Smashing Conference

Make huge leaps in knowledge from Conferences

Last week I spent three days in Oxford at the Smashing Conference learning from Designers and Developers as they talked about their stories and their craft. Most speakers talked in part about their life and the history of culture – experiences which tied into their craft. Where human and technology mix. It’s aptly named – smashing.

As a Designer I learned most from the UX and Design talks and saw ways that these corresponded to my own work. It was great to gain an insight into Development as well.

The talks

Here are the talks with links to the slides (where available). All of the links and also videos of the talks will be added as they become available.

Design talks

  • Understanding People – Chris Shiflett
    Summary: Perception versus reality. What is right isn’t as important as what is perceived to look right. User’s aren’t stupid, they are human.
    Checkout: change blindness (spot the difference in the pictures), ambient signifiers like the chimes on the Toyko tube and the piano stairs that are more fun than easy escalators!
  • Joining up the dots – Heydon Pickering
    Summary: explores the Web as the ultimate outcome of our unique impulse to make systems of shared meaning.
    Checkout: punching salads.
  • Living Design Systems – Jina Bolton
    Summary: creating a design system for a large Enterprise company. Design for scale.
    Checkout: opensource tool called Theo which converts files to several types automatically.
  • Design Systems in Difficult Places (no slides yet) – Mark Boulton
    Summary: talked about working in challenging places with distributed teams, devolved responsibilities and little understanding of users. Create a design system to create change and not just to create pictures. Mark spoke about his work at Al Jeezera and CERN.
    Checkout: stories about GB road team winning the Tour de France by taking a holistic approach and tweaking every possible aspect so that small gains = large overall gain.
  • Overthinking Design and Embracing Minutia (no slides yet) – Jon Setzen
    Summary: good experience is key to happy, loyal customers. It should be holistic and ever evolving.
    Checkout: Snoop gets mad, but who should it be at?
  • Souls & Machines: Designing the Future of Content (no slides yet) – Hannah Donovan
    Summary: Content without context is meaningless. Perspective gives feeling. Humans care about things, it’s how they determine what matters.
    Checkout: designing for desire is ok (just as for needs is ok), cleaning up API vomit, design invents culture.
  • Improving On-screen Legibility (no slides yet) – Tobias Frere-Jones
    Summary: sub pixel rendering causes problems with legibility. Mosaic effect. Small sizes can be legible as proved by printing press over hundreds of years.
    Checkout: his experiments with Mallory to get sizing exact.
  • Building Great Design Teams – Aaron Walter
    Summary: UX teams require Researchers, Designers and Developers. Work together, sit together, respect each other.
    Checkout: Many great insights from his work at Mailchimp, including videos being good ways to share research and knowing each others superpowers and kyptonite.

Developer talks