Home Again

So I got home from SxSW late on Tuesday. I didn’t recap the last couple of days of the event because I was catching up on sleep and fighting what I had thought was a wicked case of allergies. Turns out – walking pneumonia. (Also turns out that I managed to spell that word correctly the first time, which given the state of my woozy, drugged-up head right now, impresses the hell out of me, at least.) Yeah. I spent yesterday zoning out and finally got to the doctor late in the day when she delivered the bad news. So I’m forbidden to return to work for a couple days, and I’m on some wicked strong antibiotics and Mucinex.

I feel like poo.

And I feel like quite a douche, because I insisted to everyone that I wasn’t sick, that it was just allergies and I was really not contagious. I swear I thought that was the case; it really did feel just like when my allergies are out of control – runny nose, stuffed up head, sore throat. I didn’t have any other cold symptoms, and I didn’t feel bad enough to seek out a doctor (until Tuesday, when we were already flying home) and also felt like I had a responsibility to learn as much as I could while I was there. I’ve felt much worse at other times in the past, so this severe diagnosis makes me wonder. The thing that really sealed the deal was the two plane rides home though, where my ears popped and I couldn’t hear a thing, and my sinuses felt like they were going to jump out of my face from the air pressure changes. My left ear is still not right.

I so wanted this trip to Austin to go well.

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SxSW 2010 – Saturday Recap

Web Content Management Systems from a Designer’s Perspective

The Right Way to Wireframe, Part 1

4 different interaction designers took four different tools to prototype with. A number of things stood out for me:

1) Balsamiq is probably the wireframing tool we should be using.
2) They have a longer research/prototyping phase and peer reviews prior to showing work to clients.
3) There is a clear distinction between Interaction Design roles and visual/graphic design roles on all 4 of the teams involved – the two are separate people.

CSS Framework Shootout
The did an overview of four major CSS Frameworks. some of them we’ve already been playing with to consider possibilities of making our CSS cleaner and lighter. Lots of good information there. I need to explore OOCSS more closely because I think it may be the approach we take going forward.

CSS3 Design with HTML5
Lots of cool new stuff you can do with html 5 and CSS3 – doesn’t have complete cross-browser support, so we’d have to consider progressive enhancement and whether that would work for our clients.

CSS and Fonts: Fluid Web Typography
Jason Cranford Teague
My favorite panel so far. On Typography – the major change this year is that more browsers are starting to support embedding font types, so @font-face will work in more browsers. There are still EULA issues to think about, but this opens up new possibilities for us in terms of design.

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SXsW 2010 – Friday Recap

Two panels that we were able to make it to after flying in today…

Getting Stoked about Web Typography
Samantha Warren
Went over a lot of stuff I knew already about finding inspiration in typography – but it was refreshing since we really back-burner our typography in our designs, partly because of the technology concerns. She covered more inspirational ideas than technical application. I like designing around typography and wish I could use more of it in our designs at work. She stepped through a bunch of URLs I captured – I’ll go back and take a look at them when I have more leisure time. She urged looking outside web design for inspiration on typography – she uses the skate and surf communities for inspiration.

She over-viewed several techniques for introducing fonts beyond the standard browser fonts but noted there were other panels diving into the more technical side. I still suspect there isn’t a great solution for our companies work yet – the cons seem to stack a bit to high for accessibility in some cases, and for dynamic content in others. We also have the hurdle of EULAs – taking a font license cost onto our sites could be a challenge. But it’s definitely an area I want to play around more with – I’ve done typekit work on my Naptown Argus site – I want to try out the @font-face solution.

Simple Steps to Great Web Design
Matthew Smith
He only got through a bit before the firebell rang –
Know your client
know their audience
know their content

All pretty obvious stuff. He may have been building towards a crescendo, but I would have had to climb three flights of stairs and squeeze into a crowded room to find out. 🙂

In General
Way more crowded than it was in previous years. Some panels you can’t even get into unless you arrive WAY early.

Lots of interesting marketing going – 3D barcodes everywhere on posters, badges, etc.

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SXSW 2010 Prep

I’m taking off on Friday for SXSW in Austin, Texas. I’ve been there a couple times in the past in 2007 and 2008. I’m having a bit of anxiety about the trip after the doozy of a time we had in 2008 (stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 6 hours in Dallas, then driving from Dallas to Austin) so I’m kinda keyed up. The weather forecast is much better this year, but then again, it was fine last time, too. 🙂

But I’m trying to stay optimistic about the trip; it couldn’t possibly go as bad as last time, right? I’m hoping to learn a lot and see a bunch of cool new stuff. I need to do a bunch more prep work; this time I’ll have a much better camera with me, and Austin is a really cool city.

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