SXSWi Tuesday Recap

Tuesday is here and it’s almost over. Here’s what I managed to jot down on Tuesday.

Web Typography Sucks

Richard Rutter, Mark Boulton

Richard talked about the difference between web typography and art with words. An example Mark gave is the ‘ and " marks as incorrectly used for quotes, hyphens used as dashes. They pointed to the UK publication The Sun and said if they can do it right, why can’t we?

Richard talked about using HTML entities for proper character use. They showed an example of a beautiful ampersand inserted into a page with a styled span element. They explained how to tweak margins and line-heights that come from the browser.

Numbers needed are a basic text-size and a line-height that works nicely with it (e.g., font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em; margin: 0 0 1.5em 0;) They showed how to calculate ems for the size of pixels desired. I wasn’t fast enough to get the math down, but it was a simple division problem involving the base size you started with and the pixel size you wanted to end up with.

Mark talked about the importance of creating contrast with typefaces, weight, position, margin. They showed a list with the list item numbers hanging outside the left margin and said that was the way it was always done before Word and other word processing software began indenting lists.

Richard suggested that Arial is not a good backup for Verdana because the sizes don’t match. Tahoma might be better. He suggested a list like Frutiger, Univers, Helvetica Neue, arial, helvetica, sans-serif. They mentioned several new fonts that are shipping with Vista: Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Constantia, Corbel. They suggested that people start using them and hope that they ship with the next version of Office for OS X and get into Mac that way.

Mark talked about the fact that many don’t seem to care about the details of web typography the way people care about typography in print. They suggested that designers let tool developers know what we need in the way to create beautiful typography in their creations. They pointed to the new design of the New York Times being an example of caring about how the web version looks.

12 Values Shaping Technology’s Future

Scott Smith from Social Technologies, Rachel Matney from Target, Adrea Shortell from MTV, Timo Veikkola from Nokia

Two women, two men. My first exactly equal gender balanced panel. But there is a nice mix at SXSW, I’m not complaining about this conference!

The 12 values are:

  • User creativity
  • Appropriateness
  • Intelligence
  • Personalization
  • Convenience
  • Protection
  • Simplicity
  • Connectedness
  • Health
  • Assistance
  • Efficiency
  • Sustainability

They reported on research into consumer lifestyles and changes worldwide and how businesses need to understand what the future of technology is to design products and processes that will fit these values.

Net Politics: The Internet Can Make You President

Clay Johnson, Patrick Ruffini, Mark SooHoo, Mark Strama

Mark Strama talked about online voter registration and money raising on the Internet. (He’s a member of the Texas House.) Patrick is advisor to Guiliani’s presidential campaign exploratory committee. Mark works for McCain. Clay worked on the Dean for America campaign. He now works for

Mark asked if the political process on the Internet has been bottom up or top down. Clay said yes, the Internet finds candidates, not visa-versa. The Dean phenomena was a result of a meetup, not anything Howard Dean did.

There was a discussion about the value of getting email address organically from people who are already interested in working or donating vs. the value of buying a list of email addresses.

What about online fundraising? If front runners can tie in to making their big events off line tie in to their big events online they can raise more money. Clay said 2008 is going to be the year of the boring Internet. (What about social media, Clay?) Mark says don’t you think the Internet benefits the anti-establishment people? Mark said the Internet rock stars need to have a message that resonates with people, not just have a web site.

What should a candidate do? What should a candidate not do? Do not be inauthentic. Do talk straight. Don’t do anything that keeps people at home and not talking about the candidate out from behind their computer. Do not do Second Life. But do experiment.

Do candidates have to blog? Does it come off as inauthentic? Blogs can be helpful if they connect people who reach out with the message. Campaigns are not political commentary like blogs. There has to be some form of message according to Patrick.

Mark said MySpace might be the meetup of this campaign. Adding a campaign logo to a myspace page is the exact equivalent of having a sign in someone’s front yard or knocking on someone’s front door. You can call up all the people with a zip code in your district and contact them to add you as a myspace friend.

Q & A ensued.

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2 thoughts on “SXSWi Tuesday Recap”

  1. On social media: I think it is bound to be exciting. But I do not think that you’ll see somebody dramatically alter the landscape by using the Internet like Howard Dean did in 2004. That’s all I’m saying.

    Of course Social Media is exciting. We’re doing a bunch of it for Barack Obama, as well as organizations like the League of Conservation Voters.


  2. Thanks for your comment, Clay. From a social media standpoint, I find it rather exciting that the candidates are opening themselves up to so many communication avenues such as facebook, myspace, YouTube. Obama is unique with his offer of personal blogging space on his servers. I think all this is adding to the communication and transparency in this election and it’s building on what began in the past with Dean and with moveon.

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