are increasingly turning to video content and more and more forums, from social media to in-webisode ads, are exposing users to video content.

Will the Bananas Tweet? Maybe.

That was my favorite quote from a session on embedded processors and object-based computing. There are all sorts of tiny processors and sensory attachments readily available for inventive types to create some amazing things. Combine that with the increasing ease of 3D printing and the sky is the limit on what you can build. A couple simple examples: an umbrella whose handle lights up if the weather report says it’s going to rain soon, a DIY geiger counter (created in the wake of the Tsunami in Japan), a pair of lights connected via internet that allow a person to very simply alert family when she is leaving work for home, an RFID dog collar that tweets about what your dog is doing all day.

Responsive FTW

Pretty much everybody agreed that responsive design is where it’s at. If you’re not making your site look great across the wide range of screen sizes that people use these days, you’re actively being a big fat jerk to your users.

To Investigate…

In no particular order:

Posted in WebVisions

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