Future Insights Live – Day 3

Day Three began with a dilema: Mark Otto talking about frameworks or Luke Wroblewski talking about UI. Oh, the humanity. Both of these guys are innovators in their respective fields so it’s a nice dilema to have.
In the end I went with Mark, since I have more concerns with development right now and got really excited about Bootstrap in his Day Two presentation. This session was about the future of these tools and how we might expect to see them develop. Mark talked about a lot of his “competitors” to Bootstrap and the ways in which people will continue to bundle tools – CSS resets, SASS and LESS, javascript libraries, grids, etc. His advice is to not be afraid to build that kind of thing for you, or your office, because it can be really useful.

After the morning break I went to another session with Estelle Weyl, this one about improving mobile web performance. I’m not desperately concerned with that, but what’s true in mobile is true in the web as a whole. She did make some good cases for the limitations mobile devices have, not just in processing and memory, but with their battery power – something your phone uses when it loads a website. Plus this way I got to see Estelle’s demo of her “clown car” technique for managing image size with .svg files. Another thing I’ve got to try when I get home.

Lunch was a casual affair but I did wind up sitting at a good table with a variety of folks from around the country (and Canada) and another person in higher ed. More good conversation and a damn tasty lunch (all the food was really good at MGM Grand).

After lunch I hit Michael Jovel’s session on “Iterating Awesomeness” which sounds good but I probably should have gone to the Coffeescript session… Michael’s talk was good, but not really applicable for me. His demo was of Nordstrom’s use of the “LEAN” UX process (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO2GKC29CsY) but I don’t think Nick and I will ever be deployed to the Brickyard for a week of fluid web development based on student interactions.

Last up is David Shea’s “Why the Web Doesn’t Need Another CSS Zen Garden.” Full disclosure: I’m writing this BEFORE I watch that, but seeing as I’ll be booking it for the airport once this is over I’ll go ahead and post this and assume for the purposes of this post that it will be a “very insightful and enjoyable session.”

Overall I’ve ben really impressed with the conference. Good group, good networking, good sessions and very well run. I would perhaps have liked more sessions that weren’t so completely devoted to mobile but I keep hearing that’s the way the web is going so it’s probably appropriate. The truth is, that’s really the way the web already IS, we’re just a little slow to catch on to that in the university system. So that’s eye-opening.
Anyway, I always feel like it’s a successful conference when I have a few things that I’m super-excited to go home and try, and I’ve definitely got that. I’ve also met a LOT of really cool people who are doing really cool things for the web, so the networking aspects were very worthwhile. Two thumbs up! Would come again!