The Web Is…

The Web Is... logoOn Thursday and Friday I went to The Web Is… in Cardiff. The line-up had changed fairly significantly since I booked my ticket, and when my train sped through Cathays station without stopping, taking myself and twenty fellow passengers on a surprise trip to Pontypridd, I started to wonder if I’d been cursed. Still, I made it, a mere 30 minutes late.

There were 17 talks in all, and there was something to take from all of them. It’ll take a while for me to work through all my notes and process what I learned. In the meantime here’s a whistle-stop tour of my highlights (let’s hope this one stops before Ponytpridd, amirite?!):

  • Chris Murphy told us that education is a force for change. It’s about giving people the confidence to act.
  • Anna Debenham reminded us that performance is a user requirement.
  • Seb Lee-Delisle talked about lasers. I didn’t understand much, but it was cool.
  • Emma Mulqueeny gave a fascinating talk about the 97ers- the generation born from 1997 on who’ve grown up not just with digital but with social media. Having done a fair bit of research with children and young adults this year it was great to hear a fellow grown up talking about the positives of digital for young people, rather than just worrying. We have a lot of responsibility to these guys. They’ve grown up carrying a device with access to the entirety of human knowledge in their pockets, but don’t always know what they don’t know. They’ve also grown up in a world where recession is the norm and big organisations fail. If it’s scary for us it must be terrifying for them. We need to help them grow up, find their place in the world and- not long from now- start running the show.
  • Phil Hawksworth gave a very funny and timely reminder that the web is made of links. As an aside I thought it was also great to hear from someone who (to my knowledge at least) isn’t already Twitter/conference famous. He presents like a pro.
  • Scott Jenson gave us all a little piece of the Physical Web and now I have a  low-energy Bluetooth beacon that beeps and transmits my website’s URL. This is possibly not the most exciting implementation of that technology. My mum was impressed though.
  • Robin Christopherson served as my latest reminder that accessibility is for everyone. No excuses.
  • Sally Jenkinson, among other things, pointed out that people care about experiences, not tech.
  • Mr Bingo doesn’t work for free.
  • Brad Frost always inspires me. Web design is, he said, the “most sharing community in the world.” It’s open by default, and this openness is starting to permeate other areas of our culture. He also mentioned a big bugbear of mine- charities who want to protect their ‘competitive advantage’ more than they want to share knowledge with other organisations in their field. But that’s a post for another day!

Thanks to Craig and family for organising and running a great event.