Philly AEA, Come and Gone
Well, the An Event Apart train has run through Philadelphia, home of the glorious cheesesteak and land of brotherly love, and now passed on to find the next town. Because it was the first in this series of events, it was not without its fantastic hiccups; the Franklin Institute’s spotty Wi-Fi, the polar-like room temperature, and the frustrating uptime/downtime of the AEA website (where a few conference materials were hosted). Despite these, the day went off with surprisingly few hitches, and a good time seemed to be had by all. Those of us involved had a blast! It’s great to see a community with this level of skill and dedication interested on honing and improving their craft.
My favorites talks from the day: Eric’s IE 7 panic guide, and his dissection of Alex Robinsonâ€™s One True Layout was nothing short of enlightening. Zeldman’s talk about logical writing for the web, even when you can’t afford to hire a writer, really hit home and his look at WCAG 2.0 Guidelines.
I think my presentation called “Solving (Re)Design Problems” (which largely dealt with the process of the A List Apart redesign) went really well. I was a little bit nervous, but I felt like I was able to loosen up after a few minutes of getting into the thick of it. I had a great time compiling my presentation too, which was packed with loads of behind-the-scenes visuals from the logo and layout development. I did hit one somewhat problematic wall while presenting because I decided to make my slides using Apple’s Keynote (which comes bundled in iWork with the wonderful I-don’t-need-to-use-Microsoft-Word-anymore program Pages). Since I have an iBook I was unable to use a dual monitor setup, my laptop and the projector, and was only able to use mirror-mode, which would not allow me to keep the presentation notes on my screen while speaking. I decided to present on Eric’s Powerbook which does support the dual monitor setup. The problem arose on some of my slides where I had more notes than the viewable note region would allow. When I would click for the scrollbar, the presentation would advance a slide, effectively locking me out of some slide notes. Luckily, I had rehearsed enough that I knew most of what I wanted to say already, but I did miss a few points I wanted to make in some areas. I couldn’t find anywhere to turn off this functionality in Keynote, so I just kept going. Regardless, in went well enough, and I will just chalk it up to more presenting experience for next time.
It was great to get to talk to so many people from Philly I have never met before, and others that had trekked in from out of town (or country) for the day. Attendees were treated to free New Riders books, grub, and many walked away with free MediaTemple hosting too, among other things (ya know, like the stuff they may have learned :D). It was a really diverse bunch of people including many designer, developers, writers, information architects, and marketing specialists. I really feel like there was a little something for everyone; and if you weren’t as excited by one topic, chances are a half hour later you might be once again listening intently.
Photos are still pouring into the Flickr group for those interested in a peek at the event, and a few great people like The Philly Standards Organization and Pixelworthy who were live-blogging the whole day. Thanks to everyone who braved the cold to come to our fair city. It was great getting to meet you all and share some good times!