on monday, i went to minnewebcon for the first time. i am a huge fan of more nerdy, web events happening in minneapolis! in fact, just days prior to this event, i attended a girls in tech meet-up which was awesome. and now, after meeting a bunch of cool women and getting reacquainted with some folks at umn, i’ve registered to attend a talk from jared spool at the end of the month and have seen two other minneapolis events for nerds bubble up. awesome!
i carpooled with my pal, bertine, and we arrived way too early in order to each get a free book at sign in. i scored zoe mickley gillenwater’s stunning css3, a book i’ve been coveting for months! i was excited. and i was also pleased when other attendees, who had missed out on scoring this awesome book, asked me if they could look at it.
the morning keynote session from luke wroblewski, titled “designing for today’s web,” told us that mobile use is growing by leaps and bounds faster than any other online tech has grown. there are 6 billion people on the planet, but over 10 billion devices that can access data on the web? we are seriously connected, people. (i have at least three – my droid phone, my mac laptop, and my wii. i would like to add an ipad to my arsenal, but i’m not completely sure why, other than the fact that they are neat.)
this session also reiterated the fact that i need to learn more about responsive web design. like, right now.
next i attended “online at a live event” with julia schrenkler. she live-blogs and tweets during mpr’s new program, wits. (she also works with a long-time friend, mary, so i had to introduce myself after the session.) take away thoughts about running an online event: everyone is a participant — make it easy for anyone to attend and for anyone to find the archive of your event. since wits is a live event with web coverage, she also gave the idea of hosting a web-only session during transition times such as intermissions.
i also had fun watching some “visible tweets” scroll behind her as the session became more of a brainstorming session. (ooh, pretty…)
i attended the “wordpress geekout!” and “just your type” sessions, but didn’t take many notes during either session. i was hoping the wordpress session would be a bit more advanced. i also need to try out a web-font service and improve my typography on the web. two good notes (group decisions) from the type session, though: (1) em units are more mobile-friendly than px units. (2) only use pt units in print stylesheets.
then, along came the geek girls, nancy lyons and meghan wilker, for a rousing second keynote. they reminded us that it isn’t technology that drives innovation, it’s users. and users are people — and we are all people! they encouraged us to develop our emotional intelligence, noting that we’re able to stay up-to-date with the latest technology, but we’ve forgotten about empathy.
here are a few ways they suggested that we could work on our emotional intelligence: (1) communicate openly (in the language of those that surround you) (2) listen and try to understand the meaning of what is being said (3) treat your client as the expert (for healthy, collaborative energy!) (4) push boundaries, but practice humility (5) don’t allow an “us vs. them” attitude
i’ll admit i was feeling sort of ill during the last two sessions that i attended. i don’t have many notes from either, but i’ll do my best to summarize my thoughts. “making a css framework that works for you” used examples from a department at the university that manages 200+ webpages. i again wish this session had been a little more technical, perhaps explaining the why’s and why not’s of coding decisions made within their framework. i don’t really remember what happened during this session, but i don’t remember seeing any css. “html5 design” with christopher schmitt was informative, though seemed to focus on the new audio and video attributes in html5. which is cool, but isn’t there so much more? maybe too much more for one 50-minute session. perhaps i should just read my html5 for web designers book from a book apart and then figure out what i need to be asking the html5 experts.
also, i need to try using modernizr.
christopher asked for a volunteer and since no one jumped at the chance during the final session of the day and she accidentally made eye contact, bertine got called to the front of the room. he asked her to list all of the html4 tags she could think of. she was speeding along quite nicely, then looked up at the crowd and got suddenly shy and forgot everything. since i’m such a good friend, i snapped a photo and tweeted it. 🙂 bonus for bertine though: she’ll be receiving another tech book!
i also had thought that mr. schmitt seemed familiar, and he is — he’s co-founder of environment for humans, which is an organization that has run a few online conferences i’ve attended in the last year. it’s always nice to meet familiar folks from the web in person!
after the conference ended, bertine and i collected our adam turman prints and headed out for the official happy hour at grumpy’s. we probably got there too early (and left too early as a result), but when i got home i crashed pretty hard. i survived minnewebcon, though! and i hope i can attend again.
bertine thinks i could lead a session about how to code like it’s 1999: i’ve got a pretty in-depth method to the madness that is html emails.