After a coffee breakfast, we headed over to the conference venue to register and pick up our badges and near-day-glo bag. A quick note here: get larger text and handles/URLs/gravatars on those badges for next year’s conference. It’ll make meeting people a little less clumsy.
Now, I won’t go into my thoughts on the presentations too much. Most of the people reading this will have been there or will already have heard opinions of the conference, the general consensus being that it was bloomin’ fantastic. I will say that I thought all the speakers at the conference were really entertaining.
As others have already said, some of the presentations were aimed a bit low. It was encouraging, though, to find familiarity when seeing what some big names in the industry do when they design and build. It was good to feel that I am probably better at this Web Design malarkey than I give myself credit for. It was interesting to see where Web Design could go in the next few years.
However, I will mention that I particularly enjoyed the presentation by AbilityNet‘s Robin Christopherson and Curt Holst. Robin was insightful, fun and informative. It was the first time that I’d been able to see an experienced screen reader user demonstrating how they work, and it really does help your understanding of how a blind user interacts with the Web. Curt also provided useful demonstrations of some assistive devices and software.
Party like it’s… @media
The @media Party that first night was great. The breaks in the conference programme gave a bit of time to mingle and meet, but it always felt a little rushed (especially if you needed to face queuing for the loo). I had bumped into a few people during the day (I remember meeting Matthew, Karl and Kate in fairly random ways), but the party was the first big chance to chat to people and meet everyone who you’d not yet nabbed.
It was at the party that I finally got to properly meet my mate Malarkey – I had only managed to exchange about two words with him during the day. I also randomly ended up talking to Phil Roche – I had no idea who he was when I started chatting to him! It was also interesting to see how many people actually recognised me as “dotjay”. There was one woman who recognised me from Accessify Forum, but I can’t remember for the life of me what her name was now.
After several attempts to round up troops to go in search of food, we finally got a bunch of 20 together and ended up in a nice little chinese restaurant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a big thanks here to Matthew Pennell for single-handedly arranging the hijacking of The Tall House! Lots of fun was had by all, especially Pat!