June 12, 2007

Bangers and Mash

As I sat in Gatwick airport this past Sunday, waiting for my delayed flight to Philadelphia to begin boarding, I sleepily said goodbye to London. During my short stay for @media, my body refused to adjust to the time difference, sending my slouch-backed and bleary-eyed through the conference hallways, inflicting my stupor upon the kind attendees. Even when I was over in Dublin for a day or two last year, I was better than this. Alas, my presentation, Diabolical Design (PDF slides, podcast coming soon), went off without a hitch. I was able to reconnect with some old friends on their home soil, and make many new friends from afar. This easily marks the most international conference I’ve ever attended, both in location and in attendee breakdown. The diverse mix of people and languages seemed to add a wonderful push for communication and accessibility in everyone.

The conference lineup was packed with great presentations. Some of my highlights include Colly and Drew’s High-Noon Shoot-Out: Design vs. Implementation (notes), a fun romp about designers and developers needing to hold hands more often, and Jeremy’s Bulletproof Ajax (notes), a great field guide for the “when” and “why” of AJAX usage. Perhaps my favorite presentation was Joe Clark’s When accessibility is not your problem (notes), which drew an accessibilty line in the sand for what we really need to be focusing on when we create websites. Additionally, Joe announced he is “pretty much retired from Web accessibility.” Thanks for everything, Joe. We’ll still be lending support in your ongoing projects.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much of the city, only venturing out to Covent Garden for a few hours where I scored a new pair of Golas and spent a bit too much at the Magma bookstore. I did get to briefly travel down to sunny Brighton for a fun time with some of the Elf Cartel: Jeremy, Richard, Andy, as well as Jessica and Joe. I would like to make one observation. Though I am sure it has been said many times, but this being my first trip to England, I must say how impressed I am with the train system. Many of the people I would mention this to at the conference could only go on about the delays and construction. But the tube is quite a leap forward from the trains I am used to like NY, or the joke of a subway we have in Philadelphia. What struck me most of all was the simplicity of the wayfinding system. I was using it from the moment I arrived, always knowing where I was and where I was headed; no problems whatsoever. I must say, I am a bit jealous.

Regardless, I am happy to be home. Life has thrown me a number of curve balls recently, and there is much to do. I realize I’ve been fairly quiet lately, which will change soon, but I have to get some things sorted out first. Some big changes are on the horizon, not least of which will be a move I’ve been thinking about for some time. No, I’m not leaving my beloved company, just getting some new scenery.

For now, I would like to thank Patrick Griffiths and the @media crew for having me over, and all of the wonderful speakers and attendees for making me so welcome. You all serve as a constant source of inspiration and motivation. I managed to snag a few photos, which are collected on Flickr for your viewing pleasure.

Commentary (15):

1. Clive says… jun 12, 2007 | 12:35 pm

Enjoyed your talk immensely, Jason, and it was cool to hang out and chat and get pizza and beers afterwards.

Still loving those business cards!


2. Nick says… jun 12, 2007 | 12:46 pm

Stans moving to the big apple?

3. Jason Robb says… jun 12, 2007 | 2:34 pm

I’m excited to hear the podcast. I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on unexpected color. Color for emphasis is so important. Often mistaken for decorating. Good slides. Wish I could have been there!

4. Kirk says… jun 12, 2007 | 3:08 pm

So glad we had a chance to sit down and chat at last and for those not fortunate enough to have attended do check out the PDFs and the podcast once available.

Damn - business cards. I knew there was something I forgot to ask you :)

5. Sam says… jun 12, 2007 | 5:10 pm

Hey Jason,

I met you briefly on Day 2, I asked you what your inspiration was behind the ALA design. I am still amazed by what you told me. It really is a beautiful piece of work.

Your presentation was excellent too. I found it very informative and inspirational. Thanks very much!!


6. Yani says… jun 12, 2007 | 7:25 pm

Sounds like a great conference, and you should try the trains in Sydney :P

7. Elliot Jay Stocks says… jun 13, 2007 | 7:16 am

The Covent Garden Magma store is a dangerous place: it’s such a good design bookstore and it’s always sucking money from my wallet whenever I’m in the area. I’m glad I’m not alone! Did you see The Ten Commandments of Typography/Type Heresy right by the door? Lovely little book, that.

Great slides, by the way. I’m gutted I couldn’t attend.

8. Justin Kilcher says… jun 13, 2007 | 11:33 am

Change of scenery eh? Come on theres nothing like the stench of god-knows-what seeping up from the platforms of the El in the summer heat. You cant leave that!

9. bearskinrug says… jun 13, 2007 | 12:23 pm
Some big changes are on the horizon, not least of which will be a move I’ve been thinking about for some time. No, I’m not leaving my beloved company, just getting some new scenery.

Well, I’m finally glad you’re going to Space Camp. It’s all you’ve been talking about for years!

10. James Deane says… jun 15, 2007 | 5:09 am

I’d like to echo the comments of others and say thanks for a fantastic, enjoyable, informative presentation, it has stuck with me as one of the highlights of @media. Good luck with the move !!

11. Mathias Hellquist says… jun 15, 2007 | 11:54 am

Cheers for a great session and for a good chat, pizza and beer (well, all 10 of them…and the shots…) afterwards, it was good meeting you :)

12. Jason Santa Maria says… jun 15, 2007 | 2:14 pm

Thanks to all of you for the kind words, and for showing up!

Mathias Hellquist: And thanks very much to you and your friends for showing me such a good time!

13. Frank Jepsen says… jun 15, 2007 | 4:58 pm

Thanks for sharing the PDF slides from your presentation, Jason. Can’t wait for you to throw that podcast online!

14. Simon Zirkunow says… jun 16, 2007 | 9:16 am

Brilliant insert by Winter Sorbeck! I wonder, how many actually got the joke.

15. Dave says… jun 20, 2007 | 11:54 pm

Ohhh; I hope it’s NYC! I could see a lot of positive things happening there for a good sir such as yourself.