@media 2007 Europe

Well, another year, another @media. As usual I loved the conference, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones. I didn't drink quite as much beer as last year; I'm not yet sure why (and no, it's not because I'm getting old; I feel younger with every passing day and will pretty quickly re-enter adolescence). In any case, it was more than worth it and I'm looking forward to next year's edition (and, of course, to @media Ajax).

Presentations

This year's presentations were somewhat more in-depth than last year's, and I liked that. Even though I'm in danger of repeating myself, Nate Koechley's presentation was once more the most interesting one to me personally. Nate discussed 12 ways of making your site more responsive or making it seem more responsive, which is the same in user experience terms. He went from the rather obvious (but still often overlooked) decrease of the number of HTTP requests on to the esoterics of e-tags, which I'd never heard of before. Better still, his recommendations don't consist of educated guesswork, but are backed up by solid research by Yahoo!, most of which can be read at the YUI Blog.

The two-track conference system functioned reasonably well, even though a last-minute change put Dan Webb opposite Andy Clarke, leaving me to face a very tough decision. Whose presentation to visit, Dan's or Andy's, Andy's or Dan's? I agonized for hours, and in the end opted for Dan's, because it was about JavaScript. I was rewarded with two interesting new ideas, but at the price of Andy not being happy with me. I missed his @media 2006 and SxSW 2007 presentations, too, so I owe him an apology. Fortunately both of us will speak at the single-track Voices that Matter conference, so I will finally be able to see Andy dazzle the socks off his audience.

Further highlights included Jesse James Garrett on designing for the user experience, which was far more interesting than I expected (I thought it would be another Ajax pitch, but it wasn't), and Hannah Donovan and Simon Willison on example projects, which was extremely interesting (even though attending it forced me to miss Jeremy's presentation).

Finally, Joe Clark's "When accessibility is not your problem" nicely tied in with some ideas I was already having. Basically, a disabled Internet user is responsible for choosing his or her tools intelligently. If a vision-impaired user browses with IE6, he's going to encounter problems sooner or later. Is this the fault of a web developer who uses px for his font size definitions? No, says Joe (and I agree): it's the fault of the user himself, who doesn't choose the best tool for the job at hand.

Anyway, this was Joe's last major contribution to the web accessibility world, since he anounced he's going to quit it (although he's going to finish a few tasks first). I can't really say that I like the idea, but on the other hand Joe promised to continue reading blogs, so I kind of expect him to gently guide us by some comments when we really need it.

Social events

The conference really started at Wednesday around 8:30 pm, when I arrived at the pre-party with quite a few other Dutch conference-goers, most of whom I know a bit. Now that I look back on it I realise that I spent too little time with them and too much time with the Brits, but to me that's part of what @media is for. I see the Brits only two to three times a year, while I meet the Dutch quite frequently. When in London, it makes sense to concentrate on the British scene.

Of course I frequented the Thursday and Friday parties, too, and talked to quite a few people, even though I was more tired than I realised and went back to the hotel quite early in web dev conference terms. On Saturday we had an extra-special JavaScript meeting with Dean Edwards, Stuart Langridge, Mike Davidson, Nick Fitzsimons, Dan Webb, and Chris Heilmann. We discussed some JavaScript matters, but not quite as many as we'd have liked, since beer and other concerns intervened. Stuart tried his budding manager skills on us by talking for most of the time; a classic manager's ploy that he brought off brilliantly. The sausage sandwiches were pretty good, too.

Anyway, that was @media 2007 Europe for me.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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1 Posted by Ross Bruniges on 11 June 2007 | Permalink

Heya Peter - just to point out that the external links of the Saturday meet-up folk's are broken (you've got an extra http:) in there!!

Looking forward to hearing you at @mediaAjax!

2 Posted by ppk on 11 June 2007 | Permalink

Thanks Ross, corrected.