And all that Malarkey

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Video of my ‘Take your stinking paws off my design you damn dirty developers’ talk

When we were in Australia earlier this year, we stopped in Sydney to speak at John Allsopp’s Respond Conference and to teach a workshop. A few weeks before those events, John emailed me:

The folks at SydCSS are fantastic supporters of our events, and last year we did a couple of shared events with them. I’ve dobbed you and I to do a short presentation (it will be the night of Respond.)

Three conferences in three weeks

For someone who hasn’t travelled or done much conference speaking for the last two years, this past three weeks have been pretty busy with both. I’ve spoken at three conferences and hosted two workshops and I enjoyed every one.

Scripts and slides at dConstruct 2014

I spent last Friday in Brighton attending the tenth, but my first dConstruct. It was a fabulous conference, in an elegant venue, thoughtfully organised by Clearleft and masterfully presented by Jeremy Keith. Every talk was excellent in different ways and all of them had been brilliantly curated by Jeremy, following, loosely in some cases, the theme of ‘Living With The Network.’ I’m writing a new talk and dConstruct was exactly the inspiration I needed.

On preparing a conference talk without slides

Last week I came back from a lovely, if too short, trip to the American South that included me giving a talk in Atlanta. It felt fabulous to be back on An Event Apart’s stage and I’m humbled by every invitation. I gave a new talk, ‘A Modern Designer’s Canvas’ about finding your medium, not becoming intoxicated by your tools or a process and following your own, not someone else’s path. I gave it without a supporting Keynote slide deck.

Slides for my talk, Designing an atmosphere of accessibility

Today I’m over in Oslo, Norway, giving a talk at Accessibility Day 2013 (Google translated link). My topic is “Designing an atmosphere of accessibility” and I cover how I think focussing on content first as part of responsive design, and in particular working on design ‘atmosphere’ (typography, colour and texture) helps better, more accessible design.

My slides for the talk are already available on SpeakerDeck, but of course, you really had to be here.

Two upcoming talks

It was lovely to hear Laura Kalbag talk about accessibility at Revolution in Shrewsbury a week or more ago. Especially as I’ll be doing the same in Oslo in a couple of weeks. I’m returning to conference speaking at Accessibility Day 2013 (Google translated link) run by those fine people at Northern Beat. My topic is “Designing an atmosphere of accessibility” and I’ll cover how I think focussing on content first as part of responsive design, and in particular working on design ‘atmosphere’ (typography, colour and texture) helps accessible design.

Then the following day (gulp) I’ll be in Scarborough at #TIDE 2013. I’m looking forward to this event enormously as I finally get to meet my CSS hero Harry Roberts and see a few old friends there too. I’ll be talking about “How to call your client an idiot without getting fired” (no guarantees) which is a lot more serious than it sounds as it’s all about encouraging better client participation in design projects. I’ve given this talk once before and this time, like the last, there’ll be no slides, just me.

It’s been a while and I’m justifiably nervous about both talks for different reasons, but it’ll feel good to be back.

I spoke at a Smashing Conference

A couple of months ago, Smashing Magazine’s Vitaly Friedman, Marc Thiele and I were talking over email when he asked if I’d fill an open speaking slot at Smashing Conference. I was already hosting two ‘Fashionably Flexible Responsive Design’ workshops there, so I hesitated because, as you might remember, I’m cutting down the number of conferences I speak at and I’d planned to speak at only An Event Apart in Austin this year.

Bringing a knife to a gunfight — my slide deck from An Event Apart, Austin 2012

I’ve just come home from a ten hot days in Texas, where I had the honour, again, of speaking at An Event Apart alongside some of the best speakers in the industry. I enjoyed the trip, and especially the conference, enormously.

I’ve spoken at conferences regularly since my first time (again alongside Jeremy and Jeffrey) at @media 2005. (I’d never have guessed then that we’d still be friends, still doing this thing, all these years later.) But in the last couple of years I started to enjoy speaking less and emotional risk/reward ratio that goes with public speaking tipped too much toward risk. So I decided to not speak at all in 2012. That is until Jeffrey persuaded me to speak in Austin.

Unlike Jeremy, this wasn’t my first not-SXSW visit to Austin as Elliot, Simon, Tim and I and a bunch of design globetrotters went there to redesign a bank a few years ago.

I’m glad I went. Every An Event Apart conference feels special, but at this one the (unplanned) recurring themes were spooky. My talk was about designing, design process and particularly how our conventional design tools — drawing tools like Fireworks and Photoshop — are not equipped for designing today’s web. They’re ‘Bringing a knife to a gunfight!’ From the website:

In the mid-nineties, when designers started making their mark on the web, they did it with software tools and processes that they’d brought with them from print. But the web’s a different place now than it was ten, five, even two years ago; the tools and processes we’ve relied on for years are no longer capable of properly designing today’s flexible, responsive web. In this session, we’ll find new ways to design that better serve the needs of today’s responsive web, and investigate better, alternative tools and approaches to design. We’ll learn too how new tools and approaches can improve communication between designers and developers and our clients.

I hear that the talk was well received and I had a great time giving it. In fact, it’s definitely helped me to get my speaking mojo working again.

For everyone not at An Event Apart in Austin:

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