I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was working my plans to include stops to upcoming conferences. The first of which was the Future of Web Design NYC and the second being the first Sidebar Workshop. While I couldn’t make it to Washington D.C. for Sidebar, I thankfully was able to make the short trip to New York for FOWD.
Unlike last year, I was able to make FOWD 2008 a two day event. While New York isn’t too far from Albany, making the round trip last year was quite a long day. On the day of the workshops, I met up with Colin Devroe and Chris Fehnel to hang out, and snag some awesome Thai for lunch and check out the Apple Store. We made a day of it, snagged a beer or two, and waited for conference day.
FOWD had another spectacular lineup this year. The keynotes found a wide range of topics, and the variation was excellent.
Ryan Singer of 37signals again spoke on Web application design. He’s a great presenter, and his keynote “The Future of Web App Interface Design” didn’t disappoint. Ryan has the ability to bring interface design back to reality; reminding you that there’s no need to be clever, just straightforward.
Hillman Curtis took the stage next for “Ten Minutes of Design Inspiration” during which he played one of his films. He has a fantastic talent for filmmaking and I’m glad to have seen him present live and in person.
On the topic of client education was Paul Boag of Headscape Ltd. His personality really came through during his keynote and he was more than spot on with his advice. He has thoughtfully made his keynote available in full through the help of Carsonified and Viddler. If you’ve got a spare 35 minutes or so, use it to watch Paul’s keynote, he did a fantastic job and there’s some terribly valuable insight to gain.
Unfortunately for me, FOWD 2008 was the first time I’ve heard of Mike Kus and the first time I had seen his work. He took the time to hand illustrate each of his slides and his keynote was fantastic. His talk was titled “Whatever Happened to the Art in Design” and I’m very glad to have seen it.
Patrick Haney, who is not a sausage, took the time to cover “Web Design Fundamentals: Learning from the Past to Better the Future.” Patrick went back to basics with his keynote, reminding us all how important it is to keep design fundamentals in mind throughout every project. Although it was great to see him in person, I unfortunately was unable to speak with him personally. Hopefully that opportunity comes up sooner than later.
Nicholas Felton, widely known for Feltron, presented on “Charting Daily Data” which was intriguing to say the least. I’ve always been a fan of his annual reports, and getting an insider view of how the reports progressed over time was fantastic. He also took the time to give an overview of his project, Daytum, a website targeted at enabling people to track their own daily data.
“The Future of Community and Crowd-sourced Design” was the keynote presented by Derek Powazek. Derek is a very personable speaker, and he seems like one of those people you can meet for the first time and feel like you’ve known for years. He cleared up the true meaning of crowd-sourced design and discussed where things appear to be headed.
One of my favorite keynotes was “Finding Inspiration from your Environment” by Nick La of n.design studio and designer of the famous Web Designer Wall. His illustrations are nothing short of breathtaking, and he took the time to divulge his secrets as to finding inspiration. He gave a sneak peak of two upcoming pieces, and made everyone in the room jealous of his pure talent.
The final segment of the conference day was a discussion titled “Designers and Developers, Why Can’t we all Just get Along?” which aimed to tackle the up and coming divide between the two professions. The panel consisted of Joe Stump (digg), Liz Danzico (bobulate), Chris Lea (Media Temple), and Ryan Sims (Virb). Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for a few minutes due to travel constraints. If anyone was in attendance and could provide some insight in the comments that would be fantastic, I’m eager to hear how it went.
And that’s that
I had a great time at FOWD this year, Carsonified really knows what they’re doing and they make the experience really great. I can’t thank Colin and Chris enough for putting up with me over the two days; I really appreciate it.