Monday March 13, 2006

SXSW 2006: Day 2

So I have this utterly brilliant plan to capture my notes and ideas at the end of each day. Genius. Yesterday I did okay, and though I was really tired I was able to stick to the plan and do a pretty effective brain dump. Today’s notes will be shorter, but not for lack of quality panels or learning. I’m just tired. ;)

What’s Hot in Web Applications

Scott Dietzen, Seth Sternberg, Peter Merholz, BJ Fogg

This panel included the creators or principals of YackPack, Meebo and Zimba—3 fairly high-profile “web 2.0” apps.


  • A product or service must live in the overlapping space where feasibility, viability, and desirability meet
  • Applications must be able to “take away the pain” of something. That’s their value.
  • Fail fast. Get your idea built and out there to see if it has potential. Better to fail quickly than fail after a year of secret coding.
  • Your users are your greatest resource for feedback, improvements, bug fixing, evangelism and support.

Tagging 2.0

Adina Levin, Prentiss Riddle, Rashmi Sinha, Thomas Vander Wal, Don Turnbull

This panel discussed the current state and future of tagging. The standout skeaker here was Rashmi Sinha, who very passionately defended tagging for many of the reasons that it is viewed as weak. She has posted her PowerPoint presentation, and it is well worth it to download and look through.

Demystifying the Mobile Web

Dave Shea, Cameron Moll, Kelly Goto, Brian Fling

This was quite an insightful panel as I know almost nothing about the mobile web.


  • Kelly Goto contrasted China’s low purchasing power/fast technology adoption with the United States’ high purchasing power/slow technology adoption.
  • Broadband mobile will most likely be adopted by developing countries first
  • US carriers sell cutting-edge technology at enormous losses just to get customers to adopt the technology
  • The W3C’s “one site fits all devices” ideology is flawed when it comes to the mobile web because the experience is so different. The interface users have to work with, coupled with the tasks and way those tasks are performed don’t always fit the ideology.

Holistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams

Shaun Inman, Jason Santa Maria, Carl Sieber, Eris Stassi, Garrett Dimon

Yeah, this is basically The A Team without Mr. T’s black muscle van. The Team discussed the 9-month experience, process and result of working together on a redesign of the web application, Plazes. Naturally, the redesign is sexy as all get out, but the intended emphasis was definitely geared more towards how each member of the team came together to work as a whole. Comprimises were made, logo ideas were put in front of non-design team members for feedback, and a general attitude of respect, communication and inclusion was promoted. Engineers, love and understand your designers. Designers, respect your engineers.

Hopefully the Plazes mockups will somehow find their way onto the web at some point. They were really clean and attractive.


  • Respect is key.
  • Comprimise is good.
  • The engineer should be able to explain why the logo works well and the designer should be able to explain how the third party API interfaces with the design. Know what the other team members know. Make an effort to understand each others’ roles in projects.

In Summation.

Conferences are rewarding, but hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Oh, and be sure to always have some sort of redundant alarm system set to wake you up so you don’t oversleep and force your co-workers to come knocking on your door in the morning when they’re ready to go. Not that such a thing has ever happened to me. Or anything. ;)

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