Conferences generally aren’t my thing, particularly on a Saturday when it’s valuable family time but I really enjoyed the first Digital Barn back in May and it would be remiss of me not to support a local event that encapsulates grass roots like Digital Barn.
This version of Digital Barn was a welcome upgrade: two tracks, good variety of speakers and lunch buffet thrown in. Sadly I missed the first two talks of the morning (thank you several wisearses who asked if I’d run there..).
Unlike last time, I didn’t bother taking notes or do the live tweeting thing so instead of a context free list of bullet points or tweets, here’s an abridged version of the day.
As with last time, I found Craig Burgess to be his usual entertaining self with his talk about Paul Daniels and magical design. His style is pretty compelling and he encourages us to look at throwing away constraints at the design stage to create the wow factor and interest that’s missing in many of today’s more sterile responsive sites. Can’t say as I disagree there but his talk definitely needed a little more Paul Daniels.
David Conveney gave a great talk on the business side of running an agency and his experiences last year when he spent time running through his company finances after a busy but ultimately financially unrewarding year relative to the effort of his team.
Something that certainly gave food for thought and some valuable take home lessons on being more efficient and charging properly for your time and skills.
Not typically something you see on a talk list but I think talks like this are sometimes more valuable if (no offence) slightly less “glamorous” than some of the more typical commence fare. I didn’t get the Baz Lurman intro though!
Jason Brewster followed up with a superb talk about his work with various NHS organisations and the level of user testing that he and his team run. It’s stuff some of us are probably aware of to a degree but are unlikely to work on projects where the level of psychological research and testing are applied and some of the examples he ran through definitely make me want to read more on the subject.
He talked through various UX patterns and ways of getting to the crux of users requirements without getting bogged down by asking the wrong questions. It’s always interesting hearing about the processes of others, particularly when they’re formed on the back of solid research, monitoring and tracking.
Moving back into the main room for the remainder of the afternoon was Dan Donald with a thoughtful insight into the things that go through his brain when thinking about the web.
All those abstract thoughts and questions about past, present and future and how to push the web forward and what it all means. I’ve seen an early list of content ideas for his break the page project and it’s hugely thought provoking and something to follow in the coming months.
On top of that, it’s nice to finally meet Dan in person!
Last but in no way least, Rachel Shillcock making a speaking debut gave a very professional and personal talk about how to found and use the things that make you special and how to deal with negativity, lack of confidence and ultimately clients hire you based on your confidence and skills so you need to be able to communicate that.
I’m sure many will look at the title of tile of the talk and think it’s going to be some sort of Glee style feel good story but it was much more than that and good to see someone putting a very personal story or there. Not to mention for a first talk it was very well delivered. I’m sure it won’t be the last time Rachel speaks at a conference.
I didn’t quite manage to catch up with everyone who was there today but in particular order it was great meeting up with Matt Berridge, Jason Hobbs, Paul Adam Davis, Katskii, Harry Roberts, Tim Harbour, Oli Kerr & Matt Brailsford (apologies to the several others I spoke to who I can’t remember Twitter names etc, Digital Barn – would be great if Twitter aliases were on the name badges too!) .
Lovely day out again and looking forward to meeting more folks at Digital Barn 3.
Other links and reviews
If you’ve written a review or have anything to share, feel free to tweet me or add to the comments. Here are a couple of bits from elsewhere that might be of interest: