Notes and ideas from Moresoda

New Adventures Conference

2 weeks ago I attended my third and supposedly the final New Adventures Conference in Nottingham. NaConf has been one of my favourite conferences over the last few years, hence my attending of all three, however this years event managed to come out at the top.

New Adventures Conference

This year the line-up had a nice mix of professions ranging from Illustrators, Designers, Developers, Engineers and a Fashion Icon in the form of Wayne Hemingway, who I wish had a longer speaking slot as he had a lot of interesting things to say on how he got to where he is today. All the talks were interesting and provided insight / inspiration towards our industry, but for me there was a few talks that stood out among the rest.

Seb Lee-Delisle

Having seen Seb talk a few times now you kind of know what to expect from him, however he always seems to knock it out of the park. He did one of his infamous live coding talks which involved programming on a Commodore 64! After his little fun on the C64 he got onto the main part of his talk which primarily focused on persuading designers to learn to code, his focal point being you can be just as creative with code as you can with visual design. He backed up his point by showing everyone how with a live javascript demo, the end result being an animated particle script which was all done with a few lines of javascript.

It was pretty impressive what was achieved with what seemed like very little javascript because by just looking at the end result first I would assume it would be rather complicated to achieve and mostly likely would of put me off on trying. To see that it actually didn’t seem that difficult has definitely encouraged me to better my limited knowledge of javascript.

Tiago Pedras

The highlight talk of the day for me was Tiago, who is a web designer and teacher at ESAD School of Art & Design in Porto, Portugal. Tiago’s talk was about how we can tackle the problem of teaching Web Design in an effective way which is also still enjoyable for the students. The web is fast evolving and quick to adapt to the ever changing way users view websites, yet the way web design is taught at most education establishments is out dated and sometimes boring.

Tiago had a great approach to tackling this issue, he introduced gamification into his classes next project to help motivated the students. This was done by creating The Golden Coconut Awards, the idea being that the class would create their own teams and go about launching a web app from scratch, so the planning, design, building and then the final pitch would be done at the awards ceremony where a winner was announced.

It is an interesting way to approach teaching and I know I would have loved to have had that class when I was at University, and so did most people at the conference. As Tiago mentioned the students would also get a better understanding of what working in the industry was like, working effectively in team, the challenge of managing time and resources effectively as well as how to talk about your work.

It was a great talk about an area in the industry that has kind of been neglected by professionals in the past, and only until recently have people started to to understand that it’s important for the web to be taught effectively to the next generation.

It’s good to see conferences going in this direction of having more varied talks. Also having fringe events is a nice touch, for instance New Adventures had blowing, smaller talks the night before, football and a photography walk.

As expected NaConf was another great conference with some really good talks and when you walk out it makes you want to go home and start designing / building some really cool stuff, which to me is why I love going to conferences. Too bad it is the last one, though I half expect it pop up again in a few years either with the same name or a new one altogether.