Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

New Adventures Conference 2013

25th January 2013

As we reflect on a great conference put on by the New Adventures team, I come back with some great memories, new ideas, some drive and lots of opinion.

This year’s lineup was full of people that I knew little about so was quite open minded beforehand. The one speaker that I knew pretty well used to sit on the Big Breakfast couches and he didn’t do web for a living as far as I knew.

I’ll start now by saying they all gave good talks, some struck a chord with me, some gave me good advice, none made me switch off.

I took a lot from Jason Santa Maria’s talk – The Nimble Process. The use of paper and sketching is something I would like to see more off especially in my process. It’s too easy to load up Photoshop and then sit there for hours trying to get that one idea. I’ve done it myself when really it would be quicker to get it down onto paper and try stuff. I’ll certainly be pushing that from now on.

Listening to Tyler Mincey and his Appropriate Tension talk, he had been on an interesting ride with Apple for years and something he said really said something to me also. “We need to get good at collaboration”. It’s something I’ve seen for a while now and I don’t think it’s hard to do. Just talk more. It’s not about UX being more important than Design or Design being more important than Development, it’s about talking, working together and getting the bloody thing done right from the start. Share ideas, get them down on paper. Collaborate.

Michael Heilemann and his The Inertia of Ideas talk who aside from a distance reminded me of the Danish footballer Thomas Gravesen was witty and honest. He’s the dude who created the Kubrick WordPress theme. He told us to “Follow our fucking bliss”. I could happily have listened to him longer.

Tiago Pedras’ Responsive Teaching talk was about web and teaching. He said “I think it’s important we give something back to the world more than what we create”. I remember a chat with James Greenwood at Strawberry in Hull about the standard of teaching and the web and we both agreed we can do a lot better in how kids learn about the art of dev and design. Maybe agencies can get into schools / unis to assist more.

Jon Tan spoke about typography, fonts and scan paths. In his talk titled Billboards and Novels He said “Good typography induces a good mood”. Type is something I struggle with at times but hearing about Impactive and Immersive type has given me a few pointers. I also intend to test my font choices with the following in future…”agh! iIl1 O0″. A truly amazing talk.

I’ll admit that before NA, I’d never heard of Seb Lee-Delisle but my word what a funny guy. I’d also never seen anyone program a Commodore 64 before either. Seb creates projects that I know the agency I work for would be interested in looking at. His talk New Adventures in… Code! was inspring and a kick up the arse to learn javascript.

Steph Troeth’s The Beauty in the Impermanent was a beautiful talk. Her voice was captivating. She used the line “Design something that gets better with use” which are great words.

After Steph, it was time for the friend of Zig and Zag, Mr Wayne Hemmingway. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what he would bring to the table but he was funny, honest and told a feel good story about what can be achieved. He also pointed out that most housing estate nowadays look like prisons. He had won me over. A very good and fun talk.

Last but not least was Jessica Hische who aside from the dodgy cat leggings (sorry) talked about “procrastiworking” which means doing work you feel like doing when putting off work you dont feel like doing. She talked about the differences between a job, career and a calling and broke down what fancy job titles actually mean. A funny talk from a lovely speaker.

Away from the talks, we did bowling the night before. Personally I think there were too many people and not enough time but it was free and we got to chat to people as we played. As well as the bowling, there was a couple of talks by Rachel Shillcock and Robert Mills.

We were treated to some fantastic free gifts from sponsors including some lovely posters and t-shirts. And lets not forget the cakes. Lunch was great. All in all a very good couple of days.

For me though as we say goodbye to New Adventures for now, the one thing I take away from this conference above all else is friendship. It was great seeing people I knew from Twitter and people I already had met. It meant a lot to me that people came up saying ” You’re nothing like that Ewok” and asking how things were going. I’d never really thought of it before but I spend my working day and my evenings sharing information, gossip or just general bollocks with so many people that is like one big group. You are a part of my life. Jesus, how soppy.

A conference is usually classed as one big piss up after a few people talking. This one was no different but the talks were inspiring and I got to meet friends and see old ones. It was pretty pretty good.

I can’t really close on that as I think it’s only right that I say a big thank you to Simon Collison and the team. I’ve spoken to Simon in total for about 30 seconds but it’s clear to see he and his team have put their heart and soul into this conference. I’d like to one day sit down and talk to him for longer than 30 seconds and shake his hand for a truly great event.

Cheers fella and good luck for the future.

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