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By Gerard Mason
This morning and this afternoon at WebDU 2009 saw sessions on Flex, Mobile, User Experience, Online/Desktop AIR applications, Information Architecture and perspective Google Maps.

After the keynote I took it easy and soaked in bits and pieces. Last time around I was careful to choose sessions and sit them through from beginning to end. This time, I think that when something is getting a little tiring, I might perhaps quietly sneak into another session so I can get a nice broad experience. With that in mind, I dipped into Dale Rankine’s session on Flash for Mobiles. There are so many different kinds of phones and platforms, I get pretty confused, and it is good that people like Dale exist. He demoed some methods of getting Flash Lite content onto his Nokia phone, and spoke briefly about the open screen project. Surprisingly, it took until the last minute of the session for someone to ask him about Flash for the iPhone but unsurprsingly, he gave us nothing.

Speaking of which, you just wouldn’t believe how many iPhones I saw this morning.*

After that I dipped into Carly Gooch’s session on skinning Flex components. Now, I’m not really into Flex and some time into the session I decided to check out twitter and noticed the groundswell of positive tweets eminating from Simon Reid’s session entitled ‘The Digital Art of Pencil and Paper’. I love the title and Simon was a great speaker. He was speaking about methods for designing end user experiences without computers. Sketching was an obvious one but it wasn’t so much Simon’s suggestion that we eschew the laptop in favour of the pencil that made his talk worthwhile, it was his ‘out of the box’ suggestions for capturing and generating ideas to design experiences. For example, he suggested sitting behind end user’s while they worked to capture subtleties in their workflow, and also staring at media such as newspapers and magazines and attempting to fit an interface idea to the content (‘force fit’ I think was his term). I’m probably not doing his talk justice with these comments, but it was just really great to hear a voice from somewhere outside of the norm in terms of designing these experiences sharing his ideas and I gained a lot from it. Should’ve gotten in there from the start. Bugger.

After (delicious) lunch (with card tricks, see picture) I caught Michael Plank’s discussion on simultaneous development of online and desktop apps using Flash and AIR. I was pleasantly surprised at his simple technique of using conditional compilation with the command line compiler and the rest of his talk was considered and practical.

Probably my favourite session for the day was by Google’s Mike Jones. Mike spoke about some new innovations in the Google Maps API for Flash. I don’t know why, we’ve seen Google Maps before and the FLash API has been around for a while but Mike was a very knowledgeable speaker and the features he demoed - most notable 3D rotations of the map - were very exciting and my mind was ticking over long after. I’m not sure why more games haven’t been made using the maps Flash API so maybe that’s a job for someone out there.

Time for a beer and some food!


Spread The Word

1 Response to "WebDU 2009 Day One"

wedding day
said this on 02 Sep 2009 9:00:39 AM CDT
The Digital Art of Pencil and Paper is great, nice to hear someone else appreciates it. Spread the word people.

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