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.