Inspirational, energetic, insightful, encouraging. That’s how I’d describe the Web Essentials conference in Sydney, Australia last week. An excellent crowd filled with so many wonderful people. It seems the WE05 team is on to something very successful.
Going through the list of other talented presenters for this year, I’m still wondering why they invited me back on stage this year after my embarrassing performance in last year’s Smack Down. Well, I didn’t hesitate to accept. After thoroughly enjoying last year’s conference, it was a no-brainer to return for 2005. It was an honor and a lot of fun to be among all the other brilliant presenters. Among my own favorites: Jeff was dynamic, thoughtful, and engaging as always; Derek had some really cool practical tips to share regarding simple accessibility techniques; Tantek made the tedious details of microformats sound interesting and immediately applicable to all of us.
I was originally slated to talk about design and CSS. Somehow, for a repeat appearance at the same conference, getting into techniques and details didn’t feel right. After some convo with John Allsopp, I switched gears substantially, and went for a more theoretical topic: how today’s work and thinking is impacted by the potential of tomorrow. It was all-new material, and a little rough around the edges. But I think the messages and ideas contained within came through. Some of the ideas from my talk are topics I’d like to push further here in future posts.
The WE05 organizers step ahead of the curve by openly providing public podcasts of all the sessions for this year’s conference. This makes a great way to hear a few of the concurrent sessions I missed, and also lets me review several other talks I’d like to hear again. Of course, if you weren’t there, you also get the chance to hear what you missed as incentive to make sure you’re there next year.
The long flight down to Sydney was well-rewarded by so many interesting conversations with attendees and speakers. I had discussions with peers about microformats usage, design as a commodity, the oddity of Vegemite, little-d deaf and big-D Deaf, weather in Sydney, subtle discrimination, bungy jumping, and one of the topics raised in my presentation: making the web accessible to the poor.
For those of you that asked for copy of my presentation, I’m offering a PDF here, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. The podcast is available from the WE05 site:
If you missed the first two Web Essentials, start planning NOW to head to Sydney around the same time next year. Whether you’re from Australia, or as far away as Iceland (as one of the attendees was this year — hey Erling!) Sydney is no doubt the place to be when WE06 comes around.
For even more on the event, check out: