SXSWi Monday Recap

Monday’s recap follows. You’re getting a clue in these posts about what a horrible typist I am and what happens when I don’t have time to proof and edit my posts.

I went to the Getting Unstuck session but arrived late and didn’t take notes. The part I did hear was encouraging people to build cross-discipline teams tht have to talk to each other as part of the design process so that entrenched positions can be discussed, understood and perhaps changed.

Mobile Web Design Challenges

Kevin Cheng from Yahoo!, Matt Jones from Nokia, John Poisson, Anita Wilhelm who designs for Erickson and other clients, Simon King from Yahoo!

Simon created a photo uploader for Yahoo! that lets you upload a photo from a Nokia phone with two clicks, tags and included.

Anita talked about scanR which allows a camera phone to act as a scanner which delivers a fax or a PDF that can be emailed.

John talked about that is about sharing experience, although it involves sharing photos like Flickr.

Matt said he works inside the product, not on the web and was interested in the physical world of mobile development. Matt said it’s really important to use prototypes when designing for mobile, because things are different when they are in your hand. Simon said that testing a mobile is different from testing in a lab because you never know where or how people are actually using their mobile. For example, they might be driving, a big no-no, but a situation you cannot test in a lab.

How is mobile design different from web design? Simon said people have a shorter attention span for mobile.

How do you gauge a good design? John talked about saving clicks being important. They also consider trying to have no two adjoining letters on the same key in URLs. He said that .net is easier to enter on a phone than .com. Simon mentioned that deeply listed menus are a problem because people get distracted. Anita mentioned session time: try to move the user along in about 3 to 5 seconds. Break it up in smaller steps.

How do you help people back into an application when they get a phone call? Anita says they call it graceful failure. They ask people if they want to continue with what they were doing before. John said you cannot expect a users to do a whole series of actions because they are doing so many other things. Nothing unnecessary can be included.

There was a question about emailing photos and text from a phone. It seems that isn’t much of a problem teaching people how to do it, at least in the US. Of course, mobile designers are not thinking about a US market. Their efforts are global.

The panel was very focused on building apps for mobile devices and most of the questions were in that vein.

Growth of Microformats

Tantek Celik, Michael Kaply, Francis Berman, Glenn Jones.

Tantek began by giving the history of microformats by tee shirt. For each bit of history, he stripped off another tee shirt to reveal the next tee shirt. He must have been quite warm with all those tee shirts on at the start of the panel.

Michael talked about his Firefox operator extensions that use microformats. He demoed using microformats to find events, google maps, friends, and all sorts of relationships and connections. The microformat uses rel attributes for this. The Operator extension helps you use the information that is on a page. The Operator extension also has a microformat debugger.

Glenn talked abut backnetwork that lets people use microformats to provide information about events. He also described some ways to college hReview information with RSS and to automate collecting hCard information from one site to another.

Francis talked about She explained how new ideas for microformats are submitted. One of the keys to the success of microformats is to limit the number of them, not to have hundreds.

Then the Q & A period opened.

In response to one question, Jeremy Keith came up from the audience and did a demo showing how an hCard from a web page could be added to a phone or iPod address book and could also be used to make a phone call.

Someone asked if microformats were being tested for accessibility. The answer was yes.

Bullet Tooth Web Design

Dan Cederholm introduced Jason Santa Maria, and Andy Clarke

They took us through a snatch, a sting and a heist. The snatch is a quick job. A sting is a little more elaborate. Your confidence trick is to be 100% sure that you are satisfying the motivation of the client. The perfect heist is the big job that everyone wants and everyone sees–it makes you famous. Large teams are needed for the perfect heist. You must do your homework and your planning. Know everything about everybody who is involved. Get a crew of specialists. Then hire your muscle–those people who carry a stamp of authority. Make a plan. Communicate. Be prepared to deal with unplanned stuff. Be ready to cut and run if it looks like it isn’t going to work out. Take the payoff and run. Don’t leave any loose ends behind to trip you up. That’s how you make it bullet proof.

The invisible blogosphere

Jay Allen

I was a bit late for this, but he was quoting incorrect predictions that said that blogs would not last when I got in.

The invisible blogosphere is made up of privacy (by obscurity, intranet blogs, etc.) A massive number of people are writing undiscovered blogs. Foreign language blogs: Live Journal use in Russia is not far behind the use in the US. Use in Japan is massive, particularly for moblogging. Then there is China and India.

Some services allow you to publish publicly or privately. Flickr or Facebook, for instance.

Many companies are just discovering what blogs can do inside the firewall. It is used for communication, workgroup cooperation, and internal marketing. It’s revolutionizing the way corporations are communicating.

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